Once there was a wolf who was nearly
dead with hunger. He was very thin, so that the outline of his bones could be
seen clearly beneath his thinning coat of hair. With hardly enough energy to
walk, the wolf had little hope of finding food. As he lay beneath a large tree,
a dog out for a walk noticed him. Seeing how thin and hungry-looking the wolf
was, the dog felt sorry for him and said, "You are in terrible shape! You
look as if you haven't eaten for many days."
"You're right," said the
wolf. "I haven't eaten because
you and your friends are doing such a good
job of guarding the sheep. Now I am so weak that I have little hope of finding
food. I think I will surely die."
Then why not join us? Asked the dog.
"I work regularly and I eat regularly. You could do the same. I will
arrange it. You can help me and the other dogs guard the sheep. In that way, we
won't have to worry about your stealing the sheep any more and you won't have
to worry about going hungry any more. It's a good deal for both of us."
The wolf thought it over for a few
minutes and then decided that the dog was right. So they went off together
toward the ranch house where the dog lived. But, as they were walking, the wolf
noticed that the hair on a certain part of the dog's neck was very thin. He was
curious about this, for the dog had such a beautiful coat every where else.
Finally, he asked the dog about it.
"Oh, don't worry about that,"
said the dog. "It's the place where the collar rubs on my neck when my
master chains me up at night."
"Chained up!" cried the wolf,
"Do you mean that you are chained up at night? If I come to live with you,
will I be chained up at night too?"
That's right," answered the dog.
"But, You'll get used to it soon enough. I hardly think about it
"But, if I am chained up, then I
won't be able to walk when I want to take a walk or to run where I want to
run," the wolf said. "If I come to live with you, I won't be free
anymore." After saying this, the wolf turned and ran away.
"The dog called after the wolf,
saying, "Wait! Come back! I may not be able to do everything I want to do,
but I'm healthy, well-fed, and I have a warm place to sleep. You are too
worried about keeping alive to enjoy life. I'm more free than you are."