Then next morning he was up early, and off to the poison baits. The first bait was untouched. The second was as he had planted it. The third was gone. A thrill shot through Sandy as he looked about him. Somewhere within a radius of two or three hundred yards he would find his game. Then his glance fell to the ground under the bush where he had hung the poison capsule and an oath broke from his lips. The bait had not been eaten. The caribou fat lay scattered under the bush and still imbedded in the largest portion of it was the little white capsule—unbroken. It was Sandy’s first experience with a wild creature whose instincts were sharpened by blindness, and he was puzzled. He had never known this to happen before. If a fox or a wolf could be lured to the point of touching a bait, it followed that the bait was eaten. Sandy went on to the fourth and the fifth baits. They were untouched. The sixth was torn to pieces, like the third. In this instance the capsule was broken and the white powder scattered. Two more poison baits Sandy found pulled down in this manner. He knew that Kazan and Gray Wolf had done the work, for he found the marks of their feet in a dozen different places. The accumulated bad humor of weeks of futile labor found vent in his disappointment and anger. At last he had found something tangible to curse. The failure of his poison baits he accepted as a sort of climax to his general bad luck. Everything was against him, he believed, and he made up his mind to return to Red Gold City. Early in the afternoon he launched his canoe and drifted down-stream with the current. He was content to let the current do all of the work to-day, and he used his paddle just enough to keep his slender craft head on. He leaned back comfortably and smoked his pipe, with the old rifle between his knees. The wind was in his face and he kept a sharp watch for game.
It was late in the afternoon when Kazan and Gray Wolf came out on a sand-bar five or six miles down-stream. Kazan was lapping up the cool water when Sandy drifted quietly around a bend a hundred yards above them. If the wind had been right, or if Sandy had been using his paddle, Gray Wolf would have detected danger. It was the metallic click-click of the old-fashioned lock of Sandy’s rifle that awakened her to a sense of peril. Instantly she was thrilled by the nearness of it. Kazan heard the sound and stopped drinking to face it. In that moment Sandy pressed the trigger. A belch of smoke, a roar of gunpowder, and Kazan felt a red-hot stream of fire pass with the swiftness of a lightning-flash through his brain. He stumbled back, his legs gave way under him, and he crumpled down in a limp heap. Gray Wolf darted like a streak off into the bush. Blind, she had not seen Kazan wilt down upon the white sand. Not until she was a quarter of a mile away from the terrifying thunder of the white man’s rifle did she stop and wait for him.