The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild is a short adventure novel by Jack London, published in 1903 and set in Yukon, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, when strong sled dogs were in high demand. The central character of the novel is a dog named Buck.

Genre: Action and Adventure, Novel
Year:
1903
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The next he knew, he was dimly aware that his tongue was hurting and that he was being jolted along in some kind of a conveyance. The hoarse shriek of a locomotive whistling a crossing told him where he was. He had travelled too often with the Judge not to know the sensation of riding in a baggage car. He opened his eyes, and into them came the unbridled anger of a kidnapped king. The man sprang for his throat, but Buck was too quick for him. His jaws closed on the hand, nor did they relax till his senses were choked out of him once more. “Yep, has fits,” the man said, hiding his mangled hand from the baggageman, who had been attracted by the sounds of struggle. “I’m takin’ ’m up for the boss to ’Frisco. A crack dog-doctor there thinks that he can cure ’m.” Concerning that night’s ride, the man spoke most eloquently for himself, in a little shed back of a saloon on the San Francisco water front. “All I get is fifty for it,” he grumbled; “an’ I wouldn’t do it over for a thousand, cold cash.” His hand was wrapped in a bloody handkerchief, and the right trouser leg was ripped from knee to ankle. “How much did the other mug get?” the saloon-keeper demanded. “A hundred,” was the reply. “Wouldn’t take a sou less, so help me.” “That makes a hundred and fifty,” the saloon-keeper calculated; “and he’s worth it, or I’m a squarehead.” The kidnapper undid the bloody wrappings and looked at his lacerated hand. “If I don’t get the hydrophoby—” “It’ll be because you was born to hang,” laughed the saloon-keeper. “Here, lend me a hand before you pull your freight,” he added. Dazed, suffering intolerable pain from throat and tongue, with the life half throttled out of him, Buck attempted to face his tormentors. But he was thrown down and choked repeatedly, till they succeeded in filing the heavy brass collar from off his neck. Then the rope was removed, and he was flung into a cagelike crate. There he lay for the remainder of the weary night, nursing his wrath and wounded pride. He could not understand what it all meant. What did they want with him, these strange men? Why were they keeping him pent up in this narrow crate? He did not know why, but he felt oppressed by the vague sense of impending calamity. Several times during the night he sprang to his feet when the shed door rattled open, expecting to see the Judge, or the boys at least. But each time it was the bulging face of the saloon-keeper that peered in at him by the sickly light of a tallow candle. And each time the joyful bark that trembled in Buck’s throat was twisted into a savage growl.
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Jack London

John Griffith London was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first writers to become a worldwide celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing. more…

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