The Hunger Cry

Thedaybeganauspiciously.Theyhadlostnodogsduringthenight,andtheyswungoutuponthetrailandintothesilence,thedarkness,andthecoldwithspiritsthatwerefairlylight.Billseemedtohaveforgottenhisforebodingsofthepreviousnight,andevenwaxedfacetiouswiththedogswhen,atmidday,theyoverturnedthesledonabadpieceoftrail.

Itwasanawkwardmix-up.Thesledwasupsidedownandjammedbetweenatree-trunkandahugerock,andtheywereforcedtounharnessthedogsinordertostraightenoutthetangle.Thetwomenwerebentoverthesledandtryingtorightit,whenHenryobservedOneEarsidlingaway.

“Here,you,OneEar!”hecried,straighteningupandturningaroundonthedog.

ButOneEarbrokeintoarunacrossthesnow,histracestrailingbehindhim.Andthere,outinthesnowoftheirbacktrack,wastheshe-wolfwaitingforhim.Ashenearedher,hebecamesuddenlycautious.Hesloweddowntoanalertandmincingwalkandthenstopped.Heregardedhercarefullyanddubiously,yetdesirefully.Sheseemedtosmileathim,showingherteethinaningratiatingratherthanamenacingway.Shemovedtowardhimafewsteps,playfully,andthenhalted.OneEardrewneartoher,stillalertandcautious,histailandearsintheair,hisheadheldhigh.

Hetriedtosniffnoseswithher,butsheretreatedplayfullyandcoyly.Everyadvanceonhispartwasaccompaniedbyacorrespondingretreatonherpart.Stepbystepshewasluringhimawayfromthesecurityofhishumancompanionship.Once,asthoughawarninghadinvaguewaysflittedthroughhisintelligence,heturnedhisheadandlookedbackattheoverturnedsled,athisteam-mates,andatthetwomenwhowerecallingtohim.

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