Short Stories » On Wolf Mountain

On Wolf Mountain - Page 7 of 7

Suddenly out of the gray fog and frost something emerged. Manitoo was hidden perfectly, but at that moment he detected with joy the smell of one of his own people. He sat up on his haunches awaiting the new- comer, and even gave a playful growl by way of friendly greeting.

The stranger stopped short as if frozen in her tracks, and Manitoo perceived a lovely maid of his tribe, robed in beautiful white snow over her gray coat. She understood the sign language of the handsome young man, with as nice a pair of eyes as she had ever seen in one of the wolf kind. She gave a yelp of glad surprise and sprang aside a pace or two.

Manitoo forgot his hunger and loneliness. He forgot even the hairy-faced men with the talking weapons. He lifted his splendid, bushy tail in a rollicking manner and stepped up to her. She raised her beautiful tail coquettishly and again leaped sidewise with affected timidity.

Manitoo now threw his head back to sniff the wind, and all the hair of his back rose up in a perpendicular brush. Under other circumstances this would be construed as a sign of great irritation, but this time it indicated the height of joy.

The wild courtship was brief. Soon both were satisfied and stood face to face, both with plumy tail erect and cocked head. Manitoo teasingly raised one of his forepaws. They did not know how long they stood there, and no one else can tell. The storm troubled them not at all, and all at once they discovered that the sun was shining!

If any had chanced to be near the Antelope's Leap at that moment, he would have seen a beautiful sight. The cliff formed by the abrupt ending of a little gulch was laced with stately pines, all clad in a heavy garment of snow. They stood like shapes of beauty robed in white and jewels, all fired by the sudden bursting forth of the after- noon sun.

The wolf maiden was beautiful ! Her robe was fringed with icicles which shone brilliant- ly as she stood there a bride. The last gust of wind was like the distant dying away of the wedding march, and the murmuring pines said Amen.

It was not heard by human ear, but according to the customs of the gray wolf clan it was then and there Manitoo promised to protect and hunt for his mate during their lifetime.

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