The call of the wild 野性的呼唤 - 2

The call of the wild 野性的呼唤 - 2

2 The law of club and tooth

 

  Buck's first day at Dyea Beach was terrible. Every hour there was some new, frightening surprise. There was no peace, no rest—only continual noise and movement. And every minute there was danger, because these dogs and men were not town dogs and men. They knew only the law of club and tooth.

  Buck had never seen dogs fight like these dogs; they were like wolves. In a few minutes he learnt this from watching Curly. She tried to make friends with a dog, a big one, al-though not as big as she was. There was no warning. The dog jumped on Curly, his teeth closed together, then he jumped away,and Curly's face was torn open from eye to mouth.

  Wolves fight like this,biting and jumping away,but the fight did not finish then. Thirty or forty more dogs ran up and made a circle around the fight, watching silently. Curly tried to attack the dog who had bitten her; he bit her a second time, and jumped away. When she attacked him again, he knocked her backwards, and she fell on the ground. She never stood up again, because this was what the other dogs were waiting for. They moved in, and in a moment she was under a crowd of dogs.

  It was all very sudden. Buck saw Spitz run out from the crowd with his tongue out of his mouth, laughing. Then he saw Francois with an axe, and two or three other men with clubs jump in among the dogs. Two minutes later the last of the dogs was chased away. But Curly lay dead in the snow,her body torn almost to pieces.Curly's death often came backto Buck in his dreams. He understood that once a dog was down on the ground, he was dead He also remembered Spitz laughing, and from that moment he hated him.

  Then Buck had another surprise. Francois put a harness on him. Buck had seen harnesses on horses, and now he was made to work like a horse, pulling Francois on a sledge into the forest and returning with wood for the fire. Buck worked with Spitz and Dave.The two other dogs had worked in a har-ness before, and Buck learnt by watching them. He also learnt to stop and turn when Francois shouted.

  ‘Those three are very good dogs,’Francois told Perrault.‘That Buck pulls very well, and he's learning quickly.’

  Perrault had important letters and official papers to take to Dawson City, so that afternoon he bought two more dogs, two brothers called Billee and Joe.Billee was very friendly, but Joe was the opposite. In the evening Perrault bought one more dog, an old dog with one eye .His name was Sol-leks, which means The Angry One. Like Dave, he made no friends; all he wanted was to be alone.

  That night Buck discovered another problem. Where was he going to sleep?Francois and Perrault were in their tent, but when he went in, they shouted angrily and threw things at him.Outside it was very cold and windy. He lay down in the snow, but he was too cold to sleep.

  He walked around the tents trying to find the other dogs.But, to his surprise, they had disappeared. He walked around Perrault's tent,very, very cold, wondering what to do. Sud-denly, the snow under his feet fell in, and he felt something move. He jumped back, waiting for the attack, but heard on-ly a friendly bark. There, in a warm hole under the snow,was Billee.

  So that was what you had to do. Buck chose a place, dug himself a hole and in a minute he was warm and asleep. He slept well, although his dreams were bad.

  When he woke up, at first he did not know where he was.It had snowed in the night and the snow now lay thick and heavy above him. Suddenly he was afraid—the fear of a wild animal when it is caught and cannot escape. Growling, he threw himself at the snow, and a moment later, he had jumped upwards into the daylight. He saw the tents and re-membered everything, from the time he had gone for a walk with Manuel to the moment he had dug the hole the night before. ‘What did I say?’ shouted Francois to Perrault, when he saw Buck come up out of the snow.‘That Buck learns quickly.’

  Perrault smiled slowly. He was carrying important papers,and he needed good dogs. He was very pleased to have Buck.

  They bought three more dogs that morning, and a quarter of an hour later all nine dogs were in harness and on their way up the Dyea Canyon. Buck was not sorry to be moving, and although it was hard work, he almost enjoyed it. He was also surprised to see that Dave and Sol-leks no longer looked bored and miserable.Pulling in a harness was their job, and they were happy to do it.

  Dave was sledge-dog, the dog nearest to the sledge.In front of him was Buck, then came Sol-leks. In front of them were the six other dogs, with Spitz as leader at the front. Francois had put Buck between Dave and Sol-leks because they could teach him the work.Buck learnt well,and they were good teachers. When Buck pulled the wrong way, Dave always bit his leg, but only lightly. Once, when they stopped, Buck got tied up in his harness, and it took ten minutes to get started again.Both Dave and Sol-leks gave him a good beating for that mistake. Buck understood, and was more careful after that.

