Killing the Cunning Wolf


In ancient times, there was a poor nomad family on a grassland. The head of the family died, and in order to do the funeral rites for him, the old lady gave all their animals to a monastery, except for one crippled ewe. From the time the crippled ewe became the precious possession of her household, she cut grass from the mountain tops and always took care of it, and she taught her little son Dordo how to take care of it as well. Thus the mother and son got up at daybreak and went to sleep late at night. The results of this were that the ewe bore a little lamb. The mother and son were filled with joy that they had the good fortune to drink tea with milk; but then the mother died as well, and the little boy Dordo became an orphan.

Dordo was very sad, and he gave the crippled ewe to a monastery to do his mother’s death rites. From then on the orphan Dordo took care of the little lamb as best he could. The lamb was the only companion he could tell his troubles to when he was sad and tell nice things to when he was happy. He drove the lamb to where there was good grass and clean water. After a long time, years piled on top of months, so he and the lamb grew up together. The sheep bore two little lambs.

Early one morning, Dordo drove the mother and her two lambs to the mountain tops, inseparably following them and looking after them. At that time there was a cunning wolf on the mountain top. He had the evil intent to kill the ewe, eat her flesh and drink her blood, but could never find the chance. One day the wolf thought of a way. When the little boy Dordo came, driving the ewe and lambs to the mountain top, he saw a wolf sleeping on a mound not far off. He drew his sharp small knife from its sheath and went to kill the wolf. The cunning wolf saw the shepherd coming and got scared, but did not run away. Crouching, it rolled over on the ground, and in a pitious voice, it whined, “Dear shepherd, please look on me with pity. I’m a wolf-dog hybrid of the lowland valleys, but my mother died when I was young, and I became a vagrant on the mountain tops. Unluckily, one day I met a pack of wolves, and they forced me to join their robber band. I joined their ranks, and for several years I experienced their abuse beyond counting. Unable to bear it, I tried to run away many times, but they chased and captured me. This time, though, I got away and I ask you to save my life.” Dordo thought, “This wolf is an orphan like me,” and compassionately he asked, “Now that you’re free from the wolf pack, why don’t you go home?” The wolf answered, “All my habits are like those of a wolf; the village folks won’t recognize that I’m a hybrid and they’ll kill me.” The little boy Dordo thought for a moment, and asked, “Then what do I have to do to protect you?” The wolf said, “If you give me a little food, I can help you take care of the sheep by taking you to a place where the wolf pack can’t see you.”

Dordo thought, “What the wolf-dog says seems to be true, and I won’t have to get tired of sheepherding if I have someone to help. On one hand, if I’m able to rescue him, and, on the other, he’s able to help me, this would be a very good thing to do.” He said, “I’ve promise to take save you and you too have to respect my promise.” The cunning wolf thought he had achieved his evil plan and happily saying, “Yes sir, yes sir,” wagged his tail and followed him.

From then on, the cunning wolf, in order to get Dordo to trust him, respected his promise. Dordo did not have to stay by himself on the mountain top, and, his mind distracted by the wolf’s lie, he did not get tired of sheepherding. So Dordo was deceived by the wolf.

One day he had to do some chores at home, and he trusted the wolf, saying, “Good dog-wolf hybrid, since you’re sharp, you’ve learned how to take care of the sheep. Look after the ewe and the two lambs well! I’ll come back quickly.” The wolf had always awaited the chance to kill the ewe, and he thought, “Isn’t this such a fine opportunity! I’ve gotten the fruits of serving this rotten little boy for several months, haven’t I?” With irrepressible joy he said, “Good, good. Good master, be content! I’ll certainly take care of the ewe and lambs the best I can.” Feeling contented, the little boy left.

In his place, the wolf was irrepressibly happy. He rolled over on the meadow and could not stop saying, “Little boy, you idiot, little boy, you idiot. You mistook a wolf for a dog. What a good chance, what a good chance! I’ve waited for months piled on days for such a chance! Yummy food, yummy food! Delicious food of fresh meat and fresh blood!”

