The Ancient Wolf

A children book's illustration of a rabbit kissing a wolf in a meadow.
The Ancient Wolf

The ancient wolf roams the forest, weak and lost, separated from her pack. She hunts for food, ready to pounce on whatever unlucky creature comes her way.

A chubby rabbit hops right in front of her face, mouth turned up in a toothy smile. As she reaches out for him, he hops away, and she falls flat on her face, shaking with fury. Instead of leaving, the rabbit comes towards her, eyes full of concern, brows furrowed with worry. “Are you hurt?”, he asks.

“No!”, she growls, baring her teeth. Though they’ve dulled with age, she knows they’re threatening enough to scare the rabbit away. But when she tries to get up, she howls in pain. She has injured her foot and can’t move!

The rabbit hops out of sight, but before she can blink, he’s back with a bright-eyed squirrel. Together they lead a flock of small birds towards her. And then all the little creatures, with their paws and their beaks, lift her gently and settle her in a burrow under the shade of an enormous tree. She has never been to this part of the forest before. It is wide open, covered in soft grass and wildflowers. It’s beautiful.

“Would you like to live here with us?”, the squirrel asks. “We have lots of space and lots of food.”

The wolf just gapes at him. “YOU are my food, not grass!”

“We know”, says the rabbit, “but we don’t want to be food, and you don’t have any friends. If you promise not to eat us, we will be the most fantastic family in the forest!” With that, the rabbit gives the wolf a big smile, and then a big smooch right on top of her nose!

Although the wolf is really hungry, she has no desire to eat her new friend. Before she can change her mind, the squirrel jumps towards her with a plate made of grass, full of berries and nuts. “You can eat the plate too!”, he says with a grin.

The wolf’s stomach growls in hunger. She takes a tentative bite, then gasps in delight when the sweet juice of the fruits bursts in her mouth. Why did she never try this before? Why did she always follow the pack? She gulps down the entire plate and gives a big burp.

Then she speaks teary-eyed to her new family, “I have lived many years, yet never realized that friends come in all shapes and sizes.” As she continues to sniffle, the rabbit and the squirrel, and the birds circle her in a big fat hug. And from that moment on, the wolf never underestimates those who are smaller than her again.

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