ad her ribs with fat to last her through her long winter's sleep in some cave or hollow tree. And as for Woof, once more he thought of Jabe Smith and Jinny, and the kind, familiar farmyard, and the delectable scraps from the kitchen, and the comforting smell of fried pancakes. What was the chill and lonely wilderness to him, a dog? He turned from grubbing up an ant stump and headed straight back for home.
When he got there, he found but a chimney standing naked and blackened over a tangle of charred ruins. A forest fire, some ten days back, had swept past that way, cutting a mile-wide swath through the woods and clean wiping out Jabe Smith's little homestead. It being too late in the year to begin rebuilding, the woodsman had betaken himself to the Settlements for the winter, trusting to begin, in the spring, the slow repair of his fortunes.
[Illustration: "For a day he wandered disconsolately over and about the ruins."]
Woof could not understand it at all. For a day he wandered disconsol