The Child Inside the Wolf

In the wood near a small village there lived a wolf. He was not the usual kind of wolf, that is he was not one of those wolves that kill animals to feed themselves and even attack people now and again. To be honest he did scare quite a few unaware travellers that happened to walk along the wood’s trails and his howls were downright frightening, especially in the middle of the night, but he never hurt any living creature.

At first the people from the village hunted the wolf, afraid that he might steal their livestock, and even managed to wound him once or twice. In time however they came to realize that the wolf never chased the farmers’ animals and left him alone. A few of the village women even took the habit of leaving a little food for him at the edge of the wood.

What those people did not know was that trapped inside the wolf’s skin there was a small child. His father had died before he was born and his mother had fallen ill when he was very young. When she realized that she did not have long to live she had gone to see a sorceress and ask her advice on what she could do to protect her child. The sorceress had given her a wolf skin, saying that as long as the child remained inside the skin he would be safe. What the sorceress did not say was that the child was not going to be able to come out of the wolf skin by himself and that he was not going to grow up until he did.

One day a kind woman went to live in a small house by the wood. She grew fond of the wolf and let him into her house whenever he came around and in a while he started living with her. The child was thrilled, because he thought that at last he had found someone who could help him to get out of the wolf skin. Unfortunately, however, much as she was fond of him, the kind woman could not see through the wolf skin and took him for what she saw, an awkward wolf, innocent and sweet.

Seeing that he was harmless and even playful the village children took to coming around and play with the wolf. These were the moments when the child was most happy, almost forgetful of his condition, playing with friends as he used to do before he was trapped inside the skin. At other times, however, he would spend days gazing outside the window, longing for someone to come around who could free him from his trap. The kind woman was very sorry to see him so sad and tried everything she could think of to cheer him up, to no avail.

[To be continued …]

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