[Frontispiece: "Jaws, monstrous and wet, grabbing at him in enraged
































"Jaws, monstrous and wet, grabbing at him in enraged confusion" . . .


"The owl had lost a foot on the turn

"A shrew-mouse, thirsting for blood, but who got poison instead"

"This one had simply streaked out of the night from nowhere"

"Landed full upon the dumbfounded water-vole--splash!"

"A 'silver tabby' floated among the twigs, looking for him"

"An angry eagle-owl"

"Turning over and over, in one long, sickening dive back to earth"

"That little black-headed fellow doing the stalking act upon that

python was great"

"Shooting straight upwards on the top of what appeared to have been a

submarine mine in a mild form"

"He clutched, and tore, and gulped, and gorged"

"All allowed that he was the pluckiest beast on earth"




If his father had been a brown bear and his mother a badger, the result

in outward appearance would have been Gulo, or something very much like

him. But not all the crossing in the world could have accounted for

his character; that came straight from the Devil, his master. Gulo,

however, was not a cross. He was himself, Gulo, the wolverine, _alias_

glutton, _alias_ carcajou, _alias_ quick-hatch, _alias_ fjeldfras in

the vernacular, or, officially, _Gulo luscus_. But, by whatever name

you called him, he did not smell sweet; and his character, too, was of

a bad odor. A great man once said that he was like a bear cub with a

superadded tail; but that great man cannot have seen his face. If he

had, he would have looked for his double among the fiends on the top of

Notre Dame. There was, in fact, nothing like him on this earth, only

in a very hot place not on the earth.

He was, in short, a beast with brains that only man, and no beast,

ought to be trusted with; and he had no soul. God alone knows if love,

which softens most creatures, had ever come to Gulo; his behavior

seemed to show that it had not. Perhaps love was afraid of him. And,

upon my soul, I don't wonder.

It was not, however, a hot, but a very cold, place in the pine-forest

where Gulo stood, and the unpitying moon cast a dainty tracery through

the tasseled roof upon the new and glistening snow around him--the snow

that comes early to those parts--and the north-east wind cut like

several razors. But Gulo did not seem to care. Wrapped up in his

ragged, long, untidy, uncleanly-looking, brown-black cloak--just his

gray-sided, black fiend's face poking out--he seemed warm enough. When

he lifted one paw to scratch, one saw that the murderous, scraping,

long claws of him were nearly white; and as he set his lips in a

devilish grin, his fangs glistened white in the moonlight, too.

Verily, this was no beast--he would have taped four feet and a quarter

from tip to tip, if you had worn chain-mail and dared to measure

him--no beast, I say, to handle with white-kid ball gloves. Things

were possible from him, one felt, that were not possible of any other

living creature--awful things.

Suddenly he looked up. The branches above him had stirred uneasily, as

if an army were asleep there. And an army was--of wood-pigeons.

Thousands upon thousands of wood-pigeons were asleep above his head,

come from Heaven knows where, going to--who could tell in the end?

All at once one fell. Without apparent reason or cause, it fell. And

the wolverine, with his quick, intelligent eyes, watched it fall, from

branch to branch, turning over and over--oh! so softly--to the ground.

When he had poked his way to it--walking flat-footed, like a bear or a

railway porter--it was dead. Slain in a breath! Without a flutter,

killed! By what? By disease--diphtheria. But not here would the

terrible drama be worked out. This was but an isolated victim, first

of the thousands that would presently succumb to the fell disease far,

far over there, to the westward, hundreds of miles away, in England and

Wales, perhaps, whither they were probably bound.

But the poor starved corpse, choked to death in the end maybe, was of

no use to the wolverine. As he sniffed it he found that out. The

thing was wasted to the bones even. And turning away from it--he

suddenly "froze" in his tracks where he stood.

One of those little wandering eddies which seem to meander about a

forest in an aimless sort of way, coming from and going now hither, as

if the breeze itself were lost among the still aisles, had touched his

wet muzzle; and its touch spelt--"Man!"

If it had been the taint of ten thousand deaths it could not have

affected him more. He became a beast cast in old, old bronze, and as

hard as bronze; and when he moved, it was stiffly, and all bristly, and

on end.

Animals have no counting of time. In the wild, things happen as

swiftly as a flash of light; or, perhaps, nothing happens at all for a

night, or a day, or half a week. Therefore I do not know exactly how

long that wolverine was encircling that scent, and pinning it down to a

certain spot--himself unseen. All animals, almost, can do that, but

none, not even the lynx or the wild cat, so well as the wolverine. He

is the one mammal that, in the wild, is a name only--a name to conjure


He found, in the end, that there was no man; but there _had_ been. He

found--showing himself again now--that a man--a hunter, a trapper, one

after fur--had made himself here a _cache_, a store under the earth;

and--well, the wolverine's great, bear-like claws seemed made for


He dug--and, be sure, if there had been any danger there he would have

known it. He dug like a North-Country miner, with swiftness and

precision, stopping every now and again to sit back on his haunches,

and, with humped shoulders, stare--scowl, I mean--round in his

lowering, low-browed fashion.

