1. CHAPTER I - THE ENEMY OF HIS KIND
But there was one lesson the dogs did learn, and that was to keep
together. White Fang was too terrible for any of them to face
single-handed. They met him with the mass-formation, otherwise he
would have killed them, one by one, in a night. As it was, he
never had a chance to kill them. He might roll a dog off its feet,
but the pack would be upon him before he could follow up and
deliver the deadly throat-stroke. At the first hint of conflict,
the whole team drew together and faced him. The dogs had quarrels
among themselves, but these were forgotten when trouble was brewing
with White Fang.
On the other hand, try as they would, they could not kill White
Fang. He was too quick for them, too formidable, too wise. He
avoided tight places and always backed out of it when they bade
fair to surround him. While, as for getting him off his feet,
there was no dog among them capable of doing the trick. His feet
clung to the earth with the same tenacity that he clung to life.
For that matter, life and footing were synonymous in this unending
warfare with the pack, and none knew it better than White Fang.
So he became the enemy of his kind, domesticated wolves that they
were, softened by the fires of man, weakened in the sheltering
shadow of man's strength. White Fang was bitter and implacable.
The clay of him was so moulded. He declared a vendetta against all
dogs. And so terribly did he live this vendetta that Grey Beaver,
fierce savage himself, could not but marvel at White Fang's
ferocity. Never, he swore, had there been the like of this animal;
and the Indians in strange villages swore likewise when they
considered the tale of his killings amongst their dogs.
When White Fang was nearly five years old, Grey Beaver took him on
another great journey, and long remembered was the havoc he worked
amongst the dogs of the many villages along the Mackenzie, across
the Rockies, and down the Porcupine to the Yukon. He revelled in
the vengeance he wreaked upon his kind. They were ordinary,
unsuspecting dogs. They were not prepared for his swiftness and
directness, for his attack without warning. They did not know him
for what he was, a lightning-flash of slaughter. They bristled up
to him, stiff-legged and challenging, while he, wasting no time on
elaborate preliminaries, snapping into action like a steel spring,
was at their throats and destroying them before they knew what was
happening and while they were yet in the throes of surprise.