Jack London spent a year in the Yukon researching his book about life during the Klondike goldrush. His hero, a dog called Buck, is taken from his home in Seattle and begins his brutal life as a sled dog. This version of Jack London’s tale is retold in simple English, making it accessible to younger learners as well as EFL and ESL students.
An excerpt from Call of the Wild
Buck did not read newspapers. So Buck did not know that men had found gold in the North of Canada. Those men needed dogs, strong dogs, like Buck, to get that gold.
Buck lived in a house in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley in California. His master was a judge, Judge Miller. It was a big house with wide lawns and a lot of trees. There were many horses and many other dogs. Buck was four years old and he loved his life at the Miller’s place. Sometimes he went swimming or hunting with the Miller boys. Sometimes he went for walks with Mollie and Alice, the two Miller girls. At night, he rested next to the fire in the library with Judge Miller himself. Buck did not live in a kennel or in the house. He lived wherever he wanted. He ignored the smaller dogs for he was king – king over all living things at Judge Miller’s place – human’s included.
Buck’s father, Elmo, had also lived at Judge Miller’s place. Elmo was a huge St. Bernard. His mother, Shep, was a Scotch shepherd dog so Buck weighed less than his father – around one hundred and forty pounds. But with his running and hunting, he was a strong, muscular dog – and had a very happy life. He had dignity and respect in the area and behaved a little like an aristocrat and was, at times, egotistical.
It was in the Fall of 1897 that men found gold in the Klondike. Men came from all over the world to find their fortune. But Buck didn’t read newspapers. He didn’t know about the gold in the Klondike.
There was a gardener who worked for Judge Miller. He loved gambling. The gardener had a wife and many children and he didn’t have a lot of money. He wanted to win the lottery but he needed money to buy the tickets. One night the gardener took Buck for a walk to a park near the train station. He met another man in the park and the man gave the gardener some money. They put a rope around Buck’s neck and Buck trusted them. Until now, Buck had only met good people.
Buck knew something was wrong when the stranger took the rope. He growled to show he was not happy. Suddenly the man twisted the rope and Buck could not breathe. He jumped at the man who threw him to the ground. He twisted the rope more and Buck thought he was going to die.
The men took Buck to the station and when a train came, they threw him inside. When Buck woke up the train was moving. The man was next to him. The man jumped at Buck but Buck was too quick. He bit the man’s hand. The man screamed and there was a lot of blood. The man put his bloody hands around Buck’s neck and held him for a very long time.
Do you want to find out what happens to Buck?
The book can be bought from Wayzgoose Press as either a paperback or as an e-book.