Once a bull-elk, nearly a six-footer, but he loomed large as an

elephant, came clacking past between the ranked tree-boles, stopping a

moment to straddle a sapling and browse; while the wolverine, sitting

motionless and wide-legged, watched him. Once a lynx, with its

eternal, set grin, floated by, half-seen, half-guessed, as if a wisp of

wood mist had broken loose and was floating about. Once a fox,

somewhere in the utter silence of the forest depths, barked a hoarse,

sharp, malicious sound; and once, hoarser still and very hollowly, a

great horned owl hooted with disconcerting suddenness. (The scream of

a rabbit followed these two, but whether fox or owl had been in at that

killing the wolverine never knew.) Twice a wood-hare turning now to

match the whiteness of its surroundings, finicked up one of the still,

silent forest lanes towards him, stopped, faced half-round, sat

"frozen" for a fraction, and vanished as if it were a puff of

wind-caught snow. (And, really, one had no idea till now that the

always apparentlylifeless forest could have been so full of life in

the dark hours.)

But all these things made no difference to the wolverine, to Gulo,

though he "froze" with habitual care to watch them--for your wild

creature rarely takes chances. Details must never be overlooked in the

wild. He dug on, and in digging came right to the _cache_, roofed and

anchored all down, safe beyond any invasion, with tree-trunks.

And--and, mark you, not being able to pull tree-trunks out of the

ground, and being too large to squeeze between them, he gnawed through

one! Gnawed through it, he did, and came down to the bazaar below.

So far, he had been only beast. Now we see why I said he had more

brains than were good for any animal except man.

He bit through the canvas, or whatever it was that protected the

_cached_ articles. He got his head inside. He felt about

purposefully, and backed out, dragging a trap with him. With it he

removed into the inky shadows, and it was never found again.

He returned. He thrust his head in a second time, got hold of

something, and backed out. It was another trap, and with it he

vanished also; and it, too, was never found. He returned, and went,

and a third trap went with him.

The fourth investigation revealed an ax. It he partly buried. The

fifth yielded a bag of flour, which he tore up and scattered all over

the place. The sixth inroad produced a haunch of venison, off which he

dined. The seventh showed another haunch, and this he buried somewhere

unseen in the shades. The eighth overhaul gave up some rope, in which

he nearly got himself entangled, and which he finally carried away,

bitten and frayed past use. The ninth search rewarded him with tea,

which he scattered, and bacon, which he buried.

What he could not drag out, he scattered. What he failed to remove, he

defiled. And, at last, when he had made of the place, not an orderly

_cache_, but a third-rate _debacle_, he sauntered, always slouching,

always grossly untidy, hump-backed, stooping, low-headed, and

droop-tailed, shabbily unrespectable, out into the night, and the

darkness of the night, under the trees.

By the time day dawned he was as if he never had been--a memory, no

more. Heaven knows where he was!

Gulo appeared quite suddenly and very early, for him, next afternoon,

beside some tangled brush on the edge of a clearing. He was sitting

up, almost bolt-upright, and he was shading his eyes with his forepaws.

A man could not have done more. And, in fact, he did not look like an

animal at all, but like some diabolically uncouth dwarf of the woods.

A squirrel was telling him, from a branch near by, just what everybody

thought of his disgraceful appearance; and two willow-grouse were

clucking at him from some hazel-tops; whilst a raven, black as coal

against the white of the woods, jabbed in gruff and very rude remarks

from time to time.

But Gulo was taking no notice of them. He was used to attentions of

that kind; it was a little compliment--of hate--they all paid him. He

was looking persistently down the ranked, narrowing perspective of the

buttressed forest glade to where it faded in the blue-gray mist,

southward, as if he expected something to come from there. Something

was coming from there now; and there had been a faint, uneasy sort of

whisper in that direction for some time. Now it was unmistakable.

A cow-elk, first of the wary ones to move on alarm, came trotting by,

her Roman nose held well out; a red-deer hind, galloping lightly like

some gigantic hare, her big ears turned astern; a wolf, head up,

hackles alift, alternately loping and pivoting, to listen and look

back, a wild reindeer, trotting heavily, but far more quickly than he

seemed to be--all these passed, now on one side, now on the other,

often only glimpses between the tree-boles, while the wolverine sat up

and shaded his eyes with his paws. Something was moving those beasts,

those haunters of the forest, and no little thing either. Something?


