The Two Wolves – Just My Opinion AF Henley Monthly Spotlight! #mm #guestpost @AFHenley 4

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The Two Wolves – Just My Opinion

I came across a parable on Facebook the other day about two tigers. This particular version was told and illustrated as a Japanese story with tigers. But I’ve always heard that it’s a Cherokee parable, and it wasn’t tigers, it was wolves. Which makes sense as the last time I checked, we don’t have many wild tigers in this portion of the world.

Regardless, the condensed, non-verbatim story goes like this:

In a small unnamed village, after a nasty physical altercation, one of the elders takes aside one of the perpetrators of the argument to talk to the young man about his anger. The elder tells him that anger is understandable, as all men (mankind) have two wolves inside them. One wolf is good; it is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The other is evil; it is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The two wolves are constantly battling with each another, the elder says, since they are equal fighters and neither is powerful enough to destroy the other.

“But if the wolves are of equal power,” the young warrior asks, “which wolf will win?”

The elder replies, “The one you feed.”


I’ve never quite gelled with this parable. While I could be misinterpreting the tone of the story, it seems to me as if the concept is that we need to stop feeding the “evil” wolf and let the “good” one flourish. I don’t buy into that for two reasons:

  1. If it exists, it exists for a reason.
  2. Harmony can’t be obtained without balance, and balance by definition can’t be one-sided.



Passive peacefulness and perfect good have never worked in our collective societies. The only thing perfect obedience and subservient acceptance will get mankind is dead. It’s been shown time and again throughout history, and for the sake of all that is good and sane I’m not going to start listing instances to prove my belief here. This is, after all, just my opinion and you can just choose to stop sitting at my dinner table if you don’t like what I’m dishing out.

For those that have remained, however, my opinion is that there’s a time and a place for the good wolf, but af2there is also a time and a place for the “evil” wolf (and probably in equal amounts). Human beings were born with a certain amount of aggression, tension, and anger because we need these traits in order to speak up and against things we disagree with, to protect ourselves and the people we love, and to fight for our right to not just the most basic of needs, but for every platform on the hierarchy.

By all means, feed the good wolf: promote peace, be soft spoken and gentle, be kind and civil. But whatever you do, don’t starve the “evil” wolf while you’re doing it.

Harmony and balance are imperative to every part of our lives, be it writing, drawing, working, or just existing. And a little more Wolf in a person’s life can’t be a bad thing. (Unless one is a vampire.) ((Not to be taken as a serious comment.)) (((I’m sure there are some very nice, agreeable vampires out there.)))

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Do you have firsthand knowledge that wild tigers DO, in fact, exist in North America and I’m insane to say they don’t? I’d love to hear from you so, please, take a moment to share below.


Until next time!


AF Henley <3


About the Author

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words af-11-4descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love- my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica. Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012, and Henley’s newest release, Wolf in League is now available at Less Than Three Press or through your favourite online provider.

For more information, please stop by for a visit at


4 thoughts on “The Two Wolves – Just My Opinion AF Henley Monthly Spotlight! #mm #guestpost @AFHenley

  • Jack Frost

    There are many parables that are similar in nature, usually the characters and their collective roles are all that change. Take stories of Coyote or Raven. We see their comparisons in other legends of Prometheus or Orpheus. Or Loki. Or so many others, and I being weak in my mythology can’t name any more. xD So, without research, couldn’t tell you if both cultures had their own version or if it was heard and adapted to one side or the other. I’m also not sure if the tigers of Japan (I think I heard of dwarfed tigers) would have even counted. At best you’d probably have Japanese hearing about Tigers from the Chinese and adapting them. And I’m almost sure there are no native tigers in America. Privately owned Tigers, sure. But I think our big cats are like Bobcats, mountain lions, and ocelots.

    And I’ll never leave your table just because we don’t agree on something. I like my friends because I feel like we can either a) respect each other’s differences of opinion or b) can get past things we just don’t like.

    Don’t worry, I promise not to compete with you on this. xD

    I really get where you’re coming from. To me I feel like the parable is incomplete. First I’m not a dichotomist so I dislike anything that is strictly “one or the other”. And I do disagree that balance between the two is necessary. But I’ll get to that in a moment. The lists are polar opposites and are only the best and worst of each side. There is so much that’s in the middle that’s completely missed. And there are cases where the quality represented by the evil wolf is not, in fact, an evil trait at all but is good or evil dependent on how it’s used. This is more a parable for young children to get them started out. For example, when a young child gets angry it an be for very justifiable reasons but usually we assume it’s because they didn’t get what they wanted and are now throwing a fit. I threw quite a few of those fits when I was younger. In that case I’m feeding the negative anger. But when I was accused of doing things I didn’t do and was being punished for lying about not doing it (got to love that one) my anger was justified and went to neither than evil or the good wolf. My sense of justice was on the good wolf, my desire to hurt them back was the bad wolf. But the ultimate end of the parable is “which one wins?” And I think there might have been something lost or something not thought out in the parable when they simply said “the one you feed.” I think a better phrase would be the “one you feed the most”

