The Famine

ThespringoftheyearwasathandwhenGreyBeaverfinishedhislongjourney. ItwasApril,andWhiteFangwasayearoldwhenhepulledintothehomevillagesandwasloosedfromtheharnessbyMit-sah. Thoughalongwayfromhisfullgrowth,WhiteFang,nexttoLip-lip,wasthelargestyearlinginthevillage. Bothfromhisfather,thewolf,andfromKiche,hehadinheritedstatureandstrength,andalreadyhewasmeasuringupalongsidethefull-growndogs. Buthehadnotyetgrowncompact. Hisbodywasslenderandrangy,andhisstrengthmorestringythanmassive. Hiscoatwasthetruewolf-grey,andtoallappearanceshewastruewolfhimself. Thequarter-strainofdoghehadinheritedfromKichehadleftnomarkonhimphysically,thoughithadplayeditspartinhismentalmake-up. 

Hewanderedthroughthevillage,recognisingwithstaidsatisfactionthevariousgodshehadknownbeforethelongjourney. Thentherewerethedogs,puppiesgrowinguplikehimself,andgrowndogsthatdidnotlooksolargeandformidableasthememorypicturesheretainedofthem. Also,hestoodlessinfearofthemthanformerly,stalkingamongthemwithacertaincarelesseasethatwasasnewtohimasitwasenjoyable. 

TherewasBaseek,agrizzledoldfellowthatinhisyoungerdayshadbuttouncoverhisfangstosendWhiteFangcringingandcrouchingtotherightabout. FromhimWhiteFanghadlearnedmuchofhisowninsignificance;andfromhimhewasnowtolearnmuchofthechangeanddevelopmentthathadtakenplaceinhimself. WhileBaseekhadbeengrowingweakerwithage,WhiteFanghadbeengrowingstrongerwithyouth. 

Itwasatthecutting-upofamoose,fresh-killed,thatWhiteFanglearnedofthechangedrelationsinwhichhestoodtothedog-world. Hehadgotforhimselfahoofandpartoftheshin-bone,towhichquiteabitofmeatwasattached. 

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