Very softly down the glade runs a waiting, watching shade,

And the whisper spreads and widens far and near;

And the sweat is on thy brow, for he passes even now--

He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear.

Down came Gulo in that grim silence which was, except for his domestic

arguments, characteristic of the beast, and trotted to a pool hard by.

The pool was spring-fed, and covered, as to every dead leaf and stone,

with fine green moss of incomparable softness. He drank swiftly and

long, then flung about with a half-insolent, half-aggressive wave of

his tail, and set off at a rolling, clumsy, shuffling shamble.

At ordinary times that deceiving gait would have left nearly everything

behind, but this afternoon it was different. Gulo had barely shed the

shelter of the dotted thickets before he realized, and one saw, the

fact. He broke his trot. He began to plunge. Nevertheless, he got

along. There was pace, of a sort. Certainly there was much effort.

He would have outdistanced you or me easily in no time, but it was not

you or I that came, and who could tell how fast that something might


The trouble was the snow--that was the rub, and a very big and serious

rub, too, for him. Now, if the snow had been a little less it would

not have mattered--a little more, and he could have run easily along

the hard crust of it; but it was as it was, only about two feet, just

enough to retard him, and no more. And it is then, when the snow is

like that, just above a couple of feet deep, that man can overtake

friend wolverine--if he knows the way. Most men don't. On that he

trusted. At any other time--but this was not any other time.

Sound carries a long way in those still parts, and as he hurried Gulo

heard, far, far behind in the forest, the faint, distant whir of a

cock-capercailzie--the feathered giant of the woods--rising. It was

only a whisper, almost indistinguishable to our ears, but enough, quite

enough, for him. Taken in conjunction with the mysterious shifting of

the elk and the red deer and the reindeer and the wolf, it was more

than enough. He increased his pace, and for the first time fear shone

in his eyes--it was for the first time, too, in his life, I think.

A lynx passed him, bounding along on enormous, furry legs. It looked

all legs, and as it turned its grinning countenance to look at him he

cursed it fluently, with a sudden savage growl, envious, perhaps, of

its long, springing hindlegs. Something, too--the same something--must

have moved the lynx, and Gulo shifted the faster for the knowledge.

Half-an-hour passed, an hour slid by, and all the time Gulo kicked the

miles behind him, with that dogged persistency that was part of his

character. Nothing had passed him for quite a while, and he was all

alone in the utterly still, silent forest and the snow, pad-pad-padding

along like a moving, squat machine rather than a beast.

