The Wolves Within

By Esther Acosta


            Fighting his tears, the young boy clung tightly to his grandfather, Wolf Dreamer.   Gradually, piece by piece, the story emerged.   . . . a cruel classmate. . . . unkind words. . . .an injustice done. . . . anger. . . . . desire for revenge. 

            Wolf Dreamer said, “Grandson, let me tell you a story.  I, too, have felt a great hate for those that would take, having no regard for those they hurt, having no sorrow for what they do.  But hate is a thing that wears you down and does not hurt your enemy.   It is like taking poison yourself and wishing all the while that your enemy will die. These feelings have warred within me many, many times.  They have crept into my mind and my thoughts.  They have filled me heart. I have struggled with them.

            It is as if there are two wolves inside me.  The first one is good and does no harm.  He is powerful and strong.  He stands for freedom and independence, living in harmony with all around him.  This first wolf does not take offense when no offense was intended.  He will only fight when it is right to do so and he will only fight in the right way.

            But the other wolf, the second wolf, he is wounded and in pain.  That pain and anger drives him to lash out at those who cross his path.  Because he is filled with anger, the littlest thing will cause him to lose his temper.  He fights with everyone, all the time, for no reason.  He cannot think because his pain and anger and hate are so great.

            It is hard to live with these two wolves inside my spirit.  They constantly fight.  They battle to see which one will dominate my spirit.”

            The boy listened silently, looked intently into Wolf Dreamer’s eyes.  “Grandfather,” he asked, “Which one wins?”

            Wolf Dreamer solemnly replied, “The one I feed.”



            This story has been shaped by me, using Native Americans as the main characters.  It is NOT, however (to the best of my knowledge) a traditional Native American story.  This story was reprinted in THE STARFISH, The Rocky Mountain Storytellers Guild Newsletter.  It was subsequently posted on the Healing Arts listserve.                                                                                                                                               Rose the Storylady


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