  It was a hard day's journey, up the Dyea Canyon and into the mountains. They camped that night at Lake Bennett.Here there were thousands of gold miners.They were building boats to sail up the lake when the ice melted in the spring.Buck made his hole in the snow and slept well, but was woken up very early and harnessed to the sledge. The first day they had travelled on snow that had been hardened by many sledges and they covered sixty kilometres. But the next day, and for days afterwards, they were on new snow. The work was harder and they went slowly. Usually, Perrault went in front,on snowshoes, flattening the snow a little for the dogs.Francois stayed by the sledge. Sometimes the two men changed places, but there were many small lakes and rivers,and Perrault understood ice better. He always knew when the ice across a river was very thin.

  Day after day Buck pulled in his harness.They started in the morning before it was light, and they stopped in the evening after dark, ate a piece of fish, and went to sleep in their holes under the snow. Buck was always hungry. Francoisgave him 750 grams of dried fish a day, and it was never enough. The other dogs were given only 500 grams; they were smaller and could stay dive on less food.

  Buck learnt to eat quickly; if he was too slow, the other dogs stole his food. He saw Pike, one of the new dogs, steal some meat from the sledge when Perrault wasn't looking.The next day Buck stole some and got away unseen. Perrault was very angry, but he thought another dog, Dub, had taken it and so punished him instead of Buck.

  Buck was learning how to live in the north. In the south he had never stolen, but there he had never been so hungry. He stole cleverly and secretly, remembering the beatings from the man with the club.

  Buck was learning the law of club and tooth.

  He learnt to eat any food—anything that he could get his teeth into. He learnt to break the ice on water holes with his feet when he wanted to drink He was stronger, harder, and could see and smell better than ever before .In a way,he was remembering back to the days when wild dogs travelled in packs through the forest, killing for meat as they went.It was easy for him to learn to fight like a wolf, because it was in his blood. In the evenings, when he pointed his nose at the moon and howled long and loud, he was remembering the dogs and wolves that had come before him.

 

2 暴力原则

 

  巴克在戴依海岸的第一天糟透了。每时每刻都会有令他惊恐而又新奇的东西。这里没有静谧,也没有休憩——只有无休止的喧嚣和来来往往。在这里每一分钟都会有危险,因为这些人和狗都不是来自城镇,他们只承认大棒和牙齿。

  巴克从未见过像这群狗一样争斗的狗,他们像狼一样凶狠。不过几分钟,他便从科莉的遭遇中悟出了这个道理。她试图同一只狗做朋友,一只大狗,虽然他不及科莉块头大;但连警告都没有,这狗猛地扑向科莉,犬牙交错。然后他跳到一边,而科莉的脸从眼睛到嘴都被撕开了。

  只有狼才这样攻击、撕咬和跳开,但是战斗并未结束。三四十条狗跑过来,围着战场站成一圈,静静地观望着。科莉竭力想反击那条咬她的狗;他又一次咬住了她,然后跳开。当她再度进攻时,他把她向后撞倒在地。她再也没有站起来,因为这正是其它的狗等待的。他们冲了进来,然后不消一会儿,她就葬身在数条狗的撕扯践踏之下了。

  这一切都发生得那么突然。巴克看见斯皮兹从狗群中跑出来,耷拉着舌头,脸上还挂着微笑。然后他看见弗朗索瓦斯手拿斧头和另外两三人拿着木棍跳进狗群。两分钟之后,最后一只狗也被赶开了。但是科莉已经倒死在雪地上,她几乎被撕成了碎片。科莉之死后来常常出现在巴克的梦中。他明白一旦一条狗倒在地上,就意味着死去。他还记得斯皮兹的笑容,从那时起,他对他生出一种仇恨来。

  这之后,巴克又有了一个新的惊奇。弗朗索瓦斯把挽具套到他的身上。巴克以前只看见马被套上马具,而现在他不得不像马一样工作了,把弗朗索瓦斯用雪撬拉进森林然后再装满食物拉回来做饭吃。巴克和斯皮兹还有戴夫一起工作。这两条狗以前拉过雪撬,于是巴克就通过模仿他们来学习。他还学会了听从弗朗索瓦斯的指示停步和转弯。

  “这三条狗可真不赖,”弗朗索瓦斯告诉佩诺特,“那个巴克拉得非常好,他一学就会。”

  佩诺特要把一些重要的信件和官方文件带到道桑镇去,所以那天下午他又买了两只狗。这两个是同胞兄弟,分别叫贝利和乔。贝利性情很随和,乔则正相反。一天晚上,佩诺特又买了一只独眼老狗,他叫索拉克斯,意思是“愤怒者”,同戴夫一样,他喜欢独来独往,没有朋友。

  晚上巴克遇到另一个难题。他该去哪儿睡觉呢?弗朗索瓦斯和佩诺特睡在帐篷里,可是当他走进去时,他们生气地冲他叫嚷着,扔东西撵他。外面是酷冷和狂风的世界。他躺在雪地上,冻得睡不着。

