Πέμπτη, 30 Ιανουαρίου 2014

Legends around the Wolf

                               

There have many stories and fables written about wolves, some like "little Red Riding Hood",and stories about Werewolves have made the wolf a symbol of evil, a monster to some.
wolf and craneThe wolf was often portrayed as the Anti-Christ, epitome of evil. There are also many legends of wolves as noble creatures who can teach us many things.
The following are some of those stories and myths, Please enjoy them.

          

 

                                       Wolf and the Sea

Once a man found two wolf pups on the beach, he took them to his home and raised them. When the pups had grown, they would swim out in to the ocean, kill a whale, and bring it to shore for the man to eat. Each day they did this, soon there was too much meat to eat and it began to spoil. When the Great Above Person saw this waste he made a fog and the wolves could not find whales to kill nor find they way back to shore. They had to remain at sea, those wolves became seawolves (Orca)

        Ankakumikaityn the Nomad Wolf - A Siberian Tale

One summer the fox heard that Ankakumikaityn the nomad wolf was courting his neighbor, the elder she-dog. So the wily fox made himself an outfit of wolf's clothing: a grey fur cloak, boots and cap. Then, when the she-dog's brothers were away and she was at home with her younger sister, he called upon her.
"I have two herds of fat reindeer," said the fox to the elder sister, as he sipped the bilberry tea she offered him. "I have come to seek your hand."
Thinking that this was, indeed, Ankakumikaityn the nomad wolf, the she-dog treated him to reindeer meat, hot mare's-blood sausages, raw walrus liver and pickled fish, the very choicest pieces. All the while, the fox sat in his cap, unwilling to take it off lest he be recognized.
"Being a wealthy person," he explained, "I keep my cap on that people might respect me."All of a sudden, the sound of dogs barking could be heard from afar."It is my brothers returning from hunting," the she-dog said."Oh dear," exclaimed the fox, "they will likely scare my herds. I must run to caution them."
Once away from the tent, the fox quickly dashed up the nearby hill and loosened some rocks. When the dog brothers came in sight, he pushed the boulders down the hillside and crushed them all. Thereupon, he returned to the tent and finished his tea, charming the sisters with his oily-tongued tales. As dusk fell and the sisters were busy about their housework, he made off with all their food supplies.
Early next morning, the sisters became most alarmed on discovering their supplies gone and their brothers still absent. As they searched the valley and found their poor brothers dead, they wept in despair.
"Who could have done us such harm?" they wailed. In their sorrow, they decided to go to Ankakumikaityn to seek his counsel. The nomad wolf was puzzled. "But I never came to you yesterday!" he exclaimed.
It was not long before the sisters realized they had been tricked by the fox. With the wolf's help, they worked out a plan to get their revenge.
Next day, the fox, unaware that he had been discovered called on the sisters again dressed as Ankakumikaityn. But this time they were expecting him. While the fox drank bilberry tea and exchanged pleasantries, the nomad wolf stealthily entered the tent, grabbed the treacherous fox and tied him up.
"What shall we do with the scoundrel?"asked the wolf. "Let's put him in a sack and leave him in the tundra," suggested the two sisters. That they did. The poor fox almost fainted from fright, wondering what his fate would be. At last, he was set down with a bump; the younger sister collected a heap of dry grass and brushwood for a fire, piled it round the sack, surrounded the tinder with stones and then lit the fire. Poor fox. He at last burst out of the burning sack, his wolf's clothing aflame, and rushed headlong over the tundra like a burning torch. Satisfied at their revenge, the dog sisters and the wolf returned to the tent.
Ankakumikaityn wed the elder sister, and the younger dog looked after their children. Some time later, she found herself a husband too. Since that time red foxes began to appear in the tundra. So it seems that wily old fox, scorched and fiery red, managed to survive his roasting after all.

                                           Wolf and Hound

"The hills like giants at a hunting lay
Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay." -- Browning.

