Food for the Wolf
Once upon a time there was a mangy old wolf who liked to eat a pig once in a while. People blamed the poor devil terribly for what was after all, just his nature. They made up horrible stories about him eating piglets, cats, dogs, barns, little girls and anything else they could think of but it was really unfair. Once you got to know him, he was really a rather decent type except for this one failing and after all, who really cares about the occasional pig.
One Spring morning it happened that he was out for a stroll, for wolves like the Spring too, and he came upon a piglet sitting on the wall of a bridge over a river fishing. Never a one to look an easy meal in the face, he immediately struck up a conversation with the little chap in order to stop him legging it. As luck would have it, the piglet was an excellent angler and before the wolf could get around to eating him up, the piglet hooked a big fish. It was so strong that it started pulling the piglet right off the wall of the bridge. The piglet, in his excitement, shouted to the wolf to hold him about the waist or the fish would surely pull him into the river.
The wolf, being an obliging type, did as the piglet asked of him, for he’d done a bit of fishing himself and was not immune to the excitement caused by a good fish on the line. The wolf stood behind the piglet on the bridge and put his arms about the piglet’s waist and gripped him tightly but the big fish pulled harder and harder until the piglet complained that his hands were not strong enough to hold the stick he was using as a fishing rod. The Wolf took one of his hands off the piglet’s waist and gripped the stick tightly to help him.
Pretty soon, the piglet complained that his other hand was too tired to hold on any longer so the wolf released his other hand from about him and elbowing the piglet aside, gripped the rod with it too. Now that he had a proper grip on the rod, he could really start hauling it in for it was a monster of a fish. It started making circles in the water, alternatively rushing towards him and then veering away. When it approached him he grabbed at the line in an attempt to lift it out of the river but it was determined not to be caught and always turned away from him, pulling hard until the stick was bent almost double. The wolf’s arms ached and his brow began to show signs of perspiration as he fought to land the fish. He was not doing very well and he knew it.
The piglet was jumping up and down behind him, shouting encouragement and advice but soon the wolf ignored him because he couldn’t take his attention off the fish for a moment for fear he’d lose him. The struggle went on for a long time but eventually the strength and determination of the wolf began to wane and in a moment when the wolf should have been pulling, the fish jumped off the hook, for trout are the great escape artists.
He turned around to look for the piglet but he was nowhere to be seen. With a sinking feeling, he realised that somewhere in the titanic struggle with the fish, the piglet had taken the opportunity to make good his escape from the wolf. No fish, no piglet, nothing.
The wolf felt depressed. Him, a wolf, famed for their cunning, tricked by a miserable piglet.
Later that day, the piglet returned to the bridge to see if the wolf had left the fishing rod behind after the piglet had escaped. Knowing the bad reputation of wolves, he fully expected to find it smashed up on the ground. To his relief, he saw it propped up unharmed against the wall of the bridge with the line hanging down into the water. He looked around carefully but there was no sign of the wolf, so the piglet picked up the rod and settled down to fish again.
Very soon there was a tug on the line and the piglet pulled up on the rod vigorously but the line refused to budge. The piglet pulled harder until the strain showed on his piggy face and the veins stood out on his chubby little arms. Slowly but surely he felt the line coming up and managed to pull a little bit harder. He knew this was going to be the biggest fish he had ever caught and looked forward to showing it to his friends before he had it for his supper. With a final desperate tug, he pulled the line clear out of the water.
The wolf was holding on to the hook on the end of it and the piglet’s last tug pulled the wolf right out of the water and onto the bridge where he quickly ate the piglet up! The moral, if there is one, is that while piglets may be better fishermen than wolves, they’ll never be quite as cunning.
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