4. CHAPTER IV - THE TRAIL OF THE GODS
His bondage had softened him. Irresponsibility had weakened him.
He had forgotten how to shift for himself. The night yawned about
him. His senses, accustomed to the hum and bustle of the camp,
used to the continuous impact of sights and sounds, were now left
idle. There was nothing to do, nothing to see nor hear. They
strained to catch some interruption of the silence and immobility
of nature. They were appalled by inaction and by the feel of
something terrible impending.
He gave a great start of fright. A colossal and formless something
was rushing across the field of his vision. It was a tree-shadow
flung by the moon, from whose face the clouds had been brushed
away. Reassured, he whimpered softly; then he suppressed the
whimper for fear that it might attract the attention of the lurking
A tree, contracting in the cool of the night, made a loud noise.
It was directly above him. He yelped in his fright. A panic
seized him, and he ran madly toward the village. He knew an
overpowering desire for the protection and companionship of man.
In his nostrils was the smell of the camp-smoke. In his ears the
camp-sounds and cries were ringing loud. He passed out of the
forest and into the moonlit open where were no shadows nor
darknesses. But no village greeted his eyes. He had forgotten.
The village had gone away.
His wild flight ceased abruptly. There was no place to which to
flee. He slunk forlornly through the deserted camp, smelling the
rubbish-heaps and the discarded rags and tags of the gods. He
would have been glad for the rattle of stones about him, flung by
an angry squaw, glad for the hand of Grey Beaver descending upon
him in wrath; while he would have welcomed with delight Lip-lip and
the whole snarling, cowardly pack.
He came to where Grey Beaver's tepee had stood. In the centre of
the space it had occupied, he sat down. He pointed his nose at the
moon. His throat was afflicted by rigid spasms, his mouth opened,
and in a heart-broken cry bubbled up his loneliness and fear, his
grief for Kiche, all his past sorrows and miseries as well as his
apprehension of sufferings and dangers to come. It was the long
wolf-howl, full-throated and mournful, the first howl he had ever