5. CHAPTER V - THE COVENANT
As rigid as the sled-discipline of the gods, was the discipline
maintained by White Fang amongst his fellows. He never allowed
them any latitude. He compelled them to an unremitting respect for
him. They might do as they pleased amongst themselves. That was
no concern of his. But it WAS his concern that they leave him
alone in his isolation, get out of his way when he elected to walk
among them, and at all times acknowledge his mastery over them. A
hint of stiff-leggedness on their part, a lifted lip or a bristle
of hair, and he would be upon them, merciless and cruel, swiftly
convincing them of the error of their way.
He was a monstrous tyrant. His mastery was rigid as steel. He
oppressed the weak with a vengeance. Not for nothing had he been
exposed to the pitiless struggles for life in the day of his
cubhood, when his mother and he, alone and unaided, held their own
and survived in the ferocious environment of the Wild. And not for
nothing had he learned to walk softly when superior strength went
by. He oppressed the weak, but he respected the strong. And in
the course of the long journey with Grey Beaver he walked softly
indeed amongst the full-grown dogs in the camps of the strange man-animals
The months passed by. Still continued the journey of Grey Beaver.
White Fang's strength was developed by the long hours on trail and
the steady toil at the sled; and it would have seemed that his
mental development was well-nigh complete. He had come to know
quite thoroughly the world in which he lived. His outlook was
bleak and materialistic. The world as he saw it was a fierce and
brutal world, a world without warmth, a world in which caresses and
affection and the bright sweetnesses of the spirit did not exist.
He had no affection for Grey Beaver. True, he was a god, but a
most savage god. White Fang was glad to acknowledge his lordship,
but it was a lordship based upon superior intelligence and brute
strength. There was something in the fibre of White Fang's being
that made his lordship a thing to be desired, else he would not
have come back from the Wild when he did to tender his allegiance.
There were deeps in his nature which had never been sounded. A
kind word, a caressing touch of the hand, on the part of Grey
Beaver, might have sounded these deeps; but Grey Beaver did not
caress, nor speak kind words. It was not his way. His primacy was
savage, and savagely he ruled, administering justice with a club,
punishing transgression with the pain of a blow, and rewarding
merit, not by kindness, but by withholding a blow.