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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Grizzly King: A Romance Of The Wild - Chapter 10
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The Grizzly King: A Romance Of The Wild - Chapter 10 Post by :runtonk Category :Long Stories Author :James Oliver Curwood Date :May 2012 Read :3421

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The Grizzly King: A Romance Of The Wild - Chapter 10

CHAPTER TEN

If it had not been for Langdon, this day of the fight between the two bears would have held still greater excitement and another and deadlier peril for Thor and Muskwa. Three minutes after the hunters had arrived breathless and sweating upon the scene of the sanguinary conflict Bruce was ready and anxious to continue the pursuit of Thor. He knew the big grizzly could not be far away; he was certain that Thor had gone up the mountain. He found signs of the grizzly's feet in the gravel of the coulee at just about the time Thor and the tan-faced cub struck the Bighorn Highway.

His arguments failed to move Langdon. Stirred to the depth of his soul by what he had seen, and what he saw about him now, the hunter-naturalist refused to leave the blood-stained and torn-up arena in which the grizzly and the black had fought their duel.

"If I knew that I was not going to fire a single shot, I would travel five thousand miles to see this," he said. "It's worth thinking about, and looking over, Bruce. The grizzly won't spoil. This will--in a few hours. If there's a story here we can dig out I want it."

Again and again Langdon went over the battlefield, noting the ripped-up ground, the big spots of dark-red stain, the strips of flayed skin, and the terrible wounds on the body of the dead black. For half an hour Bruce paid less attention to these things than he did to the carcass of the caribou. At the end of that time he called Langdon to the edge of the clump of balsams.

"You wanted the story," he said, "an' I've got it for you, Jimmy."

He entered the balsams and Langdon followed him. A few steps under the cover Bruce halted and pointed to the hollow in which Thor had cached his meat. The hollow was stained with blood.

"You was right in your guess, Jimmy," he said. "Our grizzly is a meat-eater. Last night he killed a caribou out there in the meadow. I know it was the grizzly that killed 'im an' not the black, because the tracks along the edge of the timber are grizzly tracks. Come on. I'll show you where 'e jumped the caribou!"

He led the way back into the meadow, and pointed out where Thor had dragged down the young bull. There were bits of flesh and a great deal of stain where he and Muskwa had feasted.

"He hid the carcass in the balsams after he had filled himself," went on Bruce. "This morning the black came along, smelled the meat, an' robbed the cache. Then back come the grizzly after his morning feed, an' that's what happened! There's yo'r story, Jimmy."

"And--he may come back again?" asked Langdon.

"Not on your life, he won't!" cried Bruce. "He wouldn't touch that carcass ag'in if he was starving. Just now this place is like poison to him."

After that Bruce left Langdon to meditate alone on the field of battle while he began trailing Thor. In the shade of the balsams Langdon wrote for a steady hour, frequently rising to establish new facts or verify others already discovered. Meanwhile the mountaineer made his way foot by foot up the coulee. Thor had left no blood, but where others would have seen nothing Bruce detected the signs of his passing. When he returned to where Langdon was completing his notes, his face wore a look of satisfaction.

"He went over the mount'in," he said briefly.

It was noon before they climbed over the volcanic quarry of rock and followed the Bighorn Highway to the point where Thor and Muskwa had watched the eagle and the sheep. They ate their lunch here, and scanned the valley through their glasses. Bruce was silent for a long time. Then he lowered his telescope, and turned to Langdon.

"I guess I've got his range pretty well figgered out," he said. "He runs these two valleys, an' we've got our camp too far south. See that timber down there? That's where our camp should be. What do you say to goin' back over the divide with our horses an' moving up here?"

"And leave our grizzly until to-morrow?"

Bruce nodded.

"We can't go after 'im and leave our horses tied up in the creek-bottom back there."

Langdon boxed his glasses and rose to his feet. Suddenly he grew rigid.

"What was that?"

"I didn't hear anything," said Bruce.

For a moment they stood side by side, listening. A gust of wind whistled about their ears. It died away.

"Hear it!" whispered Langdon, and his voice was filled with a sudden excitement.

"The dogs!" cried Bruce.

"Yes, the dogs!"

They leaned forward, their ears turned to the south, and faintly there came to them the distant, thrilling tongue of the Airedales!

Metoosin had come, and he was seeking them in the valley!

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CHAPTER ELEVENThor was on what the Indians call a _pimootao_. His brute mind had all at once added two and two together, and while perhaps he did not make four of it, his mental arithmetic was accurate enough to convince him that straight north was the road to travel.By the time Langdon and Bruce had reached the summit of the Bighorn Highway, and were listening to the distant tongueing of the dogs, little Muskwa was in abject despair. Following Thor had been like a game of tag with never a moment's rest.An hour after they left the sheep trail they came
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CHAPTER NINENeither Thor nor Muskwa went near the caribou meat after the big fight. Thor was in no condition to eat, and Muskwa was so filled with excitement and trembling that he could not swallow a mouthful. He continued to worry a strip of black hide, snarling and growling in his puny way, as though finishing what the other had begun.For many minutes the grizzly stood with his big head drooping, and the blood gathered in splashes under him. He was facing down the valley. There was almost no wind--so little that it was scarcely possible to tell from which direction
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