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Animal Heroes by Ernest Thompson Seton

Part 3 out of 4

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"Hrrrrrr! Hrrrrrrr!" and the Warhorse was doing fourteen-foot
leaps, not a spy-hop among them.

"Hrrrrr! "wonderful Dogs! how they sailed; but drifting ahead of
them, like a white sea-bird or flying scud, was the Warhorse.
Away past the Grand Stand. And the Dogs--were they closing the
gap of start? Closing! It was lengthening! In less time than it
takes to tell it, that black-and-white thistledown had drifted
away through the Haven door,--the door so like that good old
hen-hole,--and the Grey-hounds pulled up amidst a roar of
derision and cheers for the Little Warhorse. How Mickey did
laugh! How Dignam did swear! How the newspaper men did
scribble--scribble--scribble!

Next day there was a paragraph in all the papers: "WONDERFUL FEAT
OF A JACKRABBIT. The Little Warhorse, as he has been styled,
completely skunked two of the most famous Dogs on the turf," etc.

There was a fierce wrangle among the dog-men. This was a tie,
since neither had scored, and Minkie and her rival were allowed
to run again; but that half-mile had been too hot, and they had
no show for the cup.

Mickey met "Diamonds" next day, by chance.

"Have a cigar, Mickey."

"Oi will thot, sor. Faix, thim's so foine; I'd loike two--thank
ye, sor."

VIII

From that time the Little Warhorse became the pride of the Irish
boy. Slipper Slyman had been honorably reinstated and Mickey
reduced to the rank of Jack-starter, but that merely helped to
turn his sympathies from the Dogs to the Rabbits, or rather to
the Warhorse, for of all the five hundred that were brought in
from the drive he alone had won renown. There were several that
crossed the Park to run again another day, but he alone had
crossed the course without getting even a turn. Twice a week the
meets took place; forty or fifty Jacks were killed each time, and
the five hundred in the pen had been nearly all eaten of the
arena.

The Warhorse had run each day, and as often had made the Haven.
Mickey became wildly enthusiastic about his favorite's powers. He
begot a positive affection for the clean-limbed racer, and
stoutly maintained against all that it was a positive honor to a
Dog to be disgraced by such a Jack.

It is so seldom that a Rabbit crosses the track at all, that when
Jack did it six times without having to dodge, the papers took
note of it, and after each meet there appeared a notice: "The
Little Warhorse crossed again today; old-timers say it shows how
our Dogs are deteriorating."

After the sixth time the rabbit-keepers grew enthusiastic, and
Mickey, commander-in-chief of the brigade, became intemperate in
his admiration. "Be jabers, he has a right to be torned loose. He
has won his freedom loike ivery Amerikin done," he added, by way
of appeal to the patriotism of the Steward of the race, who was,
of course, the real owner of the Jacks.

"All right, Mick; if he gets across thirteen times you can ship
him back to his native land," was the reply.

"Shure now, an' won't you make it tin, sor?"

"No, no; I need him to take the conceit out of some of the new
Dogs that are coming."

"Thirteen toimes and he is free, sor; it's a bargain."

A new lot of Rabbits arrived about this time, and one of these
was colored much like Little Warhorse. He had no such speed, but
to prevent mistakes Mickey caught his favorite by driving him
into one of the padded shipping-boxes, and proceeded with the
gate-keeper's punch to earmark him. The punch was sharp; a clear
star was cut out of the thin flap, when Mickey exclaimed: "Faix,
an' Oi'll punch for ivery toime ye cross the coorse." So he cut
six stars in a row. "Thayer now, Warrhorrse, shure it's a free
Rabbit ye'll be when ye have yer thirteen stars like our flag of
liberty hed when we got free."

Within a week the Warhorse had vanquished the new Greyhounds and
had stars enough to go round the right ear and begin on the left.
In a week more the thirteen runs were completed, six stars in the
left ear and seven in the right, and the newspapers had new
material.

"Whoop!" How Mickey hoorayed! "An' it's a free Jack ye are,
Warrhorrse! Thirteen always wuz a lucky number. I never knowed it
to fail."

IX

"Yes, I know I did," said the Steward. "But I want to give him
one more run. I have a bet on him against a new Dog here. It
won't hurt him now; he can do it. Oh, well. Here now, Mickey,
don't you get sassy. One run more this afternoon. The Dogs run
two or three times a day; why not the Jack?"

"They're not shtakin' thayre loives, sor."

"Oh, you get out."

Many more Rabbits had been added to the pen,--big and small,
peaceful and warlike,--and one big Buck of savage instincts,
seeing Jack Warhorse's hurried dash into the Haven that morning,
took advantage of the moment to attack him.

At another time Jack would have thumped his skull, as he once did
the Cat's, and settled the affair in a minute; but now it took
several minutes, during which he himself got roughly handled; so
when the afternoon came he was suffering from one or two bruises
and stiffening wounds; not serious, indeed, but enough to lower
his speed.

The start was much like those of previous runs. The Warhorse
steaming away low and lightly, his ears up and the breezes
whistling through his thirteen stars.

Minkie with Fango, the new Dog, bounded in eager pursuit, but, to
the surprise of the starters, the gap grew smaller. The Warhorse
was losing ground, and right before the Grand Stand old Minkie
turned him, and a cheer went up from the dog-men, for all knew
the runners. Within fifty yards Fango scored a turn, and the race
was right back to the start. There stood Slyman and Mickey. The
Rabbit dodged, the Greyhounds plunged; Jack could not get away,
and just as the final snap seemed near, the Warhorse leaped
straight for Mickey, and in an instant was hidden in his arms,
while the starter's feet flew out in energetic kicks to repel the
furious Dogs. It is not likely that the Jack knew Mickey for a
friend; he only yielded to the old instinct to fly from a certain
enemy to a neutral or a possible friend, and, as luck would have
it, he had wisely leaped and well. A cheer went up from the
benches as Mickey hurried back with his favorite. But the dog-men
protested "it wasn't a fair run--they wanted it finished." They
appealed to the Steward. He had backed the Jack against Fango. He
was sore now, and ordered a new race.

An hour's rest was the best Mickey could get for him. Then he
went as before, with Fango and Minkie in pursuit. He seemed less
stiff now--he ran more like himself; but a little past the Stand
he was turned by Fango and again by Minkie, and back and across,
and here and there, leaping frantically and barely eluding his
foes. For several minutes it lasted. Mickey could see that Jack's
ears were sinking. The new Dog leaped. Jack dodged almost under
him to escape, and back only to meet the second Dog; and now both
ears were flat on his back. But the Hounds were suffering too.
Their tongues were lolling out; their jaws and heaving sides were
splashed with foam. The Warhorse's ears went up again. His
courage seemed to revive in their distress. He made a straight
dash for the Haven; but the straight dash was just what the
Hounds could do, and within a hundred yards he was turned again,
to begin another desperate game of zigzag. Then the dog-men saw
danger for their Dogs, and two new ones were slipped--two fresh
Hounds; surely they could end the race. But they did not. The
first two were vanquished--gasping--out of it, but the next two
were racing near. The Warhorse put forth all his strength. He
left the first two far behind--was nearly to the Haven when the
second two came up.

Nothing but dodging could save him now. His ears were sinking,
his heart was pattering on his ribs, but his spirit was strong.
He flung himself in wildest zigzags. The Hounds tumbled over each
other. Again and again they thought they had him. One of them
snapped off the end of his long black tail, yet he escaped; but
he could not get to the Haven. The luck was against him. He was
forced nearer to the Grand Stand. A thousand ladies were
watching. The time limit was up. The second Dogs were suffering,
when Mickey came running, yelling like a
madman--words--imprecations--crazy sounds:

"Ye blackguard hoodlums! Ye dhirty, cowardly bastes!" and he
rushed furiously at the Dogs, intent to do them bodily harm.

Officers came running and shouting, and Mickey, shrieking hatred
and defiance, was dragged from the field, reviling Dogs and men
with every horrid, insulting name he could think of or invent.

"Fair play! Whayer's yer fair play, ye liars, ye dhirty cheats,
ye bloody cowards!" And they drove him from the arena. The last
he saw of it was the four foaming Dogs feebly dodging after a
weak and worn-out Jack-rabbit, and the judge on his Horse
beckoning to the man with the gun.

The gate closed behind him, and Mickey heard a bang-bang, an
unusual uproar mixed with yelps of Dogs, and he knew that Little
Jack Warhorse had been served with finish No. 4.

All his life he had loved Dogs, but his sense of fair play was
outraged. He could not get in, nor see in from where he was. He
raced along the lane to the Haven, where he might get a good
view, and arrived in time to see--Little Jack Warhorse with his
half-masted ears limp into the Haven; and he realized at once
that the man with the gun had missed, had hit the wrong runner,
for there was the crowd at the Stand watching two men who were
carrying a wounded Greyhound, while a veterinary surgeon was
ministering to another that was panting on the ground.

Mickey looked about, seized a little shipping-box, put it at the
angle of the Haven, carefully drove the tired thing into it,
closed the lid, then, with the box under his arm, he scaled the
fence unseen in the confusion and was gone.

'It didn't matter; he had lost his job anyway.' He tramped away
from the city. He took the train at the nearest station and
travelled some hours, and now he was in Rabbit country again. The
sun had long gone down; the night with its stars was over the
plain when among the farms, the Osage and alfalfa, Mickey
Doo opened the box and gently put the Warhorse out.

Grinning as he did so, he said: "Shure an' it's ould Oireland
thot's proud to set the thirteen stars at liberty wance moore."

For a moment the Little Warhorse gazed in doubt, then took three
or four long leaps and a spy-hop to get his bearings. Now
spreading his national colors and his honor-marked ears, he
bounded into his hard-won freedom, strong as ever, and melted
into the night of his native plain.

He has been seen many times in Kaskado, and there have been many
Rabbit drives in that region, but he seems to know some means of
baffling them now, for, in all the thousands that have been
trapped and corralled, they have never since seen the
star-spangled ears of Little jack Warhorse.

