The call of the wild 野性的呼唤 - 7

The call of the wild 野性的呼唤 - 7

7 The call of the wild


  In five minutes Buck had made fourteen hundred dollars for Thornton and his friends.The money made it possi ble for them to travel east,where they wanted to look for a lost gold mine.Men said that this mine had more gold than any other mine in the north. Many had looked for it,and some had died looking for it.The only men who knew where it was were now dead.

  Thornton,Pete and Hans,with Buck and six other dogs,started off to the east in the spring.They travelled up the Stewart River and crossed the Mackenzie Mountains.They did not move quickly;the weather was good,and!the men shot animals for food when they needed it.Sometimes they travelled for a week,and sometimes they stopped for a week and searched for gold in the ground.Sometimes they were hungry,and sometimes they had lots of food.They spent all the summer in the mountains,carrying everything they needed on their backs,sometimes making boats to go down rivers or across lakes.

  In the autumn they came to a strange,flat country,with many lakes.They travelled on through the winter and met nobody,but once they found an old wooden house,with an old gun in it.

  When the spring came,they found,not the lost mine,but a lake in a wide valley.Through the shallow water the gold showed like yellow butter, and here their search ended.There was gold worth thousands of dollars in the lake,and they worked every day,filling bag after bag with gold.

  The dogs had nothing to do except watch the men and eat the food which the men shot for them.Buck spent many evenings sitting by the fire.

  As he sat,he saw again his dream world,where the strange hairy man sat next to him.He also heard something calling him into the forest.Sometimes,in the middle of the day,he lifted his head and listened,and then ran off into the forest.

  One night he woke up and heard the call again,a long howl.He ran into the forest,following the sound,and came to an open place in the trees.And there, his nose pointing to the sky,sat a wolf.

  The wolf stopped howling and Buck walked slowly towards him.The wolf ran, and Buck followed.After a time,the wolf stopped and waited,watching Buck,ready to attack.But Buck did not want to fight,and soon the wolf realized this,and the two animals became friendly.Then the wolf started to run again,and he clearly wanted Buck to follow him.They ran for hours through the forest,and Buck remembered again his dream world where he,and others like him,had run through a much older forest.

  Then they stopped to drink,and Buck remembered John Thornton.He turned and started to run back.The wolf followed him,then stopped and howled, but Buck ran on and did not turn.

  Thornton was eating dinner when Buck returned.Buck jumped all over him,and for two days never left his side.He followed him every where,watching him while he ate and while he slept.But after two days the call of the wild came again,and he remembered the forest and the wolf who had run beside him.

  He started to sleep out in the forest at night,sometimes staying out for three or four days.Once he was away for a week,fishing and killing animals for food.He ate well,and he grew stronger and quicker and more alive.His golden brown coat shone with health as he ran through the forest,learning its every secret,every smell,and every sound.

  ‘He's the finest dog that I've ever seen,’said Thornton to his friends one day as they watched Buck walking out of camp.

  ‘There’11 never be another dog like him,’said Pete.

  They saw him walking out of camp but they didn't see the change that happened when he was inside the forest.At once he became a thing of the wild,stepping softly and silently,a passing shadow among the trees.

  In the autumn,Buck started to see moose in the forest.One day he met a group of about twenty.The largest was two me tres tall,and his antlers were more than two metres across.When he saw Buck, he got very angry. For hours Buck fol lowed the moose;he wanted the big one,but he wanted him alone.By the evening Buck had driven the big old moose away from the others,and then he began his attack.The animal weighed six hundred and fifty kilos—he was big enough and strong enough to kill Buck in seconds.Patiently,Buck fol lowed him for four days,attacking and then jumping away.He gave him no peace,no time to eat or drink or rest, and slowly the moose became weaker.At the end of the fourth day Buck pulled the moose down and killed him.He stayed by the dead animal for a day and a half,eating,and then turned towards camp and John Thornton.

  Five kilometres from the camp,he smelt something strange.Something was wrong.He started to run.After a few hundred metres he found the dead body of Blackie,with an arrow through his side.Then he found another sledge-dog,dying,with an arrow in his neck.

  Buck was near the camp now,and he could hear voices singing.Then he saw the body of Hans,lying on his face,with ten or fifteen arrows in his back.Buck was suddenly filled with a wild,burning anger.

  The yeehats were dancing around the camp,when they heard a deep and terrible growling.Buck came out of the trees faster than the north wind,and threw himself on the Yeehats like a mad dog He jumped at the first man,and tore out his throat,killing him at once.He jumped onto a second,then a third man,going each time for the throat.The Yeehats could neither escape nor use their arrows.Buck moved like a storm among them,tearing,biting,destroying,in a madness that he had never known before.Nothing could stop him,and soon the Yeehats were running,wild with fear,back to the forest Buck followed for some time,then returned to the camp.

  He found Pete,killed in his bed. He followed Thornton's smell to a deep pool,and found Skeet lying dead by the edge.Thornton's body was somewhere under the water.

  All day Buck stayed by the pool or walked restlessly round the camp. But when the evening came, he heard new sounds from the forest;the wolves had come south for the winter,and were moving into Buck's valley.They came into the camp in the moonlight,and Buck stood silently,waiting for them.Suddenly,the bravest wolf jumped at Buck.In a second,Buck had bitten,and then stood still again.The wolf was dead behind him.Three more wolves jumped at him,and were killed.

  Then the pack attacked in a crowd all at once.But not one of them could bring Buck down;he was too quick,too strong,too clever for them all.After half an hour the pack stopped attacking and moved away.Then one wolf moved forward slowly, in a friendly way;it was the wolf that Buck had met before in the forest.They touched noses.Then another wolf came forward to make friends,and another.Soon the pack was all around Buck,and the call of the wild was loud in Buck's ears.And when the wolves moved on, back into the forest,Buck ran with them,side by side

  That is perhaps the end of Buck's story.But after a few years,the Yeehats noticed that some of the wolves had golden brown in their grey coats.They also talked of a Ghost Dog that ran at the head of the pack.

  And sometimes men were found dead,killed by the teeth of a terrible animal.And each autumn,when the Yeehats follow the moose,there is one valley that they will not go into.

In the summers there is one visitor to that valley: a large,golden-brown wolf,larger than any other wolf.He walks alone round the lake where the yellow gold shines in the water, and howls.But he is not always alone.In the long winter nights,he runs at the head of the wolf pack through the moonlight,calling into the night with them,singing a song from a younger world.

7 野性的呼唤