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  Jerry of the Islands Jack London

Chapter XV

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For some time after the conclusion of the race, Bashti stood talking with his head men, Agno among them. Lenerengo was similarly engaged with several old cronies. As Jerry lay off to one side where she had forgotten him, the wild-dog he had bullied on the Arangi came up and sniffed at him. At first he sniffed at a distance, ready for instant flight. Then he drew cautiously closer. Jerry watched him with smouldering eyes. At the moment wild-dog's nose touched him, he uttered a warning growl. Wild-dog sprang back and whirled away in headlong flight for a score of yards before he learned that he was not pursued.

Again he came back cautiously, as it was the instinct in him to stalk wild game, crouching so close to the ground that almost his belly touched. He lifted and dropped his feet with the lithe softness of a cat, and from time to time glanced to right and to left as if in apprehension of some flank attack. A noisy outburst of boys' laughter in the distance caused him to crouch suddenly down, his claws thrust into the ground for purchase, his muscles tense springs for the leap he knew not in what direction, from the danger he knew not what that might threaten him. Then he identified the noise, know that no harm impended, and resumed his stealthy advance on the Irish terrier.

What might have happened there is no telling, for at that moment Bashti's eyes chanced to rest on the golden puppy for the first time since the capture of the Arangi. In the rush of events Bashti had forgotten the puppy.

"What name that fella dog?" he cried out sharply, causing wild-dog to crouch down again and attracting Lenerengo's attention.

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She cringed in fear to the ground before the terrible old chief and quavered a recital of the facts. Her good-for-nothing boy Lamai had picked the dog from the water. It had been the cause of much trouble in her house. But now Lamai had gone to live with the youths, and she was carrying the dog to Agno's house at Agno's express command.

"What name that dog stop along you?" Bashti demanded directly of Agno.

"Me kai-kai along him," came the answer. "Him fat fella dog. Him good fella dog kai-kai."

Into Bashti's alert old brain flashed an idea that had been long maturing.

"Him good fella dog too much," he announced. "Better you eat 'm bush fella dog," he advised, pointing at wild-dog.

Agno shook his head. "Bush fella dog no good kai-kai."

"Bush fella dog no good too much," was Bashti's judgment. "Bush fella dog too much fright. Plenty fella bush dog too much fright. White marster's dog no fright. Bush dog no fight. White marster's dog fight like hell. Bush dog run like hell. You look 'm eye belong you, you see."

Bashti stepped over to Jerry and cut the cords that tied his legs. And Jerry, upon his feet in a surge, was for once in too great haste to pause to give thanks. He hurled himself after wild-dog, caught him in mid-flight, and rolled him over and over in a cloud of dust. Ever wild-dog strove to escape, and ever Jerry cornered him, rolled him, and bit him, while Bashti applauded and called on his head men to behold.

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Jerry of the Islands
Jack London

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