The call of the wild 野性的呼唤 - 3

The call of the wild 野性的呼唤 - 3

3 The wild animal

 

  The wild animal was strong in Buck, and as he travelled across the snow, it grew stronger and stronger. And as Buck grew stronger, he hated Spitz more and more, although he was careful never to start a fight.

  But Spitz was always showing his teeth to Buck, trying to start a fight. And Buck knew that if he and Spitz fought, one of them would die.

  The fight almost happened one night when they stopped by Lake Laberge.There was heavy snow and it was very cold.The lake was frozen and Francois, Perrault, and the dogs had to spend the night on the ice, under a big rock. Buck had made a warm hole in the snow and was sorry to leave it to get his piece of fish. But when he had eaten. and returned to his hole, he found Spitz in it. Buck had tried not to fight Spitz be-fore, but this was too much. He attacked him angrily. Spitz was surprised. He knew Buck was big, but he didn’ t know he was so wild. Francois was surprised too, and guessed why Buck was angry. ‘Go on Buck!’ he shouted.‘Fight him, the dirty thief!’

  Spitz was also ready to fight, and the two dogs circled one another, looking for the chance to jump in. But suddenly there was a shout from Perrault, and they saw eighty or a hundred dogs around the sledge. The dogs came from an Indian village,and they were searching for the food that they could smell on the sledge. Perrault and Francois tried to fight them off with their clubs, but the dogs, made crazy by the smell of the food,showed their teeth and fought back.

  Buck had never seed dogs like these. They were all skin and bone, but hunger made them fight like wild things.Three of them attacked Buck and in seconds his head and legs were bad-ly bitten.Dave and Sol-leks stood side by side,covered in blood,fighting bravely. Joe and Pike jumped on one dog,and Pike broke its neck with one bite.Buck caught another dog by the neck and tasted blood. He threw himself on the next one,and then felt teeth in his own neck.It was Spitz,attacking him from the side.

  Perrault and Francois came to help with clubs, but then they had to run back to save the food . It was safer for the nine sledge-dogs to run away across the lake. Several of them were badly hurt, and they spent an unhappy night hiding among the tress.

  At first light they returned to the sledge and found Perrault and Francois tired and angry.Half their food was gone.The Indian dogs had even eaten one of Perrault's shoes.Francois looked at his dogs unhappily.

  ‘Ah, my friends,’he said softly,‘Perhaps those bites will make you ill.What do you think, Perrault?’

  Perrault said nothing. They still had six hundred kilometres to travel, and he hoped very much that his sledge-dogs had not caught rabies from the Indian dogs.

  The harness was torn and damaged and it was two hours be-fore they were moving, travelling slowly and painfully over the most difficult country that they had been in.

  The Thirty Mile River was not frozen. It ran too fast to freeze. They spent six days trying to find a place to cross, and every step was dangerous for dogs and men. Twelve times they found ice bridges across the river, and Perrault walked carefully onto them, holding a long piece of wood. And twelve times he fell through a bridge and was saved by the piece of wood, which caught on the sides of the hole.But the tempera-ture was 45° below zero, and each time Perrault fell into the water, he had to light a fire to dry and warm himself. Once,the sledge fell through the ice, with Dave and Buck, and they were covered in ice by the time Perrault and Francois pulled them out of the river.Again, a fire was needed to save them.Another time, Spitz and the dogs in front fell through the ice—Buck and Dave and Francois at the sledge had to pull backwards.That day they travelled only four hundred metres.

  When they got to the Hootalinqua and good ice, Buck and the other dogs were very, very tired. But they were late, so Perrault made them run faster. In three days they went a hun-dred and eighty kilometres and reached the Five Fingers.

  The other dogs had hard feet from years of pulling sledges,but Buck's feet were still soft from his easy life down south.All day he ran painfully, and when they camped for the night,he lay down like a dead dog.He was hungry,but he was too tired to walk to the fish, so Francois brought it to him.One day Francois made four little shoes for him, and this made Buck much more comfortable. Francois forgot the shoes one morning, and Buck refused to move. He lay on his back with his feet in the air, until Francois put the shoes on. Later his feet grew harder and the shoes were not needed.

