4. CHAPTER IV - THE TRAIL OF THE GODS
In the fall of the year, when the days were shortening and the bite
of the frost was coming into the air, White Fang got his chance for
liberty. For several days there had been a great hubbub in the
village. The summer camp was being dismantled, and the tribe, bag
and baggage, was preparing to go off to the fall hunting. White
Fang watched it all with eager eyes, and when the tepees began to
come down and the canoes were loading at the bank, he understood.
Already the canoes were departing, and some had disappeared down
Quite deliberately he determined to stay behind. He waited his
opportunity to slink out of camp to the woods. Here, in the
running stream where ice was beginning to form, he hid his trail.
Then he crawled into the heart of a dense thicket and waited. The
time passed by, and he slept intermittently for hours. Then he was
aroused by Grey Beaver's voice calling him by name. There were
other voices. White Fang could hear Grey Beaver's squaw taking
part in the search, and Mit-sah, who was Grey Beaver's son.
White Fang trembled with fear, and though the impulse came to crawl
out of his hiding-place, he resisted it. After a time the voices
died away, and some time after that he crept out to enjoy the
success of his undertaking. Darkness was coming on, and for a
while he played about among the trees, pleasuring in his freedom.
Then, and quite suddenly, he became aware of loneliness. He sat
down to consider, listening to the silence of the forest and
perturbed by it. That nothing moved nor sounded, seemed ominous.
He felt the lurking of danger, unseen and unguessed. He was
suspicious of the looming bulks of the trees and of the dark
shadows that might conceal all manner of perilous things.
Then it was cold. Here was no warm side of a tepee against which
to snuggle. The frost was in his feet, and he kept lifting first
one fore-foot and then the other. He curved his bushy tail around
to cover them, and at the same time he saw a vision. There was
nothing strange about it. Upon his inward sight was impressed a
succession of memory-pictures. He saw the camp again, the tepees,
and the blaze of the fires. He heard the shrill voices of the
women, the gruff basses of the men, and the snarling of the dogs.
He was hungry, and he remembered pieces of meat and fish that had
been thrown him. Here was no meat, nothing but a threatening and