When the snow got to be three or four feet deep, and her foster mother, along with a wide-antlered bull, three other cows, and a couple of youngsters had trodden out a 'moose yard' with its maze of winding alleys, her plight grew sore.
Mature in every detail of its proportion, the dainty hoofs, the fragile legs, smooth-coated body, and small, wide-antlered head a miniature eight-pointer made such a vision as might come to the dreams of a hunter. Chick rose up in bed, in order to examine it more closely. Immediately he fell back again slightly dizzy. He closed his eyes. Shortly he began examining the other pictures.
The wide-antlered, bleaching skull was the guardian of the tryst, and its sole concern was its watch and ward. The chill and cheerlessness of it all was reaching at the hearts of the boy and girl who were at the moment of parting. Marcel was silently whittling a stout twig of tamarack, whose toughness threatened to dull the keen edge of his sheath-knife.
The boy, with his young voice just roughening toward the bass of manhood, had proved an apt pupil. And the hunter had not only told him that practice would make him a first-class "caller," but had promised to take him hunting next season. This promise had set the boy's imagination aflame, and all day he had been dreaming of tall moose-bulls, wide-antlered, huge-belled, black of mane and shoulder.
There, in the middle of the precious cabbages, biting with a sort of dainty eagerness at first one and then another, and wantonly tearing open the crisp heads with impatient strokes of his knife-edged fore hoofs, was a tall wide-antlered buck.
"What do you mean?" demanded the first speaker, who had resumed his digging. "There be your moose, after these eighteen year!" said the other. Standing out clear of the dead forest, and staring curiously down upon the two potato-diggers, were three moose, a magnificent, black, wide-antlered bull, an ungainly brown cow, and a long-legged, long-eared calf.
The old men, springing from their sleep, and blinking, hurried forth into the sunlight, with such spears or clubs as they could lay instant hand upon. A breathless moment, while all stood waiting for they knew not what. Then around the corner appeared a tall, wide-antlered elk, its eyes showing the whites with terror, its dilated nostrils spattering bloody froth.