The Grey Cub

Hewasdifferentfromhisbrothersandsisters. Theirhairalreadybetrayedthereddishhueinheritedfromtheirmother,theshe-wolf;whilehealone,inthisparticular,tookafterhisfather. Hewastheonelittlegreycubofthelitter. Hehadbredtruetothestraightwolf-stockinfact,hehadbredtruetooldOneEyehimself,physically,withbutasingleexception,andthatwashehadtwoeyestohisfather’sone. 

Thegreycub’seyeshadnotbeenopenlong,yetalreadyhecouldseewithsteadyclearness. Andwhilehiseyeswerestillclosed,hehadfelt,tasted,andsmelled. Heknewhistwobrothersandhistwosistersverywell. Hehadbeguntorompwiththeminafeeble,awkwardway,andeventosquabble, hislittlethroatvibratingwithaqueerraspingnoise(theforerunnerofthegrowl),asheworkedhimselfintoapassion. Andlongbeforehiseyeshadopenedhehadlearnedbytouch,taste,andsmelltoknowhismother afountofwarmthandliquidfoodandtenderness. Shepossessedagentle,caressingtonguethatsoothedhimwhenitpassedoverhissoftlittlebody, andthatimpelledhimtosnugglecloseagainstherandtodozeofftosleep. 

Mostofthefirstmonthofhislifehadbeenpassedthusinsleeping; butnowhecouldseequitewell,andhestayedawakeforlongerperiodsoftime,andhewascomingtolearnhisworldquitewell. Hisworldwasgloomy;buthedidnotknowthat,forheknewnootherworld. Itwasdim-lighted;buthiseyeshadneverhadtoadjustthemselvestoanyotherlight. Hisworldwasverysmall. Itslimitswerethewallsofthelair; butashehadnoknowledgeofthewideworldoutside, hewasneveroppressedbythenarrowconfinesofhisexistence. 

Buthehadearlydiscoveredthatonewallofhisworldwasdifferentfromtherest. Thiswasthemouthofthecaveandthesourceoflight. 

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