"He was quick and alert in the things of life, but
	    only in the things, and not in the significances."
		           ----------------------


     DAY HAD BROKEN cold and gray, exceedingly cold  and gray,  when the man
turned  aside from the  main  Yukon trail and  climbed the  high earth-bank,
where  a dim and  little-travelled trail led eastward through the fat spruce
timberland. It  was a steep bank,  and  he  paused for  breath  at  the top,
excusing  the act  to himself  by looking at his watch. It was nine o'clock.
There was  no sun nor hind of sun, though there was not  a cloud in the sky.
It was a clear day, and yet there seemed an intangible pall over the face of
things, a subtle  gloom that made the day dark,  and  that  was  due to  the
absence of sun. This fact did  not worry the man. He was used to the lack of
sun. It had been days since he had seen the sun, and he knew that a few more
days must pass before that  cheerful orb, due  south, would just  peep above
the sky line and dip immediately from view.
     The man flung a  look  back  along the way he had come. The Yukon lay a
mile wide  and  hidden under three feet of ice. On top of this ice  were  as
many  feet of  snow.  It was  all pure white, rolling  in gentle undulations
where the ice jams of the  freeze-up had formed. North and south,  as far as
his eye could see, it was  unbroken white,  save  for a dark  hairline  that
curved and twisted from around the  spruce-covered island to the south,  and
that  curved  and twisted away into the north, where  it disappeared  behind
another  spruce-covered island. This dark hairline was  the trail---the main
trail--that  led south  five hundred  miles  to the Chilcoot Pass, Dyea, and
salt water; and that led north seventy miles  to Dawson, and still on to the
north  a  thousand miles  to Nulato, and finally to St. Michael, on  Bearing
Sea, a thousand miles and half a thousand more.
     But all this---the mysterious, far-reaching hairline trail, the absence
of sun from  the sky, the tremendous cold, and the strangeness and weirdness
of it all--made  no impression on  the  man.  It was not because he was long
used to it. He was a newcomer in the land, a "chechaquo",  and this  was his
first winter. The  trouble with him was that he  was without imagination. He
was quick and  alert in the things of life, but  only in the things, and not
in the significances. Fifty degrees below zero meant  eighty odd degrees  of
frost. Such fact impressed him as being cold and uncomfortable, and that was
all. It did  not lead him to meditate upon his frailty in general, able only
to live within certain narrow limits of heat  and cold; and from there on it
did not lead him to the conjectural field  of immortality and man's place in
the universe. Fifty degrees below zero  stood for a bite of frost that  hurt
and that  must  be guarded against by the  use  of mittens, ear  flaps, warm
moccasins,  and  thick  socks. Fifty  degrees  below  zero was  to him  just
precisely fifty degrees below zero. That there should be anything more to it
than that was a thought that never entered his head.
     As he turned to go, he spat speculatively. There was a sharp, explosive
crackle that startled him. He  spat again.  And again, in the air, before it
could  fall to the snow,  the spittle crackled. He knew  that at fifty below
spittle crackled on the  snow, but this  spittle had  crackled in  the  air.
Undoubtedly it was colder than fifty below--how much colder he did not know.
But the temperature did  not matter. He was  bound  for the old claim on the
left fork of Henderson Creek,  where the  boys  were  already. They had come
over across the divide from the  Indian Creek country, while he had come the
roundabout way to take a look at the possibility  of getting out logs in the
spring from the islands in the Yukon. He would be in to camp by six o'clock;
a  bit after dark, it ws true,  but the boys would be there, a fire would be
going, and a hot supper would be ready.  As for lunch,  he pressed  his hand
against the protruding bundle under his jacket. It was also under his shirt,
wrapped up in a handkerchief and  lying against the  naked skin.  It was the
only  way to keep the biscuits from freezing. He smiled agreeably to himself
as he thought  of those  biscuits, each cut open and sopped in bacon grease,
and each enclosing a generous slice of fried bacon.
     He  plunged in among the big spruce trees. The  trail was faint. A foot
of snow had fallen since  the last sled had passed over, and he was glad  he
was without a sled, travelling light. In fact,  he carried  nothing  but the
lunch wrapped in the handkerchief.  He was surprised, however, at the  cold.
It  certainly  was  cold, he concluded,  as  he rubbed  his  numb  nose  and
cheekbones with his mittened hand. He was a warm-whiskered man, but the hair
on his face did  not protect  the high cheekbones  and the  eager  nose that
thrust itself aggressively into the frosty air.
     At the man's heels trotted a dog, a  big  native husky, the proper wolf
dog,  gray-coated and  without  any visible or temperamental difference from
its brother, the wild wolf. The animal was depressed by the tremendous cold.
It  knew  that  it was no time for travelling. Its instinct told it  a truer
tale than was told to the man by the man's judgement. In reality, it was not
merely  colder than fifty below  zero; it was colder than sixty  below, than
seventy  below. It was seventy-five  below zero. Since the freezing point is
thirty-two above zero, it meant that one  hundred and seven degrees of frost
obtained. The dog did not know anything about thermometers.  Possibly in its
brain there was no  sharp consciousness  of a condition of very cold such as
was  in the man's  brain. But the brute had  its instinct. It experienced  a
vague but menacing apprehension that subdued it and  made it slink  along at
the  man's  heels, and that made it question eagerly every unwonted movement
of the man as if expecting him to go  into camp or to seek shelter somewhere
and  build a fire. The dog had learned fire and it wanted  fire,  or else to
burrow under the snow and cuddle its warmth away from the air
     The frozen moisture of its (i.e.  the  dog's) breathing had settled  on
its fur in  a fine  powder of frost,  and especially were its jowls, muzzle,
and eyelashes whitened by  its crystalled  breath.  The  man's red beard and
mustache were  likewise frosted,  but more solidly,  the deposit taking  the
form of  ice and increasing with every  warm, moist breath he exhaled. Also,
the man was  chewing tobacco and  the muzzle of ice held his lips so rigidly
that he was unable to clear his chin when he expelled the juice.  The result
was that a crystal beard of the color and solidity  of amber  was increasing
its length on his chin. If he fell down it would shatter itself, like glass,
into brittle  fragments.  But  he did not mind  the  appendage. It  was  the
penalty all tobacco chewers paid in that country, and he had been out before
in two  cold snaps.  they had not  been so cold as this, he knew, but by the
spirit thermometer at Sixty Mile he  knew they had registered at fifty below
and at fifty-five.