You'll take my tale with a little salt,
But it needs none, nevertheless,
I was foil'd completely, fairly at fault,
Dishearten'd, too, I confess.
At the splitters' tent I had seen the track
Of horse-hoofs fresh on the sward,
And though Darby Lynch and Donovan Jack
(Who could swear through a ten-inch board)
Solemnly swore he had not been there,
I was just as sure that they lied,
For to Darby all that is foul was fair,
And Jack for his life was tried.
We had run him for seven miles and more
As hard as our nags could split;
At the start they were all too weary and sore,
And his was quite fresh and fit.
Young Marsden's pony had had enough
On the plain, where the chase was hot;
We breasted the swell of the Bittern's Bluff,
And Mark couldn't raise a trot;
When the sea, like a splendid silver shield,
To the south-west suddenly lay;
On the brow of the Beetle the chestnut reel'd,
And I bid good-bye to M'Crea --
And I was alone when the mare fell lame,
With a pointed flint in her shoe,
On the Stony Flats: I had lost the game,
And what was a man to do?
I turned away with no fixed intent
And headed for Hawthorndell;
I could neither eat in the splitters' tent,
Nor drink at the splitters' well;
I knew that they gloried in my mishap,
And I cursed them between my teeth --
A blood-red sunset through Brayton's Gap
Flung a lurid fire on the heath.
Could I reach the Dell? I had little reck,
And with scarce a choice of my own
I threw the reins on Miladi's neck --
I had freed her foot from the stone.
That season most of the swamps were dry,
And after so hard a burst,
In the sultry noon of so hot a sky,
She was keen to appease her thirst --
Or by instinct urged or impelled by fate --
I care not to solve these things --
Certain it is that she took me straight
To the Warrigal water springs.
I can shut my eyes and recall the ground
As though it were yesterday --
With a shelf of the low, grey rocks girt round,
The springs in their basin lay;
Woods to the east and wolds to the north
In the sundown sullenly bloom'd;
Dead black on a curtain of crimson cloth
Large peaks to the westward loomed.
I led Miladi through weed and sedge,

She leisurely drank her fill;
There was something close to the water's edge,
And my heart with one leap stood still,
For a horse's shoe and a rider's boot
Had left clean prints on the clay;
Someone had watered his beast on foot.
'Twas he -- he had gone. Which way?
Then the mouth of the cavern faced me fair,
As I turned and fronted the rocks;
So, at last, I had pressed the wolf to his lair,
I had run to his earth the fox.
I thought so. Perhaps he was resting. Perhaps
He was waiting, watching for me.
I examined all my revolver caps,
I hitched my mare to a tree --
I had sworn to have him, alive or dead,
And to give him a chance was loth.
He knew his life had been forfeited --
He had even heard of my oath.
In my stocking soles to the shelf I crept,
I crawl'd safe into the cave --
All silent -- if he was there he slept
Not there. All dark as the grave.
Through the crack I could hear the leaden hiss!
See the livid face through the flame!
How strange it seems that a man should miss
When his life depends on his aim!
There couldn't have been a better light
For him, nor a worse for me.
We were coop'd up, caged like beasts for a fight,
And dumb as dumb beasts were we.
Flash! flash! bang! bang! and we blazed away,
And the grey roof reddened and rang;
Flash! flash! and I felt his bullet flay
The tip of my ear. Flash! bang!
Bang! flash! and my pistol arm fell broke;
I struck with my left hand then --
Struck at a corpse through a cloud of smoke --
I had shot him dead in his den!


                                   The Wolf ceremony

I wanted to give something of my past to my grandson. So I took him into the woods, to a quiet spot. Seated at my feet he listened as I told him of the powers that were given to each creature. He moved not a muscle as I explained how the woods had always provided us, with food,homes,comfort and religion. He was awed when I related to him how the Wolf became our guardian, and when I told him that I would sing the Sacred Wolf Song over him, he was overjoyed.
I wanted to give something of my past to my grandson. So I took him into the woods, to a quiet spot. Seated at my feet he listened as I told him of the powers that were given to each creature. He moved not a muscle as I explained how the woods had always provided us, with food,homes,comfort and religion. He was awed when I related to him how the Wolf became our guardian, and when I told him that I would sing the Sacred Wolf Song over him, he was overjoyed.
In my song, I appealed to the Wolf to come and preside over us while I would perform the Wolf ceremony so that the bondage between my grandson and the wolf would be lifelong.
I Sang.
In my voice was the hope that clings to every heartbeat.
I Sang.
In my words were the powers I inherited from my forefathers.
I Sang.
In my cupped hands lay a spruce seed...the link of creation.
I Sang.
In my eyes sparkled Love.
I Sang.