SNAP

THE STORY OF A BULL-TERRIER

I

It was dusk on Hallowe'en when first I saw him. Early in the
morning I had received a telegram from my college chum Jack:
"Lest we forget. Am sending you a remarkable pup. Be polite to
him; it's safer." It would have been just like Jack to have sent
an infernal machine or a Skunk rampant and called it a pup, so I
awaited the hamper with curiosity. When it arrived I saw it was
marked "Dangerous," and there came from within a high-pitched
snarl at every slight provocation. On peering through the wire
netting I saw it was not a baby Tiger but a small white
Bull-terrier. He snapped at me and at any one or anything that
seemed too abrupt or too near for proper respect, and his
snarling growl was unpleasantly frequent. Dogs have two growls:
one deep-rumbled, and chesty; that is polite warning--the retort
courteous; the other mouthy and much higher in pitch: this is the
last word before actual onslaught. The Terrier's growls were all
of the latter kind. I was a dog-man and thought I knew all about
Dogs, so, dismissing the porter, I got out my all-round
jackknife--toothpick--nailhammer-hatchet-toolbox-fire-shovel, a
specialty of our firm, and lifted the netting. Oh, yes, I knew
all about Dogs. The little fury had been growling out a
whole-souled growl for every tap of the tool, and when I turned
the box on its side, he made a dash straight for my legs. Had not
his foot gone through the wire netting and held him, I might have
been hurt, for his heart was evidently in his work; but I stepped
on the table out of reach and tried to reason with him. I have
always believed in talking to animals. I maintain that they
gather something of our intention at least, even if they do not
understand our words; but the Dog evidently put me down for a
hypocrite and scorned my approaches. At first he took his post
under the table and kept up a circular watch for a leg trying to
get down. I felt sure I could have controlled him with my eye,
but I could not bring it to bear where I was, or rather where he
was; thus I was left a prisoner. I am a very cool person, I
flatter myself; in fact, I represent a hardware firm, and, in
coolness, we are not excelled by any but perhaps the nosy
gentlemen that sell wearing-apparel. I got out a cigar and smoked
tailor-style on the table, while my little tyrant below kept
watch for legs. I got out the telegram and read it: "Remarkable
pup. Be polite to him; it's safer." I think it was my coolness
rather than my politeness that did it, for in half an hour the
growling ceased. In an hour he no longer jumped at a newspaper
cautiously pushed over the edge to test his humor; possibly the
irritation of the cage was wearing off, and by the time I had lit
my third cigar, he waddled out to the fire and lay down; not
ignoring me, however, I had no reason to complain of that kind of
contempt. He kept one eye on me, and I kept both eyes, not on
him, but on his stumpy tail. If that tail should swing sidewise
once I should feel I was winning; but it did not swing. I got a
book and put in time on that table till my legs were cramped and
the fire burned low. About 10 P.M. it was chilly, and at
half-past ten the fire was out. My Hallowe'en present got up,
yawned and stretched, then walked under my bed, where he found a
fur rug. By stepping lightly from the table to the dresser, and
then on to the mantel-shelf, I also reached bed, and, very
quietly undressing, got in without provoking any criticism from
my master. I had not yet fallen asleep when I heard a slight
scrambling and felt "thump-thump" on the bed, then over my feet
and legs; Snap evidently had found it too cool down below, and
proposed to have the best my house afforded.

He curled up on my feet in such a way that I was very
uncomfortable and tried to readjust matters, but the slightest
wriggle of my toe was enough to make him snap at it so fiercely
that nothing but thick woollen bedclothes saved me from being
maimed for life.

I was an hour moving my feet--a hair's-breadth at a time--till
they were so that I could sleep in comfort; and I was awakened
several times during the night by angry snarls from the Dog--I
suppose because I dared to move a toe without his approval,
though once I believe he did it simply because I was snoring.

In the morning I was ready to get up before Snap was. You see, I
call him Snap-Ginger-snap in full. Some Dogs are hard to name,
and some do not seem to need it--they name themselves.

I was ready to rise at seven. Snap was not ready till eight, so
we rose at eight. He had little to say to the man who made the
fire. He allowed me to dress without doing it on the table. As I
left the room to get breakfast, I remarked:

"Snap, my friend, some men would whip you into a different way,
but I think I know a better plan. The doctors nowadays favor the
'no-breakfast cure.' I shall try that."

It seemed cruel, but I left him without food all day. It cost me
something to repaint the door where he scratched it, but at night
he was quite ready to accept a little food at my hands.

In a week we were very good friends. He would sleep on my bed now
and allow me to move my feet without snapping at them, intent to
do me serious bodily harm. The no-breakfast cure had worked
wonders; in three months we were--well, simply man and Dog, and
he amply justified the telegram he came with.

He seemed to be without fear. If a small Dog came near, he would
take not the slightest notice; if a medium-sized Dog, he would
stick his stub of a tail rigidly up in the air, then walk around
him, scratching contemptuously with his hind feet, and looking at
the sky, the distance, the ground, anything but the Dog, and
noting his presence only by frequent high-pitched growls. If the
stranger did not move on at once, the battle began, and then the
stranger usually moved on very rapidly. Snap sometimes got
worsted, but no amount of sad experience could ever inspire him
with a grain of caution. Once, while riding in a cab during the
Dog Show, Snap caught sight of an elephantine St. Bernard taking
an airing. Its size aroused such enthusiasm in the Pup's little
breast that he leaped from the cab window to do battle, and broke
his leg.

Evidently fear had been left out of his make-up and its place
supplied with an extra amount of ginger, which was the reason of
his full name. He differed from all other Dogs I have ever known.
For example, if a boy threw a stone at him, he ran, not away, but
toward the boy, and if the crime was repeated, Snap took the law
into his own hands; thus he was at least respected by all. Only
myself and the porter at the office seemed to realize his good
points, and we only were admitted to the high honor of personal
friendship, an honor which I appreciated more as months went on,
and by midsummer not Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Astor together
could have raised money enough to buy a quarter of a share in my
little Dog Snap.

II

Though not a regular traveller, I was ordered out on the road in
the autumn, and then Snap and the landlady were left together,
with unfortunate developments. Contempt on his part--fear on
hers; and hate on both.

I was placing a lot of barb-wire in the northern tier of States.
My letters were forwarded once a week, and I got several
complaints from the landlady about Snap.

Arrived at Mendoza, in North Dakota, I found a fine market for
wire. Of course my dealings were with the big storekeepers, but I
went about among the ranchmen to get their practical views on the
different styles, and thus I met the Penroof Brothers'
Cow-outfit.

One cannot be long in Cow country now without hearing a great
deal about the depredations of the ever wily and destructive
Gray-wolf. The day has gone by when they can be poisoned
wholesale, and they are a serious drain on the rancher's profits.
The Penroof Brothers, like most live cattle-men, had given up all
attempts at poisoning and trapping, and were trying various
breeds of Dogs as Wolf-hunters, hoping to get a little sport out
of the necessary work of destroying the pests.

Foxhounds had failed--they were too soft for fighting; Great
Danes were too clumsy, and Greyhounds could not follow the game
unless they could see it. Each breed had some fatal defect, but
the cow-men hoped to succeed with a mixed pack, and the day when
I was invited to join in a Mendoza Wolf-hunt, I was amused by the
variety of Dogs that followed. There were several mongrels, but
there were also a few highly bred Dogs--in particular, some
Russian Wolfhounds that must have cost a lot of money.

Hilton Penroof, the oldest boy, "The Master of Hounds," was
unusually proud of them, and expected them to do great things.

"Greyhounds are too thin-skinned to fight a Wolf, Danes are too
slow, but you'll see the fur fly when the Russians take a hand."

Thus the Greyhounds were there as runners, the Danes as heavy
backers, and the Russians to do the important fighting. There
were also two or three Foxhounds, whose fine noses were relied on
to follow the trail if the game got out of view.

It was a fine sight as we rode away among the Badland Buttes that
October day. The air was bright and crisp, and though so late,
there was neither snow nor frost. The Horses were fresh, and once
or twice showed me how a Cow-pony tries to get rid of his rider.

The Dogs were keen for sport, and we did start one or two gray
spots in the plain that Hilton said were Wolves or Coyotes. The
Dogs trailed away at full cry, but at night, beyond the fact that
one of the Greyhounds had a wound on his shoulder, there was
nothing to show that any of them had been on a Wolf-hunt.

It's my opinion yer fancy Russians is no good, Hilt," said
Garvin, the younger brother. "I'll back that little black Dane
against the lot, mongrel an' all as he is."

"I don't unnerstan' it," growled Hilton. "There ain't a Coyote,
let alone a Gray-wolf, kin run away from them Greyhounds; them
Foxhounds kin folly a trail three days old, an' the Danes could
lick a Grizzly."

"I reckon," said the father, "they kin run, an' they kin track,
an' they kin lick a Grizzly, maybe, but the fac' is they don't
want to tackle a Gray-wolf. The hull darn pack is scairt--an' I
wish we had our money out o' them."

Thus the men grumbled and discussed as I drove away and left
them.

There seemed only one solution of the failure. The Hounds were
swift and strong, but a Gray-wolf seems to terrorize all Dogs.
They have not the nerve to face him, and so, each time he gets
away, and my thoughts flew back to the fearless little Dog that
had shared my bed for the last year. How I wished he was out
here, then these lubberly giants of Hounds would find a leader
whose nerve would not fail at the moment of trial.

At Baroka, my next stop, I got a batch of mail including two
letters from the landlady; the first to say that "that beast of a
Dog was acting up scandalous in my room," and the other still
more forcible, demanding his immediate removal.
"Why not have him expressed to Mendoza?" I thought. "It's only
twenty hours; they'll be glad to have him. I can take him home
with me when I go through."

III

My next meeting with Gingersnap was not as different from the
first as one might have expected. He jumped on me, made much
vigorous pretense to bite, and growled frequently, but it was a
deep-chested growl and his stump waggled hard.

The Penroofs had had a number of Wolf-hunts since I was with
them, and were much disgusted at having no better success than
before. The Dogs could find a Wolf nearly every time they went
out, but they could not kill him, and the men were not near
enough at the finish to learn why.

Old Penroof was satisfied that "thar wasn't one of the hull
miserable gang that had the grit of a Jack-rabbit."

We were off at dawn the next day--the same procession of fine
Horses and superb riders; the big blue Dogs, the yellow Dogs, the
spotted Dogs, as before; but there was a new feature, a little
white Dog that stayed close by me, and not only any Dogs, but
Horses that came too near were apt to get a surprise from his
teeth. I think he quarrelled with every man, Horse, and Dog in
the country, with the exception of a Bull-terrier belonging to
the Mendoza hotel man. She was the only one smaller than himself,
and they seemed very good friends.

I shall never forget the view of the hunt I had that day. We were
on one of those large, flat-headed buttes that give a kingdom to
the eye, when Hilton, who had been scanning the vast country with
glasses, exclaimed: "I see him. There he goes, toward Skull
Creek. Guess it's a Coyote."

Now the first thing is to get the Greyhounds to see the prey--not
an easy matter, as they cannot use the glasses, and the ground
was covered with sage-brush higher than the Dogs' heads.

But Hilton called, "Hu, hu, Dander," and leaned aside from his
saddle, holding out his foot at the same time. With one agile
bound Dander leaped to the saddle and there stood balancing on
the Horse while Hilton kept pointing. "There he is, Dander; sic
him--see him down there." The Dog gazed earnestly where his
master pointed, then seeming to see, he sprang to the ground with
a slight yelp and sped away. The other Dogs followed after, in an
ever-lengthening procession, and we rode as hard as we could
behind them, but losing time, for the ground was cut with
gullies, spotted with badger-holes, and covered with rocks and
sage that made full speed too hazardous.

We all fell behind, and I was last, of course, being least
accustomed to the saddle. We got several glimpses of the Dogs
flying over the level plain or dropping from sight in gullies to
reappear at the other side. Dander, the Greyhound, was the
recognized leader, and as we mounted another ridge we got sight
of the whole chase--a Coyote at full speed, the Dogs a quarter of
a mile behind, but gaining. When next we saw them the Coyote was
dead, and the Dogs sitting around panting, all but two of the
Foxhounds and Gingersnap.