     He  held  on through the level  stretch of  woods  for  several  miles,
crossed a wide  flat of nigger heads, and dropped down a bank to the  frozen
bed of  a small  stream. This was Henderson  Creek, and  he knew he was  ten
miles  from the  forks. He looked at his  watch. It was ten  o'clock. He was
making four  miles an  hour, and he calculated that he  would arrive at  the
forks  at half-past twelve. He decided to celebrate that event by eating his
lunch there.
     The  dog  dropped  in  again  at  his  heels,  with   a  tail  drooping
discouragement, as  the man  sung along the creek bed. The furrow of the old
sled trail was plainly visible, but a dozen inches of snow covered the marks
of the last runners.  In  a  month no man  had come up or  down that  silent
creek. The man held steadily on. He was not much given to thinking, and just
then particularly he had nothing to think about save that he would eat lunch
at the  forks and  that at  six  o'clock he would be in camp  with the boys.
There was  nobody to talk to;  and, had there  been, speech would have  been
impossible  because  of  the ice  muzzle  on  his  mouth.  so  he  continued
monotonously to chew tobacco and to increase the length of his amber beard.
     Once in a while the thought reiterated itself that it was very cold and
that he had  never experienced such cold. As  he walked along  he rubbed his
cheekbones  and  nose  with the  back  of  his  mittened hand. He  did  this
automatically, now  and  again  changing  hands. But,  rub  as he would, the
instant he stopped his cheekbones went numb,  and the following instant  the
end  of his nose  went numb. He  was sure to frost his cheeks; he knew that,
and experienced a pang of regret that he had not devised a nose strap of the
sort Bud wore in cold snaps. Such a strap passed across the cheeks, as well,
and  saved  them.  But it didn't  matter much, after  all. What were frosted
cheeks? a bit painful, that was all; they were never serious.
     Empty as  the man's mind was of thoughts, he was  keenly observant, and
he noticed  the changes in the creek, the curves and  bends and timber jams,
and always he sharply noted  where he placed his feet. Once, coming around a
bend, he shied abruptly,  like  a startled horse, curved away from the place
where he had been walking, and retreated several paces back along the trail.
The  creek he knew was frozen  clear to the bottom---no  creek could contain
water  in that arctic winter--but he knew  also that there were springs that
bubbled out from the  hillsides  and ran along under the snow and on top the
ice of the creek. He knew that  the coldest snaps never froze these springs,
and he knew  likewise their danger. They were traps. They hid pools of water
under the snow that might be three  inches deep, or three feet. Sometimes  a
skin of ice half an inch thick covered them, and in turn was covered by  the
snow.  Sometimes there were alternate layers of water and ice skin, so  that
when one broke through he kept on breaking through for  a  while,  sometimes
wetting himself to the waist.
     That was why he had shied in such panic. He had felt the give under his
feet  and heard the crackle of  a snow-hidden ice skin. And  to get his feet
wet  in such  a temperature meant  trouble and  danger. At the very least it
meant  delay, for he would be forced to stop and build a fire, and under its
protection to bare his feet while he dried his socks and moccasins. He stood
and studied the creek bed and its banks, and decided that the flow  of water
came from  the right. He reflected awhile, rubbing his nose and cheeks, then
skirted  to the  left,  stepping gingerly  and  testing the footing for each
step. Once clear  of the danger,  he took a fresh chew  of tobacco and swung
along at his  four-mile  gait. Continuing  with  Jack  London's "To  Build A
Fire". the danger of falling through the ice has become a factor.
     In the course of the next two hours he came upon several similar traps.
Usually  the  snow above the  hidden pools  had a sunken, candied appearance
that  advertised the  danger. Once  again, however, he had a close call; and
once, suspecting danger, he compelled the dog to go on in front. The dog did
not want to  go.  It hung back until the man shoved it forward, and then  it
went quickly across the white, unbroken surface.  Suddenly it broke through,
floundered to  one  side, and got  away to firmer footing.  It  had wet  its
forefeet and  legs, and almost immediately the water that clung to it turned
to ice. It made  quick efforts to  lick  the ice off its  legs, then dropped
down in the snow and began  to bite out the ice that had formed  between the
toes. This was a matter of instinct. To  permit the ice to remain would mean
sore feet. It  did not know this.  It merely obeyed the mysterious prompting
that arose from  the deep  crypts of its  being. But  the  man  knew, having
achieved a  judgement on  the  subject, and  he removed the mitten  from his
right hand  and helped  tear out  the  ice particles. He did  not expose his
fingers more than a minute, and was astonished at  the  swift numbness  that
smote them. It certainly was cold. He pulled on the mitten hastily, and beat
the hand savagely across his chest.
     At twelve o'clock the day was at its brightest. Yet the sun was too far
south on its  winter journey  to clear  the horizon. The bulge  of the earth
intervened between it  and Henderson Creek,  where  the man walked  under  a
clear sky at noon and cast no shadow. At half-past twelve, to the minute, he
arrived at the forks of the creek. He  was pleased at the speed he had made.
If he kept it up, he would certainly be  with the boys by six. He unbuttoned
his jacket and shirt and drew forth his  lunch. The  action consumed no more
than a quarter of a minute, yet in that brief moment  the numbness laid hold
of  his exposed  fingers. He did not put the mitten on, but, instead, struck
the fingers a dozen sharp  smashes against his  leg.  Then he  sat down on a
snow- covered log to eat. The sting that followed upon  the striking of  his
fingers against  his leg ceased so quickly that he was  startled. He had had
no chance  to  take a bit  of biscuit.  He struck the fingers repeatedly and
returned them  to  the  mitten, baring the other  hand  for  the  purpose of
eating. He tried to take a mouthful,  but  the ice  muzzle prevented. He had
forgotten to build a fire and  thaw out. He chuckled at his foolishness, and
as he chuckled he noted that the stinging  which  had first come to his toes
when he sat down was already passing away. He wondered whether the toes were
warm or numb. He moved them inside  the moccasins and decided that they were
numb.
     He  pulled  the  mitten  on  hurriedly  and  stood  up. He  was  a  bit
frightened.  He stamped up and down until the stinging returned to his feet.
