The Law of Meat

Thecub’sdevelopmentwasrapid.Herestedfortwodays,andthenventuredforthfromthecaveagain.Itwasonthisadventurethathefoundtheyoungweaselwhosemotherhehadhelpedeat,andhesawtoitthattheyoungweaselwentthewayofitsmother.Butonthistriphedidnotgetlost.Whenhegrewtired,hefoundhiswaybacktothecaveandslept.Andeverydaythereafterfoundhimoutandrangingawiderarea.

Hebegantogetaccuratemeasurementofhisstrengthandhisweakness,andtoknowwhentobeboldandwhentobecautious.Hefounditexpedienttobecautiousallthetime,exceptfortheraremoments,when,assuredofhisownintrepidity,heabandonedhimselftopettyragesandlusts.

Hewasalwaysalittledemonoffurywhenhechanceduponastrayptarmigan.Neverdidhefailtorespondsavagelytothechatterofthesquirrelhehadfirstmetontheblastedpine.Whilethesightofamoose-birdalmostinvariablyputhimintothewildestofrages;forheneverforgotthepeckonthenosehehadreceivedfromthefirstofthatilkheencountered.

Butthereweretimeswhenevenamoose-birdfailedtoaffecthim,andthoseweretimeswhenhefelthimselftobeindangerfromsomeotherprowlingmeathunter.Heneverforgotthehawk,anditsmovingshadowalwayssenthimcrouchingintothenearestthicket.Henolongersprawledandstraddled,andalreadyhewasdevelopingthegaitofhismother,slinkingandfurtive,apparentlywithoutexertion,yetslidingalongwithaswiftnessthatwasasdeceptiveasitwasimperceptible.

Inthematterofmeat,hisluckhadbeenallinthebeginning.Thesevenptarmiganchicksandthebabyweaselrepresentedthesumofhiskillings.

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