  One morning, at the Pelly River, a dog called Delly went suddenly mad. She howled long and loud like a wolf and then jumped at Buck. Buck ran, with Dolly one step behind him.She could not catch him, but he could not escape from her.They ran half a kilometre, and then Buck heard Francois call to him. He turned and ran towards the man, sure that Francois would save him. Francois stood ,holding his axe,and as Buck passed, the axe crashed down on Dolly's head.

  Buck fell down by the sledge, too tired to move. Immedi-ately, Spitz attacked him and bit his helpless enemy twice, as hard as he could. But Francois saw this, and gave Spitz a ter-rible beating for it.

  ‘He's a wild dog, that Spitz,’said Perrault.‘One day he'll kill Buck.’

  ‘Buck is wilder,’replied Francois.‘I've been watching him. One day he'll get very angry and he'll fight Spitz; and he'll win.’ Francois was right. Buck wanted to be lead-dog.Spitz knew this and hated him. Buck started to help the other dogs when Spitz punished them for being lazy.One morning, Pike refused to get up, and Spitz looked for him everywhere. When he found him, he jumped at him.But suddenly, Buck at-tacked Spitz. The other dogs saw this, and it became more and more difficult for Spitz to lead them.But the days passed without a chance for a fight, and soon they were pulling into Dawson City on a cold grey afternoon.

  They stayed in Dawson for seven days. When they left,Perrault was carrying some more very important papers, and he wanted to travel back as fast as possible.

  They travelled eighty kilometres the first day, and the same the second. But it was difficult work for Francois. Buck and Spitz hated each other, and the other dogs were not afraid of Spitz any more. One night Pike stole half a fish from Spitz,and ate it standing next to Buck. And every time Buck went near Spitz, he growled and the hair on his back stood up angri-ly. The other dogs fought in their harnesses and Francois often had to stop the sledge.He knew that Buck was the problem,but Buck was too clever for him and Francois never saw him actually starting a fight.

  One night in camp, the dogs saw a snow rabbit and in a sec-ond they were all chasing it, with Spitz in front. Nearby was another camp, with fifty dogs, who also Joined the chase. The rabbit was running fast on top of the snow, but the snow was soft, and it was more difficult for the dogs. When Spitz caught the rabbit, throwing it in the air with his teeth, Buck was just behind. Spitz stopped, and Buck hit him, very hard. The two dogs fell in the snow. Spitz bit Buck very quickly, twice, and then jumped away, watching carefully.

  The time had come, and Buck knew that either he or Spitz must die. They watched one another, circling slowly. Themoon was shining brightly on the snow, and in the cold still air not a leaf moved on the trees. The other dogs finished eating the rabbit and then turned to watch.

  Spitz was a good fighter. He was full of hate and anger, but he was also intelligent. Every time Buck tried to bite his throat, he met Spitz's own teeth. Then, each time Buck attacked, Spitz moved and bit him on the side as he passed.After a few minutes,Buck was covered in blood.

  He attacked again, but this time turned at the last minute and went under Spitz, biting his left front leg. The bone broke, and Spitz was standing on three legs. Buck tried to knock Spitz down, and then repeated his earlier attack and broke Spitz's right front leg.

  There was no hope for Spitz now. Buck got ready for his final attack, while the circle of sixty dogs watched, and crowded nearer and nearer, waiting for the end. At last Buck jumped, in and out, and Spitz went down in the snow. A second later the waiting pack was on top of him, and Spitz had disappeared. Buck stood and watched. The wild animal had made its kill.

 

3 野性

 

  巴克身上有着强烈的野性。当他在雪野上奔跑时,这野性也就越来越强烈。在他日益强壮的同时,虽然他加倍小心不挑起争端,他对斯皮兹的仇恨也与日俱增。

  但是斯皮兹却常常对着巴克龇牙咧嘴,试图找碴打架。巴克心中很清楚,两犬相争,必有一死。

  一天晚上,当他们停驻在雷伯格湖畔的时候,一场恶战一触即发。那里天寒地冻,积雪深厚。湖面冻住了,弗朗索瓦斯、佩诺特和狗们不得不在冰上的一个巨岩下过夜。巴克在雪下为自己做了一个暖和的洞穴,这使他很不情愿起身去吃掉自己的那份鱼。但当他吃完回到洞里时,发现斯皮兹已经占据了那里。以前,巴克总是避免同斯皮兹冲突。但这一次却忍无可忍,他愤怒地进攻了。斯皮兹吃了一惊。他知道巴克个头高大,却未料到他这样凶猛。弗朗索瓦斯也惊呆了,他猜到了巴克为什么生气。