It  certainly was  cold, was  his  thought. That man  from Sulpher Creek had
spoken the truth when  telling how cold it sometimes got in the country. And
he  had laughed  at him at the time! That showed one must not be too sure of
things. There was no mistake about it, it *was* cold. He strode up and down,
stamping his feet and threshing his arms, until  reassured  by the returning
warmth.  Then he got out  matches  and proceeded  to make a fire. >From  the
undergrowth, where high water  of the previous spring had lodged a supply of
seasoned  twigs, he  got  his  firewood.  Working  carefully  from  a  small
beginning, he soon had a roaring fire, over which he thawed the ice from his
face and in the protection of which he ate his biscuits. For the  moment the
cold  of  space  was  outwitted.  The dog  took  satisfaction in  the  fire,
stretching out close enough  for warmth and far enough away  to escape being
singed.
     When the man had finished, he filled his pipe and took  his comfortable
time over a  smoke. Then he pulled on his mittens, settled  the ear flaps of
his cap firmly about  his ears, and  took  the creek trail up the left fork.
The dog was disappointed  and yearned back toward the fire. The  man did not
know cold. Possibly all the generations of his ancestry had been ignorant of
cold, of real  cold, of cold one  hundred and  seven degrees  below freezing
point. But the dog knew;  all its ancestry  knew, and  it had inherited  the
knowledge.  And it knew that  it was not good to walk abroad in such fearful
cold.  It was  the time  to  lie snug  in a hole in the snow and  wait for a
curtain of cloud to be drawn across the face of outer space whence this cold
came. On the  other hand, there was no keen intimacy between the dog and the
man. The one was the toil slave of  the other, and  the only caresses it had
ever received were the caresses of the whip lash and  of  harsh and menacing
throat sounds that threatened  the whip lash. So the  dog  made no effort to
communicate its apprehension to the man. It was not concerned in the welfare
of the man; it was for its  own sake that  it yearned back toward  the fire.
But the man whistled, and spoke to it with the sound of whip lashes, and the
dog swung in at the man's heels and followed after.
     The  man took  a  chew of tobacco  and proceeded to  start a new  amber
beard.  Also,  his moist breath quickly  powdered with  white  his mustache,
eyebrows,  and lashes. There did not seem to be so many springs on  the left
fork of the Henderson, and for half an hour the man saw no signs of any. And
then  it  happened.  At  a  place where there were no signs, where the soft,
unbroken snow seemed to advertise solidity beneath,  the man broke  through.
It was not  deep.  He wet  himself halfway to the knees before he floundered
out to the firm crust.
     He was angry, and cursed his  luck aloud. He had hoped to get into camp
with the boys at six o'clock, and this would delay him an hour, for he would
have to build a fire and dry out his footgear. This  was imperative at  that
low temperature--for he  knew  that  much; and he turned aside  to the bank,
which  he  climbed. On top, tangled  in the  underbrush  about the trunks of
several small spruce trees, was a high water deposit of dry firewood--sticks
and twigs, principally,  but also larger portions  of  seasoned branches and
fine, dry, last year's grasses. He threw down several large pieces on top of
the snow.  This  served for  a foundation and prevented the young flame from
drowning itself in the  snow it otherwise would  melt.  The flame  he got by
touching  a  match  to a small shred of birch  bark  that he took  from  his
pocket.  This  burned  even  more  readily  than paper.  Placing it  on  the
foundation, he  fed  the  young flame with  wisps of dry grass and  with the
tiniest dry twigs.
     He worked slowly and carefully,  keenly aware of his danger. Gradually,
as the flame grew stronger, he increased the size of the twigs with which he
fed  it.  He  squatted  in the  snow,  pulling  the  twigs  out  from  their
entanglement  in the brush and feeding directly to  the flame. He knew there
must be no failure. When it is seventy-five below  zero, a man must not fail
in his  first attempt to build a fire---that is, if his feet are wet. If his
feet are dry, and he fails,  he  can run along the trail for half a mile and
restore his circulation. But the circulation of wet and freezing feet cannot
be restored by running when it is seventy- five below. No matter how fast he
runs, the wet feet will freeze the harder.
      All this the man knew. The old-timer on Sulphur Creek had
told him about it the previous fall, and now he was appreciating the advice.
Already  all sensation had  gone out  of his feet.  To build the fire he had
been forced  to  remove his  mittens, and the fingers had quickly gone numb.
His  pace  of four miles  an hour had kept his  heart pumping blood  to  the
surface of his body  and to all the extremities. But the instant he stopped,
the action of the pump eased down. The cold of  space smote the  unprotected
tip of the planet, and he, being on  that unprotected tip, received the full
force of  the blow. the blood of his body recoiled before it. The blood  was
alive,  like the  dog, and like  the  dog it  wanted to  hide away and cover
itself up from the fearful cold. So long as he walked four miles an hour, he
pumped that blood,  willy- nilly, to the surface; but now it ebbed  away and
sank down into the recesses of his body. The  extremities were the  first to
feel its absence. His wet  feet froze the  faster,  and his  exposed fingers
numbed the  faster, though they had not yet begun to freeze. Nose and cheeks
were already freezing, while the skin of all his body chilled as it lost its
blood.
     But he was safe.  Toes and nose and cheeks would be only touched by the
frost,  for the fire was beginning to burn with strength. He was feeding  it
with twigs the  size of his  finger. In another minute  he would be able  to
feed it  with  branches the size of  his wrist, and then he could remove his
wet footgear, and, while it dried, he could keep  his naked feet warm by the
fire,  rubbing  them at first, of course, with snow. The fire was a success.
He was safe. He remembered the advice of the old-timer on Sulphur Creek, and
smiled. The old-timer had been very serious in laying down  the law  that no
man must travel  alone in the Klondike after fifty below. Well, here he was;
he had had the accident; he was alone;  and he had saved himself. Those old-
timers were rather  womanish, some of them, he thought. All a man  had to do
was to  keep his head,  and he  was all right. Any man who was a  man  could
travel alone. But it was surprising, the rapidity with which his  cheeks and
nose were freezing. And he had not thought his fingers  could go lifeless in
so short a time. Lifeless  they were, for he could scarcely make  them  move
together to grip a twig, and they  seemed remote from his body and from him.
When he touched a twig, he had to look and see whether or not he had hold of
it. The wires were pretty well down between him and his finger ends.
     All of  which  counted for  little. There  was the  fire, snapping  and
crackling  and promising life  with every dancing flame. He started to untie
his  moccasins. They were coated with ice;  the thick German socks were like
sheaths  of iron  halfway to the knees; and the moccasin strings  were  like
rods of steel all twisted and knotted as by some conflagration. For a moment
he tugged  with his numb fingers, then, realizing the folly  of it,  he drew
his sheath knife.