And the song floated on the sun's rays from tree to tree. When i was ended, it was if the whole world listened with us to hear the Wolf's reply.
We waited a long time but none came. Again I sang, humbly but as invitingly as I could, until my throat ached and my voice gave out. All of a sudden, I realized why no Wolves had heard my sacred song?!.
There were none left! My heart filled with tears. I could no longer give my grandson faith in the past, our past.
At last I could whisper to him:"It is finished!"
"Can I go home now?" He asked, checking his watch to see if he would still be in time to catch his favorite program on TV
I watched him disappear and wept in silence.
All is Finished!

                                  

                                   Little Red Riding Hood

Once upon a time . . . in the middle of a thick forest stood a small cottage, the home of a pretty little girl known to everyone as Little Red Riding Hood. One day, her Mummy waved her goodbye at the garden gate, saying: "Grandma is ill. Take her this basket of cakes, but be very careful. Keep to the path through the wood and don't ever stop. That way, you will come to no harm."
Little Red Riding Hood kissed her mother and ran off. "Don't worry,' she said, "I'll run all the way to Grandma's without stopping."
Full of good intentions, the little girl made her way through the wood, but she was soon to forget her mother's wise words. "What lovely strawberries! And so red . . ."
Laying her basket on the ground, Little Red Riding Hood bent over the strawberry plants. "They're nice and ripe, and so big! Yummy! Delicious! Just another one. And one more. This is the last . . . Well, this one . . . Mmmm."
The red fruit peeped invitingly through the leaves in the grassy glade, and Little Red Riding Hood ran back and forth popping strawberries into her mouth. Suddenly she remembered her mother, her promise, Grandma and the basket . . . and hurried back towards the path. The basket was still in the grass and, humming to herself, Little Red Riding Hood walked on.
The wood became thicker and thicker. Suddenly a yellow butterfly fluttered down through the trees. Little Red Riding Hood started to chase the butterfly.
"I'll catch you! I'll catch you!" she called. Suddenly she saw some large daisies in the grass.
"Oh, how sweet!" she exclaimed and, thinking of Grandma, she picked a large bunch of flowers.
In the meantime, two wicked eyes were spying on her from behind a tree . . a strange rustling in the woods made Little Red Riding Hood's heart thump. Now quite afraid she said to herself. "I must find the path and run away from here!"
wolf1At last she reached the path again but her heart leapt into her mouth at the sound of a gruff voice which said: "Where ' . . are you going, my pretty girl, all alone in the woods?"
"I'm taking Grandma some cakes. She lives at the end of the path," said Little Riding Hood in a faint voice.
When he heard this, the wolf (for it was the big bad wolf himself) politely asked: "Does Grandma live by herself?"
"Oh, yes," replied Little Red Riding Hood, "and she never opens the door to strangers!"
wolf2"Goodbye. Perhaps we'll meet again," replied the wolf. Then he loped away thinking to himself "I'll gobble the grandmother first, then lie in wait for the grandchild!" At last, the cottage came in sight. Knock! Knock! The wolf rapped on the door.
"Who's there?" cried Grandma from her bed.
"It's me, Little Red Riding Hood. I've brought you some cakes because you're ill," replied the wolf, trying hard to hide his gruff voice.
"Lift the latch and come in," said Grandma, unaware of anything amiss, till a horrible shadow appeared on the wall. Poor Grandma! For in one bound, the wolf leapt across the room and, in a single mouthful, swallowed the old lady. Soon after, Little Red Riding Hood tapped on the door.
"Grandma, can I come in?" she called.
Now, the wolf had put on the old lady's shawl and cap and slipped into the bed. Trying to imitate Grandma's quavering little voice, he replied: "Open the latch and come in!
"What a deep voice you have," said the little girl in surpnse.
"The better to greet you with," said the wolf.
"Goodness, what big eyes you have."
"The better to see you with."
"And what big hands you have!" exclaimed Little Red Riding Hood, stepping over to the bed.
"The better to hug you with," said the wolf.
"What a big mouth you have," the little girl murmured in a weak voice.
wolf3"The better to eat you with!" growled the wolf, and jumping out of bed, he swallowed her up too. Then, with a fat full tummy, he fell fast asleep.
In the meantime, a hunter had emerged from the wood, and on noticing the cottage, he decided to stop and ask for a drink. He had spent a lot of time trying to catch a large wolf that had been terrorizing the neighbourhood, but had lost its tracks. The hunter could hear a strange whistling sound; it seemed to be coming from inside the cottage. He peered through the window ... and saw the large wolf himself, with a fat full tummy, snoring away in Grandma's bed.
"The wolf! He won't get away this time!"
Without making a sound, the hunter carefully loaded his gun and gently opened the window. He pointed the barrel straight at the wolf's head and . . . BANG! The wolf was dead.
"Got you at last!" shouted the hunter in glee. "You'll never frighten anyone agaln.
He cut open the wolf's stomach and to his amazement, out popped Grandma and Little Red Riding Hood, safe and unharmed.
"You arrived just in time," murmured the old lady, quite overcome by all the excitement.
"It's safe to go home now," the hunter told Little Red Riding Hood. "The big bad wolf is dead and gone, and there is no danger on the path.
Still scared, the little girl hugged her grandmother. Oh, what a dreadful fright!"
Much later, as dusk was falling, Little Red Riding Hood's mother arrived, all out of breath, worried because her llttle girl had not come home. And when she saw Little Red Riding Hood, safe and sound, she burst into tears of joy.
After thanking the hunter again, Little Red Rldlng Hood and her mother set off towards the wood. As they walked quickly through the trees, the little girl told her mother: "We must always keep to the path and never stop. That way, we come to no harm!"
Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales (Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm)

