Rag remembered his mother who fed him milk and began to teach him what it was to be a wolf and to live as part of a pack. He saw and heard the rejoicing when food was brought back to the den and he learned by gesture, sound and smell who was in charge and where he was in importance as the son of one of the hunters. One day he would be a hunter too.
That was before the humans came. Most of the pack were out hunting when they arrived. His mother and her sisters fought bravely but the humans had tree-poles with stone teeth. His mother and aunts were taken as meat for the humans to feast on. He was tied in a bag of skin and taken back alive. He did not understand why the humans should feed him but they did and he was hungry. At first, they chewed meat for him as his own mother had. This was confusing. As he grew he was given his own share of the human food and he understood that humans hunted too. This was not the pack he was born into but it was all he had. He was frustrated though and sometimes snapped but he was beaten and learned his place.
One day when he was grown he was taken out. His master kept him close by until they came near to some food animals. Suddenly two other wolves ran towards the prey. He had not known that humans kept others like himself. His bindings were released and Rag could not control his excitement as he raced to join his companions. The prey ran but so did the wolves. This is what they were born to do and they exulted in the chase. Following their instinct, they raced alongside the slowest deer. The first brave wolf bit a foreleg and held on. Rag and the other wolf pounced and brought the beast to the ground. The first wolf released its hold on the foreleg and now held onto the throat.
Humans arrived with their pole-teeth and the deer was killed. The wolves sang the song of the rejoicing hunter all the way back to the human camp, just as his father and the leaders of his pack had done when he was young. There was meat and the wolves were fed the soft insides.
He lived to hunt and barked excitedly whenever he thought his master might be setting out. He learned when to be quiet and to creep slowly and he understood some of the sounds the humans made when they wanted him to run or stop. This was his pack and he understood his place in it: he was a hunter, below any of the humans but he was important. His master was his world and he wanted to please him.
One day a female wolf was brought for him to mate. She was a little different from wolves he had known but she was a wolf and he mated her. She was taken away afterwards and his life returned to hunting. Two winters passed before he saw her again. She was with a strong young male wolf who looked towards a tall human who was speaking to him.
“Dog, come here.”
And Dog came.