The big bad wolf

November 13, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

“The lion,” thought the Wolf, “is called the King of the Jungle. But I, the Wolf, am the King of the Forest.”

He walked, putting each paw down deliberately, step, step, holding his head up, lofty, regal – it wasn’t altogether working.

“Something about being both sleek and having lots of hair,” he considered. “I look too much like a dog – and he’s a cat – another division in the world of injustices: a cat doesn’t care about anybody! They expect to be fed, admired, even worshipped and offer nothing in return, as if caring for them is a privilege!”

He tried the walk again, lifting his head and raising his upper lip to show generous teeth, ready to tear at any flesh – for protection – for food – for power. Still. Not there yet.

“Idiot dogs!” he growled. “”Nothing’s too much for my human’ – whiners, all of them, always so eager to please, wagging and bending around their human’s legs – disgusting, ridiculous. What happened to dignity? To self-satisfaction?”

He climbed up onto a rock and stood with regal distain to look at the world beneath him. His roar came out like a song – like a howl – “I am the King of the Forest – the one to be feared and admired!” he called down to the land around him.

Not quite the same.

He sat down to ruminate about the literature and realized, “It’s all that crummy history – all the bad news about wolves in all those old stories – just think about it! We’ve been villains and, then, fools! Duped by some little girl or a forest creeping human or a boy and his friend, the bird!

“So many old tales,” he grumbled to himself, “about the big bad wolf and a weakling human getting the better of him. Never on an even keel, mind you – they always bring their weapons – love to see how that would go in a fair fight – mano to paws- and claws..”

He was about to try another roar when he realized – “Wolves don’t roar – they strike terror into the hearts of everyone by their howl! We make the moon shake with our howls, whether there’s lots of us howling like Saturday night down the pub or just a single one of us, nose pointed heavenward and eerie under a full moon.”

Suddenly excited, he told himself, “That’s why those stories go the way they did- first they’re terrified of us – our mysticism – our secrets – our powerful ferocity – then, to make the story safe for their weeny little children, whom they’ve raised to be afraid of their own shadows, they write the wolf up as a fool, easily tricked and killed by weapons carried by fearful men!”

He lifted his face and let rip a tremendous – “Yip! Yip! A-whoooo!” so full and spine- tingling that there were rustles in the leaves underfoot where the nightlife scurried away from him – shivers in the branches of the trees around him, wings flapping nervously, twitters of fear – a Wolf was about – what was he saying? 

Deeply satisfied with this revelation, he stood up and walked his own walk, still consciously stepping with deliberation while he thought about the new future his awakening to his own self image was going to bring. What if he could turn the dogs? Some of the bigger ones must know their heritage – although, for thousands of years people and dogs cozied up together – must be evolution- like the apes and humans. Apes remained free, safe in the jungle and humans were trapped by the smartness of their thumbs and their voraciousness. 

Wolves were free in the forests and dog were trapped by servitude to the unworthy humans. Leave them to it.

Yet, one night, a large dog was listening to the howling under the moon and he thought he heard a different note, an unusual message in what they were calling. Something stirred in the dog, something from a time so long ago, the memory made him restless, fretting. Night after night, he heard it and one night, still in the temperate time of early autumn, he went hunting for it; left the back door of the house to follow the lure of ancient knowledge.

Across the land, the wolves howled their rediscovered history and they corrupted the dogs and freed them back to their original natures of so very long ago. 

As the numbers of dogs leaving their humans grew and the humans wondered, “What the hell is going on?” there was a shift and a loss in the world, where those deep allegiances were gone and people worried about their puppies being corrupted and whether they should go out with their weapons and kill all the wolves or whether the damage was done – forever. 

After all, what is the cure for all pervasive corruption?

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