2. CHAPTER II - THE BONDAGE
He belonged to them as all dogs belonged to them. His actions were
theirs to command. His body was theirs to maul, to stamp upon, to
tolerate. Such was the lesson that was quickly borne in upon him.
It came hard, going as it did, counter to much that was strong and
dominant in his own nature; and, while he disliked it in the
learning of it, unknown to himself he was learning to like it. It
was a placing of his destiny in another's hands, a shifting of the
responsibilities of existence. This in itself was compensation,
for it is always easier to lean upon another than to stand alone.
But it did not all happen in a day, this giving over of himself,
body and soul, to the man-animals. He could not immediately forego
his wild heritage and his memories of the Wild. There were days
when he crept to the edge of the forest and stood and listened to
something calling him far and away. And always he returned,
restless and uncomfortable, to whimper softly and wistfully at
Kiche's side and to lick her face with eager, questioning tongue.
White Fang learned rapidly the ways of the camp. He knew the
injustice and greediness of the older dogs when meat or fish was
thrown out to be eaten. He came to know that men were more just,
children more cruel, and women more kindly and more likely to toss
him a bit of meat or bone. And after two or three painful
adventures with the mothers of part-grown puppies, he came into the
knowledge that it was always good policy to let such mothers alone,
to keep away from them as far as possible, and to avoid them when
he saw them coming.
But the bane of his life was Lip-lip. Larger, older, and stronger,
Lip-lip had selected White Fang for his special object of
persecution. While Fang fought willingly enough, but he was
outclassed. His enemy was too big. Lip-lip became a nightmare to
him. Whenever he ventured away from his mother, the bully was sure
to appear, trailing at his heels, snarling at him, picking upon
him, and watchful of an opportunity, when no man-animal was near,
to spring upon him and force a fight. As Lip-lip invariably won,
he enjoyed it hugely. It became his chief delight in life, as it
became White Fang's chief torment.