     But before  he could cut the strings, it happened. It was his own fault
or, rather, his mistake. He should not have  built the fire under the spruce
tree. He  should have built it in  the  open. But it had been easier to pull
the  twigs from the  brush and drop them directly  on the fire. Now the tree
under which he had done this carried a weight of snow on its boughs. No wind
had blown  for weeks, and  each  bough was fully freighted. Each time he had
pulled  on a  twig he had communicated  a slight  agitation  to the tree--an
imperceptible  agitation,  so  far  as he  was concerned, but  an  agitation
sufficient  to  bring  about  the disaster. High up  in the  tree one  bough
capsized its load  of snow. This fell on the boughs beneath, capsizing them.
This process continued, spreading out and involving the whole tree. It  grew
like  an  avalanche, and it  descended without warning upon  the man and the
fire, and the  fire  was blotted out!  Where it had burned was a  mantle  of
fresh and disordered snow.
     The man  was shocked.  It  was as  though  he  had  just heard  his own
sentence of death. For a moment he sat and stared at the spot where the fire
had been. Then  he grew very calm. Perhaps the  old- timer  on Sulphur Creek
was right. If  he had only  had a trail mate he would have been in no danger
now. The trail  mate could have built  the fire. Well,  it was  up to him to
build a fire over again, and this second time there must be no failure. Even
if he succeeded, he would most likely lose some toes. His feet must be badly
frozen  by now, and  there would  be some  time before the  second  fire was
ready.
     Such were his thoughts, but he did not  sit and think them. He was busy
all the time  they were passing through  his mind. He made a  new foundation
for a fire, this time in the open, where no  treacherous  tree could blot it
out. Next  he  gathered dry  grasses  and  tiny twigs from  the  high  water
flotsam. He  could not bring  his fingers  together to pull them out, but he
was able to gather them by the handful. In this way he got many rotten twigs
and  bits of green moss  that were undesirable, but it was the best he could
do. He worked methodically, even collecting an armful of the larger branches
to be used later when the fire gathered strength. And  all the while the dog
sat and watched him, a certain yearning  wistfulness in  its  eyes,  for  it
looked upon him as the fire provider, and the fire was slow in coming.
     When all was ready, the man reached in his pocket for a second piece of
birch bark.  He  knew  the bark was there, and,  though he could not feel it
with his fingers, he could hear its crisp rustling as he fumbled for it. Try
as  he would,  he could  not  clutch hold  of it. And all the  time,  in his
consciousness, was the  knowledge that each instant  his feet were freezing.
This thought tended to put him in a panic, but he fought against it and kept
calm.  He pulled on his mittens with  his  teeth, and thrashed his arms back
and forth,  beating his  hands with all  his might against his sides. He did
this sitting down, and he stood up to do it; and  all the while the dog  sat
in  the snow,  its wolf  brush  of a  tail  curled around  warmly  over  its
forefeet,  its  sharp wolf ears pricked forward intently as  it watched  the
man. And  the man, as he beat and threshed with his  arms and hands, felt  a
great surge of envy as he regarded the creature that  was warm and secure in
its natural covering.
     After a time he was aware of  the first faraway signals of sensation in
his  beaten fingers. The faint tingling grew stronger till it evolved into a
stinging  ache  that  was  excruciating,  but  which  the  man  hailed  with
satisfaction. He stripped  the mitten  from his right hand and fetched forth
the birch bark. The  exposed fingers were quickly going numb again.  Next he
brought  out  his  bunch of sulphur  matches. But the  tremendous  cold  had
already  driven the life out of his fingers. In his effort  to  separate one
match from the others, the whole bunch fell in the snow. He tried to pick it
out  of  the  snow, but  failed. The dead  fingers could  neither  touch nor
clutch. He was very careful. He drove the thought of  his freezing feet, and
nose, and cheeks,  out of  his mind, devoting his whole soul to the matches.
He watched, using the sense of vision in place of that of touch, and when he
saw his fingers on each side the  bunch, he  closed them--that is, he willed
to  close them, for the wires were down, and  the  fingers did  not obey. He
pulled the mitten on the right hand, and beat it  fiercely against his knee.
Then, with both mittened hands, he  scooped the bunch of matches, along with
much snow, into his lap. Yet he was no better off.
     After some manipulation he managed to get  the bunch  between the heels
of his  mittened hands. In this fashion he carried it to his  mouth. The ice
crackled and  snapped when by  a violent effort he opened his mouth. He drew
the lower jaw in, curled the upper lip out of the way, and scraped the bunch
with his upper teeth in order to separate a match. He  succeeded in  getting
one, which he dropped on his lap. He was no better off. He could not pick it
up. Then he devised a way. He picked it  up in his teeth and scratched it on
his leg. Twenty times he scratched before he succeeded in lighting it. As if
flamed  he held it  with  his  teeth  to  the birch bark.  But  the  burning
brimstone  went  up  his nostrils and  into his  lungs, causing him to cough
spasmodically. The match fell into the snow and went out.
     The old-timer on  Sulphur Creek was right, he thought in the  moment of
controlled despair that ensued:  after fifty below, a man should travel with
a partner. He beat his hands, but failed in exciting any sensation. Suddenly
he bared both hands,  removing the  mittens  with  his teeth. He  caught the
whole bunch between the heels of his hands. His arm muscles not being frozen
enabled him  to press  the hand heels tightly against the  matches. Then  he
scratched  the  bunch along his leg. It  flared into flame,  seventy sulphur
matches at once! There was no wind to blow them out. He kept his head to one
side to  escape the strangling fumes,  and  held  the blazing bundle to  the
birch bark.  As he so held it, he became aware of sensation in his hand. His
flesh  ws burning. He  could smell it. Deep down  below the surface he could
feel  it. The sensation developed into pain  that  grew acute. And  still he
endured it, holding the flame of the matches clumsily to the bark that would
not light readily because his own  burning hands were  in the way, absorbing
most of the flame.
     At last, when  he could endure no more, he jerked his hands  apart. The
blazing matches fell sizzling into the snow, but  the birch bark was alight.
He began laying dry grasses and the tiniest twigs on the flame. He could not
pick and choose, for he had to lift the fuel between the heels of his hands.
