The story of two wolves


One morning, I read a story on Facebook. It told of an old Cherokee who told his grandson: “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, & ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, & truth.”

The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

I Googled the story to see if there was a background. I came across this Christian version:

Let me tell you a story

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.”

“I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.”

“But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.”

He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me.”

“One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.”

“But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.”

“Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

There are times when it feels as if there’s a fight going inside me.

I thought about this for a while, and realised how true it is in my life. There are times when it feels as if there’s a fight going inside me. In many situations, there is the reaction I want to take, which often will cause damage to a situation or hurt another person—and there’s the reaction that says, “Wait. Step back. Cool off.”

In my fight against cancer, I have experienced these “two wolves”: the one says, “You’ll never win over cancer. It’ll get you eventually.” This wolf attacked me really viciously this past year, when I lost three people I loved to this disease. But then the other “wolf” says, “You can beat this. God is much stronger.”

But it applies to all areas of life, not just illness. Study your situation, and ask yourself the question, which wolf is trying to gain supremacy in my mind right now?

I guess the real question is: Which one will you feed?

Please leave a comment, so that we can learn from one another.

Shirley is the author of Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer, a book of 90 encouraging messages based on Scripture and anecdotes from her own cancer journey. She is also the author of hundreds of inspirational articles published in print and online. She lives in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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  1. Pam July 14, 2014 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    I like the line about taking poison and hoping your enemy dies. I’ve come across it a couple of times recently.

  2. Shirley Corder July 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Thanks for commenting Pam. Yes, it is so true and yet we keep doing it! (Not poison perhaps but in other ways.)

  3. Judith Robl July 17, 2014 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    It is easier to feed the good wolf if you regularly dine on the Word.

  4. Marion Ueckermann July 17, 2014 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    Very interesting and thought provoking blog, Shirl. How hard it is at times to feed the right one, but how satisfying when we do.

    • Shirley Corder July 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      You’re right Marion. Sometimes we only spot which one we’re feeding when we see how big it has become!

  5. Sara Goff July 18, 2014 at 12:10 am - Reply

    A great story…one I won’t forget. Thanks for sharing!

    • Shirley Corder July 18, 2014 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Glad you found it challenging Sara. Wishing you all the best from S.Africa.

  6. Ruth Dell July 18, 2014 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the challenging post, it’s given me much to think about.

    • Shirley Corder July 18, 2014 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the visit, Ruth. Yes, the story is thought-provoking isn’t it?

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