  他围着帐篷打转儿,想找到自己的同伴。但是,让他吃惊的是,所有的狗都不见了踪影。他围着佩诺特的帐篷走着,他是何等的寒冷啊,可是他却不知所措。突然,他脚下的雪地塌陷了下去,他踩在一个活物上。他跳回去,等着一场恶斗。但是他却听见一声友好的低吠。原来是贝利躺在雪地下一个温暖的洞穴里。

  这就是不得已而为之的事情。巴克选了一个地方,挖了一个洞,不一会儿他就又暖和又瞌睡。他睡得很香,尽管做了很多恶梦。

  当他醒过来的时候,起初不知自己身在何处。雪下了一整夜,积雪又厚又重地压在身上。蓦地,他感到了恐惧——一种野兽被抓住而无从脱身的恐惧。咆哮着,他用身体撞着积雪。一会儿,他就跳了上来,外面已经是白昼了。他看见帐篷,记起了发生的每一件事,从他和曼纽埃勒散步的那一刻起直到前一夜他挖洞睡觉的时候。

  “我说什么来着,”弗朗索瓦斯看见巴克从雪中跳出来时嚷道。“那个巴克一学就会!”

  佩诺特慢慢地绽开了笑容。他随身带着重要的文件,他需要优秀的狗。有巴克在着实令他高兴。

  那个早晨,他们又买了3条狗。一小时又一刻钟之后,9条狗都套上了挽具,直奔泰依峡谷而去。巴克并不觉得奔跑是一件坏事情,虽然这活儿不轻,他却几乎着了迷。让他更惊奇的是他看到戴夫和索拉克斯不再萎靡不振,无精打采。套上挽具拉雪撬是他们的工作,他们是乐此不疲的。

  戴夫最靠近雪撬,也就是所谓的雪撬狗。他前面是巴克,后面是索拉克斯。他们前面是另外6条狗,斯皮兹跑在最前头,他是领队。弗朗索瓦斯把巴克放到戴夫和索拉克斯之间,因为他们能教他如何工作。巴克学的很快,而他俩也是好老师。当巴克拉错了的时候,戴夫就咬他的腿,但只是轻轻的。有一次,当他们停下来时,巴克在挽具里扭了结,他们花了10分钟才起程。戴夫和索拉克斯为此狠狠揍了他一顿,但巴克自知罪责难逃,从此加倍小心。

  这一天旅途异常辛劳,翻过泰依峡谷进入山区。那晚他们在贝耐湖湖边宿营。这儿有成千上万的淘金者。他们正在制造小船准备着春天冰雪消融时过河。巴克挖了一个雪洞,美美地睡了一觉,但他很早就被叫起来套上挽具拉雪撬。第一天,他们在雪地里奔波,雪已经被数百个雪撬碾过,压得结结实实的,他们赶了60公里路。但是第二天和以后的日子里,他们在新雪上奔跑。21这工作非常辛苦,他们进程缓慢。通常是由佩诺特穿着雪地靴走在前面,为狗把雪地踏得平实一些。弗朗索瓦斯呆在雪撬上,有时他们调换一下。但佩诺特对付冰比较在行,而路上有许多小湖泊和河流。他总是知道什么时候河上的冰层最薄。

  巴克日复一日地拉着雪撬。他们天不亮就起程,直走到日落西山才停下来,吃一点鱼,然后钻到雪洞里睡觉。巴克总是吃不饱。弗朗索瓦斯一天喂给他750克干鱼,但他仍然不够吃。其余的狗每天只能得到500克鱼吃;他们体型较小,进食少一些仍可以生存。

  巴克学会了快速进食;因为如果他吃的慢了,别的狗就会偷他的食物吃。他见到新来的狗中一只叫派克的狗趁佩诺特没看见时从雪撬上偷肉吃。第二天巴克也偷了嘴,但没有被发觉。佩诺特非常生气,但他还以为是另一条叫达布的狗干的,他教训了它一顿,而巴克得以幸免。

  巴克适应了北方的生存方式。在南方他从未于过偷窃的行当,但在那儿他也从来不用饿肚子。他偷得巧妙又隐蔽,牢牢记着那个拿大棒的男人给他的痛打。巴克正在学会如何对付大棒和牙齿。

  他学会了吃各种食物——吃只要他咬得动的任何一种东西。他学会了用脚破冰取水来解渴。他变得更加强壮、威猛,嗅觉和视觉也比以前更发达了。从某种意义上说,他逐渐地恢复野性,像以前的野狗一样穿梭在丛林中捕食。对他来说,学会像狼一样厮杀易如反掌,因为这是与他血脉相通的本性。晚上,当他仰首望月,凄厉地长嗥时,他记起来他的祖先。