    Both wolves will get food, but which one wins in the end is the one you fed the most. When you are constantly angry, constantly selfish, constantly telling lies, you feed that evil wolf and become him. These people will grow up with hate in their hearts, unwilling/unable to treat others right. Greed wins out and they are willing to throw other people to the pits. If you feed the good wolf more, you won’t be free of anger, but that anger will be driven for outrage at inequality, at the suffering of others at the hands of those who fed the evil wolf more.

    Now the reason I don’t believe in the need for balance between the two is I don’t believe either is inherent. Becoming all good is not a bad thing nor should it be viewed as such. The view that an all good person is somehow wrong comes from the “holier than thou” people who are pretty much feeding the evil wolf more but pretending they work closely with the good wolf. But people who truly feed the good wolf only, or at least more than the evil wolf, their actions even anger are driven toward something good and meaningful. They can be wrong and cause harm, but are not aiming to do so.

    That’s the other half of balancing. What you balance in yourself is only half the equation. Because that balance will affect the balance with you have with others. You feed the good wolf, and all your actions are to the betterment of others. However, you forget to feed the knowledge wolf and act in ignorance causing greater harm.

    Anyway, that’s my incoherent rambling.

    You know I love hearing other people’s interrpretations because it forces me to look at my own and see where my ideas are lacking or need more work. They also show me things I’d never even seen before. There was this one time in my World Literature course. We had to read this Norweigan story about a boy and his friend who had been exiled. Or at least that’s what I think it was. The boy told of his witch mother who did things with dead bodies and how people were afraid of her. The man told how he defended the honor of a dear female friend by killing an evil religious man. I had lost my required book, so I found the story online. It was by a different interpreter. So that already gave very different perspectives on the story all on its own.

    When discussing the story the people who read the book were all shocked by how horribly women were portrayed in the story. Women were witches, the man was “made a murderer” by his friend. The story I read, however, gave me a very different impression. And I have to watch myself here because I’m also a white male in America. So I probably wouldn’t catch on to some of the inequality statements even if we had read the same translation of the story. But what was in my story was “for whose sake he became a murderer” so in my story he did it willingly to help her. In their story, she was the cause and it was her fault that he was exiled.

    So stories like these have all of the fun of a) who is doing the reading b) who did the translation and c) any changes or simplifications that occurred over time, potentially changing or losing their intial meanings. And whether or not you’ll take from them what they intended to share.

    • AF Henley

      Frosty, I think I should get you to write my blog posts. You are far more eloquent and in-depth than I am! 😀

      Thank you for sharing! That was awesome to read and you have a ton of amazing points there. Always a pleasure, my friend. <3

  • Raphael

    When you mentioned the illustration and with it brought up the topic of your wonderful blog post, I remembered the story. Immediately so many things went through my mind about the duality of humans. I could not accept the message that we only have to let the ”good” wolf win and everything is great.

    Life is so much more complex than that. Nature equipped us with a light and a dark side. The reason for that surely is subject to many and thorough philosophical discussions.

    I would have said that there is even a need for our ”evil“ side. Our still so young species started in a world full of live that only saw us as prey. In an environment that could have been harsh to a life form that had not developed the buildings and clothes to protects themselves.

    Only a couple of hundred thousand years later, while our ”evil“ side made our survival possible, our good side made our development in so many fields possible.

    And both sides worked – may I say co-operation – to develop ourselves.

    And now that we have evolved so far it is our responsibility to keep both side in check. Following only one side or allowing one side to take over will be our end. We still need them both, hell, we would not be who we are without one or the other side. And let us be honest. Even the ”evil“ side is buried so deeply into our genes that we could not get rid of them, no matter how hard we would try.

    But I am afraid, I only repeat what you already said in your beautiful way, my friend.

    Oh, and I do know of at least one very nice and agreeable vampire. 😉

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, buddy! 😀


    • AF Henley

      Oh, you doooo, do you? *wiggles eyebrows* Are you sure of that? *grins*

      Very well said, buddy. I think the more developed we become, the more organized-whatever (be it religion, government, authorities) try to quash the inherent desire of mankind to keep that balance and I don’t think it’s good for us.

      Always a pleasure to read, my friend! Thank you for commenting! <3

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