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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