Monday, December 09, 2013

the parable of Angry Wolf and Happy Sheep

Angry Wolf wasn't always Angry Wolf. Years ago, he was just Pup, and from the beginning, his father was very strict.

"The world is a tough place," said Father one day. "I want you to be able to survive it." With that, Father grabbed Pup in his jaws and flung him into the nearby river. "Swim, boy!" shouted Father.

"I can't!" squeaked Pup, frightened and swallowing river water.

"Well, I guess you'd better learn fast!" barked Father, running alongside his son and watching his progress.

So Pup struggled and, after a minute or so, he found his feet and started to dog-paddle. Pretty soon, he was able to stay nicely afloat and could even decide which bank to swim to. Pup swam back to the side of the river that Father was on and dragged himself, gasping, onto the bank, stopping at Father's feet.

"Good!" said Father. "Now we bring down a deer!"

"But... but..." said Pup, heaving, "I just... got out of the water... and I'm too tired... and only two of us are going to take down a deer?"

Eyes flashing, Father growled and showed his dangerous fangs. "Up, boy! Now!" Pup shakily raised himself onto his feet, and off they trotted in search of deer to kill.

Year after year, this was how it went. Father was strict and very demanding. He made Pup learn all sorts of skills—how to hunt, how to survive long periods without food, how to fight other wolves that weren't part of the pack. Father seemed constantly angry, and as Pup grew, he became angry, too, until one day he was Angry Wolf—smart, capable, determined, focused, and independent.

Some miles away, in a pasture, lived Happy Sheep. Happy Sheep's life had been easy from the beginning. When she was just a tiny lamb, the Herd took care of her, and as she grew, Mother would say, "Never you mind: the Herd will always be there for you. And when you don't know what to do, just do what the Herd does. You don't even need to think. How's that for comfortable, eh?" Happy Sheep took this advice every time she heard it, and she was blissful. Life was nothing but fresh grass, gentle breezes, and whispering rains. She cropped the grass with her herd, her belly growing fat, her mind growing ever slower and happier. There was no need to think; life's problems required no solution except conformity. Just go with the Herd. The Herd will take care of you.

Angry Wolf trotted a few miles out of the way of his normal haunts, breaking past the edge of the forest and finding himself in an open pasture. He scented the air, and smelled an incredible smell: something delicious, but something that wasn't deer. Hanging close to the edge of the wood, Angry Wolf began looking for the source of this amazing odor. Within only a few minutes, he had found it: a whole herd of big, fat sheep, placidly grazing away in the noonday sun. He licked his chops and made his plans.

Well, Dear Reader, I'm sure you can guess what happened next. Angry Wolf reappeared that evening and targeted the fattest and stupidest-looking of the sheep. He charged forward, quick as an arrow, and the sheep who had time to see his approach screamed and scattered. But Happy Sheep, obtuse and oblivious, failed to see the giant wolf's charge, failed to notice that the wolf had aimed himself directly at her. Angry Wolf tackled Happy Sheep, who bleated in incomprehension and began to struggle fatly, aimlessly, in an attempt to get away from her attacker's claws and fangs. But Happy Sheep was a goner the moment Angry Wolf had spotted her, and the whole horrible business was over with quickly. Angry Wolf grabbed the dead sheep by the throat and dragged her closer to the woods. Then he began to dine.



John said...

A fine parable for our times indeed! When I think of all the sheeple who believe the government is capable of protecting them from every unpleasantness they may encounter, all I can do is shake my head in pity and disgust.

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Angry Wolf has claws?

Jeffery Hodges

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Kevin Kim said...

Perhaps you prefer "fingernails"? Yes: not to wax too poetic, but there are claws on the ends of those paws.

Kevin Kim said...

Do dogs have claws?

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I thought dogs had "nails."

Jeffery Hodges

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Kevin Kim said...

Of course. But they're also claws.