"So I promised him, and he paid the price in good cheechako coin
(Which the same I blowed in that very night down in the Tenderloin).
Then I painted a three-foot slab of pine:"Here lies poor Bill MacKie,"
And I hung it up on my cabin wall and waited for Bill to die.

Years passed away, and at last one day came a squaw with a story strange,
Of a long-deserted line of traps 'way back of the Bighorn range,
Of a little hut by the great divide, and a white man stiff and still,
Lying there by his lonesome self, and I figured it must be Bill.

So I thought of the contract I'd made with him, and I took down from the shelf
The swell black box with the silver plate he'd picked out for hisself;
And I packed it full of grub and "hooch," and I slung it on the sleigh;
Then I harnessed up my team of dogs and was off at dawn of day.
  You know what it's like in the Yukon wild when it's sixty-nine below;
When the ice-worms wriggle their purple heads through
the crust of the pale blue snow;
When the pine trees crack like little guns in the silence of the wood,
And the icicles hang down like tusks under the parka hood;

When the stove-pipe smoke breaks sudden off, and the sky is weirdly lit,
And the careless feel of a bit of steel burns like a red-hot spit;
When the mercury is a frozen ball, and the frost-fiend stalks to kill
-- Well, it was just like that that day when I set out to look for Bill.

Oh, the awful hush that seemed to crush me down on every hand,
As I blundered blind with a trail to find through that blank and bitter land;
Half dazed, half crazed in the winter wild, with its grim heartbraking woes,
And the ruthless strife for a grip on life that only the sourdough knows!
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