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The Wolf Shepherd
Many years ago, in the hills of Europe, German Shepherd dogs guarded flocks of sheep. This was a wise decision on the part of the human shepherds, for German Shepherds are among the most faithful and protective of dogs. They helped the shepherds keep the sheep safe and under control, maintaining peace and harmony throughout the pastures. The sheep loved the German Shepherds, which in turn loved the sheep. Due to these strong bonds and the excellent work by the noble dogs, the pastures were always thriving and secure.
Hidden in the side of the hills, however, was a young wolf. The wolf had always felt conflicted about his identity—he had been told that he was a wolf, yet in his heart he longed to be a German Shepherd. Consequently, he had a strained relationship with his father, who insisted that his son live in accordance to the wolf lifestyle.
“You were born a wolf,” his father said to him. “You must remain a wolf, and you must embrace the wolf within you.” The other wolves in the pack agreed, but despite the pack pressure, the wolf remained firm in his convictions. He would swear loyalty to the German Shepherds, even if it meant a lifetime of struggle.
This, of course, infuriated his father. He tried to instill his values in his son.
“A wolf must be a warrior!” he insisted. “Warriors must live by strict discipline, strength, focus, and loyalty. You cannot abandon the wolf pack and join the German Shepherds! I must impose strict rules on you, young wolf. You must uphold the warrior ideals!”
“But father, I have no desire to be a wolf,” protested the wolf. “Nor do I wish to be a warrior like you. I have found the German Shepherds more appealing and more worthy of my allegiance.”
“Traitor!” hissed the father. “What will you do with your life if you are not a warrior? You are by nature a wolf! What can you do with the German Shepherds?”
“I will become an expert scenter,” replied the wolf. “I will master and perfect the art of making scent marks. It requires fine accuracy and a delicate balance to craft marks of beauty. This is what I long to do with my life. Furthermore, I do not have to immediately join the German Shepherds to do this. I can practice and enhance my artistry with other wolves. I have nothing against them. It is simply that I first and foremost swear allegiance to German Shepherds.”
“You want to sacrifice the noble legacy of our species to focus on urinating against a tree?” the father asked in angry bewilderment.
“It is what I wish to do,” the wolf bravely answered. “I may have been born a wolf, but that by no means requires me to abide by the wolf nature or legacy. Our true legacy, in fact, is the freedom found in the expansiveness of our range. By forbidding my freedom, you are sacrificing the wolf legacy.”
Enraged, the father disowned his son, allowing the young wolf to completely sever ties with the father and pursue his own ways in life. He indeed practiced the art of making scent marks and strived to be included with other wolves in the art.
“If I put my mind to it, I can do it. Nothing can stop me, now that I have overthrown the terribly strict and suffocating authority of my father,” mused the wolf. Unfortunately, the other wolves laughed at him when he said he wanted to be included with them in their sub-pack.
“You simply lack the talent to create beautiful scent marks,” they jeered. “You should perhaps focus your abilities on lesser pursuits, such as carving scratches into trees.”
The wolf was dejected, but he reassured himself that he had a natural right to freedom.
“With freedom comes power,” he thought. “And with power comes achievement, and with achievement comes beauty. If I cannot pursue my dreams of becoming a scenter, I shall simply seek freedom in another area. After all, freedom cannot be constrained to merely one aspect of life, or otherwise it isn’t true freedom. True freedom must be unlimited.”
In due time, war broke out between the many hills, and the wolf asked to fight with the German Shepherds to defend the hills. The German Shepherds decided that the wolf looked similar enough to a German Shepherd, so they agreed to let him fight. Embracing this opportunity, the wolf fought valiantly, and although his hill was ultimately defeated, the German Shepherds took notice and rewarded him.
With this, a change that had long been brewing within the wolf took place. He had previously lived in shadows and the underside of the hill, and receiving recognition for his actions was a new experience. Already quite supportive of the German Shepherds, he became even more passionate about the breed and the hill.
