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Wolf and Raven, Companions Forever
Wolf lived in the forest. He had plenty of food, a spacious den, and thick fur to keep him warm. He would have been very happy, but he had no one to talk to. Whenever Wolf tried to talk to a squirrel, it scampered up a tree. If he spoke to a weasel, it went inside its den and threw sticks and twigs at him. Even talking to other wolves Wolf was ignored and laughed at. Wolf was very lonely.
Raven was also lonely. She had many nest mates, but she could not find any common interests. She spent most of the day pretending to be interested in hunting strategies or the best way to weave berry vines into her feathers. Raven often wondered if she would ever find a friend.
One day Wolf was hunting. He was stalking a rabbit by a tall tree. Just as he was about to leap, something shiny and black shot out of a nearby bush. Wolf yelped and staggered backward. The black thing grabbed the rabbit and flew up the tree. Wolf, realizing it was a bird, shouted “Hey, that’s mine!” But the bird ignored him. Circling the tree, the bird landed in a nest halfway up the tree. Wolf could hear excited chirps. Wolf wasn’t about to starve because of a bird, so he decided to get the rabbit back.
Raven heard the growl of a wolf just as her mother landed in the nest. Looking over the nest, Raven saw something very strange. The giant dog was climbing the tree! Raven knew that her parents would attack if the wolf got too close to the nest, so she decided to do something very brave. Balancing on the edge of the nest she spread her wings. Because she had never flown before she did not expect the forcefulness of the wind. Her wings folded under her and she was falling. She closed her eyes. She could not find the breath to cry out. She was waiting to hit the ground. The wind blew her eyes open and she saw the ground rushing up at her. She strained to open her wings. Suddenly, they flew open and she stopped. “I’m flying!” but her triumph was short lived.
“You’re not flying bird brain!” He could feel Raven go rigid as he continued, speaking around the feathers in his mouth. “You are dangling by your tail in a wolves’ mouth. He could tell Raven was about to say something, but she was interrupted by a shrill cry. “Let go of her Wolf!” Wolf supposed Raven’s mother thought he was eating her daughter. “I got that rabbit! There is no reason for you to harm my daughter because you are too slow to take care of yourself!” Raven spoke. “Why are you in a tree?” Wolf was annoyed. “None of your business.” He growled. “Oh. Mamma!” Raven called. “The wolf saved me. He’s not trying to eat me. I wanted him to go away so you wouldn’t hurt him. I jumped out of the nest. I’m sorry.”
The wolf carefully climbed down the tree while Raven’s mother flew down. “Oh, I thought the wolf was going to eat you!” she cried. Raven was shocked. This wolf was very nice! “He saved me!” She exclaimed. “He had you in his jaws.” Her mother objected. “Because I jumped from the nest!” Raven could not believe her mother had not seen that. “Let’s get back to the nest.” She said. Before following her mother, Raven turned around. “Thank you.” She said. But Wolf just stared.
That night Wolf went to see Raven. He wanted to apologize for being so rude. When he got there, he saw that she had found an easier way down the tree; one that didn’t involve him catching her. “I brought you this.” She said. Wolf watched as she pushed a rabbit out from under the tree. “I can’t take this.” He said. “I’ll catch another later.” “I wish you’d told me that before I lugged it down the tree.” She said, then got an idea. Let’s go hunting together!” she suggested. Wolf thought about this. If they hunted together they would have more than enough food for the winter, but the other wolves would think he could not take care of himself. “Fine.” He muttered. “Don’t make me regret it.”
Raven had never had so much fun! She couldn’t fly, but that didn’t matter. Instead, she just jumped on small animals like mice and voles from tree branches, while Wolf took down the bigger ones like rabbits. Wolf told her they had to avoid hunting around other wolves. When she asked why Wolf told her that wolves were very territorial. They would think they were stealing prey. And they won’t see me hunting with a fledgling raven he thought. “We will have to stop hunting soon.” Wolf said one chilly night. “You can’t walk in deep snow.” Raven was disappointed, but she had no argument. Wolf was right. She still couldn’t fly. “Fine.” She sighed. “Tomorrow will be our last night.” There was a short pause. “Until spring.” She added. “Until spring.” Wolf agreed.
When Wolf arrived the next night he looked up at the nest where Raven perched on the edge. She turned her head toward Wolf, blinked once as if to say here I come!, spread her wings, and jumped. Wolf stared. Did she fall? Or did she jump? Was she really naive enough to actually jump? He tensed, ready to catch her. This time, however, her wings did not fold. The caught a wind current and she glided gracefully to the ground. “Look!” Raven shouted. “I can fly. Can we still hunt?” Wolf was impressed. Until last night, he had not realized that he actually enjoyed Raven’s company. “Yes.” He said. “We can still hunt.
Raven woke up the next morning to the excited chirping of her nest mates. “Where did all this food come from?” they asked. “Wolf and I went hunting last night.” She boasted. Now that she could fly she was better than ever. She could swoop down on unexpected prey while wolf chased them into the moonlight for her to see. “We split the catch and now we have plenty of food for the winter.”
Wolf was stalking a deer when one of the pack members called out to him. Startled, the deer ran. “Thanks a lot!” Wolf yelled. “I saw you hunting with Raven last night.” The other wolf didn’t seem to hear Wolf’s growl. “You have a lot of food for the winter now. Do you think you could share?” Wolf was not a mean animal. He was about to say yes when something occurred to him. This wolf, along with many others, had always excluded him, made fun of him. Now they were asking for food? He shook his head and laughed. “Not a chance.” He said turning away.
Raven took flight. “Follow me!” she called to her nest mates. She was leading them to wolf-territory. They wanted hunting partners also. As they flew over the dens she told them she was going to get wolf. She found him by a stream. On the other side was a deer. “Wolf!” she called. The deer ran. “Not again!” Wolf howled. “Sorry!” Raven didn’t mean to ruin his catch. “But Wolf, come here.” Raven led Wolf to the den clearing. There were eight wolves, each with a raven perched on its back or shoulder.
“What is this?” Wolf asked. “I brought my nest mates to hunt with wolves. We will be full when spring comes.” The alpha male padded up to Wolf. “If you can prove that wolves and ravens make good hunting partners, I will let you take my place as pack leader. I am getting old and need a replacement. I want someone who will take care of my pack.” The hunt was great. They caught enough food for three wolf packs. The partners divided it equally and Wolf became pack leader. Wolf and Raven became more than just hunting partners. Because of that pair wolves and ravens formed a special bond. Other wolf packs and raven families adopted their idea and animals were no longer terrified of, but friendly with Wolf. Raven and her siblings found a common interest, and Raven’s mother started trusting Wolf.
Although hundreds of years have passed, Wolf and Raven live on, the spirit of every friendship. Wolf pads silently through the snow, Raven flying soundlessly, faithfully at his shoulder.