The Trail of the Gods

Inthefalloftheyear,whenthedayswereshorteningandthebiteofthefrostwascomingintotheair,WhiteFanggothischanceforliberty.Forseveraldaystherehadbeenagreathubbubinthevillage.Thesummercampwasbeingdismantled,andthetribe,bagandbaggage,waspreparingtogoofftothefallhunting.WhiteFangwatcheditallwitheagereyes,andwhenthetepeesbegantocomedownandthecanoeswereloadingatthebank,heunderstood.Alreadythecanoesweredeparting,andsomehaddisappeareddowntheriver.

Quitedeliberatelyhedeterminedtostaybehind.Hewaitedhisopportunitytoslinkoutofcamptothewoods.Here,intherunningstreamwhereicewasbeginningtoform,hehidhistrail.Thenhecrawledintotheheartofadensethicketandwaited.Thetimepassedby,andhesleptintermittentlyforhours.ThenhewasarousedbyGreyBeaver’svoicecallinghimbyname.Therewereothervoices.WhiteFangcouldhearGreyBeaver’ssquawtakingpartinthesearch,andMit-sah,whowasGreyBeaver’sson.

WhiteFangtrembledwithfear,andthoughtheimpulsecametocrawloutofhishiding-place,heresistedit.Afteratimethevoicesdiedaway,andsometimeafterthathecreptouttoenjoythesuccessofhisundertaking.Darknesswascomingon,andforawhileheplayedaboutamongthetrees,pleasuringinhisfreedom.Then,andquitesuddenly,hebecameawareofloneliness.Hesatdowntoconsider,listeningtothesilenceoftheforestandperturbedbyit.Thatnothingmovednorsounded,seemedominous.Hefeltthelurkingofdanger,unseenandunguessed.Hewassuspiciousoftheloomingbulksofthetreesandofthedarkshadowsthatmightconcealallmannerofperilousthings.

Thenitwascold.Herewasnowarmsideofatepeeagainstwhichtosnuggle.

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