Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1348826-You-Knew-What-He-Was
by Harry
Rated: ASR · Poetry · Nature · #1348826
A long storoem about a shepherd boy and a wolf pup.
The young shepherd, a mere boy of ten,
watching over his flock at their high range,
sees movement along the forest line; then
his eyes focus on a sight rather strange.

A puppy only a few months old bounds
into the open pasture, seemingly alone.
The boy runs to the pup, which astounds
him by standing erect as made of stone.

“You’re not afraid, are you, boy? How brave
you are for only a pup.” The dog licks his hand
and a friendship is born. “Now you behave
yourself and maybe I can keep you. Understand?”

The boy takes the puppy home at day’s end.
His father examines the pup carefully.
“This looks like a wolf cub. I don’t intend
to allow him to live.” The boy tearfully

pleads for the pup’s life. “Look how gentle
he is, how unafraid of humans he is. He
must be a dog. He’d never be detrimental
to our flock. Let me keep him, you’ll see.”

The father feels sympathy for his son.
Since his mother’s death three years ago,
the boy’s life has not seen much fun.
“We’ll see if he grows up friend or foe.”

The boy and pup spend every day together,
running and frolicking, then sleep side by
side each night. The father isn’t sure whether
he did right, but his son’s joy he can’t deny.

The pup grows quickly, becoming large and
strong. He is all black, with four white feet.
He carries himself regally, as born to command.
The boy names him King, knowing he’ll be elite.

As the months pass, King grows more restless,
as though feeling some overpowering urge.
The father says, “Son, you see he does possess
the wild instinct. The wolf inside will emerge.”

One day as they tend the sheep, the north wind
carries the howls of a faraway wolf pack.
King listens transfixed. Conflict will begin
to develop inside him; soon he will howl back.

The boy can see how conflicted King has become.
His heart breaks as he knows he will soon lose
his friend. He holds King tight; his mood is glum.
He whispers, “If only staying with me you’d choose.”

One day soon after King hears the wolf pack’s call.
He runs to the forest, takes a long look back, but
then he’s gone. The boy cries for days. “After all,
you knew what he was,” the father says. His words cut.

Years drift by. The boy, now fourteen, still remembers
King now and then. His father has become ill, and
the boy tends the flock alone now. This December’s
brought a hard winter, spreading hardship over the land.

A blizzard approaches; so the boy drives the flock down
to shelter. Three sheep are missing! He must recover
them quickly, for in a blizzard they’ll not be found.
As he heads up the mountain, dark storm clouds hover.

He searches in vain. Snow starts falling; the wind howls.
Snow blows horizontally, stinging his eyes, obscuring
the trail. Soon he is lost in the woods. Are those growls
he hears or merely the wind? He needs reassuring,

but then he has no doubt. He glimpses some movement
to his left through the trees … now to his right. He’s
surrounded by a wolf pack. Fear clouds his judgment.
Should he flee? In which direction? He can only freeze.

Suddenly a large, black wolf is standing his ground
in front of him. A large, black wolf with white feet!
“King!” he shouts. “Remember me, boy? I found
you and raised you.” Only silence his words meet.

The wolf begins to walk forward with teeth bared,
his intent completely clear. He plans a savage attack!
The boy thinks, ‘I knew what you were, but I cared
for you anyway. I guess a wolf really can’t love back.’

Just as the wolf begins to lunge at the boy, a black
blur passes in front of the boy’s eyes. The wolf yelps
and falls to the ground with a larger, stronger black
wolf standing astride him. That the snow ceases helps

the boy see the situation clearly. The wolf on top
is also black with white feet, only older and clearly
the pack leader. He growls; all the other wolves stop
their advance. Disobey him, and they’ll pay dearly!

The pack melts away into the forest. King stands
before the boy for a moment, wagging his tail.
Abruptly he turns, trots away, for his demands
as pack leader over their friendship must prevail.

The boy lives for many more years, but never
again does he encounter King. Those months
they shared a loving friendship remain forever
special – shepherd and wolf being friends once.

Please check out my ten books:
© Copyright 2007 Harry (harryg at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1348826-You-Knew-What-He-Was