Thursday, May 27, 2010

Both Are Hungry...

A village elder sat at a telling-fire one night, surrounded by the youth of his tribe. They came to him in the evenings, when the day's work was done, to hear the tales of their people, and to learn from the wisdom of his many winters.

One of the young men asked, "Grandfather, what will you teach us at this telling?"

The elder looked at the faces of the children and young men and women who had gathered around his fire this night. When he had captured the eyes of all present, he began to speak in a voice quiet as the kiss of a spring wind on the trees, but was nonetheless heard by all those who turned their ears to him.

"Each of us, my children, has two wolves that live and war within us.

One wolf is angry and afraid. This wolf meets the rise of the moon with hatred and fear. It seeks to destroy that which it fears, which is all that is. It is hungry, and seeks to consume us from within, til we are hollow and feel only its fear and share its anger and hate. It seeks to devour.

The other wolf is full of life and power. This wolf meets the rise of the moon as the return of a friend, and howls its greeting with cheer. It seeks to share with us the joy of the hunt and the thrill of life. It, too, is hungry, but it seeks to fill us with the life it consumes. It seeks to share its power, and to leave no moment of the day unlived.

One wolf seeks to steal its strength from us.

The other seeks to share its strength with us.

Both war against the other, one seeking to control, the other seeking to share.

Both are strong, and both are hungry."

As the elder stopped speaking, a hush fell over the gathering while the youths pulled the last of his words from the air.

At last, one small boy broke the silence.

"Grandfather," he asked. "Which wolf is stronger? Which wolf will defeat the other?"

Once again, the elder met the eyes of all those gathered before whispering his answer.

"The one that you feed."
This is not my tale; it is simply my telling of a story that has been told many times before.

It is often attributed to the Cherokee Nation, but similar versions of it have been told in many lores around the world.

I share my re-telling of it with you today because it has special relevance to my life (and the lives of many of those around me, I believe) right now, and it seemed important to share it.

Though I've heard this tale many times, earlier this evening was the first time I truly became aware of which wolf I have been feeding.

I have my brother to thank for this.

Thanks, Drew.

Thanks for reading my ranting,


  1. I liked this. :) Good thoughts.

  2. Thanks, Lydia and Jaleh.

    I've always loved this story.

  3. Thanks for sharing this.