فصل 07

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فصل 07

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER SEVEN

For the Love of a Man

Only five dogs reached John Thornton’s camp: Joe, Pike, Solleks, Teek and Buck. They fell on the ground and could not move. They were almost dead.

It was nearly the end of winter and it was a beautiful day. John Thornton was repairing an axe.

“Is it safe to cross the river here?” asked Hal. “Oh no, it’s very dangerous. The ice is too thin,” answered Thornton.

Hal looked at him and said, “I don’t believe you. We must go to Dawson.”

He took his whip and cried, “Come on, Buck! Let’s go!” Thornton knew these people were stupid and did not understand. The team did not move. After a while Solleks slowly stood up. Joe was crying but he stood up. Pike tried twice and fell down. The third time he stood up. Buck did not try. Hal whipped him but Buck did not move.

Thornton wanted to speak but he did not. Hal was furious and took the club. He hit Buck again and again. But Buck did not want to stand up. He had a strange feeling of doom. He saw thin ice in front of him. After so much suffering he did not feel the club.

Then suddenly Thornton jumped on Hal and threw him to the ground.

“Don’t hit that dog again or I’ll kill you,” Thornton cried.

“It’s my dog,” said Hal. “Go away or I’ll hit you too. I’m going to Dawson.”

Thornton stood between him and Buck. Hal took out his long knife. Thornton knocked it out of Hal’s hand. Then Thornton picked it up and cut Buck’s harness.

Hal did not want to fight. Buck was almost dead. A few minutes later Hal and the sled went along the river. Buck raised his head and saw Pike, Solleks, Joe and Teek pulling the sled. Thornton examined Buck’s body. He was looking for broken bones. Buck was terribly thin and weak.

“You have many wounds, but no broken bones,” said Thornton.

Both dog and man watched the sled. It was crossing the ice in the middle of the river. Suddenly the back of the sled went down and the front went up. There was a lot of screaming. Then a big piece of ice broke and the dogs and the people disappeared.

John Thornton and Buck looked at each other.

“You poor dog,” said Thornton and Buck licked his hand.

John Thornton was ill all winter. His friends left him at White River while they went to Dawson. Thornton had a lot of food and he was comfortable. Now it was spring and he was better. During the warm spring days he and Buck sat by the river. Buck watched the water and listened to the birds. He needed the long rest. Slowly he became stronger and fatter.

John Thornton had two other dogs. Skeet was a small dog and she made friends with Buck. When Buck was ill she took care of him. She washed his cuts with her tongue. Nig was a big friendly dog. His eyes laughed. When Buck became stronger the three dogs played together. Thornton sometimes played with them.

The days passed happily. For the first time Buck learned to love. He and Judge Miller were very good friends, but Buck did not love him.

John Thornton saved Buck’s life and he was the perfect master. He loved his dogs and took good care of them. The dogs were like his children. He always talked to Buck. He took Buck’s head between his hands and shook it lovingly. He adored Thornton. When Thornton touched him or spoke to him he was wild with happiness. He sat near Thornton and looked at his face for hours. At first Buck followed Thornton everywhere. He did not want Thornton to leave like Francois and Perrault.

Buck was very happy with Thornton but he was a dog of the Northland. He dreamed of other animals and heard them calling him. It was the call of the wild. Sometimes Buck wanted to answer the call. He often went into the forest but he always returned to Thornton.

Buck was not interested in other men. When Thornton’s friends Hans and Pete returned, Buck did not notice them. He knew they were Thornton’s good friends and so he accepted them. Hans and Pete saw that Buck loved only Thornton and no one else. He was always happy to obey Thornton.

One day they were in Circle City. “Black” Burton was a bad and cruel man. He was in a saloon and he was fighting with another man. Thornton tried to stop them. Buck sat in a corner and watched. Burton hit Thornton and he almost fell. There was a loud growl and Buck jumped into the air at Burton’s throat. The man put up his arm and saved his life. Then he fell to the ground with Buck on top of him. Buck bit into his throat. Some people pulled Buck off the man. A doctor arrived and examined Burton’s throat.

“The dog attacked only because Thornton was in danger,” someone said. From that day Buck’s name became famous all over the Northland.

In the fall of that year Buck saved Thornton’s life another time. The three men were going down the river. Thornton was in the boat and Hans and Pete were on the river bank. They were holding the boat with a rope. Buck was on the bank and watched his master. Soon they came to a dangerous part of the river. The boat was going too fast because the current was strong. Hans pulled the rope to stop the boat, but it turned over. Thornton fell into the water.

Buck jumped in immediately and swam to his master. Thornton took Buck’s tail and Buck swam bravely towards the river bank. But they moved slowly because the river pushed them to the rocks.

“We can’t get to the river bank because the current is too strong,” said Thornton. He held onto a rock and let go of Buck’s tail. Then he cried, “Go, Buck! Go!”

Buck obeyed and swam to the river bank. Hans and Pete pulled him out of the river.

“We must work fast to save Thornton. He’s in great danger!” said Pete.

They tied a rope around Buck and he jumped into the river again. The river carried him past Thornton but he finally reached him. Thornton held on to Buck, and Hans and Pete pulled the rope very hard. Thornton and Buck disappeared under the water.

When Hans and Pete pulled them out they both seemed dead. But they slowly opened their eyes. Thornton examined Buck’s body and found three broken bones.

“We must camp here until Buck is better,” said Thornton.

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