White Fang HTML version

The Lair
For two days the she-wolf and One Eye hung about the Indian camp. He was worried and
apprehensive, yet the camp lured his mate and she was loath to depart. But when, one
morning, the air was rent with the report of a rifle close at hand, and a bullet smashed
against a tree trunk several inches from One Eye's head, they hesitated no more, but went
off on a long, swinging lope that put quick miles between them and the danger.
They did not go far - a couple of days' journey. The she-wolf's need to find the thing for
which she searched had now become imperative. She was getting very heavy, and could
run but slowly. Once, in the pursuit of a rabbit, which she ordinarily would have caught
with ease, she gave over and lay down and rested. One Eye came to her; but when he
touched her neck gently with his muzzle she snapped at him with such quick fierceness
that he tumbled over backward and cut a ridiculous figure in his effort to escape her teeth.
Her temper was now shorter than ever; but he had become more patient than ever and
more solicitous.
And then she found the thing for which she sought. It was a few miles up a small stream
that in the summer time flowed into the Mackenzie, but that then was frozen over and
frozen down to its rocky bottom - a dead stream of solid white from source to mouth. The
she-wolf was trotting wearily along, her mate well in advance, when she came upon the
overhanging, high clay-bank. She turned aside and trotted over to it. The wear and tear of
spring storms and melting snows had underwashed the bank and in one place had made a
small cave out of a narrow fissure.
She paused at the mouth of the cave and looked the wall over carefully. Then, on one side
and the other, she ran along the base of the wall to where its abrupt bulk merged from the
softer-lined landscape. Returning to the cave, she entered its narrow mouth. For a short
three feet she was compelled to crouch, then the walls widened and rose higher in a little
round chamber nearly six feet in diameter. The roof barely cleared her head. It was dry
and cosey. She inspected it with painstaking care, while One Eye, who had returned,
stood in the entrance and patiently watched her. She dropped her head, with her nose to
the ground and directed toward a point near to her closely bunched feet, and around this
point she circled several times; then, with a tired sigh that was almost a grunt, she curled
her body in, relaxed her legs, and dropped down, her head toward the entrance. One Eye,
with pointed, interested ears, laughed at her, and beyond, outlined against the white light,
she could see the brush of his tail waving good-naturedly. Her own ears, with a snuggling
movement, laid their sharp points backward and down against the head for a moment,
while her mouth opened and her tongue lolled peaceably out, and in this way she
expressed that she was pleased and satisfied.
One Eye was hungry. Though he lay down in the entrance and slept, his sleep was fitful.
He kept awaking and cocking his ears at the bright world without, where the April sun
was blazing across the snow. When he dozed, upon his ears would steal the faint