  “上,巴克!”他喊道,“教训教训他,这下流坯。”

  斯皮兹做好了迎战的准备。两条狗一个接一个地兜着圈子,寻找出击的机会。但是突然,佩诺特叫了起来。然后他们看见有80到100多条狗围上了雪撬。这些狗来自一个印第安村落,他们在找食物时嗅到了雪撬。佩诺特和弗朗索瓦斯试图用木棍吓退他们,但是那些狗被食物的气味刺激地发了疯,他们露出牙齿进行反击。

  巴克从未看见过这样的狗。他们瘦骨嶙峋,但是饥饿使他们如野兽一样凶猛。其中3条狗进攻巴克。不过几秒钟,他的头和腿就受了重伤。戴夫和索拉克斯并肩作战,浴血奋斗。乔和派克扑倒了一条狗。派克一口咬开了他的脖子,巴克咬住了另一条狗的脖子,尝到了鲜血的滋味。他又扑向另一个,却觉得自己的脖子被咬住了,那是斯皮兹从边上偷袭他。

  佩诺特和弗朗索瓦斯手拿木棍来帮忙。但他们不得不跑回去看管食物。对于这9条拉雪撬的狗来说,从湖上逃开更安全些。因为其中几个已受了重伤。他们在树林中藏身,度过了一个不快的夜晚。

  在黎明第一道曙光中,他们回到了雪撬上,发现佩诺特和弗朗索瓦斯疲惫不堪,怒火中烧,他们一半食物都没有了。那群印第安狗甚至吃掉了佩诺特的一只鞋子。弗朗索瓦斯悲伤地看着他的狗。

  “唉,我的朋友们,”他轻声说道,“这些伤口可能会让你们难受的。你说呢,佩诺特?”

  佩诺特一言不发。他们仍然还有600公里路,他不希望自己的狗从印第安狗那里染上狂犬病。

  挽具也被扯得七零八落。他们花了两个小时才起程赶路。在他们旅途中最艰难的国度中缓慢而艰难地跋涉。

  “30里河”没有结冰,因为它的流速太快了。他们花了6天工夫企图找到一处过河的地方——每一步对于人和狗来说都险象环生。12次他们都发现了河上的冰桥,佩诺特小心翼翼地走上去,手持一块木板,12次他都跌了下来,幸而有木板的边缘撑住冰洞。佩诺特才得以生还。但是由于气温下降到零下45℃,所以佩诺特每次落水,都不得不生火烤干自己。一次,雪撬连带着戴夫,巴克一同跌到冰层下。当佩诺特和弗朗索瓦斯把他们救上来时,他们从头到脚都结了冰。他们不得不再次生火取暖。又一次,斯皮兹和前面的狗跌入了冰里——巴克、戴夫和雪撬上的弗朗索瓦斯不得不费力把他们拽回来,那天他们只走了400米。

  当他们到达呼塔林格时,冰层很厚,巴克和其余的狗已经筋疲力竭了。可是由于他们已经耽误了,所以佩诺特驱赶他们跑得更快一些。3天时间里,他们赶了180公里路,抵达一个叫“五指”的地方。

  别的狗由于长年拉雪橇,脚上已经磨出了茧子。但巴克的脚却由于在南方舒适的生活而非常娇嫩;一整天他都忍着痛苦奔跑,但当他们晚上安营休息时,他像死狗一样瘫在了地上。他饿极了,但极度的疲惫让他连起身吃鱼的力气都没有了。于是,弗朗索瓦斯把鱼拿过去喂给他吃。一天,弗朗索瓦斯做了4只小鞋给他。这使巴克比以前好受多了。一天早晨,弗朗索瓦斯忘记给他穿鞋子,巴克就四脚朝天地躺在地上拒绝动身,直到弗朗索瓦斯把鞋子给他穿上。后来他的脚比以前厚实多了,鞋子就不需要了。

