The Cherokee Story of Two Wolves
Sit down, it’s time for a story.
There was a young boy who woke excited one morning because today was his birthday. He was up early, and his parents, beaming with pride, presented him with his first hunting knife. His eyes went wide, he was overjoyed and headed off to show the other boys. Later that day, his Grandfather was sitting on his porch, like every other day, and he sees his grandson, walking home. Streaks of dirt washing down his face where tears had been, kicking stones with angry grumbles, the young boy does not hear his Grandfather calling to him. Finally, Grandfather stands up and waves and calls louder.
"Not today," thinks the young boy, in a huff. Ignoring his Grandfather doesn't work, though, so he finally makes his way over.
"This should be a good day for you, why are you so angry?," asks his Grandfather. The young boy proceeds to tell what happened, how the other boys were bullies, and didn't think he should have such a great gift, how he got into a fight because one of them tried to take the knife away, and how in the fight he lost his new knife. As he told his story, the young boy got angrier, felt ashamed that he lost his knife, and promised revenge on the ones that took it.
Grandfather nodded all the while, "hmm," he said, "yes, I see. Will you let me tell you a story? I told it to your father, and my grandfather told it to me. He told me there are two wolves living inside me. One black and one white. Now these are not just any wolves, these are my wolves and there is a chain that connects them, just long enough so they circle each other, always watching, fighting for dominion. They are there to this day." The young boy was quiet now.
"Why are they there, Grandfather?"
"Well, the black wolf is there to hold my anger and my need for revenge and my fear. He is quite ferocious."
"And the white one?," asked the young boy.
"The white wolf holds all that is light and wise and kind. The white wolf is my peace and compassion. But hear this, the white wolf will fight, he will fight the black wolf as they circle inside of me." The boy sat with this for a long time, and then finally he looked at his Grandfather and asked, "Grandfather, which one wins?"
Smart boy, his grandfather smiled, and he replied, "the one I feed."