This next section starts to see life from the wolf perspective rather than the human. It still comes over as an incredibly hard life, all about survival in a hostile and wild landscape.

I loved the chapter describing the new cubs and One Eye’s reaction to them, which made it all the sadder that only one cub survived. I thought it was interesting too that, although One Eye had fathered cubs before and instinct meant that he reacted appropriately to feed them as well as himself, for the actual arrival of cubs, “each time it was as fresh a surprise as ever to him”. I remember things like Sit or “Whassis” (which means there’s a treat in store if I come a-running!), so how come he couldn’t remember such a big thing as seeing a litter of cubs arrive as if from nowhere?

The description of the lynx attacking the porcupine was excellent, especially as One Eye (and the cubs) ended up getting all the benefit of the lynx’s attack. Though the lynx won out over One Eye in the end sadly. There’s probably a lesson there – don’t steal food from a mother-cat!

The other thing that I really liked was seeing the “door” to the cave through the grey cub’s eyes, as a wall of light. And how he bumped his nose on the other walls, so he stopped trying to go through them. It’s true, isn’t it? Walls, doors and doorways seemed very mysterious to me when I was little. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with them. Now I know that I can wander in and out when doors are left open for me, but that if a door is closed, I’m s’posed to sit and wait till I’m invited to go through, whereas I would normally want to dash out to smell any new smells, and see new people and anipals! Or if I need to “go”, then I bark and whine to ask to go out.

When I first went outside in the big world, just like for the grey cub, everything was new and just a bit scary. I would creep up to new things, all the while ready to make a hasty retreat if need be. I still do that sometimes, usually with big things or things that are flapping in the wind. I met a motorcycle for the first time last week. That was quite big, black and smelly, but in the end, I decided it was quite safe really while it was parked. When they whizz past me on the road, though, I sometimes bark at them to make sure they know not to hit me. Just like the grey cub tried a “ferocious and intimidating snarl” when he first left the cave 🙂  It was a brilliant description of his first expedition, with all his adventures and encounters, especially the moose-bird that pecked his nose!

In some ways, we’re very similar, he & I – we share the satisfactions of life: “a full stomach, to doze lazily in the sunshine” – aah, that is the good life indeed. But I have a thing or two to learn from the grey cub too – like studying “the habits of the squirrel with greater carefulness” – the squirrels in the park had better watch out!

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