Gray Wolf was a mother.
THE TRAGEDY ON SUN ROCK
All that day Kazan guarded the top of the Sun Rock. Fate, and the fear and brutality of masters, had heretofore kept him from fatherhood, and he was puzzled. Something told him now that he belonged to the Sun Rock, and not to the cabin. The call that came to him from over the plain was not so strong. At dusk Gray Wolf came out from her retreat, and slunk to his side, whimpering, and nipped gently at his shaggy neck. It was the old instinct of his fathers that made him respond by caressing Gray Wolf’s face with his tongue. Then Gray Wolf’s jaws opened, and she laughed in short panting breaths, as if she had been hard run. She was happy, and as they heard a little snuffling sound from between the rocks, Kazan wagged his tail, and Gray Wolf darted back to her young.
The babyish cry and its effect upon Gray Wolf taught Kazan his first lesson in fatherhood. Instinct again told him that Gray Wolf could not go down to the hunt with him now—that she must stay at the top of the Sun Rock. So when the moon rose he went down alone, and toward dawn returned with a big white rabbit between his jaws. It was the wild in him that made him do this, and Gray Wolf ate ravenously. Then he knew that each night hereafter he must hunt for Gray Wolf—and the little whimpering creatures hidden between the two rocks.
The next day, and still the next, he did not go to the cabin, though he heard the voices of both the man and the woman calling him. On the fifth he went down, and Joan and the baby were so glad that the woman hugged him, and the baby kicked and laughed and screamed at him, while the man stood by cautiously, watching their demonstrations with a gleam of disapprobation in his eyes.
“I’m afraid of him,” he told Joan for the hundredth time. “That’s the wolf-gleam in his eyes. He’s of a treacherous breed. Sometimes I wish we’d never brought him home.”
“If we hadn’t—where would the baby—have gone?” Joan reminded him, a little catch in her voice.
“I had almost forgotten that,” said her husband. “Kazan, you old devil, I guess I love you, too.” He laid his hand caressingly on Kazan’s head. “Wonder how he’ll take to life down there?” he asked. “He has always been used to the forests. It’ll seem mighty strange.”
“And so—have I—always been used to the forests,” whispered Joan. “I guess that’s why I love Kazan—next to you and the baby. Kazan—dear old Kazan!”