6. CHAPTER VI - THE FAMINE
The spring of the year was at hand when Grey Beaver finished his
long journey. It was April, and White Fang was a year old when he
pulled into the home villages and was loosed from the harness by
Mit-sah. Though a long way from his full growth, White Fang, next
to Lip-lip, was the largest yearling in the village. Both from his
father, the wolf, and from Kiche, he had inherited stature and
strength, and already he was measuring up alongside the full-grown
dogs. But he had not yet grown compact. His body was slender and
rangy, and his strength more stringy than massive, His coat was the
true wolf-grey, and to all appearances he was true wolf himself.
The quarter-strain of dog he had inherited from Kiche had left no
mark on him physically, though it had played its part in his mental
He wandered through the village, recognising with staid
satisfaction the various gods he had known before the long journey.
Then there were the dogs, puppies growing up like himself, and
grown dogs that did not look so large and formidable as the memory
pictures he retained of them. Also, he stood less in fear of them
than formerly, stalking among them with a certain careless ease
that was as new to him as it was enjoyable.
There was Baseek, a grizzled old fellow that in his younger days
had but to uncover his fangs to send White Fang cringing and
crouching to the right about. From him White Fang had learned much
of his own insignificance; and from him he was now to learn much of
the change and development that had taken place in himself. While
Baseek had been growing weaker with age, White Fang had been
growing stronger with youth.
It was at the cutting-up of a moose, fresh-killed, that White Fang
learned of the changed relations in which he stood to the dog-world.
He had got for himself a hoof and part of the shin-bone, to
which quite a bit of meat was attached. Withdrawn from the
immediate scramble of the other dogs - in fact out of sight behind
a thicket - he was devouring his prize, when Baseek rushed in upon
him. Before he knew what he was doing, he had slashed the intruder
twice and sprung clear. Baseek was surprised by the other's
temerity and swiftness of attack. He stood, gazing stupidly across
at White Fang, the raw, red shin-bone between them.