5. CHAPTER V - THE LAW OF MEAT
The cub's development was rapid. He rested for two days, and then
ventured forth from the cave again. It was on this adventure that
he found the young weasel whose mother he had helped eat, and he
saw to it that the young weasel went the way of its mother. But on
this trip he did not get lost. When he grew tired, he found his
way back to the cave and slept. And every day thereafter found him
out and ranging a wider area.
He began to get accurate measurement of his strength and his
weakness, and to know when to be bold and when to be cautious. He
found it expedient to be cautious all the time, except for the rare
moments, when, assured of his own intrepidity, he abandoned himself
to petty rages and lusts.
He was always a little demon of fury when he chanced upon a stray
ptarmigan. Never did he fail to respond savagely to the chatter of
the squirrel he had first met on the blasted pine. While the sight
of a moose-bird almost invariably put him into the wildest of
rages; for he never forgot the peck on the nose he had received
from the first of that ilk he encountered.
But there were times when even a moose-bird failed to affect him,
and those were times when he felt himself to be in danger from some
other prowling meat hunter. He never forgot the hawk, and its
moving shadow always sent him crouching into the nearest thicket.
He no longer sprawled and straddled, and already he was developing
the gait of his mother, slinking and furtive, apparently without
exertion, yet sliding along with a swiftness that was as deceptive
as it was imperceptible.
In the matter of meat, his luck had been all in the beginning. The
seven ptarmigan chicks and the baby weasel represented the sum of
his killings. His desire to kill strengthened with the days, and
he cherished hungry ambitions for the squirrel that chattered so
volubly and always informed all wild creatures that the wolf-cub
was approaching. But as birds flew in the air, squirrels could
climb trees, and the cub could only try to crawl unobserved upon
the squirrel when it was on the ground.