When, with a single dash, he jumped on the ewe’s neck and bit it, the ewe took fright and, with tears flowing from her eyes, she said, “You deceiving wolf, you’ve repaid kindness with perversity. You’ve annihilated your reckoning of karma. One day my owner will certainly kill you.” The wolf said, “Your lives are over, mother and two children, today you become my meal. It’s the price of my being oppressed for months by that rotten little boy. You three whose lives are over, if you’ve something to say, say it! I have to take a rest.” He let the ewe loose and red blood stained her wool. Then the ewe and the lambs wept, saying, “There’s no sense in appealing to a wolf. So let us three leave a will for our owner.” On the ground the will they left was like this:

Uncle Wind, Uncle Wind! Our murderer, mother and children, is the cunning wolf. The place where the cunning wolf resides is Red Rock Threshold. The way to go to the Red Rock Threshold is Sand Pass. Uncle Wind! Tell our will to our owner!”

The wolf laughed and facetiously said, “Ewe, whose life is over, what are you saying? The place I stay is the dark talus. My den is a north-facing cave unlit by the sun’s rays. I go only that way to the Red Rock.” After he said that, he killed and ate the ewe and the two lambs.

A dirty black crow who had landed on a knob of rock had been looking at them, and saw and heard their conversation

When Dordo finished his chores and returned there, he saw the blood-stained wool of the ewe and lambs scattered everywhere and the green meadow trampled with blood. His heart sank, and he shouted, “You evil wolf-dog! Where have you gone? The wolf has killed the ewe and lambs, my family’s precious possessions.”

The dirty black crow who was eating the meat on a bone heard him crying, and, taking fright and not knowing what to say, it said over and over, “I’m not the ewe’s murderer; it was the cunning wolf disguised as a wolf-dog.” Dordo questioned the crow, and the crow clearly explained the everything that was said about the ewe’s will and by the cunning wolf. Thereupon, the little boy realized he had been deceived by the cunning wolf. His deepest anger arose, he grasped his little sharp knife and went to the dark talus to seek out the wolf.

The cunning wolf, having eaten the flesh and drunk the blood of the ewe and lambs, was really stuffed. He staggered along the only path he took to the Red Rocks, and, looking behind him, he took a rest. He said to himself, “Heh, heh. That stupid boy doesn’t even know where I am. He’ll never find this private path through Red Rocks to my north-facing cave,” and off he went. A rock-grouse heard what he said.

When the cunning wolf arrived at the north-facing cave via the private path through Red Rocks, he made an enormous turd. He thought, “I never made such a big turd up until now,” and he went into the cave. Wearily, he spread out his limbs and fell asleep.

Dordo, with hatred in his thoughts, travelled toward the dark rocky mountain with big steps, following the cunning wolf’s spoor. He climbed onto the dark rock mountain and he followed the cunning wolf’s fur that had stuck to the tips of the azaleas and tamarisk. He came to the secret path through the Red Rocks at the middle part of the rocky mountain, but he did not know where the wolf’s spoor had gone. When he was confused, the rock grouse said, “This is called the private path to Red Rocks. If you are looking for the cunning Wolf, follow it.”

Dordo thanked the grouse and followed the trail which led to the middle of the mountain. In the middle part of the Red Rocks he saw a black north-facing cave where the sun did not shine. He thought, “If this isn’t the cunning wolf’s den, what is it?” He slowly went to the mouth of the cave, and saw a black turd lying there. He got even angrier than before, took the sharp knife from its sheath, and entered the wolf den. The wolf was in a deep sleep with its limbs spread out. Dordo shouted, “Old cunning wolf, Today you fly in the sky or enter the earth!” The cunning Wolf was frightened out of its sleep, and, terrified, it rolled over uncontrollably and got up. The wolf saw Dordo standing there looking at him with blood in his eye, and fled the cave however it could to avoid being killed. With whatever strength he had, Dordo stuck the sharp little knife in the wolf’s asshole. With a gasp of unbearable pain, the wolf jumped out of the cave, accidentally fell over a cliff of Red Rocks and died.

—Snyung bu

Folk Story Amdo



Collection Tibetan Children's Stories
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)
Author Snyung bu
Translator Larry Epstein
UID mandala-texts-50291
Creative Commons Licence