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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesKazan, The Wolf Dog - Chapter 27. The Call Of Sun Rock
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Kazan, The Wolf Dog - Chapter 27. The Call Of Sun Rock Post by :best4you Category :Long Stories Author :James Oliver Curwood Date :May 2012 Read :2896

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Kazan, The Wolf Dog - Chapter 27. The Call Of Sun Rock

CHAPTER XXVII. THE CALL OF SUN ROCK

In the golden glow of the autumn sun there came up the stream overlooked by the Sun Rock one day a man, a woman and a child in a canoe. Civilization had done for lovely Joan what it had done for many another wild flower transplanted from the depths of the wilderness. Her cheeks were thin. Her blue eyes had lost their luster. She coughed, and when she coughed the man looked at her with love and fear in his eyes. But now, slowly, the man had begun to see the transformation, and on the day their canoe pointed up the stream and into the wonderful valley that had been their home before the call of the distant city came to them, he noted the flush gathering once more in her cheeks, the fuller redness of her lips, and the gathering glow of happiness and content in her eyes. He laughed softly as he saw these things, and he blessed the forests. In the canoe she had leaned back, with her head almost against his shoulder, and he stopped paddling to draw her to him, and run his fingers through the soft golden masses of her hair.

"You are happy again, Joan," he laughed joyously. "The doctors were right. You are a part of the forests."

"Yes, I am happy," she whispered, and suddenly there came a little thrill into her voice, and she pointed to a white finger of sand running out into the stream. "Do you remember--years and years ago, it seems--that Kazan left us here? _She was on the sand over there, calling to him. Do you remember?" There was a little tremble about her mouth, and she added, "I wonder--where they--have gone."

The cabin was as they had left it. Only the crimson _bakneesh had grown up about it, and shrubs and tall grass had sprung up near its walls. Once more it took on life, and day by day the color came deeper into Joan's cheeks, and her voice was filled with its old wild sweetness of song. Joan's husband cleared the trails over his old trap-lines, and Joan and the little Joan, who romped and talked now, transformed the cabin into _home_. One night the man returned to the cabin late, and when he came in there was a glow of excitement in Joan's blue eyes, and a tremble in her voice when she greeted him.

"Did you hear it?" she asked. "Did you hear--_the call_?"

He nodded, stroking her soft hair.

"I was a mile back in the creek swamp," he said. "I heard it!"

Joan's hands clutched his arms.

"It wasn't Kazan," she said. "I would recognize _his voice. But it seemed to me it was like the other--the call that came that morning from the sand-bar, his _mate_?"

The man was thinking. Joan's fingers tightened. She was breathing a little quickly.

"Will you promise me this?" she asked, "Will you promise me that you will never hunt or trap for wolves?"

"I had thought of that," he replied. "I thought of it--after I heard the call. Yes, I will promise."

Joan's arms stole up about his neck.

"We loved Kazan," she whispered. "And you might kill him--or _her_"

Suddenly she stopped. Both listened. The door was a little ajar, and to them there came again the wailing mate-call of the wolf. Joan ran to the door. Her husband followed. Together they stood silent, and with tense breath Joan pointed over the starlit plain.

"Listen! Listen!" she commanded. "It's her cry, _and it came from the Sun Rock_!"

She ran out into the night, forgetting that the man was close behind her now, forgetting that little Joan was alone in her bed. And to them, from miles and miles across the plain, there came a wailing cry in answer--a cry that seemed a part of the wind, and that thrilled Joan until her breath broke in a strange sob.

Farther out on the plain she went and then stopped, with the golden glow of the autumn moon and the stars shimmering in her hair and eyes. It was many minutes before the cry came again, and then it was so near that Joan put her hands to her mouth, and her cry rang out over the plain as in the days of old.

"_Kazan! Kazan! Kazan_!"

At the top of the Sun Rock, Gray Wolf--gaunt and thinned by starvation--heard the woman's cry, and the call that was in her throat died away in a whine. And to the north a swiftly moving shadow stopped for a moment, and stood like a thing of rock under the starlight. It was Kazan. A strange fire leaped through his body. Every fiber of his brute understanding was afire with the knowledge that here was _home_. It was here, long ago, that he had lived, and loved, and fought--and all at once the dreams that had grown faded and indistinct in his memory came back to him as real living things. For, coming to him faintly over the plain, _he heard Joan's voice!_

In the starlight Joan stood, tense and white, when from out of the pale mists of the moon-glow he came to her, cringing on his belly, panting and wind-run, and with a strange whining note in his throat. And as Joan went to him, her arms reaching out, her lips sobbing his name over and over again, the man stood and looked down upon them with the wonder of a new and greater understanding in his face. He had no fear of the wolf-dog now. And as Joan's arms hugged Kazan's great shaggy head up to her he heard the whining gasping joy of the beast and the sobbing whispering voice of the girl, and with tensely gripped hands he faced the Sun Rock.

"My Gawd," he breathed. "I believe--it's so--"

As if in response to the thought in his mind, there came once more across the plain Gray Wolf's mate-seeking cry of grief and of loneliness. Swiftly as though struck by a lash Kazan was on his feet--oblivious of Joan's touch, of her voice, of the presence of the man. In another instant he was gone, and Joan flung herself against her husband's breast, and almost fiercely took his face between her two hands.

"_Now do you believe?" she cried pantingly. "_Now do you believe in the God of my world--the God I have lived with, the God that gives souls to the wild things, the God that--that has brought--us, all--together--once more--_home_!"

His arms closed gently about her.

"I believe, my Joan," he whispered.

"And you understand--now--what it means, 'Thou shalt not kill'?"

"Except that it brings us life--yes, I understand," he replied.

Her warm soft hands stroked his face. Her blue eyes, filled with the glory of the stars, looked up into his.

"Kazan and _she_--you and I--and the baby! Are you sorry--that we came back?" she asked.

So close he drew her against his breast that she did not hear the words he whispered in the soft warmth of her hair. And after that, for many hours, they sat in the starlight in front of the cabin door. But they did not hear again that lonely cry from the Sun Rock. Joan and her husband understood.

"He'll visit us again to-morrow," the man said at last. "Come, Joan, let us go to bed."

Together they entered the cabin.

And that night, side by side, Kazan and Gray Wolf hunted again in the moonlit plain.


(THE END)
James Oliver Curwood's novel: Kazan, the Wolf Dog

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