Raised by Wolves

Article excerpt

He could have been, though he was not. He had never even seen a wolf-he had lived with his father and mother in a big white house with a bay window. But, had he been left in the woods-though they would never have left him anywhere, and never went in the woods-wolves could have found him, and instead of thrashing him about until he was only gnarled meat, they could have taken him in as one of their own, though, of course, this is not what happened.

Though had it happened, he would never have had to suffer his father's senseless midnight rages, nor his anxious morning silence, as though the day had been hunting him all night, nor his mother's bitter stare, all of which he did suffer, swaddled in a silence of his own. But he could have learned to detect the unfamiliar scent of an intruder in the woods, or the well-known odor of an enemy, to distinguish predator from prey by the rustling of the leaves. Though what would prey on a wolf?

Of course, he never had to answer that question, for he was safe in his house, where even the walls cast shadows and the floors groaned to mark the slow passing of his long childhood years. …