This tale takes you into the heart of the Native American so you can feel as he does about the natural world. The Native American has followed closely the lives of the forest animals, especially the wolves who travel in packs, live in community with other wolves, and have great respect toward the older wolves. It is said that wolves are the eyes and the ears of the forest and in this story, the wolf is the hero and man is the intruder. My storytelling shares the Native American respect for our environment and appreciation for these woodland creatures who are unable to speak for themselves.
Convel had just stepped out of his den, having heard a sound outside that disturbed him. He had been sound asleep when the commotion started. It was some sort of metal banging on wood; an uneasy feeling came over him. Intruders had come. The rest of his family were all curled up snug together in their warm fur coats. In the distance he saw a fire. Men had come into his forest. Convel carefully pushed more leaves across the opening to his home.
Years before, lightning had hit the large stone outcropping and caused it to split, forming a cave like tunnel which then became home to this grey wolf and now his family of five. There were three young cubs, two females and a male. Their mother, Waya, was a dark grey wolf with a gentle way about her. Do not be fooled by her soft exterior though, she would fight to the death to protect her young.
This day would be no exception.
The father wolf ventured closer to the human’s fire to see what was going on. The men were a hunting party. Convel realized what this might mean and headed back to the rock to alert the family. Convel had not gone more than ten feet, when, from behind a tree, a man stepped forward. In his hand was a large stick, and he used it to knock the wolf senseless.
“Don’t damage the fur. No shooting, you hear me.” This was the oldest of the three men. He appeared to be the leader of their pack. “I don’t want anything to happen to that beautiful grey pelt. It’ll fetch a hundred dollars easily. Quick, tie him up while he is unconscious.
The hunter’s name was Bart. The other two were Sam and Trevor. Now the den was unprotected. These rough looking characters had nothing but dollar signs for eyes.
By this time mother wolf, Waya, was beginning to stir from the den. As she reached the opening, she sensed danger. Convel had put leaves over the doorway and she knew what that meant. Cautiously she looked out between the leaves. There, near the opening, stood Trevor with a rifle in his hand.
Waya remembered discussing with Convel getting a place to live which would have a second exit, in case something like this would happen. She quietly woke up her cubs and led them to the other end of their rock home. There was an opening there just big enough for the little wolves. Waya herself was too large to pass through it.
The hunters would soon try to smoke them out. So she instructed the three little ones to move without a sound out through the hole and to head deep into the forest. They all knew where the large oak tree stood about a half mile away. It had room in the base of it for the cubs to hide.
The two young females, Cailean and Faolin, reached the tree unharmed. Kweeuu, their brother, told them to stay there while he went to check out the situation. They tried to discourage him from going, but he had too much of his mother and father in him to be afraid. Kweeuu headed off to look for his father. He sniffed the air.
The scent told him that there were humans about, and that they had lit a fire. He guessed that his father had gone there to investigate.
The camp fire was almost out, and there appeared to be no one there, except his father. Convel was tied to a tree near their tent. Slowly Kweeuu crawled up to the rope beside his dad. They had tied a piece of leather around his nose and mouth. They did not want the wolf to chew himself to freedom.
As the father slept, the small wolf snuggled in close to his dad. This was to give the appearance of one wolf lying there. Kweeuu slowly nibbled at the rope. Once the rope was free, the father looked up to see his youngest. At the same time Sam came out of the tent and headed over to the fire with a coffee pot. He sat it on the fire and then slowly sauntered back into the tent.
If they were going to make a break for it, it would have to be now. Off they sped in the direction of the cave. As they got closer to the opening, one man was standing in front of it with a stick and rope in his hand. The other one had a rifle that stood propped against the rock wall.
Convel knew the men would not shoot him. He ran out and created a diversion.
One of the men yelled, “There’s one.” They both ran after the father, while the little guy called quietly to his mother. The two of them headed directly for the oak tree. Convel led the hunters in circles, until they finally gave up the chase and went back to their camp. Then they realized that the wolf had been freed. Sam got a smack across his cheek by Bart. “How could you let our fur go? You owe us a hundred bucks when we get back to town.”
On the crest of the hill overlooking the camp stood a lone white wolf. He stood there like a sentry or a guard. Was he not afraid of their fire power? Bart was so angry that he picked up his gun and shot at the wolf. The bullets seemed to pass right through him. The wolf was unharmed. In fact it appeared to grow larger and brighter.
The wolf then let out an eerie cry into the heavens. It was a summons to all the woodland creatures. Fearlessly they obeyed, gathering at the spot where the men stood. Big cats and bears were standing about ten feet from the hunters, looking at them with expressions of reproach and pitying contempt. The hunters were terrified and unable to move. The animals waited until the wolf cried out once again then all of them retreated back into the forest.
The men stood there for the next half hour, frozen in place. What had just happened? Whatever it was, they just could not believe it. They never returned to the woods again. In fact, they gave up hunting all together.
Convel and his wolf family went back to their home in the rocks. The story of the phantom wolf was spread amongst the humans. They described it as a spirit. No one was likely to bother the wolves after that. The wagon that the hunters used to haul their gear and furs was left abandoned near the woods as a reminder of that day.
- Spirit Wolf in a Native American Setting — by Donald Ford - July 18, 2014