The Mad God

AsmallnumberofwhitemenlivedinFortYukon.Thesemenhadbeenlonginthecountry.TheycalledthemselvesSour-doughs,andtookgreatprideinsoclassifyingthemselves.Forothermen,newintheland,theyfeltnothingbutdisdain.Themenwhocameashorefromthesteamerswerenewcomers.Theywereknownaschechaquos,andtheyalwayswiltedattheapplicationofthename.Theymadetheirbreadwithbaking-powder.ThiswastheinvidiousdistinctionbetweenthemandtheSour-doughs,who,forsooth,madetheirbreadfromsour-doughbecausetheyhadnobaking~powder.

Allofwhichisneitherherenorthere.Themeninthefortdisdainedthenewcomersandenjoyedseeingthemcometogrief.Especiallydidtheyenjoythehavocworkedamongstthenewcomers’dogsbyWhiteFangandhisdisreputablegang.Whenasteamerarrived,themenofthefortmadeitapointalwaystocomedowntothebankandseethefun.TheylookedforwardtoitwithasmuchanticipationasdidtheIndiandogs,whiletheywerenotslowtoappreciatethesavageandcraftypartplayedbyWhiteFang.

Buttherewasonemanamongstthemwhoparticularlyenjoyedthesport.Hewouldcomerunningatthefirstsoundofasteamboat’swhistle;andwhenthelastfightwasoverandWhiteFangandthepackhadscattered,hewouldreturnslowlytothefort,hisfaceheavywithregret.Sometimes,whenasoftsouthlanddogwentdown,shriekingitsdeath-cryunderthefangsofthepack,thismanwouldbeunabletocontainhimself,andwouldleapintotheairandcryoutwithdelight.AndalwayshehadasharpandcovetouseyeforWhiteFang.

Thismanwascalled“Beauty”bytheothermenofthefort.Nooneknewhisfirstname,andingeneralhewasknowninthecountryasBeautySmith.Buthewasanythingsaveabeauty.

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