  • poison [´pɔizən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.毒物 v.毒害 a.有毒的   (初中英语单词)
  • character [´kæriktə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.特性;性质;人物;字   (初中英语单词)
  • whatever [wɔt´evə] 移动到这儿单词发声  pron.&a.无论什么   (初中英语单词)
  • scratch [skrætʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.抓,搔;抓伤   (初中英语单词)
  • moonlight [´mu:nlait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&a.月光(的)   (初中英语单词)
  • apparent [ə´pærənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.显然的;表面上的   (初中英语单词)
  • intelligent [in´telidʒənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.聪明的;理智的   (初中英语单词)
  • victim [´viktim] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.牺牲者;受害者   (初中英语单词)
  • presently [´prezəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.不久;目前   (初中英语单词)
  • aimless [´eimlis] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.没有目标;无目的的   (初中英语单词)
  • hither [´hiðə] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.到此处   (初中英语单词)
  • breeze [bri:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.微风;不费力的事   (初中英语单词)
  • therefore [´ðeəfɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&conj.因此;所以   (初中英语单词)
  • hunter [´hʌntə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.猎人;猎狗;猎马   (初中英语单词)
  • scream [skri:m] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.尖叫(声)   (初中英语单词)
  • rabbit [´ræbit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.兔子,野兔   (初中英语单词)
  • rarely [´reəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.难得;非凡地   (初中英语单词)
  • canvas [´kænvəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.帆布;油画(布)   (初中英语单词)
  • thrust [θrʌst] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.猛推;冲;刺;挤进   (初中英语单词)
  • investigation [in,vesti´geiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.调查(研究)   (初中英语单词)
  • partly [´pɑ:tli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.部分地;不完全地   (初中英语单词)
  • squirrel [´skwirəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.松鼠   (初中英语单词)
  • lightly [´laitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.轻微地,稍微   (初中英语单词)
  • softly [´sɔftli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.软化地;柔和地   (初中英语单词)
  • waiting [´weitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.等候;伺候   (初中英语单词)
  • whisper [´wispə] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.耳语 n.低语;沙沙声   (初中英语单词)
  • swiftly [´swiftli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.迅速地,敏捷地   (初中英语单词)
  • barely [´beəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.公开地;仅仅   (初中英语单词)
  • plunge [plʌndʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.插进 n.投入;冲击   (初中英语单词)
  • nevertheless [,nevəðə´les] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.&ad.然而;不过   (初中英语单词)
  • feathered [´feðəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有羽毛的;羽状的   (初中英语单词)
  • mysterious [mi´stiəriəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.神秘的;难以理解的   (初中英语单词)
  • enormous [i´nɔ:məs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.巨大地,很,极   (初中英语单词)
  • countenance [´kauntinəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.面部表情;脸色;面容   (初中英语单词)
  • savage [´sævidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.野蛮的 n.蛮人   (初中英语单词)
  • monstrous [´mɔnstrəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.怪异的;庞大的   (高中英语单词)
  • badger [´bædʒə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.獾;獾皮(毛)   (高中英语单词)
  • outward [´autwəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.外面的 ad.向外   (高中英语单词)
  • dainty [´deinti] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.秀丽的 n.美味   (高中英语单词)
  • westward [´westwəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.向西的 n.西方;西部   (高中英语单词)
  • bronze [brɔnz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.青铜(器)   (高中英语单词)
  • stiffly [´stifli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.硬;顽固地   (高中英语单词)
  • unseen [,ʌn´si:n] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.未看见的   (高中英语单词)
  • fraction [´frækʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.小部分;一点儿   (高中英语单词)
  • apparently [ə´pærəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.显然,表面上地   (高中英语单词)
  • invasion [in´veiʒən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.入侵;侵害;侵犯   (高中英语单词)
  • squeeze [skwi:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.压榨,榨取   (高中英语单词)
  • whilst [wailst] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.当…时候;虽然   (高中英语单词)
  • uneasy [ʌn´i:zi] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不安的;不自在的   (高中英语单词)
  • gigantic [dʒai´gæntik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.巨大的   (高中英语单词)
  • characteristic [,kæriktə´ristik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.特有的 n.特性   (高中英语单词)
  • clumsy [´klʌmzi] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.笨拙的;粗俗的   (高中英语单词)
  • hurried [´hʌrid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.仓促的,慌忙的   (高中英语单词)
  • lawless [´lɔ:ləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无法无天的   (英语四级单词)
  • sickening [´sikəniŋ, ´sikniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.引起疾病的   (英语四级单词)
  • upwards [´ʌpwədz] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.=upward   (英语四级单词)
  • officially [ə´fiʃəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.以职员身份;正式   (英语四级单词)
  • murderous [´mə:dərəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.行凶的;势不可挡的   (英语四级单词)
  • corpse [kɔ:ps] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.尸体   (英语四级单词)
  • muzzle [´mʌzəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.枪口,炮口   (英语四级单词)
  • trapper [´træpə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.夹兽者   (英语四级单词)
  • lifeless [´laifləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无生命的,无生气的   (英语四级单词)
  • clearing [´kliəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(森林中的)空旷地   (英语四级单词)
  • alternately [ɔ:l´tə:nitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.交替地,轮流地   (英语四级单词)
  • reindeer [´reindiə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.驯鹿   (英语四级单词)
  • conjunction [kən´dʒʌŋkʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.联合;巧合;接近   (英语四级单词)
  • envious [´enviəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.妒忌的,羡慕的   (英语四级单词)
  • uneasily [ʌn´i:zili] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.不安地;局促地   (英语六级单词)
  • mammal [´mæməl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.哺乳动物   (英语六级单词)
  • swiftness [´swiftnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.迅速,敏捷   (英语六级单词)
  • sapling [´sæpliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.树苗,幼树   (英语六级单词)
  • browse [brauz] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.浏览 n.放牧   (英语六级单词)
  • malicious [mə´liʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.恶意的;预谋的   (英语六级单词)
  • habitual [hə´bitʃuəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.习惯的,通常的   (英语六级单词)
  • venison [´venisən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.鹿肉;野味   (英语六级单词)
  • uncouth [ʌn´ku:θ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.粗野的;笨拙的   (英语六级单词)
  • disgraceful [dis´greisful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可耻的;不光彩的   (英语六级单词)
  • taking [´teikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.迷人的 n.捕获物   (英语六级单词)
  • perspective [pə´spektiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.望远镜 a.透视的   (英语六级单词)
  • incomparable [in´kɔmpərəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无可比拟的   (英语六级单词)
  • softness [´sɔftnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.柔软;柔和;温柔   (英语六级单词)
  • retard [ri´tɑ:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.延迟 vt.阻止   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 18:47:07
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