Introduction: This story was written back in 2006 by the new-deceased Terry Gardner. He worked as a clinical social worker all the way up to the time of his death. He also was a published author. This Four Directions story, as he called them, is shared in his memory and with permission of his widow, Lin Gardner.
This is one of seven stories he created that he designated as being from the East.
In this story, a wolf pack strives to catch a deer. One deer escapes. Another deer becomes their prey. Afterward, the wolf pack discusses their wolf purpose versus deer purpose. The remaining herd of deer holds a similar discussion.
Wolf purpose versus Deer purpose– a story from the East
© 2006 by Terry & Lin Gardner; Re-told and re-formatted with the permission of his widow, Lin Gardner, by Debbie Dunn
Wilma Wolf loped easily along the left side of her pack. She barked sharply twice and the other six wolves swerved as one wolf. They formed a tightening circle around a terrified deer.
The terrified deer crashed through some underbrush and saw the wide stream. The deer, without hesitation, launched himself into the air over the stream.
Splash! Splash! Splash! The leading three wolves skidded into the very cold waters of the stream. Their yelps of surprised shock-warned the rest of the pack to immediately stop the chase of the deer.
The deer gracefully arched over the stream. His hoofs hit the opposite bank. He scrambled up the stream bank and dashed down a familiar trail.
The three wet and shivering wolves joined Wilma Wolf and the other wolves. Wilma called to her pack, “Gather around me.”
The three dry wolves circled the three wet and shivering wolves. Then the dry wolves crowded closely and all the wolves huddled together. Wilma nodded her approval and said, “You care for each other. That is very wise.”
A young and wet wolf by the name of William, on his first hunt for deer, asked, “Wilma Wolf, why do you tell us it is wise because we care for each other?”
Wilma answered, “It, sometimes, is a jungle out here in Master Forest. You could get seriously hurt or even die if you had no one with you. Do you think you could easily catch a deer without help?”
William Wolf raised his hind leg and scratched his drying side. He answered, “No. We almost had that deer. I couldn’t catch it alone. I also feel a lot better snuggling with my friends. Wilma, what is wise? You called us wise.”
Wilma shook her head and answered, “William Wolf, you ask a very hard question. I’ll start to answer your question. However, only you can fully answer your question.”
William Wolf eagerly looked at Wilma Wolf and said, “I’d like to be very wise.”
“You are wise when you have wisdom,” continued Wilma. “Wisdom means many things. Wisdom means you are kind, gentle, and giving.”
William Wolf looked very puzzled and asked, “How can I be kind, gentle, and giving when we hunt other animals for our meals?”
The other wolves said nothing but listened closely to William and Wilma. They never heard Wilma talk so freely before to a young member of the pack.
“Wisdom also means you understand your wolf purpose,” said Wilma. Your wolf purpose is very different than a deer’s purpose. What is the purpose of a deer?”
William Wolf scratched his head this time and hesitated, “Ah, …, ah, …, I really don’t know.”
Wendell Wolf, one of the older wolves of the pack, quipped, “The purpose of a deer is to feed the wolves.”
William and the other wolves joined Wilma in a joint howl of wolfish laughter.
Wilma agreed, “Wendell Wolf, you understand one purpose of deer. Deer also brings a great example of gentleness, watchfulness, grace, and beauty to our world.”
Wendell continued his funny comments, “Wilma, you accurately described the deer. He very gracefully and gently watched us disappear as he sailed over the stream. I’m not so sure he brought beauty to my very hungry stomach though.”
William returned to the talk, “Wilma, Wendell is really funny. Is he part of wisdom?”
Wilma grinned and answered, “Wendell has his own brand of wisdom. This is true for each of us. Wendell helps us understand how each person contributes to wisdom. Humor is a very important part of wisdom.”
William Wolf mused, “I’m getting some ideas about wis… .”
The very quiet wolves heard pawing and snorting less than one hundred feet away. Wilma nodded to the six wolves and they rose as one wolf. The seven wolves raised their heads and sniffed the air. All smiled and moved falling-leaf silent toward the pawing and snorting.
Wilma thrust her head in one direction and then in another direction. The other six wolves split into two groups of three wolves each and moved according to her directions.
A blur of three deer broke through the underbrush. A fourth deer turned to face the oncoming wolves. He tensed to dash away but was not fast enough. The seven wolves circled him and tackled him.
The three deer moved to a safe distance from the wolves and stood heavily panting from their hard run. One of the deer, Debbie Deer, coughed out, “Whew! That was really close. I’m glad the wolves didn’t tackle us, too.”
“I feel badly about David Deer, said Donny Deer. “I’ll really miss him.”
Debbie Deer agreed, “I’ll miss him, too.”
Donny Deer said, “You know, I don’t think David Deer tried really hard to escape like us.”
Debbie Deer keenly looked at Donny Deer and asked, “Are you suggesting David gave his life for us and the wolves?”
Donny Deer answered, “Yes. I know he was much older and very wise. He once told me he knew he would not be here much longer.”
