Dusty Star by Olaf Baker Page 2 of 201


PART I
CHAPTER I
CARBOONA'S SECRET

In an old badger-hole among a maze of bramble-brakes and ancient thickets of thorn and juniper covering the foot of one of Carboona's eastern spurs, one morning very early, as Little-Sweet-Voice, the white-throated sparrow, was singing his earliest song, a great event took place.

It was twilight in the badger-hole, and only persons accustomed to odds and ends of day-light could have seen what was going on. Not that it mattered. The only person to whom it could have mattered was a grey mother-wolf, and she did not need the light.

The badger-hole had been enlarged, and specially arranged for the event, without the badgers having been consulted. This wasn't as rude as it sounds, for the simple reason that there hadn't been any badgers to consult.


Long before the mother-wolf and her mate had gone apartment-hunting, the badgers had moved deeper into Carboona, leaving no address.

Now that it was more roomy and better aired, it was a pleasant place enough so long as you didn't stub your nose against a jagged stump of pine root that pierced the northern wall.

True it was a little damp in places, and got noticeably stuffier as you went further in; but it was a good wolf stuffiness, and helped to give the true home smell that warned strangers that all interfering noses had best keep out of the way.

Before Little-Sweet-Voice, at the tip of his fir-branch high over the hole, had come to the end of his song, seven baby wolves had got themselves born.



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