Small pieces  of rotten wood and green  moss clung to the twigs, and  he bit
them off as  well  as  he could  with  his  teeth.  He  cherished  the flame
carefully  and  awkwardly. It  meant  life  , and it  must  not perish.  The
withdrawal of  blood  from the surface of  his body now  made  him begin  to
shiver, and he grew more awkward. A large piece of green moss  fell squarely
on the little fire.  He tried to poke it with his fingers, but his shivering
frame  made him  poke too far, and  he  disrupted  the nucleus of the little
fire, the burning grasses and tiny twigs separating and scattering. He tried
to poke them together again,  but in  spite of the tenseness of  the effort,
his  shivering got away with  him,  and the twigs were hopelessly scattered.
Each twig gushed a puff of smoke and went out. The fire provider had failed.
As he looked apathetically  about him, his eyes chanced on  the dog, sitting
across the ruins  of  the  fire  from  him,  in  the  snow, making restless,
hunching movements,  slightly  lifting one  forefoot  and  then  the  other,
shifting its weight back and forth on them with wistful eagerness.
     The sight of the dog put a  wild idea  into his head. He remembered the
tale of the man, caught in a blizzard, who killed a steer and crawled inside
the carcass, and so was saved. He  would kill the dog and bury his hands  in
the  warm  body until  the numbness  went out of them. Then  he could  build
another fire. He spoke to the dog, calling it to him; but in his voice was a
strange note of fear that frightened the animal, who had never known the man
to speak in such  a way before. something was the matter, and its suspicious
nature sensed danger-it knew not what danger, but somewhere, somehow, in its
brain arose an apprehension  of the man. It  flattened its ears  down at the
sound of the man's voice, and its  restless, hunching movements and liftings
and  shiftings of its forefeet became more pronounced; but it would not come
to the  man. He got on his hands and knees and crawled toward the dog.  This
unusual posture again excited  suspicion,  and the animal  sidled  mincingly
away.
     The man sat  up in  the snow for a moment  and struggled  for calmness.
Then he pulled on his mittens, by means of his teeth, and got upon his feet.
He glanced  down  at first in  order to assure himself  that he  was  really
standing up, for the absence of sensation in his feet left him  unrelated to
the  earth.  His  erect  position  in itself  started  to drive the  webs of
suspicion  from the  dog's mind;  and when  he spoke peremptorily,  with the
sound of whip lashes in his voice, the dog rendered its customary allegiance
and came to  him.  As  it came within  reaching  distance,  the man lost his
control.  His  arms flashed  out  to  the  dog, and  he experienced  genuine
surprise when he discovered that  his hands could not clutch, that there was
neither  bend nor  feeling in  the fingers. He had forgotten for  the moment
that they were  frozen and  that  they were freezing more and more. All this
happened  quickly, and  before the  animal  could get away, he encircled its
body with his  arms. He sat down in the  snow, and  in this fashion held the
dog, while it snarled and whined and struggled.
     But it was all he could do, hold its body encircled in his arms and sit
there. He  realized that he  could not kill the dog.  There was no way to do
it. With his helpless hands he could neither draw nor hold his  sheath knife
nor  throttle  the  animal. He released it, and it plunged wildly away, with
tail  between  its  legs,  and  still snarling.  It halted  forty feet  away
surveyed him curiously, with ears sharply pricked forward.
     The man  looked down at his  hands in  order to locate them, and  found
them  hanging  on the ends of his arms. It  struck  him as  curious that one
should have to use his eyes in order  to find  out where his hands  were. He
began threshing his arms  back and forth, beating the mittened hands against
his sides. He did  this for  five minutes,  violently, and his  heart pumped
enough  blood up to  the surface  to put a stop  to  his  shivering.  But no
sensation was aroused in his hands. He had an impression that they hung like
weights on the  ends of his  arms,  but when he tried  to run the impression
down, he could not find it.
     A certain fear  of  death, dull and oppressive, came to him. This  fear
quickly became poignant as  he realized that it was  no longer a mere matter
of freezing his fingers  and toes, or of losing his hands and feet, but that
it was a matter  of life and death  with the chances against him. This threw
him into a panic, and he turned  and ran up the creek bed along the old, dim
trail. The  dog joined in  behind  and  kept up  with  him. He  ran blindly,
without intention, in fear such as he had never known in his life.
     Slowly, as he plowed and  floundered through the snow, he  began to see
things again--the  banks  of  the creek, the  old timber jams,  the leafless
aspens, and the  sky. the  running made him feel better. He did not  shiver.
Maybe, if he ran on,  his  feet would  thaw out;  and, anyway, if he ran far
enough, he would reach camp and  the boys. Without doubt he  would lose some
fingers  and toes and some of his face; but the boys would take care of him,
and save the rest of him when  he got there. And at the same  time there was
another thought in his mind that said he would never get to the camp and the
boys; that  it  was  too many miles away, that the freezing  had too great a
start on him, and that he would soon be stiff and dead. This thought he kept
in  the background  and  refused to consider.  Sometimes  it  pushed  itself
forward and demanded to be heard, but he thrust it  back and strove to think
of other things.
     It struck him  as curious  that  he could run  at all on feet so frozen
that he could not feel them  when they struck the earth and took  the weight
of  his body. He seemed  to himself to skim along  above the surface, and to
have no connection  with the earth.  Somewhere  he  had  once seen a  winged
Mercury, and he  wondered if  Mercury felt as he felt when skimming over the
earth.
     His theory of running until he  reached camp and the boys  had one flaw
in it; he lacked the  endurance. Several times he stumbled,  and finally  he
tottered, crumpled up, and fell. When he  tried  to rise, he failed. He must
sit and rest, he decided,  and next  time he would merely  walk  and keep on
going. As he sat and regained his breath, he noted that he was feeling quite
warm and  comfortable. He was  not shivering, and it even seemed that a warm
glow had come to his chest and  trunk. And yet, when  he touched his nose or
cheeks,  there was no sensation. Running  would not thaw them out. Nor would
it thaw out his hands and feet. Then the thought came to him that the frozen
portions  of his body must be extending. He tried to keep this thought down,
to forget it, to  think  of something  else;  he was aware  of  the  panicky
feeling that it caused, and  he was  afraid  of the  panic. But the  thought
asserted  itself,  and  persisted, until it  produced  a vision of his  body
totally  frozen. This was too much,  and he  made another wild run along the
trail. Once  he  slowed down  to a  walk, but  the thought  of  the freezing
extending itself made him run again.