Debbie Deer agreed with Donny Deer, “Yes, David Deer was very wise. He knew the ways of deer, wolves, and Master Forest.”
“You say strange things,” remarked Donny Deer. “What are the ways of the deer, wolves, and Master Forest?”
“This is hard to explain without some experience,” observed Debbie Deer. “I’ll say it this way. There is a time for everything. There’s a time for running, a time for feeding, a time for sleeping, a time for birth, and a time for death. It appears that it was David Deer’s time for death.”
Donny Deer looked a bit puzzled until his face broke into a broad smile of understanding. He exclaimed, “Go with the flow.”
Debbie Deer simply said, “You put that together completely. Do you remember how we heard the wolves talking about their purpose?”
Donny Deer nodded and commented, “I remember Wendell Wolf talking about the purpose of the wolf is to chase and eat us.”
Debbie Deer agreed, “That is one purpose of the wolf. They have their purposes. We have our purposes.”
Donny Deer wondered, “Is one of our purposes always to fear wolves?”
“You asked a very good question, Donny,” said Debbie Deer. “I like to think we are careful and watchful about wolves. Fear comes from worries about being alone, separated from other deer, and not being a good enough deer.”
Donny gulped and commented, “I’ll need some time to figure all that out. I kind of see your points. I know I really like to be with you. I get nervous when I’m alone.”
Debbie Deer explained, “That’s part of our nature. We help each other look out for danger like when someone is trying to hurt us.”
After their meal, Wilma Wolf and her pack played together. They played wolf tag, wolf hide-and-seek, and wolf catch-a-deer. The wolves had the most fun with wolf-catch-a-deer because one of the wolves had to pretend to be a deer.
After their play, the seven wolves fell exhausted to the soft moss-covered ground under a huge and very ancient oak tree.
William Wolf continued the earlier wolf discussion, “I know a lot more about wisdom and my wolf purpose. I heard Wilbert Wolf say something about reasons. What are reasons?”
Wilma Wolf replied, “I want you to find your answers as much as possible. I’ll ask you a question. Why do you hunt deer?”
“I hunt deer so I can eat and live with all of you,” replied William. “That’s easy. Oh! A reason is the answer to a question about why I think, talk, and act in our world, Master Forest.”
Wilma’s face beamed with approval, “You’re right and you found your answer about reason.”
Willy Wolf spoke for the first time, “Wilma, are there bad reasons to our questions?”
Wilma replied, “I find no bad reasons. I find some wolves, animals, and humans don’t ask themselves why they think, say, or do something. They make poor choices; thus, they hurt others and themselves.”
“That makes much sense,” commented Wilbert Wolf. “I learned to ask myself three questions. They guide me well.”
William interjected, “Wilma, Wilbert is teaching us, too. Is that okay?”
Wilma firmly answered, “Definitely! We all teach one another. Wilbert, please tell us those three questions.”
Wilbert replied, “Here are my three questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing about the first two questions?”
Wilma simply said, “Wow! Those are some questions. I bet they helped you get a lot of experience and wisdom from those experiences.”
Wilbert nodded his gray furry head and said, “The answers changed as I developed more wisdom. I knew there is ONE Source for ALL life in Master Forest. I am an expression of that ONE. My purpose is to live my wolf self with ever more love and care. I help care for you younger wolves. I respect and give thanks for each deer we take and each meal I eat.”
William raised his front paw and scratched his head again. He announced, “I’m confused. Wilbert, is your purpose to help the ONE flow into the life of Master Forest?”
Wilbert smiled broadly and affirmed William, “You understand my name, my purpose, and the reasons for my actions. My wolf spirit brings more joy, fulfillment, bravery, and wholeness to Master Forest.”
“The deer might not like your purpose about joy and fulfillment when you hunt them,” teased Wilma.
“They understand all this in their way,” said Wilbert. “David Deer decided to let us catch him. I knew him well. He and I played catch for many years.”
Wilma smiled at Wilbert and nodded her approval. Her head slowly sank to the moss pillow. She joined the other wolves in a well-deserved sleep.
Ellen Eagle, guardian, protector, and guide of Master Forest, glided far above the resting wolves and deer. She heard everything from the wolves and deer. She completely approved the lessons and teachings about wisdom and reason. All was well in Master Forest.
- Click “Story Comprehension Questions: Wolf purpose versus Deer purpose” to get a copy of the questions for your class to discuss or write about or both.
OTHER STORIES BY TERRY GARDNER
Four Coyote tales
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Meets his Master
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Courage to Fear
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Travels Inside
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Becomes Mindful
Story featuring Bear
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Bear becomes bearable
Seven Stories from the East
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Dog Learns to Dance
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Teeter-Totter Eagle reviews her past
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Beaver Busy
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Coyote and Fawn learn about growth within
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Argument between the Deer and Rabbits
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Wolf purpose versus Deer purpose (See Above)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Flying Eights (Coming Soon)
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