"Too late for the fracas," remarked Hilton, glancing at these
last Foxhounds. Then he proudly petted Dander. "Didn't need yer
purp after all, ye see."

"Takes a heap of nerve for ten big Dogs to face one little
Coyote," remarked the father, sarcastically. "Wait till we run
onto a Gray."

Next day we were out again, for I made up my mind to see it to a
finish.

From a high point we caught sight of a moving speck of gray. A
moving white speck stands for Antelope, a red speck for Fox, a
gray speck for either Gray-wolf or Coyote, and which of these is
determined by its tail. If the glass shows the tail down, it is a
Coyote; if up, it is the hated Gray-wolf.

Dander was shown the game as before and led the motley mixed
procession--as he had before--Greyhounds, Wolfhounds, Foxhounds,
Danes, Bull-terrier, horsemen. We got a momentary view of the
pursuit; a Gray-wolf it surely was, loping away ahead of the
Dogs. Somehow I thought the first Dogs were not running so fast
now as they had after the Coyote. But no one knew the finish of
the hunt. The Dogs came back to us one by one, and we saw no more
of that Wolf.

Sarcastic remarks and recrimination were now freely indulged in
by the hunters.

"Pah--scairt, plumb scairt," was the father's disgusted comment
on the pack.
"They could catch up easy enough, but when he turned on them,
they lighted out for home--pah!"

"Where's that thar onsurpassable, fearless, scaired-o'-nort
Tarrier?" asked Hilton, scornfully.

"I don't know," said I. "I am inclined to think he never saw the
Wolf; but if he ever does, I'll bet he sails in for death or
glory."

That night several Cows were killed close to the ranch, and we
were spurred on to another hunt.

It opened much like the last. Late in the afternoon we sighted a
gray fellow with tail up, not half a mile off. Hilton called
Dander up on the saddle. I acted on the idea and called Snap to
mine. His legs were so short that he had to leap several times
before he made it, scrambling up at last with my foot as a
half-way station. I pointed and "sic-ed" for a minute before he
saw the game, and then he started out after the Greyhounds,
already gone, with energy that was full of promise.

The chase this time led us, not to the rough brakes along the
river, but toward the high open country, for reasons that
appeared later. We were close together as we rose to the upland
and sighted the chase half a mile off, just as Dander came up
with the Wolf and snapped at his haunch. The Gray-wolf turned
round to fight, and we had a fine view. The Dogs came up by twos
and threes, barking at him in a ring, till last the little white
one rushed up. He wasted no time barking, but rushed straight at
the Wolf's throat and missed it, yet seemed to get him by the
nose; then the ten big Dogs closed in, and in two minutes the
Wolf was dead. We had ridden hard to be in at the finish, and
though our view was distant, we saw at least that Snap had lived
up to the telegram, as well as to my promises for him.

Now it was my turn to crow, and I did not lose the chance. Snap
had shown them how, and at last the Mendoza pack had killed a
Gray-wolf without help from the men.

There were two things to mar the victory somewhat: first, it was
a young Wolf, a mere Cub, hence his foolish choice of country;
second, Snap was wounded--the Wolf had given him a bad cut in the
shoulder.

As we rode in proud procession home, I saw he limped a little.
"Here," I cried, "come up, Snap." He tried once or twice to jump
to the saddle, but could not. "Here, Hilton, lift him up to me."

"Thanks; I'll let you handle your own rattlesnakes," was the
reply, for all knew now that it was not safe to meddle with his
person. "Here, Snap, take hold," I said, and held my quirt to
him. He seized it, and by that I lifted him to the front of my
saddle and so carried him home. I cared for him as though he had
been a baby. He had shown those Cattle-men how to fill the weak
place in their pack; the Foxhounds may be good and the Greyhounds
swift and the Russians and Danes fighters, but they are no use at
all without the crowning moral force of grit, that none can
supply so well as a Bull-terrier. On that day the Cattlemen
learned how to manage the Wolf question, as you will find if ever
you are at Mendoza; for every successful Wolf pack there has with
it a Bull-terrier, preferably of the Snap-Mendoza breed.

IV

Next day was Hallowe'en, the anniversary of Snap's advent. The
weather was clear, bright, not too cold, and there was no snow on
the ground. The men usually celebrated the day with a hunt of
some sort, and now, of course, Wolves were the one object. To the
disappointment of all, Snap was in bad shape with his wound. He
slept, as usual, at my feet, and bloody stains now marked the
place. He was not in condition to fight, but we were bound to
have a Wolf-hunt, so he was beguiled to an outhouse and locked
up, while we went off, I, at least, with a sense of impending
disaster. I knew we should fail without my Dog, but I did not
realize how bad a failure it was to be.

Afar among the buttes of Skull Creek we had roamed when a white
ball appeared bounding through the sage-brush, and in a minute
more Snap came, growling and stump-waggling, up to my Horse's
side. I could not send him back; he would take no such orders,
not even from me. His wound was looking bad, so I called him,
held down the quirt, and jumped him to my saddle.

"There," I thought, "I'll keep you safe till we get home." 'Yes,
I thought; but I reckoned not with Snap. The voice of Hilton,
"Hu, hu," announced that he had sighted a Wolf. Dander and Riley,
his rival, both sprang to the point of observation, with the
result that they collided and fell together, sprawling, in the
sage. But Snap, gazing hard, had sighted the Wolf, not so very
far off, and before I knew it, he leaped from the saddle and
bounded zigzag, high, low, in and under the sage, straight for
the enemy, leading the whole pack for a few minutes. Not far, of
course. The great Greyhounds sighted the moving speck, and the
usual procession strung out on the plain. It promised to be a
fine hunt, for the Wolf had less than half a mile start and all
the Dogs were fully interested.

"They 'ye turned up Grizzly Gully," cried Garvin. "This way, and
we can head them off."

So we turned and rode hard around the north side of Hulmer's
Butte, while the chase seemed to go round the south.

We galloped to the top of Cedar Ridge and were about to ride
down, when Hilton shouted, "By George, here he is! We're right
onto him." He leaped from his Horse, dropped the bridle, and ran
forward. I did the same. A great Gray-wolf came lumbering across
an open plain toward us. His head was low, his tail out level,
and fifty yards behind him was Dander, sailing like a Hawk over
the ground, going twice as fast as the Wolf. In a minute the
Hound was alongside and snapped, but bounded back, as the Wolf
turned on him. They were just below us now and not fifty feet
away. Garvin drew his revolver, but in a fateful moment Hilton
interfered: " No; no; let's see it out." In a few seconds the
next Greyhound arrived, then the rest in order of swiftness. Each
came up full of fight and fury, determined to go right in and
tear the Gray-wolf to pieces; but each in turn swerved aside, and
leaped and barked around at a safe distance. After a minute or so
the Russians appeared--fine big Dogs they were. Their distant
intention no doubt was to dash right at the old Wolf; but his
fearless front, his sinewy frame and death-dealing jaws, awed
them long before they were near him, and they also joined the
ring, while the desperado in the middle faced this way and that,
ready for any or all.

Now the Danes came up, huge-limbed creatures, any one of them as
heavy as the Wolf. I heard their heavy breathing tighten into a
threatening sound as they plunged ahead; eager to tear the foe to
pieces; but when they saw him there, grim fearless, mighty of
jaw, tireless of limb, ready to die if need be, but sure of this,
he would not die alone--well, those great Danes--all three of
them--were stricken, as the rest had been, with a sudden
bashfulness: Yes, they would go right in presently--not now, but
as soon as they had got their breath; they were not afraid of a
Wolf, oh, no. I could read their courage in their voices. They
knew perfectly well that the first Dog to go in was going to get
hurt, but never mind that--presently; they would bark a little
more to get up enthusiasm.

And as the ten big Dogs were leaping round the silent Wolf at
bay, there was a rustling in the sage at the far side of place;
then a snow-white rubber ball, it seemed, came bounding, but grew
into a little Bull-terrier, and Snap, slowest of the pack, and
last, came panting hard, so hard he seemed gasping. Over the
level open he made, straight to the changing ring around the
Cattle-killer whom none dared face. Did he hesitate? Not for an
instant; through the ring of the yelping pack, straight for the
old despot of range, right for his throat he sprang; and the
Gray-wolf struck with his twenty scimitars. But the little one,
if fooled at all, sprang again, and then what came I hardly knew.
There was a whirling mass of Dogs. I thought I saw the little
White One clinched on the Gray-wolf's nose. The pack was all
around; we could not help them now. But they did not need us;
they had a leader of dauntless mettle, and when in a little while
the final scene was done, there on the ground lay the Gray-wolf,
a giant of his kind, and clinched on his nose was the little
white Dog.

We were standing around within fifteen feet, ready to help, but
had no chance till were not needed.

The Wolf was dead, and I hallooed to Snap, but he did not move.
I bent over him. "Snap--Snap, it's all over; you've killed him."
But the Dog was very still, and now I saw two deep wounds in his
body. I tried to lift him. "Let go, old fellow; it's all over."
He growled feebly, and at last go of the Wolf. The rough
cattle-men were kneeling around him now; old Penroof's voice was
trembling as he muttered, "I wouldn't had him hurt for twenty
steers." I lifted him in my arms, called to him and stroked his
head. He snarled a little, a farewell as it proved, for he
licked my hand as he did so, then never snarled again.

That was a sad ride home for me. There was the skin of a
monstrous Wolf, but no other hint of triumph. We buried the
fearless one on a butte back of the
Ranch-house. Penroof, as he stood by, was heard to grumble: "By
jingo, that was grit--cl'ar grit! Ye can't raise Cattle without
grit."

THE WINNIPEG WOLF

I

It was during the great blizzard of 1882 that I first met the
Winnipeg Wolf. I had left St. Paul in the middle of March to
cross the prairies to Winnipeg, expecting to be there in
twenty-four hours, but the Storm King had planned it otherwise
and sent a heavy-laden eastern blast. The snow came down in a
furious, steady torrent, hour after hour. Never before had I seen
such a storm. All the world was lost in snow--snow, snow,
snow--whirling, biting, stinging, drifting snow--and the puffing,
monstrous engine was compelled to stop at the command of those
tiny feathery crystals of spotless purity.

Many strong hands with shovels came to the delicately curled
snowdrifts that barred our way, and in an hour the engine could
pass--only to stick in another drift yet farther on. It was
dreary work--day after day, night after night, sticking in the
drifts, digging ourselves out, and still the snow went whirling
and playing about us.

"Twenty-two hours to Emerson," said the official; but nearly two
weeks of digging passed before we did reach Emerson, and the
poplar country where the thickets stop all drifting of the snow.
Thenceforth the train went swiftly, the poplar woods grew more
thickly--we passed for miles through solid forests, then perhaps
through an open space. As we neared St. Boniface, the eastern
outskirts of Winnipeg, we dashed across a little glade fifty
yards wide, and there in the middle was a group that stirred me
to the very soul.

In plain view was a great rabble of Dogs, large and small, black,
white, and yellow, wriggling and heaving this way and that way in
a rude ring; to one side was a little yellow Dog stretched and
quiet in the snow; on the outer part of the ring was a huge black
Dog bounding about and barking, but keeping ever behind the
moving mob. And in the midst, the centre and cause of it all, was
a great, grim, Wolf.