     And  all the time the dog ran with him, at his heels. When he fell down
a second time, it curled its tail over its forefeet and sat in front of him,
facing  him, curiously  eager and  intent.  The warmth and  security of  the
animal  angered him,  and  he  cursed  it  till it  flattened down  its ears
appeasingly.  This time the shivering came more quickly upon the man. He was
losing his battle with  the  frost.  It was creeping into  his body from all
sides. The  thought  of it  drove him on, but he ran no more  than a hundred
feet, when he staggered and pitched headlong. It was his last panic. When he
had recovered his breath and control, he  sat up and entertained in his mind
the  conception  of meeting  death with dignity. However, the conception did
not come to him in such terms. His idea of it was that he had been  making a
fool of himself, running around like a  chicken with its head cut off-- such
was the simile  that occurred  to him. Well, he was bound to freeze  anyway,
and  he  might as well take it decently. With this new-found  peace  of mind
came the first  glimmerings of drowsiness. A good idea, he thought, to sleep
off to death. It was  like taking an anesthetic.  Freezing  was not so bad a
people thought. There were lots worse ways to die.
     He pictured  the boys finding  his  body next  day.  Suddenly he  found
himself  with them,  coming along the  trail and looking  for himself.  And,
still with them, he came around  a turn in the trail and found himself lying
in the snow. He  did not  belong with himself any more, for even then he was
out of himself, standing with the boys and  looking at  himself in the snow.
It certainly was cold, was  his thought. When he got  back to the  States he
could  tel l the folks what real  cold was. He drifted  on  from this  to  a
vision of the old-timer  on Sulphur Creek. He could  see  him quite clearly,
warm and comfortable, and smoking a pipe.
     Then the  man drowsed off  into what seemed to him the most comfortable
and satisfying sleep he had  ever known. The dog sat facing and waiting. The
brief day drew to a close in a long, slow twilight. There were no signs of a
fire to be made,  and, besides, never in the dog's experience had it known a
man to sit like that in the snow and make no fire. As the twilight  drew on,
its eager yearning for  the fire mastered  it, and  with a great lifting and
shifting  of forefeet, it whined softly, then flattened out its ears down in
anticipation of being chidden by the man. But the man remained silent. Later
the dog  whined loudly. And still later it crept close to the man and caught
the scent of death.  This  made the animal bristle and  back away.  A little
longer it delayed, howling under the stars that leaped and  danced and shone
brightly in  the cold  sky. Then it turned and trotted  up the trail in  the
direction of the camp it knew, where  were the other food providers and fire
providers.

     THE END is body. The  extremities were the first to feel its absence.
His wet feet  froze the  faster, and his exposed  fingers numbed the faster,
though  they had not  yet  begun  to freeze. Nose  and cheeks  were  already
freezing, while the skin of all his body chilled as it lost its blood.
     But he was safe. Toes and nose and cheeks would be only touched  by the
frost, for the fire  was beginning to burn with  strength. He was feeding it
with  twigs the size  of his finger.  In another  minute he would be able to
feed it with branches  the size of  his wrist, and then he could remove  his
wet  footgear, and, while it dried, he could keep his naked feet warm by the
fire,  rubbing them at first, of  course, with snow. The fire was a success.
He was safe. He remembered the advice of the old-timer on Sulphur Creek, and
smiled. The old-timer had been very serious in  laying down  the law that no
man  must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below. Well, here he was;
he had had the accident; he was alone; and he had saved himself.  Those old-
timers were rather womanish, some of them, he thought. All a man had  to  do
was to keep his  head, and he was all right.  Any man who  was  a man  could
travel alone. But  it was surprising, the rapidity with which his cheeks and
nose were  freezing. And he had not thought his fingers could go lifeless in
so short a time.  Lifeless they were, for he  could scarcely make  them move
together to grip  a twig, and they seemed remote from his body and from him.
When he touched a twig, he had to look and see whether or not he had hold of
it. The wires were pretty well down between him and his finger ends.
     All  of which counted for  little.  There  was the  fire, snapping  and
crackling and promising life with  every dancing flame. He started  to untie
his moccasins. They  were coated with ice; the thick German socks were  like
sheaths  of iron halfway to  the knees;  and the moccasin  strings were like
rods of steel all twisted and knotted as by some conflagration. For a moment
he  tugged with his numb fingers, then,  realizing the folly of it,  he drew
his sheath knife.
     But before he could cut the strings, it happened. It was his  own fault
or, rather, his mistake.  He should not have built the fire under the spruce
tree. He should have built it in the open. But it had been  easier  to  pull
the twigs from  the brush and  drop them directly on the fire.  Now the tree
under which he had done this carried a weight of snow on its boughs. No wind
had blown  for  weeks, and each bough was fully  freighted. Each time he had
pulled on  a  twig he had communicated a  slight agitation  to the  tree--an
imperceptible  agitation, so  far  as he  was  concerned,  but an  agitation
sufficient to bring  about  the disaster.  High  up in the  tree  one  bough
capsized its load of snow. This fell on  the boughs beneath, capsizing them.
This process continued, spreading out  and involving the whole tree. It grew
like an  avalanche, and it  descended without warning upon  the man and  the
fire, and  the fire  was  blotted out! Where it  had burned was a mantle  of
fresh and disordered snow.
     The  man was  shocked.  It was  as though he  had  just heard  his  own
sentence of death. For a moment he sat and stared at the spot where the fire
had been. Then he grew very  calm.  Perhaps the old- timer  on Sulphur Creek
was right. If he  had only had a trail mate he would have  been in no danger
now.  The trail mate could have built the fire. Well,  it was  up  to him to
build a fire over again, and this second time there must be no failure. Even
if he succeeded, he would most likely lose some toes. His feet must be badly
frozen by  now, and there would  be  some time before  the  second fire  was
ready.
     Such were his thoughts, but he did not sit and think them. He  was busy
all the time they  were  passing through his mind. He made a new  foundation
for  a fire, this time in the open, where no treacherous tree could  blot it
out.  Next  he gathered dry  grasses  and tiny  twigs  from the  high  water
flotsam. He could not bring his fingers together to  pull them  out, but  he
was able to gather them by the handful. In this way he got many rotten twigs
and bits of green moss  that were  undesirable, but it was the best he could
do. He worked methodically, even collecting an armful of the larger branches
to be used later when the fire gathered strength. And all the  while the dog
sat and watched him, a  certain  yearning wistfulness in  its  eyes,  for it
looked upon him as the fire provider, and the fire was slow in coming.
