And up from the south, at this same time, there was slowly working his way by canoe and trail a young university zoologist who was gathering material for a book on The Reasoning of the Wild. His name was Paul Weyman, and he had made arrangements to spend a part of the winter with Henri Loti, the half-breed. He brought with him plenty of paper, a camera and the photograph of a girl. His only weapon was a pocket-knife.
And meanwhile Kazan and Gray Wolf found the home they were seeking in a thick swamp five or six miles from the cabin that Henri Loti had built.
ALWAYS TWO BY TWO
It was January when a guide from the post brought Paul Weyman to Henri Loti’s cabin on the Waterfound. He was a man of thirty-two or three, full of the red-blooded life that made Henri like him at once. If this had not been the case, the first few days in the cabin might have been unpleasant, for Henri was in bad humor. He told Weyman about it their first night, as they were smoking pipes alongside the redly glowing box stove.
“It is damn strange,” said Henri. “I have lost seven lynx in the traps, torn to pieces like they were no more than rabbits that the foxes had killed. No thing—not even bear—have ever tackled lynx in a trap before. It is the first time I ever see it. And they are torn up so bad they are not worth one half dollar at the post. Seven!—that is over two hundred dollar I have lost! There are two wolves who do it. Two—I know it by the tracks—always two—an’—never one. They follow my trap-line an’ eat the rabbits I catch. They leave the fisher-cat, an’ the mink, an’ the ermine, an’ the marten; but the lynx—sacre an’ damn!—they jump on him an’ pull the fur from him like you pull the wild cotton balls from the burn-bush! I have tried strychnine in deer fat, an’ I have set traps and deadfalls, but I can not catch them. They will drive me out unless I get them, for I have taken only five good lynx, an’ they have destroyed seven.”
This roused Weyman. He was one of that growing number of thoughtful men who believe that man’s egoism, as a race, blinds him to many of the more wonderful facts of creation. He had thrown down the gantlet, and with a logic that had gained him a nation-wide hearing, to those who believed that man was the only living creature who could reason, and that common sense and cleverness when displayed by any other breathing thing were merely instinct. The facts behind Henri’s tale of woe struck him as important, and until midnight they talked about the two strange wolves.
“There is one big wolf an’ one smaller,” said Henri. “An’ it is always the big wolf who goes in an’ fights the lynx. I see that by the snow. While he’s fighting, the smaller wolf makes many tracks in the snow just out of reach, an’ then when the lynx is down, or dead, it jumps in an’ helps tear it into pieces. All that I know by the snow. Only once have I seen where the smaller one went in an’ fought with the other, an’ then there was blood all about that was not lynx blood; I trailed the devils a mile by the dripping.”