Wolf? He looked like a Lion. There he stood, all
alone--resolute-calm- with bristling mane, and legs braced
firmly, glancing this way and that, to be ready for an attack in
any direction. There was a curl on his lips--it looked like
scorn, but I suppose it was really the fighting snarl of tooth
display. Led by a wolfish-looking Dog that should have been
ashamed, the pack dashed in, for the twentieth time no doubt. But
the great gray form leaped here and there, and chop, chop, chop
went those fearful jaws, no other sound from the lonely warrior;
but a death yelp from more than one of his foes, as those that
were able again sprang back, and left him statuesque as before,
untamed, unmaimed, and contemptuous of them all.

How I wished for the train to stick in a snowdrift now, as so
often before, for all my heart went out to that Gray-wolf; I
longed to go and help him. But the snow-deep glade flashed by,
the poplar trunks shut out the view, and we went on to our
journey's end.

This was all I saw, and it seemed little; but before many days
had passed I knew surely that I had been favored with a view, in
broad daylight, of a rare and wonderful creature, none less than
the Winnipeg Wolf.

His was a strange history--a Wolf that preferred the city to the
country, that passed by the Sheep to kill the Dogs, and that
always hunted alone.

In telling the story of le Garou, as he was called by some,
although I speak of these things as locally familiar, it is very
sure that to many citizens of the town they were quite unknown.
The smug shopkeeper on the main street had scarcely heard of him
until the day after the final scene at the slaughter-house, when
his great carcass was carried to Hine's taxidermist shop and
there mounted, to be exhibited later at the Chicago World's Fair,
and to be destroyed, alas! in the fire that reduced the Mulvey
Grammar School to ashes in 1896.

II

It seems that Fiddler Paul, the handsome ne'er-do-well of the
half-breed world, readier to hunt than to work, was prowling with
his gun along the wooded banks of the Red River by Kildonan, one
day in the June of 1880. He saw a Gray-wo1f come out of a hole in
a bank and fired a chance shot that killed it. Having made sure,
by sending in his Dog, that no other large Wolf was there, he
crawled into the den, and found, to his utter amazement and
delight, eight young Wolves --nine bounties of ten dollars each.
How much is that? A fortune surely. He used a stick vigorously,
and with the assistance of the yellow Cur, all the little ones
were killed but one. There is a superstition about the last of a
brood--it is not lucky to kill it. So Paul set out for town with
the scalp of the old Wolf, the scalps of the seven young, and the
last Cub alive.

The saloon-keeper, who got the dollars for which the scalps were
exchanged, soon got the living Cub. He grew up at the end of a
chain, but developed a chest and jaws that no Hound in town could
match. He was kept in the yard for the amusement of customers,
and this amusement usually took the form of baiting the captive
with Dogs. The young Wolf was bitten and mauled nearly to death
on several occasions, but he recovered, and each month there were
fewer Dogs willing to face him. His life was as hard as it could
be. There was but one gleam of gentleness in it all, and that was
the friendship that grew up between himself and Little Jim, the
son of the saloonkeeper.

Jim was a wilful little rascal with a mind of his own. He took to
the Wolf because it had killed a Dog that had bitten him. He
thenceforth fed the Wolf and made a pet of it, and the Wolf
responded by allowing him to take liberties which no one else
dared venture.

Jim's father was not a model parent. He usually spoiled his son,
but at times would get in a rage and beat him cruelly for some
trifle. The child was quick to learn that he was beaten, not
because he had done wrong, but because he had made his father
angry. If, therefore, he could keep out of the way until that
anger had cooled, he had no further cause for worry. One day,
seeking safety in flight with his father behind him, he dashed
into the Wolf's kennel, and his grizzly chum thus unceremoniously
awakened turned to the door, displayed a double row of ivories,
and plainly said to the father: "Don't you dare to touch him."

If Hogan could have shot the Wolf then and there he would have
done so, but the chances were about equal of killing his son, so
he let them alone and, half an hour later, laughed at the whole
affair. Thenceforth Little Jim made for the Wolf's den whenever
he was in danger, and sometimes the only notice any one had that
the boy had been in mischief was seeing him sneak in behind the
savage captive.

Economy in hired help was a first principle with Hogan. Therefore
his "barkeep" was a Chinaman. He was a timid, harmless creature,
so Paul des Roches did not hesitate to bully him. One day,
finding Hogan out, and the Chinaman alone in charge, Paul,
already tipsy, demanded a drink on credit, and Tung Ling, acting
on standing orders, refused. His artless explanation, "No good,
neber pay," so far from clearing up the difficulty, brought Paul
staggering back of the bar to avenge the insult. The Celestial
might have suffered grievous bodily hurt, but that Little Jim was
at hand and had a long stick, with which he adroitly tripped up
the Fiddler and sent him sprawling. He staggered to his feet
swearing he would have Jim's life. But the child was near the
back door and soon found refuge in the Wolf's kennel.

Seeing that the boy had a protector, Paul got the long stick, and
from a safe distance began to belabor the Wolf, The grizzly
creature raged at the end of the chain, but, though he parried
many cruel blows by seizing the stick in his teeth, he was
suffering severely, when Paul realized that Jim, whose tongue had
not been idle, was fumbling away with nervous fingers to set the
Wolf loose, and soon would succeed. Indeed, it would have been
done already but for the strain that the Wolf kept on the chain.

The thought of being in the yard at the mercy of the huge animal
that he had so enraged, gave the brave Paul a thrill of terror.

Jim's wheedling voice was heard -"Hold on now, Wolfie; back up
just a little, and you shall have him. Now do; there's a good
Wolfie"--that was enough; the Fiddler fled and carefully closed
all doors behind him.

Thus the friendship between Jim and his pet grew stronger, and
the Wolf, as he developed his splendid natural powers, gave daily
evidence also of the mortal hatred he bore to men that smelt of
whiskey and to all Dogs, the causes of his sufferings. This
peculiarity, coupled with his love for the child--and all
children seemed to be included to some extent--grew with his
growth and seemed to prove the ruling force of his life.

III

At this time--that is, the fall of 1881--there were great
complaints among the Qu'Appelle ranchmen that the Wolves were
increasing in their country and committing great depredations
among the stock. Poisoning and trapping had proved failures, and
when a distinguished German visitor appeared at the Club in
Winnipeg and announced that he was bringing some Dogs that could
easily rid the country of Wolves, he was listened to with unusual
interest. For the cattle-men are fond of sport, and the idea of
helping their business by establishing a kennel of Wolfhounds was
very alluring.

The German soon produced as samples of his Dogs, two magnificent
Danes, one white, the other blue with black spots and a singular
white eye that completed an expression of unusual ferocity. Each
of these great creatures weighed nearly two hundred pounds. They
were muscled like Tigers, and the German was readily believed
when he claimed that these two alone were more than a match for
the biggest Wolf. He thus described their method of hunting: "All
you have to do is show them the trail and, even if it is a day
old, away they go on it. They cannot be shaken off. They will
soon find that Wolf, no matter how he doubles and hides. Then
they close on him. He turns to run, the blue Dog takes him by the
haunch and throws him like this," and the German jerked a roll of
bread into the air; "then before he touches the ground the white
Dog has his head, the other his tail, and they pull him apart
like that."

It sounded all right; at any rate every one was eager to put it
to the proof. Several of the residents said there was a fair
chance of finding a Gray-wolf along the Assiniboine, so a hunt
was organized. But they searched in vain for three days and were
giving it up when some one suggested that down at Hogan's saloon
was a Wolf chained up, that they could get for the value of the
bounty, and though little more than a year old he would serve to
show what the Dogs could do.

The value of Hogan's Wolf went up at once when he knew the
importance of the occasion; besides, "he had conscientious
scruples." All his scruples vanished, however, when his views as
to price were met. His first care was to get Little Jim out of
the way by sending him on an errand to his grandma's; then the
Wolf was driven into his box and nailed in. The box was put in a
wagon and taken to the open prairie along the Portage trail.

The Dogs could scarcely be held back, they were so eager for the
fray, as soon as they smelt the Wolf. But several strong men held
their leash, the wagon was drawn half a mile farther, and the
Wolf was turned out with some difficulty. At first he looked
scared and sullen. He tried to get out of sight, but made no
attempt to bite. However, on finding himself free, as well as
hissed and hooted at, he started off at a slinking trot toward
the south, where the land seemed broken. The Dogs were released
at that moment, and, baying furiously, they bounded away after
the young Wolf. The men cheered loudly and rode behind them. From
the very first it was clear that he had no chance. The Dogs were
much swifter; the white one could run like a Greyhound. The
German was wildly enthusiastic as she flew across the prairie,
gaining visibly on the Wolf at every second. Many bets were
offered on the Dogs, but there were no takers. The only bets
accepted were Dog against Dog. The young Wolf went at speed now,
but within a mile the white Dog was right behind him--was closing
in.

The German shouted: "Now watch and see that Wolf go up in the
air."

In a moment the runners were together. Both recoiled, neither
went up in the air, but the white Dog rolled over with a fearful
gash in her shoulder--out of the fight, if not killed. Ten
seconds later the Blue-spot arrived, open-mouthed. This meeting
was as quick and almost as mysterious as the first. The animals
barely touched each other. The gray one bounded aside, his head
out of sight for a moment in the flash of quick movement. Spot
reeled and showed a bleeding flank. Urged on by the men, he
assaulted again, but only to get another wound that taught him to
keep off.

Now came the keeper with four more huge Dogs. They turned these
loose, and the men armed with clubs and lassos were closing to
help in finishing the Wolf, when a small boy came charging over
the plain on a Pony. He leaped to the ground and wriggling
through the ring flung his arms around the Wolf's neck. He called
him his "Wolfie pet," his "dear Wolfie"--the Wolf licked his face
and wagged its tail--then the child turned on the crowd and
through his streaming tears, he--Well it would not do to print
what he said. He was only nine, but he was very old-fashioned, as
well as a rude little boy. He had been brought up in a low
saloon, and had been an apt pupil at picking up the vile talk of
the place. He cursed them one and all and for generations back;
he did not spare even his own father.

If a man had used such shocking and insulting language he might
have been lynched, but coming from a baby, the hunters did not
know what to do, so finally did the best thing. They laughed
aloud--not at themselves, that is not considered good form--but
they all laughed at the German whose wonderful Dogs had been
worsted by a half-grown Wolf.

Jimmie now thrust his dirty, tear-stained little fist down into
his very-much-of-a-boy's pocket, and from among marbles and
chewing-gum, as well as tobacco, matches, pistol cartridges, and
other contraband, he fished out a flimsy bit of grocer's twine
and fastened it around the Wolf's neck. Then, still blubbering a
little, he set out for home on the Pony, leading the Wolf and
hurling a final threat and anathema at the German nobleman: "Fur
two cents I'd sic him on you, gol darn ye."

IV

Early that winter Jimmie was taken down with a fever. The Wolf
howled miserably in the yard when he missed his little friend,
and finally on the boy's demand was admitted to the sick-room,
and there this great wild Dog--for that is all a Wolf
is--continued faithfully watching by his friend's bedside.

