The Covenant

WhenDecemberwaswellalong,GreyBeaverwentonajourneyuptheMackenzie. Mit-sahandKloo-koochwentwithhim. Onesledhedrovehimself,drawnbydogshehadtradedfororborrowed. AsecondandsmallersledwasdrivenbyMit-sah,andtothiswasharnessedateamofpuppies. Itwasmoreofatoyaffairthananythingelse,yetitwasthedelightofMit-sah,whofeltthathewasbeginningtodoaman’sworkintheworld. Also,hewaslearningtodrivedogsandtotraindogs; whilethepuppiesthemselveswerebeingbrokenintotheharness. Furthermore,thesledwasofsomeservice,foritcarriednearlytwohundredpoundsofoutfitandfood. 

WhiteFanghadseenthecamp-dogstoilingintheharness,sothathedidnotresentovermuchthefirstplacingoftheharnessuponhimself. Abouthisneckwasputamoss-stuffedcollar,whichwasconnectedbytwopulling-tracestoastrapthatpassedaroundhischestandoverhisback. Itwastothisthatwasfastenedthelongropebywhichhepulledatthesled. 

Thereweresevenpuppiesintheteam. Theothershadbeenbornearlierintheyearandwerenineandtenmonthsold,whileWhiteFangwasonlyeightmonthsold. Eachdogwasfastenedtothesledbyasinglerope. Notworopeswereofthesamelength,whilethedifferenceinlengthbetweenanytworopeswasatleastthatofadog’sbody. Everyropewasbroughttoaringatthefrontendofthesled. Thesleditselfwaswithoutrunners,beingabirch-barktoboggan,withupturnedforwardendtokeepitfromploughingunderthesnow. Thisconstructionenabledtheweightofthesledandloadtobedistributedoverthelargestsnow-surface;forthesnowwascrystal-powderandverysoft. Observingthesameprincipleofwidestdistributionofweight,thedogsattheendsoftheirropesradiatedfan-fashionfromthenoseofthesled,sothatnodogtrodinanother’sfootsteps. 

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