“No,” she replied. “Only I’ve—always lived here—in the forests—and they’re—home!”
The point with its white finger of sand, was behind them now. And Kazan was standing rigid, facing it. The man called to him, and Joan lifted her head. She, too, saw the point, and suddenly the babiche leash slipped from her fingers, and a strange light leaped into her blue eyes as she saw what stood at the end of that white tip of sand. It was Gray Wolf. Her blind eyes were turned toward Kazan. At last Gray Wolf, the faithful, understood. Scent told her what her eyes could not see. Kazan and the man-smell were together. And they were going—going—going—
“Look!” whispered Joan.
The man turned. Gray Wolf’s forefeet were in the water. And now, as the canoe drifted farther and farther away, she settled back on her haunches, raised her head to the sun which she could not see and gave her last long wailing cry for Kazan.
The canoe lurched. A tawny body shot through the air—and Kazan was gone.
The man reached forward for his rifle. Joan’s hand stopped him. Her face was white.
“Let him go back to her! Let him go—let him go!” she cried. “It is his place—with her.”
And Kazan reaching the shore, shook the water from his shaggy hair, and looked for the last time toward the woman. The canoe was drifting slowly around the first bend. A moment more and it had disappeared. Gray Wolf had won.
THE DAYS OF FIRE
From the night of the terrible fight with the big gray lynx on the top of the Sun Rock, Kazan remembered less and less vividly the old days when he had been a sledge-dog, and the leader of a pack. He would never quite forget them, and always there would stand out certain memories from among the rest, like fires cutting the blackness of night. But as man dates events from his birth, his marriage, his freedom from a bondage, or some foundation-step in his career, so all things seemed to Kazan to begin with two tragedies which had followed one fast upon the other after the birth of Gray Wolf’s pups.
The first was the fight on the Sun Rock, when the big gray lynx had blinded his beautiful wolf mate for all time, and had torn her pups into pieces. He in turn had killed the lynx. But Gray Wolf was still blind. Vengeance had not been able to give her sight. She could no longer hunt with him, as they had hunted with the wild wolf-packs out on the plain, and in the dark forests. So at thought of that night he always snarled, and his lips curled back to reveal his inch-long fangs.
The other tragedy was the going of Joan, her baby and her husband. Something more infallible than reason told Kazan that they would not come back. Brightest of all the pictures that remained with him was that of the sunny morning when the woman and the baby he loved, and the man he endured because of them, had gone away in the canoe, and often he would go to the point, and gaze longingly down-stream, where he had leaped from the canoe to return to his blind mate.