The fever had seemed slight at first, so that every one was
shocked when there came suddenly a turn for the worse, and three
days before Christmas Jimmie died. He had no more sincere mourner
than his "Wolfie." The great gray creature howled in miserable
answer to the church-bell tolling when he followed the body on
Christmas Eve to the graveyard at St. Boniface. He soon came back
to the premises behind the saloon, but when an attempt was made
to chain him again, he leaped a board fence and was finally lost
sight of.

Later that same winter old Renaud, the trapper, with his pretty
half-breed daughter, Ninette, came to live in a little log-cabin
on the river bank. He knew nothing about Jimmie Hogan, and he was
not a little puzzled to find Wolf tracks and signs along the
river on both sides between St. Boniface and Fort Garry. He
listened with interest and doubt to tales that the Hudson Bay
Company's men told of a great Gray-wolf that had come to live in
the region about, and even to enter the town at night, and that
was in particular attached to the woods about St. Boniface
Church.

On Christmas Eve of that year when the bell tolled again as it
had done for Jimmie, a lone and melancholy howling from the woods
almost convinced Renaud that the stories were true. He knew the
wolf-cries--the howl for help, the love song, the lonely wail,
and the sharp defiance of the Wolves. This was the lonely wail.

The trapper went to the riverside and gave an answering howl. A
shadowy form left the far woods and crossed on the ice to where
the man sat, log-still, on a log. It came up near him, circled
past and sniffed, then its eye glowed; it growled like a Dog that
is a little angry, and glided back into the night.

Thus Renaud knew, and before long many townfolk began to learn,
that a huge Gray-wolf was living in their streets, "a Wolf three
times as big as the one that used to be chained at Hogan's
gin-mill." He was the terror of Dogs, killing them on all
possible occasions, and some said, though it was never proven,
that he had devoured more than one half-breed who was out on a
spree.

And this was the Winnipeg Wolf that I had seen that day in the
wintry woods. I had longed to go to his help, thinking the odds
so hopelessly against him, but later knowledge changed the
thought. I do not know how that fight ended, but I do know that
he was seen many times afterward and some of the Dogs were not.

Thus his was the strangest life that ever his kind had known.
Free of all the woods and plains, he elected rather to lead a
life of daily hazard in the town--each week at least some close
escape, and every day a day of daring deeds; finding momentary
shelter at times under the very boardwalk crossings. Hating the
men and despising the Dogs, he fought his daily way and held the
hordes of Curs at bay or slew them when he found them few or
single; harried the drunkard, evaded men with guns, learned
traps--learned poison, too--just how, we cannot tell, but learn
it he did, for he passed it again and again, or served it only
with a Wolf's contempt.

Not a street in Winnipeg that he did not know; not a policeman in
Winnipeg that had not seen his swift and shadowy form in the gray
dawn as he passed where he would; not a Dog in Winnipeg that did
not cower and bristle when the telltale wind brought proof that
old Garou was crouching near. His only path was the warpath, and
all the world his foes. But throughout this lurid, semi-mythic
record there was one recurring pleasant thought--Garou never was
known to harm a child.

V

Ninette was a desert-born beauty like her Indian mother, but
gray-eyed like her Normandy father, a sweet girl of sixteen, the
belle of her set. She might have married any one of the richest
and steadiest young men of the country, but of course, in
feminine perversity her heart was set on that ne'er-do-well, Paul
des Roches. A handsome fellow, a good dancer and a fair
violinist, Fiddler Paul was in demand at all festivities, but he
was a shiftless drunkard and it was even whispered that he had a
wife already in Lower Canada. Renaud very properly dismissed him
when he came to urge his suit, but dismissed him in vain.
Ninette, obedient in all else, would not give up her lover. The
very day after her father had ordered him away she promised to
meet him in the woods just across the river. It was easy to
arrange this, for she was a good Catholic, and across the ice to
the church was shorter than going around by the bridge. As she
went through the snowy wood to the tryst she noticed that a large
gray Dog was following. It seemed quite friendly, and the child
(for she was still that) had no fear, but when she came to the
place where Paul was waiting, the gray Dog went forward rumbling
in its chest. Paul gave one look, knew it for a huge Wolf, then
fled like the coward he was. He afterward said he ran for his
gun. He must have forgotten where it was, as he climbed the
nearest tree to find it. Meanwhile Ninette ran home across the
ice to tell Paul's friends of his danger. Not finding any
firearms up the tree, the valiant lover made a spear by fastening
his knife to a branch and succeeded in giving Garou a painful
wound on the head. The savage, creature growled horribly but
thenceforth kept at a safe distance, though plainly showing his
intention to wait till the man came down. But the approach of a
band of rescuers changed his mind, and he went away.

Fiddler Paul found it easier to explain matters to Ninette than
he would to any one else. He still stood first in her affections,
but so hopelessly ill with her father that they decided on an
elopement, as soon as he should return from Fort Alexander,
whither he was to go for the Company, as dog-driver. The Factor
was very proud of his train Dogs--three great Huskies with curly,
bushy tails, big and strong as Calves, but fierce and lawless as
pirates. With these the Fiddler Paul was to drive to Fort
Alexander from Fort Garry--the bearer of several important
packets. He was an expert Dog-driver, which usually means
relentlessly cruel. He set off blithely down the river in the
morning, after the several necessary drinks of whiskey. He
expected to be gone a week, and would then come back with twenty
dollars in his pocket, and having thus provided the sinews of
war, would carry out the plan of elopement. Away they went down
the river on the ice. The big Dogs pulled swiftly but sulkily as
he cracked the long whip and shouted, "Allez, allez, marchez."
They passed at speed by Renaud's shanty on the bank, and Paul,
cracking his whip and running behind the train, waved his hand to
Ninette as she stood by the door. Speedily the cariole with the
sulky Dogs and drunken driver disappeared around the bend--and
that was the last ever seen of Fiddler Paul.

That evening the Huskies came back singly to Fort Garry. They
were spattered with frozen blood, and were gashed in several
places. But strange to tell they were quite "unhungry."

Runners went on the back trail and recovered the packages. They
were lying on the ice unharmed. Fragments of the sled were strewn
for a mile or more up the river; not far from the packages were
shreds of clothing that had belonged to the Fiddler.

It was quite clear, the Dogs had murdered and eaten their driver.

The Factor was terribly wrought up over the matter. It might cost
him his Dogs. He refused to believe the report and set off to
sift the evidence for himself. Renaud was chosen to go with him,
and before they were within three miles of the fatal place Renaud
pointed to a very large track crossing from the east to the west
bank of the river, just after the Dog sled. He ran it backward
for a mile or more on the eastern bank, noted how it had walked
when the Dogs walked and run when they ran, before he turned to
the Factor and said: "A beeg Voolf--he come after ze cariole all
ze time."

Now they followed the track where it had crossed to the west
shore. Two miles above Kildonan woods the Wolf had stopped his
gallop to walk over to the sled trail, had followed it a few
yards, then had returned to the woods.

"Paul he drop somesin' here, ze packet maybe; ze Voolf he come
for smell. He follow so--now he know zat eez ze drunken Paul vot
slash heem on ze head."

A mile farther the Wolf track came galloping on the ice behind
the cariole. The man track disappeared now, for the driver had
leaped on the sled and lashed the Dogs. Here is where he cut
adrift the bundles. That is why things were scattered over the
ice. See how the Dogs were bounding under the lash. Here was the
Fiddler's knife in the snow. He must have dropped it in trying to
use it on the Wolf. And here-what! the Wolf track disappears, but
the sled track speeds along. The Wolf has leaped on the sled. The
Dogs, in terror, added to their speed; but on the sleigh behind
them there is a deed of vengeance done. In a moment it is over;
both roll off the sled; the Wolf track reappears on the east side
to seek the woods. The sled swerves to the west bank, where,
after half a mile, it is caught and wrecked on a root.

The snow also told Renaud how the Dogs, entangled in the harness,
had fought with each other, had cut themselves loose, and
trotting homeward by various ways up the river, had gathered at
the body of their late tyrant and devoured him at a meal.

Bad enough for the Dogs, still they were cleared of the murder.
That certainly was done by the Wolf, and Renaud, after the shock
of horror was past, gave a sigh of relief and added, "Eet is le
Garou. He hab save my leel girl from zat Paul. He always was good
to children."

VI

This was the cause of the great final hunt that they fixed for
Christmas Day just two years after the scene at the grave of
Little Jim. It seemed as though all the Dogs in the country were
brought together. The three Huskies were there--the Factor
considered them essential--there were Danes and trailers and a
rabble of farm Dogs and nondescripts. They spent the morning
beating all the woods east of St. Boniface and had no success.
But a telephone message came that the trail they sought had been
seen near the Assiniboine woods west of the city, and an hour
later the hunt was yelling on the hot scent of the Winnipeg Wolf.

Away they went, a rabble of Dogs, a motley rout of horsemen, a
mob of men and boys on foot. Garou had no fear of the Dogs, but
men he knew had guns and were dangerous. He led off for the dark
timber line of the Assiniboine, but the horsemen had open country
and they headed him back. He coursed along the Colony Creek
hollow and so eluded the bullets already flying. He made for a
barb-wire fence, and passing that he got rid of the horsemen for
a time, but still must keep the hollow that baffled the bullets.
The Dogs were now closing on him. All he might have asked would
probably have been to be left alone with them--forty or fifty to
one as they were--he would have taken the odds. The Dogs were all
around him now, but none dared to close in, A lanky Hound,
trusting to his speed, ran alongside at length and got a side
chop from Garou that laid him low. The horsemen were forced to
take a distant way around, but now the chase was toward the town,
and more men and Dogs came running out to join the fray.

The Wolf turned toward the slaughter-house, a familiar resort,
and the shooting ceased on account of the houses, as well as the
Dogs, being so near. These were indeed now close enough to
encircle him and hinder all further flight. He looked for a place
to guard his rear for a final stand, and seeing a wooden
foot-bridge over a gutter he sprang in, there faced about and
held the pack at bay. The men got bars and demolished the bridge.
He leaped out, knowing now that he had to die, but ready, wishing
only to make a worthy fight, and then for the first time in broad
day view of all his foes he stood--the shadowy Dog-killer, the
disembodied voice of St. Boniface woods, the wonderful Winnipeg
Wolf.

VII

At last after three long years of fight he stood before them
alone, confronting twoscore Dogs, and men with guns to back
them--but facing them just as resolutely as I saw him that day in
the wintry woods. The same old curl was on his lips--the
hard-knit flanks heaved just a little, but his green and yellow
eye glowed steadily. The Dogs closed in, led not by the huge
Huskies from the woods--they evidently knew too much for
that--but by a Bulldog from the town; there was scuffling of many
feet; a low rumbling for a time replaced the yapping of the pack;
a flashing of those red and grizzled jaws, a momentary hurl back
of the onset, and again he stood alone and braced, the grim and
grand old bandit that he was. Three times they tried and
suffered. Their boldest were lying about him. The first to go
down was the Bulldog. Learning wisdom now, the Dogs held back,
less sure; but his square-built chest showed never a sign of
weakness yet, and after waiting impatiently he advanced a few
steps, and thus, alas! gave to the gunners their long-expected
chance. Three rifles rang, and in the snow Garou went down at
last, his life of combat done.