     When all was ready, the man reached in his pocket for a second piece of
birch bark. He  knew  the bark was there,  and, though he could  not feel it
with his fingers, he could hear its crisp rustling as he fumbled for it. Try
as  he would,  he  could not  clutch hold of it.  And  all the  time, in his
consciousness, was the knowledge that each  instant his feet were  freezing.
This thought tended to put him in a panic, but he fought against it and kept
calm. He pulled on  his mittens  with his teeth, and thrashed  his arms back
and forth, beating his hands with  all his  might against his  sides. He did
this sitting down, and he stood up  to do it; and all the while the dog  sat
in  the  snow, its  wolf brush  of  a  tail  curled around  warmly over  its
forefeet, its sharp wolf ears  pricked  forward intently as  it  watched the
man. And  the man, as he beat and threshed with his  arms and  hands, felt a
great surge of envy as he regarded the creature that was  warm and secure in
its natural covering.
     After a time he was aware of the first faraway  signals of sensation in
his beaten fingers. The  faint tingling grew stronger till it evolved into a
stinging  ache  that  was  excruciating,  but  which  the  man  hailed  with
satisfaction. He stripped  the mitten from his right hand and fetched  forth
the birch bark. The  exposed fingers were quickly  going numb again. Next he
brought  out  his  bunch  of  sulphur  matches. But the  tremendous cold had
already  driven the  life  out of his fingers. In his effort to separate one
match from the others, the whole bunch fell in the snow. He tried to pick it
out of  the  snow,  but  failed. The  dead fingers could neither  touch  nor
clutch. He was  very careful. He drove the thought of his freezing feet, and
nose, and cheeks, out of his mind, devoting his  whole soul to the  matches.
He watched, using the sense of vision in place of that of touch, and when he
saw  his fingers on each side  the bunch, he closed them--that is, he willed
to close  them, for  the wires were  down, and the  fingers did not obey. He
pulled the mitten on the right hand, and beat it fiercely against  his knee.
Then, with both mittened hands, he scooped the bunch  of matches, along with
much snow, into his lap. Yet he was no better off.
     After some manipulation  he managed to  get the bunch between the heels
of his mittened hands. In  this  fashion he carried it to his mouth. The ice
crackled and snapped when by a  violent effort he opened his  mouth. He drew
the lower jaw in, curled the upper lip out of the way, and scraped the bunch
with his upper  teeth in  order to separate a match. He succeeded in getting
one, which he dropped on his lap. He was no better off. He could not pick it
up. Then he devised a way. He  picked it up in his teeth and scratched it on
his leg. Twenty times he scratched before he succeeded in lighting it. As if
flamed  he  held  it with  his  teeth to the  birch  bark.  But the  burning
brimstone went up his  nostrils and  into his lungs,  causing  him  to cough
spasmodically. The match fell into the snow and went out.
     The old-timer  on Sulphur Creek  was right, he thought in the moment of
controlled despair that ensued:  after fifty below, a man should travel with
a partner. He beat his hands, but failed in exciting any sensation. Suddenly
he bared both  hands, removing  the mittens  with his  teeth. He caught  the
whole bunch between the heels of his hands. His arm muscles not being frozen
enabled him to press the  hand heels tightly  against  the matches. Then  he
scratched the  bunch along his  leg.  It  flared into flame, seventy sulphur
matches at once! There was no wind to blow them out. He kept his head to one
side to escape  the strangling  fumes, and held  the  blazing bundle  to the
birch  bark. As he so held it, he became aware of sensation in his hand. His
flesh  ws burning. He could smell it. Deep down  below the surface he  could
feel  it. The sensation  developed into pain that grew acute. And  still  he
endured it, holding the flame of the matches clumsily to the bark that would
not light readily because his own burning  hands were in the way,  absorbing
most of the flame.
     At last, when  he  could endure no more, he jerked his hands apart. The
blazing matches fell  sizzling into the snow, but the birch bark was alight.
He began laying dry grasses and the tiniest twigs on the flame. He could not
pick and choose, for he had to lift the fuel between the heels of his hands.
Small pieces  of rotten wood and  green moss clung to the twigs,  and he bit
them  off  as well  as  he could  with  his  teeth. He  cherished  the flame
carefully  and  awkwardly.  It meant life  , and  it  must  not perish.  The
withdrawal  of  blood  from  the surface  of his body now made  him begin to
shiver, and he grew  more awkward. A large piece of green moss fell squarely
on  the little fire. He tried to poke it with his fingers, but his shivering
frame made him poke  too  far, and  he  disrupted the nucleus of the  little
fire, the burning grasses and tiny twigs separating and scattering. He tried
to poke them together  again, but in spite of  the  tenseness of the effort,
his shivering got away  with  him, and the twigs were hopelessly  scattered.
Each twig gushed a puff of smoke and went out. The fire provider had failed.
As he  looked apathetically about him, his eyes chanced  on the dog, sitting
across  the ruins  of  the  fire  from him,  in  the snow, making  restless,
hunching  movements,  slightly  lifting one  forefoot  and  then  the other,
shifting its weight back and forth on them with wistful eagerness.
     The sight of the dog  put a wild idea into his head. He  remembered the
tale of the man, caught in a blizzard, who killed a steer and crawled inside
the carcass, and so  was saved.  He would kill the dog and bury his hands in
the  warm  body  until the  numbness  went out  of them. Then he could build
another fire. He spoke to the dog, calling it to him; but in his voice was a
strange note of fear that frightened the animal, who had never known the man
to speak in such  a way before. something was the matter, and its suspicious
nature sensed danger-it knew not what danger, but somewhere, somehow, in its
brain arose an apprehension of  the man. It flattened its  ears down  at the
sound of the man's voice,  and its restless, hunching movements and liftings
and shiftings  of its forefeet became more pronounced; but it would not come
to the  man. He got on  his hands and knees and crawled toward the dog. This
unusual  posture again  excited suspicion,  and the animal sidled  mincingly
away.
     The man sat  up in the snow  for a moment  and struggled  for calmness.
Then he pulled on his mittens, by means of his teeth, and got upon his feet.
