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James Oliver Curwood
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 203 pages of information about Back to Gods Country and Other Stories.
would have shaken a rat.  For the first time the Eskimos saw him, and out of their superstitious souls strange cries found utterance as they sprang back and shrieked out to Rydal that it was a devil and not a beast that had waited for them in the trail.  Rydal threw up his rifle.  The shot came.  It burned a crease in Wapi’s shoulder and tore a hole as big as a man’s fist in the breast of a dog about to spring upon him f rom behind.  Again he was down, and Rydal dropped his rifle, and snatched a whip from the hand of an Eskimo.  Shouting and cursing, he lashed the pack, and in a moment he saw a huge, open-jawed shadow rise up on the far side and start off into the open starlight.  He sprang back to his rifle.  Twice he fired at the retreating shadow before it disappeared.  And the Eskimo dogs made no movement to follow.  Five of the fifteen were dead.  The remaining ten, torn and bleeding—­three of them with legs that dragged in the bloody snow—­gathered in a whipped and whimpering group.  And the Eskimos, shivering in their fear of this devil that had entered into the body of Wapi, the Walrus, failed to respond to Rydal’s command when he pointed to the red trail that ran out under the stars.

At Fort Confidence, one hundred and fifty miles to the south, there was day—­day that was like cold, gray dawn, the day one finds just beyond the edge of the Arctic night, in which the sun hangs like a pale lantern over the far southern horizon.  In a log-built room that faced this bit of glorious red glow lay Peter, bolstered up in his bed so that he could see it until it faded from the sky.  There was a new light in his face, and there was something of the old Peter back in his eyes.  Watching the final glow with him was Dolores.  It was their second day.

Into this world, in the twilight that was falling swiftly as they watched the setting of the sun, came Wapi, the Walrus.  Blinded in the eye, gaunt with hunger and exhaustion, covered with wounds, and with his great heart almost ready to die, he came at last to the river across which lay the barracks.  His vision was nearly gone, but under his nose he could still smell faintly the trail he was following until the last.  It led him across the river.  And in darkness it brought him to a door.

After a little the door opened, and with its opening came at last the fulfilment of the promise of his dreams—­hope, happiness, things to live for in a new, a white-man’s world.  For Wapi, the Walrus, forty years removed from Tao of Vancouver, had at last come home.

THE YELLOW-BACK

Above God’s Lake, where the Bent Arrow runs red as pale blood under its crust of ice, Reese Beaudin heard of the dog auction that was to take place at Post Lac Bain three days later.  It was in the cabin of Joe Delesse, a trapper, who lived at Lac Bain during the summer, and trapped the fox and the lynx sixty miles farther north in this month of February.

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