He had made his choice. His days were short and crammed with
quick events. His tale of many peaceful years was spent in three
of daily brunt. He picked his trail, a new trail, high and short.
He chose to drink his cup at a single gulp, and break the
glass-but he left a deathless name.

Who can look into the mind of the Wolf? Who can show us his
wellspring of motive? Why should he still cling to a place of
endless tribulation? It could not be because he knew no other
country, for the region is limitless, food is everywhere, and he
was known at least as far as Selkirk. Nor could his motive be
revenge. No animal will give up its whole life to seeking
revenge; that evil kind of mind is found in man alone. The brute
creation seeks for peace.

There is then but one remaining bond to chain him, and that the
strongest claim that anything can own--the mightiest force on
earth.

The Wolf is gone. The last relic of him was lost in the burning
Grammar School, but to this day the sexton of St. Boniface Church
avers that the tolling bell on Christmas Eve never fails to
provoke that weird and melancholy Wolf-cry from the wooded
graveyard a hundred steps away, where they laid his Little Jim,
the only being on earth that ever met him with the touch of love.

THE LEGEND OF THE WHITE REINDEER

Skoal! Skoal! For Norway Skoal!
Sing ye the song of the Vand-dam troll.
When I am hiding
Norway's luck
On a White Storbuk
Comes riding, riding.

Bleak, black, deep, and cold is Utrovand, a long pocket of
glacial water, a crack in the globe, a wrinkle in the high
Norwegian mountains, blocked with another mountain, and flooded
with a frigid flood, three thousand feet above its
Mother Sea, and yet no closer to its Father Sun.

Around its cheerless shore is a belt of stunted trees, that sends
a long tail up the high valley, till it dwindles away to sticks
and moss, as it also does some half-way up the granite hills that
rise a thousand feet, encompassing the lake. This is the limit of
trees, the end of the growth of wood. The birch and willow are
the last to drop out of the long fight with frost. Their
miniature thickets are noisy with the cries of Fieldfare, Pipit,
and Ptarmigan, but these are left behind on nearing the upper
plateau, where shade of rock and sough of wind are all that take
their place. The chilly Hoifjeld rolls away, a rugged, rocky
plain, with great patches of snow in all the deeper hollows, and
the distance blocked by snowy peaks that rise and roll and whiter
gleam, till, dim and dazzling in the north, uplifts the
Jotunheim, the home of spirits, of glaciers, and of the lasting
snow.

The treeless stretch is one vast attest to the force of heat.
Each failure of the sun by one degree is marked by a lower realm
of life. The northern slope of each hollow is less boreal than
its southern side. The pine and spruce have given out long ago;
the mountain-ash went next; the birch and willow climbed up half
the slope. Here, nothing grows but creeping plants and moss. The
plain itself is pale grayish green, one vast expanse of
reindeer-moss, but warmed at spots into orange by great beds of
polytrichum, and, in sunnier nooks, deepened to a herbal green.
The rocks that are scattered everywhere are of a delicate lilac,
but each is variegated with spreading frill-edged plasters of
gray-green lichen or orange powder-streaks and beauty-spots of
black. These rocks have great power to hold the heat, so that
each of them is surrounded by a little belt of heat-loving plants
that could not otherwise live so high. Dwarfed representatives of
the birch and willow both are here, hugging the genial rock, as
an old French habitant hugs his stove in winter-time, spreading
their branches over it, instead of in the frigid air. A foot away
is seen a chillier belt of heath, and farther off, colder, where
none else can grow, is the omnipresent gray-green reindeer-moss
that gives its color to the upland. The hollows are still filled
with snow, though now it is June. But each of these white
expanses is shrinking, spending itself in ice-cold streams that
somehow reach the lake. These sn-flaks show no sign of life, not
even the 'red-snow' tinge, and around each is a belt of barren
earth, to testify that life and warmth can never be divorced.

Birdless and lifeless, the gray-green snow-pied waste extends
over all the stretch that is here between the timber-line and the
snow-line, above which winter never quits its hold. Farther north
both come lower, till the timber-line is at the level of the sea;
and all the land is in that treeless belt called Tundra in the
Old World, and Barrens in the New, and that everywhere is the
Home of the Reindeer--the Realm of the Reindeer-moss.

I

In and out it flew, in and out, over the water and under, as the
Varsimle', the leader doe of the Reindeer herd, walked past on
the vernal banks, and it sang:--

"Skoal! Skoal! Gamle Norge Skoal!" and more about "a White
Reindeer and Norway's good luck," as though the singer were
gifted with special insight.

When old Sveggum built the Vand-dam on the Lower Hoifjeld, just
above the Utrovand, and set his ribesten a-going, he supposed
that he was the owner of it all. But some one was there before
him. And in and out of the spouting stream this some one dashed,
and sang songs that he made up to fit the place and the time. He
skipped from skjaeke to skjaeke of the wheel, and did many things
which Sveggum could set down only to luck--whatever that is; and
some said that Sveggum's luck was a Wheel-troll, a Water-fairy,
with a brown coat and a white beard, one that lived on land or in
water, as he pleased.

But most of Sveggum's neighbors saw only a Fossekal, the little
Waterfall Bird that came each year and danced in the stream, or
dived where the pool is deep. And maybe both were right, for some
of the very oldest peasants will tell you that a Fairy-troll may
take the form of a man or the form of a bird. Only this bird
lived a life no bird can live, and sang songs that men never had
sung in Norway. Wonderful vision had he, and sights he saw that
man never saw. For the Fieldfare would build before him, and the
Lemming fed its brood under his very eyes. Eyes were they to see;
for the dark speck on Suletind that man could barely glimpse was
a Reindeer, with half-shed coat, to him and the green slime on
the Vandren was beautiful green pasture with a banquet spread.

Oh, Man is so blind, and makes himself so hated! But Fossekal
harmed none, so none were afraid of him. Only he sang, and his
songs were sometimes mixed with fun and prophecy, or perhaps a
little scorn.

From the top of the tassel-birch he could mark the course of the
Vand-dam stream past the Nystuen hamlet to lose itself in the
gloomy waters of Utrovand or by a higher flight he could see
across the barren upland that rolled to Jotunheim in the north.

The great awakening was on now. The springtime had already
reached the woods; the valleys were a-throb with life; new birds
coming from the south, winter sleepers reappearing, and the
Reindeer that had wintered in the lower woods should soon again
be seen on the uplands.

Not without a fight do the Frost Giants give up the place so long
their own; a great battle was in progress; but the Sun was
slowly, surely winning, and driving them back to their Jotunheim.
At every hollow and shady place they made another stand, or
sneaked back by night, only to suffer another defeat. Hard
hitters these, as they are stubborn fighters; many a granite rock
was split and shattered by their blows in reckless fight, so that
its inner fleshy tints were shown and warmly gleamed among the
gray-green rocks that dotted the plain, like the countless flocks
of Thor. More or less of these may be found at every place of
battle-brunt, and straggled along the slope of Suletind was a
host that reached for half a mile. But stay! these moved. Not
rocks were they, but living creatures.

They drifted along erratically, yet one way, all up the wind.
They swept out of sight in a hollow, to reappear on a ridge much
nearer, and serried there against the sky, we marked their
branching horns, and knew them for the Reindeer in their home.

The band came drifting our way, feeding like Sheep, grunting like
only themselves. Each one found a grazing-spot, stood there till
it was cleared off, then trotted on crackling hoofs to the front
in search of another. So the band was ever changing in rank and
form. But one there was that was always at or near the van--a
large and well-favored Simle', or Hind. However much the band
might change and spread, she was in the forefront, and the
observant would soon have seen signs that she had an influence
over the general movement--that she, indeed, was the leader. Even
the big Bucks, in their huge velvet-clad antlers, admitted this
untitular control; and if one, in a spirit of independence,
evinced a disposition to lead elsewhere, he soon found himself
uncomfortably alone.

The Varsimle', or leading Hind, had kept the band hovering, for
the last week or two, along the timber-line, going higher each
day to the baring uplands, where the snow was clearing and the
deer-flies were blown away. As the pasture zone had climbed she
had followed in her daily foraging, returning to the sheltered
woods at sundown, for the wild things fear the cold night wind
even as man does. But now the deer-flies were rife in the woods,
and the rocky hillside nooks warm enough for the nightly bivouac,
so the woodland was deserted.

Probably the leader of a band of animals does not consciously
pride itself on leadership, yet has an uncomfortable sensation
when not followed. But there are times with all when solitude is
sought. The Varsimle' had been fat and well through the winter,
yet now was listless, and lingered with drooping head as the
grazing herd moved past her.

Sometimes she stood gazing blankly while the unchewed bunch of
moss hung from her mouth, then roused to go on to the front as
before; but the spells of vacant stare and the hankering to be
alone grew stronger. She turned downward to seek the birch woods,
but the whole band turned with her. She stood stock-still, with
head down. They grazed and grunted past, leaving her like a
statue against the hillside. When all had gone on, she slunk
quietly away; walked a few steps, looked about, made a pretense
of grazing, snuffed the ground, looked after the herd, and
scanned the hills; then downward fared toward the sheltering
woods.

Once as she peered over a bank she sighted another Simle', a doe
Reindeer, uneasily wandering by itself. But the Varsimle' wished
not for company. She did not know why, but she felt that she must
hide away somewhere.

She stood still until the other had passed on, then turned aside,
and went with faster steps and less wavering, till she came in
view of Utrovand, away down by the little stream that turns old
Sveggum's ribesten. Up above the dam she waded across the limpid
stream, for deep-laid and sure is the instinct of a wild animal
to put running water between itself and those it shuns. Then, on
the farther bank, now bare and slightly green, she turned, and
passing in and out among the twisted trunks, she left the noisy
Vand-dam. On the higher ground beyond she paused, looked this way
and that, went on a little, but returned; and here, completely
shut in by softly painted rocks, and birches wearing little
springtime hangers, she seemed inclined to rest; yet not to rest,
for she stood uneasily this way and that, driving away the flies
that settled on her legs, heeding not at all the growing grass,
and thinking she was hid from all the world.

But nothing escapes the Fossekal. He had seen her leave the herd,
and now he sat on a gorgeous rock that overhung, and sang as
though he had waited for this and knew that the fate of the
nation might turn on what passed in this far glen. He sang:

Skoal! Skoal! For Norway Skoal!
Sing ye the song of the Vand-dam troll.
When I am hiding
Norway's luck
On a White Storbuk
Comes riding, riding.

There are no Storks in Norway, and yet an hour later there was a
wonderful little Reindeer lying beside the Varsimle'. She was
brushing his coat, licking and mothering him, proud and happy as
though this was the first little Renskalv ever born. There might
be hundreds born in the herd that month, but probably no more
like this one, for he was snowy white, and the song of the singer
on the painted rock was about

Good luck, good luck,
And a White Storbuk,

as though he foresaw clearly the part that the White Calf was to
play when he grew to be a Storbuk.