He glanced down  at  first  in order  to assure  himself that he  was really
standing up,  for the absence of sensation in his feet left him unrelated to
the  earth. His  erect  position in itself  started  to drive  the  webs  of
suspicion from the dog's mind;  and  when he  spoke  peremptorily, with  the
sound of whip lashes in his voice, the dog rendered its customary allegiance
and came to  him.  As it came within  reaching  distance,  the  man lost his
control.  His  arms flashed  out  to  the dog,  and  he  experienced genuine
surprise when he discovered that his hands could not clutch, that  there was
neither bend nor feeling  in  the  fingers.  He had forgotten for the moment
that they were frozen  and that they were freezing  more  and more. All this
happened quickly, and before the  animal  could get  away, he  encircled its
body  with  his arms. He sat down in the snow, and in this fashion  held the
dog, while it snarled and whined and struggled.
     But it was all he could do, hold its body encircled in his arms and sit
there. He  realized that he could not  kill the dog. There was no way to  do
it. With his helpless hands he could neither draw nor hold his  sheath knife
nor throttle  the animal.  He released it, and it  plunged wildly away, with
tail  between  its legs,  and  still snarling.  It  halted  forty feet  away
surveyed him curiously, with ears sharply pricked forward.
     The man  looked  down at his  hands in order  to locate them, and found
them  hanging  on the ends of  his arms. It struck him as  curious that  one
should have to use his eyes in order  to  find out where his hands  were. He
began threshing his arms back and forth, beating  the mittened hands against
his  sides. He  did this  for  five minutes, violently, and his heart pumped
enough  blood up  to the surface  to  put a stop  to his  shivering. But  no
sensation was aroused in his hands. He had an impression that they hung like
weights on  the ends of  his arms, but when  he tried  to run the impression
down, he could not find it.
     A certain fear of death,  dull and oppressive, came  to him.  This fear
quickly became  poignant  as he realized that it was no longer a mere matter
of freezing his fingers and  toes, or of losing his hands and feet, but that
it was a matter of life  and death with the  chances against him. This threw
him into a panic, and he turned and ran up the creek bed along the old,  dim
trail.  The  dog joined in behind and kept  up with  him.  He  ran  blindly,
without intention, in fear such as he had never known in his life.
     Slowly, as  he plowed and floundered  through the snow, he began to see
things again--the  banks of  the creek,  the old  timber jams,  the leafless
aspens,  and the sky.  the running made him feel  better. He did not shiver.
Maybe, if he  ran on, his  feet would thaw out; and, anyway,  if he ran  far
enough, he would  reach camp and  the boys. Without doubt he would lose some
fingers and toes and some of his face; but the boys  would take care of him,
and save the rest of him  when he  got there. And at the same time there was
another thought in his mind that said he would never get to the camp and the
boys; that it was  too many  miles away, that  the freezing had too great  a
start on him, and that he would soon be stiff and dead. This thought he kept
in  the  background  and  refused  to  consider.  Sometimes it pushed itself
forward and demanded to be heard, but he thrust it  back and strove to think
of other things.
     It struck him  as  curious  that he could run at  all on feet so frozen
that he  could not feel them when they struck the earth and took  the weight
of  his body. He seemed  to himself to skim along above the surface,  and to
have  no connection with  the earth.  Somewhere  he had  once seen a  winged
Mercury, and he wondered if Mercury felt as  he felt  when skimming over the
earth.
     His theory of  running until he reached  camp and the boys had one flaw
in it; he lacked the endurance.  Several times he stumbled,  and  finally he
tottered, crumpled up,  and fell. When he tried to rise, he failed. He  must
sit  and rest, he decided, and next time  he  would merely walk and  keep on
going. As he sat and regained his breath, he noted that he was feeling quite
warm and comfortable. He  was not shivering,  and it even seemed that a warm
glow had come to his chest and trunk. And  yet, when he  touched his nose or
cheeks, there was no sensation. Running would not thaw them  out. Nor  would
it thaw out his hands and feet. Then the thought came to him that the frozen
portions of his body must be extending. He tried to keep this  thought down,
to  forget it,  to  think of something else; he  was  aware of  the  panicky
feeling that  it caused,  and he was afraid of  the  panic. But the  thought
asserted itself,  and  persisted,  until it produced  a  vision  of his body
totally  frozen. This was too  much,  and he made another wild run along the
trail.  Once he  slowed down  to  a walk,  but  the  thought of the freezing
extending itself made him run again.
     And all the  time the dog ran with him, at his heels. When he fell down
a second time, it curled its tail over its forefeet and sat in front of him,
facing  him, curiously  eager and intent.  The  warmth and  security of  the
animal  angered  him,  and he  cursed it  till  it  flattened down  its ears
appeasingly. This time the shivering came more quickly upon the man. He  was
losing  his battle  with  the frost.  It was creeping into his body from all
sides.  The  thought of it drove him on, but he  ran no more than  a hundred
feet, when he staggered and pitched headlong. It was his last panic. When he
had recovered his breath and  control, he sat up and entertained in his mind
the  conception  of meeting death with dignity. However, the conception  did
not come to him in such terms. His idea of it was that  he had been making a
fool of himself, running around like  a chicken with its head cut off-- such
was the simile that occurred to him. Well, he  was bound to  freeze  anyway,
and he  might as  well take it  decently. With this new-found peace of  mind
came the first  glimmerings of drowsiness. A good idea, he thought, to sleep
off to death. It was like  taking  an anesthetic. Freezing was not  so bad a
people thought. There were lots worse ways to die.
     He  pictured  the  boys finding  his body next  day.  Suddenly he found
himself  with them,  coming along  the trail  and  looking for himself. And,
still w ith them, he came around a turn in the trail and found himself lying
in the snow. He  did not belong with himself any  more, for even then he was
out of  himself, standing  with the boys and looking at himself in the snow.
It certainly was  cold, was his thought. When he got  back to the  States he
could tell the folks what real cold was. He drifted on from this to a vision
of the old-timer on Sulphur  Creek. He could see him quite clearly, warm and
comfortable, and smoking a pipe.
     Then  the man drowsed off into what seemed  to him the most comfortable
and satisfying sleep he had ever known. The dog sat  facing and waiting. The
brief day drew to a close in a long, slow twilight. There were no signs of a
fire to be made, and,  besides, never in the dog's experience had it known a
man to sit like that in the snow and make no fire. As the twilight  drew on,
its eager yearning for the fire mastered it, and with



Популярность: 13, Last-modified: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 08:38:13 GMT