Vainly Gray Wolf tried to lure him back into their old haunts—away from the cabin and the scent of man. Late that morning the man harnessed his dogs, and from the fringe of the forest Kazan saw him tuck Joan and the baby among the furs on the sledge, as old Pierre had done. All that day he followed in the trail of the team, with Gray Wolf slinking behind him. They traveled until dark; and then, under the stars and the moon that had followed the storm, the man still urged on his team. It was deep in the night when they came to another cabin, and the man beat upon the door. A light, the opening of the door, the joyous welcome of a man’s voice, Joan’s sobbing cry—Kazan heard these from the shadows in which he was hidden, and then slipped back to Gray Wolf.
In the days and weeks that followed Joan’s home-coming the lure of the cabin and of the woman’s hand held Kazan. As he had tolerated Pierre, so now he tolerated the younger man who lived with Joan and the baby. He knew that the man was very dear to Joan, and that the baby was very dear to him, as it was to the girl. It was not until the third day that Joan succeeded in coaxing him into the cabin—and that was the day on which the man returned with the dead and frozen body of Pierre. It was Joan’s husband who first found the name on the collar he wore, and they began calling him Kazan.
Half a mile away, at the summit of a huge mass of rock which the Indians called the Sun Rock, he and Gray Wolf had found a home; and from here they went down to their hunts on the plain, and often the girl’s voice reached up to them, calling, “Kazan! Kazan! Kazan!”
Through all the long winter Kazan hovered thus between the lure of Joan and the cabin—and Gray Wolf.
Then came Spring—and the Great Change.
THE GREAT CHANGE
The rocks, the ridges and the valleys were taking on a warmer glow. The poplar buds were ready to burst. The scent of balsam and of spruce grew heavier in the air each day, and all through the wilderness, in plain and forest, there was the rippling murmur of the spring floods finding their way to Hudson’s Bay. In that great bay there was the rumble and crash of the ice fields thundering down in the early break-up through the Roes Welcome—the doorway to the Arctic, and for that reason there still came with the April wind an occasional sharp breath of winter.
Kazan had sheltered himself against that wind. Not a breath of air stirred in the sunny spot the wolf-dog had chosen for himself. He was more comfortable than he had been at any time during the six months of terrible winter—and as he slept he dreamed.