But another wonder now came to pass. Before an hour, there was a
second little Calf--a brown one this time. Strange things happen,
and hard things are done when they needs must. Two hours later,
when the Varsimle' led the White Calf away from the place, there
was no Brown Calf, only some flattened rags with calf-hair on
them.

The mother was wise: better one strongling than two weaklings.
Within a few days the Simle' once more led the band, and running
by her side was the White Calf. The Varsimle' considered him in
all things, so that he really set the pace for the band, which
suited very well all the mothers that now had Calves with them.
Big, strong, and wise was the Varsimle', in the pride of her
strength, and this White Calf was the flower of her prime. He
often ran ahead of his mother as she led the herd, and Rol,
coming on them one day, laughed aloud at the sight as they
passed, old and young, fat Simle' and antlered Storbuk, a great
brown herd, all led, as it seemed, by a little White Calf.

So they drifted away to the high mountains, to be gone all
summer. "Gone to be taught by the spirits who dwell where the
Black Loon laughs on the ice," said Lief of the Lower Dale; but
Sveggum, who had always been among the Reindeer, said: "Their
mothers are the teachers, even as ours are."

When the autumn came, old Sveggum saw a moving sno-flack far off
on the brown moor-land; but the Troll saw a white yearling, a
Nekbuk; and when they ranged alongside of Utrovand to drink, the
still sheet seemed fully to reflect the White One, though it
barely sketched in the others, with the dark hills behind.

Many a little Calf had come that spring, and had drifted away on
the moss-barrens, to come back no more; for some were weaklings
and some were fools; some fell by the way, for that is law; and
some would not learn the rules, and so died. But the White Calf
was strongest of them all, and he was wise, so he learned of his
mother, who was wisest of them all. He learned that the grass on
the sun side of a rock is sweet, and though it looks the same in
the dark hollows, it is there worthless. He learned that when his
mother's hoofs crackled he must be up and moving, and when all
the herd's hoofs crackled there was danger, and he must keep by
his mother's side. For this crackling is like the whistling of a
Whistler Duck's wings: it is to keep the kinds together. He
learned that where the little Bomuldblomster hangs its Cotton
tufts is dangerous bog; that the harsh cackle of the Ptarmigan
means that close at hand are Eagles, as dangerous for Fawn as for
Bird. He learned that the little troll-berries are deadly, that
when the verra-flies come stinging he must take refuge on a
snow-patch, and that of all animal smells only that of his mother
was to be fully trusted. He learned that he was growing. His flat
calf sides and big joints were changing to the full barrel and
clean limbs of the Yearling, and the little bumps which began to
show on his head when he was only a fortnight old were now sharp,
hard spikes that could win in fight.

More than once they had smelt that dreaded destroyer of the north
that men call the Gjerv or Wolverene; and one day, as this
danger-scent came suddenly and in great strength, a huge blot of
dark brown sprang rumbling from a rocky ledge, and straight for
the foremost--the White Calf. His eye caught the flash of a
whirling, shaggy mass, with gleaming teeth and eyes, hot-breathed
and ferocious. Blank horror set his hair on end; his nostrils
flared in fear: but before he fled there rose within another
feeling--one of anger at the breaker of his peace, a sense that
swept all fear away, braced his legs, and set his horns at
charge. The brown brute landed with a deep-chested growl, to be
received on the young one's spikes. They pierced him deeply, but
the shock was overmuch; it bore the White One down, and he might
yet have been killed but that his mother, alert and ever near,
now charged the attacking monster, and heavier, better armed, she
hurled and speared him to the ground. And the White Calf, with a
very demon glare in his once mild eyes, charged too; and even
after the Wolverene was a mere hairy mass, and his mother had
retired to feed, he came, snorting out his rage, to drive his
spikes into the hateful thing, till his snowy head was stained
with his adversary's blood.

Thus he showed that below the ox-like calm exterior was the
fighting beast; that he was like the men of the north, rugged,
square-built, calm, slow to wrath, but when aroused "seeing red."

When they ranked together by the lake that fall, the Fossekal
sang his old song:

When I am hiding
Norway's luck
On a White Storbuk
Comes riding, riding,

as though this was something he had awaited, then disappeared no
one knew where. Old Sveggum had seen it flying through the
stream, as birds fly through the air, walking in the bottom of a
deep pond as a Ptarmigan walks on the rocks, living as no bird
can live; and now the old man said it had simply gone southward
for the winter. But old Sveggum could neither read nor write: how
should he know?

II

Each springtime when the Reindeer passed over Sveggum's mill-run,
as they moved from the lowland woods to the bleaker shore of
Utrovand, the Fossekal was there to sing about the White Storbuk,
which each year became more truly the leader.

That first spring he stood little higher than a Hare. When he
came to drink in the autumn, his back was above the rock where
Sveggum's stream enters Utrovand. Next year he barely passed
under the stunted birch, and the third year the Fossekal on the
painted rock was looking up, not down, at him as he passed. This
was the autumn when Rol and Sveggum sought the Hoifjeld to round
up their half-wild herd and select some of the strongest for
the sled. There was but one opinion about the Storbuk. Higher
than the others, heavier, white as snow, with a mane that swept
the shallow drifts, breasted like a Horse and with horns like a
storm-grown oak, he was king of the herd, and might easily be
king of the road.

There are two kinds of deer-breakers, as there are two kinds of
horse-breakers: one that tames and teaches the animal, and gets a
spirited, friendly helper; one that aims to break its spirit, and
gets only a sullen slave, ever ready to rebel and wreak its hate.
Many a Lapp and many a Norsk has paid with his life for brutality
to his Reindeer, and Rol's days were shortened by his own
pulk-Ren. But Sveggum was of gentler sort. To him fell the
training of the White Storbuk. It was slow, for the Buck resented
all liberties from man, as he did from his brothers; but
kindness, not fear, was the power that tamed him, and when he had
learned to obey and glory in the sled race, it was a noble sight
to see the great white mild-eyed beast striding down the long
snow-stretch of Utrovand, the steam jetting from his nostrils,
the snow swirling up before like the curling waves on a steamer's
bow, sled, driver, and Deer all dim in flying white.

Then came the Yule-tide Fair, with the races on the ice, and
Utrovand for once was gay. The sullen hills about reechoed with
merry shouting. The Reindeer races were first, with many a mad
mischance for laughter. Rol himself was there with his swiftest
sled Deer, a tall, dark, five-year-old, in his primest prime. But
over-eager, over-brutal, he harried the sullen, splendid slave
till in mid-race--just when in a way to win--it turned at a cruel
blow, and Rol took refuge under the upturned sled until it had
vented its rage against the wood; and so he lost the race, and
the winner was the young White Storbuk. Then he won the
five-mile race around the lake; and for each triumph Sveggum hung
a little silver bell on his harness, so that now he ran and won
to merry music.

Then came the Horse races,--running races these; the Reindeer
only trots,--and when Balder, the victor Horse, received his
ribbon and his owner the purse, came Sveggum with all his
winnings in his hand, and said: "Ho, Lars, thine is a fine Horse,
but mine is a better Storbuk; let us put our winnings together
and race, each his beast, for all."

A Ren against a Race-horse--such a race was never seen till now.
Off at the pistol-crack they flew. "Ho, Balder! (cluck!) Ho, hi,
Balder!" Away shot the beautiful Racer, and the Storbuk, striding
at a slower trot, was left behind.

"Ho, Balder!" "Hi, Storbuk!" How the people cheered as the Horse
went bounding and gaining! But he had left the line at his top
speed; the Storbuk's rose as he flew--faster--faster. The Pony
ceased to gain. A mile whirled by; the gap began to close. The
Pony had over-spurted at the start, but the Storbuk was warming
to his work--striding evenly, swiftly, faster yet, as Sveggum
cried in encouragement: "Ho, Storbuk! good Storbuk!" or talked to
him only with a gentle rein. At the turning-point the pair were
neck and neck; then the Pony--though well driven and well
shod-slipped on the ice, and thenceforth held back as though in
fear, so the Storbuk steamed away. The Pony and his driver were
far behind when a roar from every human throat in Filefjeld told
that the Storbuk had passed the wire and won the race. And yet
all this was before the White Ren had reached the years of his
full strength and speed.

Once that day Rol essayed to drive the Storbuk. They set off at a
good pace, the White Buk ready, responsive to the single rein,
and his mild eyes veiled by his drooping lashes. But, without any
reason other than the habit of brutality, Rol struck him. In a
moment there was a change. The Racer's speed was checked, all
four legs braced forward till he stood; the drooping lids were
raised, the eyes rolled--there was a green light in them now.
Three puffs of steam were jetted from each nostril. Rol shouted,
then, scenting danger, quickly upset the sled and hid beneath.
The Storbuk turned to charge the sled, sniffing and tossing the
snow with his foot; but little Knute, Sveggum's son, ran forward
and put his arms around the Storbuk's neck; then the fierce look
left the Reindeer's eye, and he suffered the child to lead him
quietly back to the starting-point. Beware, O driver! the
Reindeer, too, "sees red."

This was the coming of the White Storbuk for the folk of
Filefjeld.

In the two years that followed he became famous throughout that
country as Sveggum's Storbuk, and many a strange exploit was told
of him. In twenty minutes he could carry old Sveggum round the
six-mile rim of Utrovand. When the snow-slide buried all the
village of Holaker, it was the Storbuk that brought the word for
help to Opdalstole and returned again over the forty miles of
deep snow in seven hours, to carry brandy, food, and promise of
speedy aid.

When over-venturesome young Knute Sveggumsen broke through the
new thin ice of Utrovand, his cry for help brought the Storbuk to
the rescue; for he was the gentlest of his kind and always ready
to come at call.

He brought the drowning boy in triumph to the shore, and as they
crossed the Vand-dam stream, there was the Troll-bird to sing:

Good luck, good luck,
With the White Storbuk.

After which he disappeared for months--doubtless dived into some
subaqueous cave to feast and revel all winter; although Sveggum
did not believe it was so.

III

How often is the fate of kingdoms given into child hands, or even
committed to the care of Bird or Beast! A She-wolf nursed the
Roman Empire. A Wren pecking crumbs on a drum-head aroused the
Orange army, it is said, and ended the Stuart reign in Britain.
Little wonder, then, that to a noble Reindeer Buk should be
committed the fate of Norway: that the Troll on the wheel should
have reason in his rhyme.

These were troublous times in Scandinavia. Evil men, traitors at
heart, were sowing dissension between the brothers Norway and
Sweden. "Down with the Union!" was becoming the popular cry.

Oh, unwise peoples! If only you could have been by Sveggum's
wheel to hear the
Troll when he sang:

The Raven and the Lion
They held the Bear at bay;
But he picked the bones of both
When they quarrelled by the way.

