“Wolf and Man”

By Michael G. Giles

Copyright © 2009 BY Michael G. Giles All rights reserved. None of the information in Wolf and Man may be reproduced in any way shape or form, or by any means, without express written consent by the author, Michael G. Giles

Wolf and Man

Late one evening, just as the darkness of night was creeping over the forested mountains, a Black Wolf heard the whimper of one of the creatures of the forest. The cry emanated such agony and despair that the wolf felt a strange sense of pity, and thought to investigate. Following the cries and whimpers to their source, he eventually found it.

Man!

The wolf recoiled back in shock and fear, snarling viciously, “A man! A man!"

An old, bent and gnarled man heard the wolf and jumped. The torment of a trap that had snared him caused him to fall to the ground. Desperately he looked up at the wolf, “Please, please, I've stepped in one of my own traps and cannot free myself; I am too weak. Will you help me?” Taking courage at the man's situation, the Black Wolf carefully approached, the thought never leaving its mind that this could be a trap disguised as a trap. Looking at the man’s foot, the wolf grimaced. The smell of blood and the strong odor of fear permeating its senses told him that this was no trick. Advancing just a few paces from the man, the wolf sat down and raised its head to the failing light of the heavens and howled long and deep. As the Black Wolf sang its eerie song, the man became frightened, shrinking back against a nearby tree. As the wolf's song concluded, it lowered its head and looked at the man, studying him intently.

“Yes, I will help you from the trap. I will release you. What is your name -- man. What are you called?”

“Thank you, you are kind. My name is Samath, and I am a traveler. I come from yonder city.” Samath feebly pointed toward the base of a distant mountain range, and then gasped as his leg twisted within the iron jaws of the trap. The wolf looked sympathetically upon the man, shuddering. Samath gingerly touched his bleeding leg and glanced up at the wolf.

“My leg, it is broken.”

“That must be painful Samath.” The wolf grimaced, "Please, cease your struggling; it only makes the pain worse. I and my brothers, when they arrive, will free you. I cannot do it alone”. Again the wolf lifted its nose to the blackening canopy of the heavens and sang his song. This time it echoed back here and there, not far off. Samath studied the wolf for a time, still afraid.

“And what is your name, friend?” Samath asked. The wolf lowered its head and paced back and forth. Again, Samath repeated his question. With a start, the wolf froze.

“Please, forgive my lack of manners." The wolf slowly approached, head lowered almost to the ground, studying Samath’s leg, and his desperate situation. It sat just without arms reach from Samath and grimaced.

"I am known as Kane.” With the introduction, the wolf bowed slightly. "And it is a rare and unexpected pleasure to make your acquaintance Samath.” As the two conversed, the cries of other wolves now echoed from all around, closer and closer. Shortly, they appeared from out of the trees. The old man whimpered and looked around, tugging at his trapped and broken leg. The effort caused him to cry out, “The pain, oh the pain. Please, please help me!”

“Easy Samath, only a few more moments and you will be free. But first, I must consult with my brothers, for this trap will not be easy to loose from your leg. We have not hands as you.” Kane casually trotted over to three of the nearest wolves and greeted them in his own way. Samath watched as the four wolves conversed quietly together. After a time, he saw that they must have come to some agreement, for Kane was approaching. The other wolves followed. They sat in a semicircle around Samath, studying the trap disdainfully. Then Kane spoke to Samath compassionately.

“Now Samath, hold still and lay back, so that we may work to free you without too much difficulty”. Samath lay his back against the tree, nodding.

“Thank you Kane. I am in your debt. Please . . . the pain”. Samath inspected the trap with pleading eyes, his bloody hands holding his broken leg. He knew, that once free, he would have to make a splint for his leg. Still, it would be a difficult journey back. Then he looked up at the approaching wolves.

Swiftly the pack traveled through the night-time forest, nipping at each other playfully. On they raced, tongues lolling out the sides of their mouths, laughing with joy and satisfaction. Upon a ridge they gathered, their voices rising together in the harmony of their brotherhood as the moon wandered across the blanketing span of black night. Their eerie songs were answered by other wolves in a neighboring valley not far off. Swiftly they bolted from the hillside, racing down into the thickening trees below, to meet their brothers.

As the four descended the ridge, Kane hesitated, glancing back down across the valley where he had been fortunate enough to make his first human acquaintance, and licked blood from his muzzle. Without a second glance, nor thought for that evening, the Black Wolf followed down after his brothers.