4. CHAPTER IV - THE TRAIL OF THE GODS
Grey Beaver had intended camping that night on the far bank of the
Mackenzie, for it was in that direction that the hunting lay. But
on the near bank, shortly before dark, a moose coming down to
drink, had been espied by Kloo-kooch, who was Grey Beaver's squaw.
Now, had not the moose come down to drink, had not Mit-sah been
steering out of the course because of the snow, had not Kloo-kooch
sighted the moose, and had not Grey Beaver killed it with a lucky
shot from his rifle, all subsequent things would have happened
differently. Grey Beaver would not have camped on the near side of
the Mackenzie, and White Fang would have passed by and gone on,
either to die or to find his way to his wild brothers and become
one of them - a wolf to the end of his days.
Night had fallen. The snow was flying more thickly, and White
Fang, whimpering softly to himself as he stumbled and limped along,
came upon a fresh trail in the snow. So fresh was it that he knew
it immediately for what it was. Whining with eagerness, he
followed back from the river bank and in among the trees. The
camp-sounds came to his ears. He saw the blaze of the fire, Kloo-kooch
cooking, and Grey Beaver squatting on his hams and mumbling a
chunk of raw tallow. There was fresh meat in camp!
White Fang expected a beating. He crouched and bristled a little
at the thought of it. Then he went forward again. He feared and
disliked the beating he knew to be waiting for him. But he knew,
further, that the comfort of the fire would be his, the protection
of the gods, the companionship of the dogs - the last, a
companionship of enmity, but none the less a companionship and
satisfying to his gregarious needs.