“I have harnessed my freedom and power quite well, it seems,” remarked the wolf to himself. “If I could use my freedom and power to defend my hill and receive accolades and acclaim for my deeds, what more could I accomplish? Achievement leads to beauty, and I have already achieved a great deal, but there is still much work to be done for the hill. I have shown them that I can help them, but I must do more. This hill, after all, was still ultimately defeated. We must attain at least our former beauty and splendor. I should be the one to rule the hill.”
With this line of thinking in mind, the wolf set out to rule the hill. Since the German Shepherds initially wouldn’t comply with his demand to rule, he decided to take matters into his own hands and overthrow them. His attempt failed, however, and he was consequently punished by being banished back to the underside of the hill.
The wolf refused to let this setback deter him.
“I still have the freedom and power to change things,” he thought. While waiting for his period of banishment to end, he continued to develop his plans for ruling the hill. Upon his release, he immediately set out to gain power. He carefully made himself appear even more like a German Shepherd, even changing his wolf howl to resemble a dog bark. Things had taken a turn for the worse for the hill. It was crippled from the earlier war and bore almost no resemblance to its earlier glory days. The German Shepherds were weak and wary and were thus unable to guard and care for the sheep as well as they had before, and the sheep consequently lived in misery. Seizing advantage of this opportunity, the wolf presented himself proudly to the sheep, telling them of his own struggle and promising to restore the hill to the glory days. Believing him to be a true German Shepherd, the sheep gladly agreed and accepted him as their shepherd.
Once enthroned, the wolf wasted no time in stirring up the sheep. He spoke of the hill’s history of splendor, telling the sheep that they deserved a restoration. To do that, he told them, required a preservation of the flock’s innate greatness and purity.
“Among the main causes of our problems is the presence of pigs on our hill,” the wolf said. “They are troublesome creatures who do nothing to contribute to or enhance the greatness of our hill, but on the contrary roll around in filth, polluting and contaminating our purity.”
The pigs that the wolf spoke of were actually young lambs that had been sheared, so they were a ruddy pink rather than a clean white. However, the wolf used his charm and rhetoric to great effect, and the sheep were desperate for relief from their troubles and a return to their glory days. They therefore believed him, adopting the belief that the lambs were actually pigs that were actually a blemish on the hill.
“Our hill’s greatness and splendor is owed to its expansiveness and vast range and grandeur,” the wolf declared to the sheep. “It represents freedom and power, which has allowed me to rise to this lofty position which I currently hold. We are naturally owed more freedom and power. To ensure this, we must incorporate other hills into our territory to expand it. We need more room to live and roam and thrive. And, of course, we must prevent the pigs from causing further damage to our hill.”
With the sheep’s acceptance backing him, the wolf immediately went into action. With his standard deception and charm, he swayed the shepherds of the other flocks (they were not German Shepherds) into allowing him to incorporate hills into his territory. When some hills protested, however, the wolf decided to invade them.
“Our freedom and power and the greatness of our hill naturally allows us the right to expand our territory. If this natural right is denied to us, we must fight to attain it,” he said. With this, he conquered the dissenting hills. Other hills were infuriated and in turn declared war on the wolf’s hill.
The war dragged on for a short while, and the wolf’s hill was beginning to collapse under the pressure and attacks from other hills. Being a masterful manipulator, the wolf managed to fight back well, but he knew he was losing ground. Desperate, he decided to stretch his powers to another level.
“With the other plans and actions having failed or been temporarily diverted, there remains one final solution,” he announced to his sheep. “We must imprison and do away with the pigs. They are simply too burdensome to allow on our hills and territories.”
Acting on his orders, the sheep faithfully carried out their assigned duties and began to round up and corral the lambs. The wolf ordered the sheep and a few German Shepherds to extinguish the “pigs.” When all was said and done, more than six million lambs had been killed.