                    Little Red Riding Hood, a modern version

Translated from "Caperucita Roja y El Lobo.....Feróz?" by Blanca and Carlos Sanz
There aren't many children who have grown up with wolves, but Blanca Sanz can count herself as one of the lucky ones who have. She has played with cubs in their den, joined in games with young wolves and even howled at the moon while being treated as just another member of the pack, never being threatened with aggression and always under the watchful eye of her father, Carlos. Aged eleven she joined with him to re-write the story of Little Red Riding Hood, their aim being to dispel the myth of the "Big Bad Wolf". Here's their version.....
girl with wolf
On the way to her grandmother's house one day, Little Red Riding Hood met a worried wolf in the woods. Her two naughty cubs had left the den without permission while she was out hunting and she had no idea where they could be hiding. Little Red Riding Hood told her they couldn't be far away and that she would help her find them.
girl with wolf pup
Not long afterwards, she found the cubs in some bushes, frightened and very hungry. Being the super-heroine that she was, she luckily had just what they needed in her basket - a baby's bottle full of milk at just the right temperature.
girl with wolf and pups
Glad to have found the wolf cubs safe and sound, Little Red Riding Hood took them home to their mother where they carried on feeding. The mother wolf thanked Little Red Riding Hood and the cubs promised never to stray again .
woman and wolves
As it was getting very late, the mother and father wolves decided to guide Little Red Riding Hood, via a short-cut through the woods, to her grandmother's house where she gave her the presents she had brought in her basket.
man, girl and wolves
A hunter, who had spotted the wolves near the house, approached with his rifle at the ready believing the young girl's and the old lady's lives to be in danger. Little Red Riding Hood begged him not to shoot and explained that the wolves would never attack people.
girl with wolf pack
Since that day, all the wolves in the area became Little Red Riding Hood's friends and came out to play with her and protected her every time she went into the woods.
girl with wolf
The moral of this story is that wolves can be good friends to humans and never eat Little Red Riding Hoods! The myth of the man-eating big bad wolf is completely false (nowadays at least.)
Carlos and Blanca in a wolf den with mother and cubs
Carlos and Blanca in a wolf den with mother and cubs
For European countries now seeing a slow, wary growth in their wolf populations, all that is needed is a little foresight on the part of farmers and local governments. The former should make full use of their local Livestock Guardian Dog breed (in Spain, the Mastín Español) which, by their presence alone, deter wolves from attacking animals out to pasture, and by night should keep livestock in barns. The latter should compensate financially for any livestock loss promptly when proven to be by wolves rather than the more often case of attacks by feral dogs. Hunting of deer species (wolves' natural main prey) should be controlled so that any wolf pack doesn't need to resort to farmed animals in it's search for food.
With thanks to Carlos Sanz and his daughter Blanca for giving permission to translate from their original "Caperucita Roja y el Lobo....Feróz?"


