White Fang HTML version
The Enemy Of His Kind
Had there been in White Fang's nature any possibility, no matter how remote, of his ever
coming to fraternise with his kind, such possibility was irretrievably destroyed when he
was made leader of the sled-team. For now the dogs hated him - hated him for the extra
meat bestowed upon him by Mit-sah; hated him for all the real and fancied favours he
received; hated him for that he fled always at the head of the team, his waving brush of a
tail and his perpetually retreating hind-quarters for ever maddening their eyes.
And White Fang just as bitterly hated them back. Being sled-leader was anything but
gratifying to him. To be compelled to run away before the yelling pack, every dog of
which, for three years, he had thrashed and mastered, was almost more than he could
endure. But endure it he must, or perish, and the life that was in him had no desire to
perish out. The moment Mit-sah gave his order for the start, that moment the whole team,
with eager, savage cries, sprang forward at White Fang.
There was no defence for him. If he turned upon them, Mit-sah would throw the stinging
lash of the whip into his face. Only remained to him to run away. He could not encounter
that howling horde with his tail and hind-quarters. These were scarcely fit weapons with
which to meet the many merciless fangs. So run away he did, violating his own nature
and pride with every leap he made, and leaping all day long.
One cannot violate the promptings of one's nature without having that nature recoil upon
itself. Such a recoil is like that of a hair, made to grow out from the body, turning
unnaturally upon the direction of its growth and growing into the body - a rankling,
festering thing of hurt. And so with White Fang. Every urge of his being impelled him to
spring upon the pack that cried at his heels, but it was the will of the gods that this should
not be; and behind the will, to enforce it, was the whip of cariboo-gut with its biting
thirty-foot lash. So White Fang could only eat his heart in bitterness and develop a hatred
and malice commensurate with the ferocity and indomitability of his nature.
If ever a creature was the enemy of its kind, White Fang was that creature. He asked no
quarter, gave none. He was continually marred and scarred by the teeth of the pack, and
as continually he left his own marks upon the pack. Unlike most leaders, who, when
camp was made and the dogs were unhitched, huddled near to the gods for protection,
White Fang disdained such protection. He walked boldly about the camp, inflicting
punishment in the night for what he had suffered in the day. In the time before he was
made leader of the team, the pack had learned to get out of his way. But now it was
different. Excited by the day-long pursuit of him, swayed subconsciously by the insistent
iteration on their brains of the sight of him fleeing away, mastered by the feeling of
mastery enjoyed all day, the dogs could not bring themselves to give way to him. When
he appeared amongst them, there was always a squabble. His progress was marked by
snarl and snap and growl. The very atmosphere he breathed was surcharged with hatred
and malice, and this but served to increase the hatred and malice within him.