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North of Fifty-Three
written by "Fischer, Anton Otto, 1882-1962" Somewhere distantly a wolf lifted up his voice, and the long, throaty howl swelled in a lull of the wind. It was black and ghostly outside, and strange, murmuring sounds rose and fell in the surrounding forests, as though all the dormant life of the North was awakening at the seasonal change. She closed the window and went back to bed. At dawn the eaves had ceased their drip, and the dirt roof laid bare to the cloud-banked sky. From the southwest the wind still blew strong and warm. The thick winter garment of the earth softened to slush, and vanished with amazing swiftness. Streams of water poured down every depression. Pools stood between the house and stable. Spring had leaped strong-armed upon old Winter and vanquished him at the first onslaught. All that day the chinook blew, working its magic upon the land. When day broke again with a clearing sky, and the sun peered between the cloud rifts, his beams fell upon vast areas of brown and green, where but forty-eight hours gone there was the cold revelry of frost sprites upon far-flung fields of snow. Patches of earth steamed wherever a hillside lay bare to the sun. From some mysterious distance a lone crow winged his way, and, perching on a near-by tree-top, cawed raucous greeting. Hazel cleared away the breakfast things, and stood looking out the kitchen window. Roaring Bill sat on a log, shirt-sleeved, smoking his pipe. Presently he went over to the stable, led out his horses, and gave them their liberty. For twenty minutes or so he stood watching their mad capers as they ran and leaped and pranced back and forth over the clearing. Then he walked off into the timber, his rifle over one shoulder. Hazel washed her dishes and went outside. The cabin sat on a benchlike formation, a shoulder of the mountain behind, and she could look away westward across miles and miles of timber, darkly green and merging into purple in the distance. It was ...

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