  一天早晨,在派克河,一个叫多莉的狗突然发了疯。她像狼一样凄厉地长嗥着,向巴克扑去。巴克拔脚就逃,而多莉紧追不舍。她无法抓住他,但他同样不能摆脱她。他们追跑了半公里,巴克听见弗朗索瓦斯在叫他。他掉头向他跑去。他知道弗朗索瓦斯肯定是要救他。弗朗索瓦斯站在那里,拿着斧头,当巴克跑过去之后,他用斧子一下子劈碎了多莉的脑壳。

  巴克扑倒在雪撬上,疲惫地再也动弹不得。立刻,斯皮兹就偷袭了他,用尽全身的力气,狠狠地咬了他已经无力反抗的敌人。但弗朗索瓦斯看到了这一幕,他狠狠揍了斯皮兹一顿。

  “那个斯皮兹简直是条野狗”。佩诺特说,“总有一天他会杀了巴克的。”

  “巴克更野。”弗朗索瓦斯说道,“我总是在观察他,有一天他气极了就会和斯皮兹决一雌雄的,我包他会赢。”

  弗朗索瓦斯说对了,巴克想做一名头狗。斯皮兹知道这一点并因此而憎恨他。当别的狗由于偷懒而受到斯皮兹的惩罚时,巴克却纵容他们。有个早晨,巴克不愿起来,斯皮兹到处找他。当被他发现了之后,斯皮兹立刻就扑了过去;但突然,巴克袭击了他,其它的狗都看出了他们的对立,对斯皮兹来说领导他们越来越难了。但是,时间一天天地过去,他们没有机会打架。不久,在一个灰冷的下午,他们到达了道桑镇。

  他们在道桑逗留了7天。离开的时候,佩诺特带了更多极其重要的文件,他希望能够尽早赶回去。

  第一天,他们赶了80公里路,第二天如是。但对于弗朗索瓦斯来说却是件苦差。巴克和斯皮兹彼此仇恨。而斯皮兹对其余的狗来说也失去了他的权威性。一天晚上,派克从斯皮兹那里偷了半条鱼,公然站在巴克旁边吃起来。每一次巴克接近斯皮兹的时候,他就会咆哮起来,背上的毛发愤怒地倒竖起来。其余的狗也套着挽具打架。弗朗索瓦斯经常要停下来,他知道问题出在巴克身上,但是巴克非常聪明,弗朗索瓦斯从未抓住他挑起事端的时候。

  一天晚上在营地,狗群发现了一只雪兔。立刻他们就开始追逐,斯皮兹打头。附近还有另一个营地,那儿的50条狗也加入了追逐的行列。兔子在雪地上迅速地飞掠而过,但松软的雪却不利于狗的奔跑,当斯皮兹擒住雪兔时,他用牙齿叨住它又把它扔到了空中,巴克随后也赶到了。斯皮兹停住脚,巴克凶猛地扑了过来。两只狗在雪地上翻滚。斯皮兹迅速地咬了巴克两次,然后跳开,仔细地观察着。

  机会终于来了。巴克知道他和斯皮兹中有一个必死无疑,他们观察着对方,慢慢地兜着圈子。明亮的月光映着雪野,空气冰冷静止,甚至连树上的叶子也纹丝不动。其余的狗吃完了雪兔也转过身来观阵。

  斯皮兹是一个打架的好手。他尽管满腹怒火和仇恨,却同时非常机智。而每次巴克试图咬他的咽喉时,他就会撞上斯皮兹的牙齿。然后,每一次巴克袭击时,斯皮兹让过他,然后在他擦身而过时在另一边咬他。不消几分钟,巴克就浑身是血。他再次出击,但在最后关头他突然掉头扑向斯皮兹的下身,咬住了他的左前腿。骨头被咬碎了,斯皮兹3条腿站在那里。巴克试图把斯皮兹撞倒,然后像前一次出击一样,咬碎了斯皮兹的右前腿。

  现在斯皮兹已回天乏术。巴克业已做好最后一击的准备。而另外60条狗围成一圈观望着,躁动着越来越近,等着战斗的尾声。最后巴克跳起来,一进一退之时,斯皮兹已倒在雪地上,不过一秒钟光景他就葬身在狗群之下了,斯皮兹从此渺无踪影。巴克站在那里冷眼旁观。这野性的动物终于完成了他的捕杀。