                                     Signy (Norse Legend)

daughter of VolsungShe was the daughter of Volsung, a descendant of Odin. Married against her will to King Siggeir, she tried to warn her father and her ten brothers about his plot against them, but she and her brothers were ambushed in a forest and bound to a fallen tree. Each night a wolf devoured one of them in turn, until only her youngest brother Sigmund was left alive. Signy got a slave to smear Sigmund's face with honey so that the wolf would lick him instead of biting him. Sigmund was thus able to catch the wolf's tongue in his teeth and overcome the beast. Signy helped Sigmund to plot revenge. She even slept with him in disguise and bore a son named Sinfiotli. When Sinfiotli grew up she placed him in Sigmund's care, but they were both captured by Siggeir. A magic sword freed them and killed Siggeir and his sons. Signy chose to die herself in the burning palace, but not before she had told Sigmund the truth about Sinfiotli's parentage.



                                             Werewolves

There are a number of cultures which have were-creatures in thier mythology, usually involving large predators that hunt by night. Often the were-creatures takes the form of the most dangerous animal found in the area. India has weretigers, Africa has wereleopards, but the most famous of all are the werewolves of medieval Europe.
werewolfThe term "were" is from the old english word "wer" meaning man, Thus, werewolves , man-wolves, are half human and half animal.
References to wolf-men arose in Europe at around the time of Christ. In book Ten of Homer's Odysseus , the grandfather of the hero Odysseus is named Autolykos, meaning "he who is wolf." The people of Arcadia believed some members of thier culture had the ability to turn themselves into wolves. If they tasted human flesh during the transformation they were doomed to live out their lives as wild beasts unless they abstained from human flesh for nine years. The Roman poet Virgil wrote in the first century B.C about a sorcerer who took poisonous herbs to turn himself into a werewolf.
Werewolves were believed to have two origins, voluntary and involuntary.
  • Many voluntary werewolves were believed to be people who had made a pact with the devil. most werewolf tales describe men who turned into werewolves at night, when they devoured people and animals, and then returned to human form at daybreak. Night was a time of the devil.
  • Involuntary werewolves were those whose actions had inadvertently caused a horrible transformation. Persons born on Christmas Eve were often thought to be werewolves. In Sicily, a child conceived during a new moon was thought sure to grow up to be a werewolf. German folk tales told of a mountain brook whose waters turned humans into werewolves.
  • Tales in Serbia created werewolves from people who drank water collected in wolf footprints
  • People with slanted eyebrows were also automatically assumed to be wolfmen. In Greece, all epileptics were thought to be werewolves.
Some werewolves were believed to be sinners transformed by god for thier actions. Certain saints were thought to have the power to change sinners in to werewolves. In Armenia, it was believed that an adulterous woman would be visited by the devil, who would bring her a wolf skin to wear. To pay for her sins, she had to wear the skin for seven years before she could return to human form.
Surprisingly, even today there are those who still believe in werewolves. One study showed that eighty percent of Russian farmers surveyed believed in werewolves, proving that the negative imagery associated with wolves still lives


                                      Greek Wolf Myth

In Greek mythology, Charon, the ferryman, wore wolf ears. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Ishtar had the power to turn enemies into wolves. Hecate, the goddess of Death, was shown as wearing three wolf heads. In another Greek myth, a king named Lycaon was turned into a wolf by the god Zeus. (the name Lycaon survives today, in the gray wolf subspecies Canis Lupius Lycoan, the eastern timber wolf.) The Athenians had great respect for the wolf and decreed that any man who killed one had to pay for the funeral for the animal.