Threats of civil war, of a fight for independence, were heard
throughout Norway. Meetings were held more or less secretly, and
at each of them was some one with well-filled pockets and glib
tongue, to enlarge on the country's wrongs, and promise
assistance from an outside irresistible power as soon as they
showed that they meant to strike for freedom. No one openly named
the power. That was not necessary; it was everywhere felt and
understood. Men who were real patriots began to believe in it.
Their country was wronged. Here was one to set her right. Men
whose honor was beyond question became secret agents of this
power. The state was honeycombed and mined; society was a tangle
of plots. The king was helpless, though his only wish was for the
people's welfare. Honest and straightforward, what could he do
against this far-reaching machination? The very advisers by his
side were corrupted through mistaken patriotism. The idea that
they were playing into the hands of the foreigner certainly never
entered into the minds of these dupes--at least, not those of the
rank and file. One or two, tried, selected, and bought by the
arch-enemy, knew the real object in view, and the chief of these
was Borgrevinck, a former lansman of Nordlands. A man of unusual
gifts, a member of the Storthing, a born leader, he might have
been prime minister long ago, but for the distrust inspired by
several unprincipled dealings. Soured by what he considered want
of appreciation, balked in his ambition, he was a ready tool when
the foreign agent sounded him. At first his patriotism had to be
sopped, but that necessity disappeared as the game went on, and
perhaps he alone, of the whole far-reaching conspiracy, was
prepared to strike at the Union for the benefit of the foreigner.

Plans were being perfected,--army officers being secretly misled
and won over by the specious talk of "their country's wrongs,"
and each move made Borgrevinck more surely the head of it
all,--when a quarrel between himself and the "deliverer" occurred
over the question of recompense. Wealth untold they were willing
to furnish; but regal power, never. The quarrel became more
acute. Borgrevinck continued to attend all meetings, but was ever
more careful to centre all power in himself, and even prepared to
turn round to the king's party if necessary to further his
ambition. The betrayal of his followers would purchase his own
safety. But proofs he must have, and he set about getting
signatures to a declaration of rights which was simply a veiled
confession of treason. Many of the leaders he had deluded into
signing this before the meeting at Laersdalsoren. Here they met
in the early winter, some twenty of the patriots, some of them
men of position, all of them men of brains and power. Here, in
the close and stifling parlor, they planned, discussed, and
questioned. Great hopes were expressed, great deeds were
forecast, in that stove-hot room.

Outside, against the fence, in the winter night, was a Great
White Reindeer, harnessed to a sled, but lying down with his head
doubled back on his side as he slept, calm, unthoughtful,
ox-like. Which seemed likelier to decide the nation's fate, the
earnest thinkers indoors, or the ox-like sleeper without? Which
seemed more vital to Israel, the bearded council in King Saul's
tent, or the light-hearted shepherd-boy hurling stones across the
brook at Bethlehem? At Laersdalsoren it was as before: deluded by
Borgrevinck's eloquent plausibility, all put their heads in the
noose, their lives and country in his hands, seeing in this
treacherous monster a very angel of self-sacrificing patriotism.
All? No, not all. Old Sveggum was there. He could neither read
nor write. That was his excuse for not signing. He could not read
a letter in a book, but he could read something of the hearts of
men. As the meeting broke up he whispered to Axel Tanberg: "Is
his own name on that paper?" And Axel, starting at the thought,
said: "No." Then said Sveggum: "I don't trust that man. They
ought to know of this at Nystuen." For there was to be the really
important meeting. But how to let them know was the riddle.
Borgrevinck was going there at once with his fast Horses.

Sveggum's eye twinkled as he nodded toward the Storbuk, standing
tied to the fence. Borgrevinck leaped into his sleigh and went
off at speed, for he was a man of energy. Sveggum took the bells
from the harness, untied the Reindeer, stepped into the pulk. He
swung the single rein, clucked to the Storbuk, and also turned
his head toward Nystuen. The fast Horses had a long start, but
before they had climbed the eastward hill Sveggum needs must
slack, so as not to overtake them. He held back till they came to
the turn above the woods at Maristuen; then he quit the road, and
up the river flat he sped the Buk, a farther way, but the only
way to bring them there ahead.

Squeak, crack-squeak, crack-squeak, crack--at regular intervals
from the great spreading snow-shoes of the Storbuk, and the
steady sough of his breath was like the Nordland as she passes up
the Hardanger Fjord. High up, on the smooth road to the left,
they could hear the jingle of the horse-bells and the shouting of
Borgrevinck's driver, who, under orders, was speeding hard for
Nystuen.

The highway was a short road and smooth, and the river valley was
long and rough; but when, in four hours, Borgrevinck got to
Nystuen, there in the throng was a face that he had just left at
Laersdalsoren. He appeared not to notice, though nothing ever
escaped him.

At Nystuen none of the men would sign. Some one had warned them.
This was serious; might be fatal at such a critical point. As he
thought it over, his suspicions turned more and more to Sveggum,
the old fool that could not write his name at Laersdalsoren. But
how did he get there before himself with his speedy Horses?

There was a dance at Nystuen that night; the dance was necessary
to mask the meeting; and during that Borgrevinck learned of the
swift White Ren.

The Nystuen trip had failed, thanks to the speed of the White
Buk. Borgrevinck must get to Bergen before word of this, or all
would be lost. There was only one way, to be sure of getting
there before any one else. Possibly word had already gone from
Laersdalsoren. But even at that, Borgrevinck could get there and
save himself, at the price of all Norway, if need be, provided he
went with the White Storbuk. He would not be denied. He was not
the man to give up a point, though it took all the influence he
could bring to bear, this time, to get old Sveggum's leave.

The Storbuk was quietly sleeping in the corral when Sveggum came
to bring him. He rose leisurely, hind legs first, stretched one,
then the other, curling his tail tight on his back as he did so,
shook the hay from the great antlers as though they were a bunch
of twigs, and slowly followed Sveggum at the end of the tight
halter. He was so sleepy and slow that Borgrevinck impatiently
gave him a kick, and got for response a short snort from the Buk,
and from Sveggum an earnest warning, both of which were somewhat
scornfully received. The tinkling bells on the harness had been
replaced, but Borgrevinck wanted them removed. He wished to go in
silence. Sveggum would not be left behind when his favorite Ren
went forth, so he was given a seat in the horse-sleigh which was
to follow, and the driver thereof received from his master a
secret hint to delay.

Then, with papers on his person to death-doom a multitude of
misguided men, with fiendish intentions in his heart as well as
the power to carry them out, and with the fate of Norway in his
hands, Borgrevinck was made secure in the sled, behind the White
Storbuk, and sped at dawn on his errand of desolation.

At the word from Sveggum the White Ren set off with a couple of
bounds that threw Borgrevinck back in the pulk. This angered him,
but he swallowed his wrath on seeing that it left the
horse-sleigh behind. He shook the line, shouted, and the Buk
settled down to a long, swinging trot. His broad hoofs clicked
double at every stride. His nostrils, out level, puffed steady
blasts of steam in the frosty morning as he settled to his pace.
The pulk's prow cut two long shears of snow, that swirled up over
man and sled till all were white. And the great ox-eyes of the
King Ren blazed joyously in the delight of motion, and of
conquest too, as the sound of the horse-bells faded far behind.

Even masterful Borgrevinck could not but mark with pleasure the
noble creature that had balked him last night and now was lending
its speed to his purpose; for it was his intention to arrive
hours before the horse-sleigh, if possible.

Up the rising road they sped as though downhill, and the driver's
spirits rose with the exhilarating speed. The snow groaned
ceaselessly under the prow of the pulk, and the frosty creaking
under the hoofs of the flying Ren was like the gritting of mighty
teeth. Then came the level stretch from Nystuen's hill to
Dalecarl's, and as they whirled by in the early day, little Carl
chanced to peep from a window, and got sight of the Great White
Ren in a white pulk with a white driver, just as it is in the
stories of the Giants, and clapped his hands, and cried, "Good,
good!"

But his grandfather, when he caught a glimpse of the white wonder
that went without even sound of bells, felt a cold chill in his
scalp, and went back to light a candle that he kept at the window
till the sun was high, for surely this was the Storbuk of
Jotunheim.

But the Ren whirled on, and the driver shook the reins and
thought only of Bergen. He struck the White Steed with the loose
end of the rope. The Buk gave three great snorts and three great
bounds, then faster went, and as they passed by Dyrskaur, where
the Giant sits on the edge, his head was muffled in scud, which
means that a storm is coming. The Storbuk knew it. He sniffed,
and eyed the sky with anxious look, and even slacked a little;
but Borgrevinck yelled at the speeding beast, though going yet as
none but he could go, and struck him once, twice, and thrice, and
harder yet. So the pulk was whirled along like a skiff in a
steamer's wake; but there was blood in the Storbuk's eye now; and
Borgrevinck was hard put to balance the sled. The miles flashed
by like roods till Sveggum's bridge appeared. The storm-wind now
was blowing, but there was the Troll. Whence came he now, none
knew, but there he was, hopping on the keystone and singing of

Norway's fate and Norway's luck,
Of the hiding Troll and the riding Buk.

Down the winding highway they came, curving inward as they swung
around the corner. At the voice on the bridge the Deer threw back
his ears and slackened his pace. Borgrevinck, not knowing whence
it came, struck savagely at the Ren. The red light gleamed in
those ox-like eyes. He snorted in anger and shook the great
horns, but he did not stop to avenge the blow. For him was a
vaster vengeance still. He onward sped as before, but from that
time Borgrevinck had lost all control. The one voice that the Ren
would hear had been left behind. They whirled aside, off the
road, before the bridge was reached. The pulk turned over, but
righted itself, and Borgrevinck would have been thrown out and
killed but for the straps. It was not to be so; it seemed rather
as though the every curse of Norway had been gathered into the
sled for a purpose. Bruised and battered, he reappeared. The
Troll from the bridge leaped lightly to the Storbuk's head, and
held on to the horns as he danced and sang his ancient song, and
a new song, too:

Ha! at last! Oh, lucky day,
Norway's curse to wipe away!

Borgrevinck was terrified and furious. He struck harder at the
Storbuk as he bounded over the rougher snow, and vainly tried to
control him. He lost his head in fear. He got out his knife, at
last, to strike at the wild Buk's hamstrings, but a blow from the
hoof sent it flying from his hand. Their speed on the road was
slow to that they now made: no longer striding at the trot, but
bounding madly, great five-stride bounds, the wretched
Borgrevinck strapped in the sled, alone and helpless through his
own contriving, screaming, cursing, and praying. The Storbuk with
bloodshot eyes, madly steaming, careered up the rugged ascent, up
to the broken, stormy Hoifjeld; mounting the hills as a Petrel
mounts the rollers, skimming the flats as a Fulmar skims the
shore, he followed the trail where his mother had first led his
tottering steps, up from the Vand-dam nook. He followed the old
familiar route that he had followed for five years, where the
white-winged Rype flies aside, where the black rock mountains,
shining white, come near and block the sky, "where the Reindeer
find their mysterie."

On like the little snow-wreath that the storm-wind sends dancing
before the storm, on like a whirlwind over the shoulder of
Suletind, over the knees of Torholmenbrae--the Giants that sit at
the gateway. Faster than man or beast could follow,
up--up--up--and on; and no one saw them go, but a Raven that
swooped behind, and flew as Raven never flew, and the Troll, the
same old Troll that sang by the Vand-dam, and now danced and sang
between the antlers:

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