Sunday, July 26, 2009

The One You Feed

A Navajo Folktale.
An aged Indian chief was leading his grandson through the woods. At last, they came to a cave. The old chief stood at the mouth of the cave and bade the boy go in. The younger entered, seeing nothing at first then emerging into a large cavern; on the upper level of what appeared to be a naturally-formed theatre, of sorts. Sunlight dappled down from a large opening in the high ceiling. Before him on what would have been the back of the main stage - the far wall of the cavern - was the larger-than-life painting of a man. Between his shoulders, on his chest as it were, depicted two wolves: One white, the other black, circling and appearing to devour the tail of the other. Smoke and heat from a slow fire in the middle of the cavern wafted up toward the roof opening light. Through the billowing, wispy wraiths the wolves shimmered and whirled, as if fighting each other in the perpetual circle. Suddenly, it seemed as if the boy could hear them, and he rushed back the way he came in fright.
The elder caught the youngster by the shoulders as he raced from the entrance.
"What did you see?" asked the aged leader.
His grandson replied in detail.
"So you saw the fight within the man?"
"Yes grandfather," the boy answered as they turned down the path to leave, "but not through to the end...Which wolf wins?"
The aged chief smiled and replied "The one you feed!"

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