Driving back from the shops today Duran Duran’s Hungry Like the Wolf came on the radio. It started me thinking of a parable I had heard many years ago, one which I thought I had posted in Bytes. When I looked for it I was unable to locate it so I may not have.
I then googled it and found it was similar to an Aesop’s Fable.
To be honest, I prefer the version I had heard but I will post both and leave it for you to decide which you prefer.
It was a particularly harsh winter, the snow lay deep and the temperatures were freezing. Food was lacking and many creatures perished.
One day a thin emaciated wolf came upon a dog in the forest.
The dog was sleek and appeared well fed, causing the wolf to ask “How is it that in this bitter winter, you can be so well fed and appear comfortable?”
“I live on a farm nearby,” said the dog. “The humans feed me and look after me. Why don’t you come back with me, I feel sure they would look after you as well.”
The wolf agreed and they headed to the farm.
As they approached the farm buildings, the wolf noticed something and said to the dog “What is that around your neck?”
“That’s my collar,” said the dog.
Whereupon the wolf turned around and went back into the forest, eventually starving and dying.
What is the moral of that story?
The collar was not a bad thing, per se.
The dog, being domesticated, was happy to accept the collar and what came with it as the price for being looked after.
The wolf was a wild thing and rejected it, preferring to be true to his own nature, even if it meant perishing.
There are many collars in our everyday lives, even a very relevant one at present of people having to be vaccinated to maintain employment, gain admission to venues etc. Most willingly accept the collar, some choose to reject it and go back in the forest.
That raises issues of which collars we accept and reject, and why.
The history of protest, of advancement, even Magna Carta, has been one of people rejecting collars, no matter the cost.
However rejection is not always good: witness the January 6 Capitol riot, a rejection by those involved of laws, rights, facts and fair play.
Drop me a line by email if you have any thoughts and comments.
A Dog offered to help a Wolf get regular feed from his Master. The Wolf listened but saw a bald spot on Dog’s neck where the collar sat. Goodbye said Wolf.
Better starve free than be a fat slave.
Another version but longer:
There was once a Wolf who got very little to eat because the Dogs of the village were so wide awake and watchful. He was really nothing but skin and bones, and it made him very downhearted to think of it.
One night this Wolf happened to fall in with a fine fat House Dog who had wandered a little too far from home. The Wolf would gladly have eaten him then and there, but the House Dog looked strong enough to leave his marks should he try it. So the Wolf spoke very humbly to the Dog, complimenting him on his fine appearance.
“You can be as well-fed as I am if you want to,” replied the Dog. “Leave the woods; there you live miserably. Why, you have to fight hard for every bite you get. Follow my example and you will get along beautifully.”
“What must I do?” asked the Wolf.
“Hardly anything,” answered the House Dog. “Chase people who carry canes, bark at beggars and fawn on the people of the house. In return you will get tidbits of every kind, chicken bones, choice bits of meat, sugar, cake, and much more beside, not to speak of kind words and caresses.”
The Wolf had such a beautiful vision of his coming happiness that he almost wept. But just then he noticed that the hair on the Dog’s neck was worn and the skin was chafed.
“What is that on your neck?”
“Nothing at all,” replied the Dog.
“Oh, just a trifle!”
“But please tell me.”
“Perhaps you see the mark of the collar to which my chain is fastened.”
“What! A chain!” cried the Wolf. “Don’t you go wherever you please?”
“Not always! But what’s the difference?” replied the Dog.
“All the difference in the world! I don’t care a rap for your feasts and I wouldn’t take all the tender young lambs in the world at that price.” And away ran the Wolf to the woods.
There is nothing worth so much as liberty.
Your preferred version?