                          Wolf Myths of the Middle ages

During the middle ages, wolves were ascribed magical powers and wolf parts became an important part of many early pharmacies. Powdered wolf liver was used to ease birth pains. A wolf's right paw, tied around ones throat, was believed to ease the swelling caused by throat infections.
  • It was widely believed that a horse that stepped in a wolf print would be crippled
  • The gaze of a wolf was once thought to cause blindness
  • Others believed that the breath of the wolf could cook meat.
  • Naturalists of the day believed wolves sharpened their teeth before hunting
  • Dead wolves were buried at a village entrance to keep out other wolves (a bizarre belief echoed today by farmers who continue to shoot predators and hang them on fence posts to repel other predators.)
  • Travelers were warned about perils of walking through lonely stretches of woods, and stone shelters were built to protect them from attacks. Our modern word "loophole" is derived from the European term "loup hole," or wolf hole, a spy hole in shelters through which travelers could watch for wolves.


                                       Romulus and Remus

The story of the twins, sons of the god of War, Mars. In the legend Romulus and Remus are orphaned when their mother, Silvia is imprisoned and the infants are cast into the Tiber River. They are set ashore under a fig tree and found by a she wolf and a woodpecker, animals that are sacred to Mars. The twins are fed and nursed by the animals, until Faustulus, the king's herdsman finds them and raises them with his wife. They left home to found their new kingdom on the shores of that same river where they had many years before begun their legendary lives.
As children will often do, Romulus and Remus could agree upon neither the location of the new city nor a name for it. It was during this strife that Romulus killed his twin, and thereupon built the new settlement.
Lacking for inhabitants, the new king called upon outcasts from outlying communities to come to his new homeland and to settle upon the Capitoline Hill where Romulus built a sanctuary for misfits of other communities.
But, alas, Romulus soon discovered that his city was lacking for women, and he announced that games were to be celebrated in honor of the god, Consus, and he thereby invited the Latins and the Sabines to his celebration. It was during this event that the Romans lashed out upon the virgins of the community and carried them away.
Romulus' reign was tainted with this story of the rape of the Sabine women, whose tribe, under the leadership of Titus Tatius, allegedly infiltrated the new Latin lands and battled with the inhabitants of Latium, thus forming a union of the two tribes early in the history of ancient Rome.
Rape of SabineDuring the ensuing war, the Sabine women prayed for peace, and they begged that the two tribes unite and form one people, one nation. Unfortunately, the peace was short-lived, and Titus Tatius, who was at this time co-reigning with Romulus, was killed in a confrontation. Thus, Romulus continued his reign alone not only over the Latins but also over the Sabines.
His 37-year reign as the first king of Rome ended when his father, Mars, carried him away to heaven in a chariot of fire. Henceforth, Romulus demanded to be known as " Quirinus," the guardian god to the Romans.


                                       The Final Song

His song was ancient and pure. The song of the wind and that of the moon. The Ancient ones cried when his music faded forever from their ears, and the children's dreams went sour without his lullaby.
In his music was contained the tales of all that ever was and a longing for what he knew was never to be. Never again was his kind to travel boldly and without fear across the great expanse. Respected and revered by all that heard his song or saw his shadow pass.
His song now a whisper, his bold step but a crawl, he gathered up his strength to cry one final call. He sang of sorrow for those who would never know and for those who knew too well that the song was meant to be.
When the song had ended and the echoes faded away, all eyes opened to what was lost.
Tears were shed and souls did go astray when they knew they had gone wrong, but no one stopped to think of these things... before the Final Song.