3. CHAPTER III - THE HUNGER CRY
In the meantime, Bill had bethought himself of the rifle. But it
was jammed beneath the overturned sled, and by the time Henry had
helped him to right the load, One Ear and the she-wolf were too
close together and the distance too great to risk a shot.
Too late One Ear learned his mistake. Before they saw the cause,
the two men saw him turn and start to run back toward them. Then,
approaching at right angles to the trail and cutting off his
retreat they saw a dozen wolves, lean and grey, bounding across the
snow. On the instant, the she-wolf's coyness and playfulness
disappeared. With a snarl she sprang upon One Ear. He thrust her
off with his shoulder, and, his retreat cut off and still intent on
regaining the sled, he altered his course in an attempt to circle
around to it. More wolves were appearing every moment and joining
in the chase. The she-wolf was one leap behind One Ear and holding
"Where are you goin'?" Henry suddenly demanded, laying his hand on
his partner's arm.
Bill shook it off. "I won't stand it," he said. "They ain't a-goin'
to get any more of our dogs if I can help it."
Gun in hand, he plunged into the underbrush that lined the side of
the trail. His intention was apparent enough. Taking the sled as
the centre of the circle that One Ear was making, Bill planned to
tap that circle at a point in advance of the pursuit. With his
rifle, in the broad daylight, it might be possible for him to awe
the wolves and save the dog.
"Say, Bill!" Henry called after him. "Be careful! Don't take no
Henry sat down on the sled and watched. There was nothing else for
him to do. Bill had already gone from sight; but now and again,
appearing and disappearing amongst the underbrush and the scattered
clumps of spruce, could be seen One Ear. Henry judged his case to
be hopeless. The dog was thoroughly alive to its danger, but it
was running on the outer circle while the wolf-pack was running on
the inner and shorter circle. It was vain to think of One Ear so
outdistancing his pursuers as to be able to cut across their circle
in advance of them and to regain the sled.