This is a story about wolves. People who study wolves often refer to them as “Apex predators”, meaning that they are the kings of the food chain. All others must bow to them. But wolves don’t see themselves like this at all. They’re just animals looking for a decent meal. Wolves can hunt wild animals, but if humans raise tastier animals in captivity it works just as well for the wolves. If a pack of wolves can’t find good food in one place they’ll pick up and move to another place.
The pack of wolves we’re talking about today had done just that. They had been having a hard time finding food, so they decided to greener pastures. Er, maybe I should say redder meats? It probably doesn’t matter which phrase you use. Greener pastures and redder meats go together like bologna and mayonnaise.
As they wolves were traveling they came to a luscious green pasture, where a flock of fat and juicy sheep grazed contentedly. If you’ve never seen a pack of wolves drooling it’s a spectacle I must recommend. The wolves were so hungry that they instantly charged at the peacefully grazing sheep. They would have had quite a haul, but the shepherd who was watching the sheep immediately called for help, and the wolves were beaten back into the bushes with only one solitary sheep to show for their efforts.
The head wolf was quite cunning, and got the bright idea of taking the sheep’s skin and draping it around his shoulders, so that he could sneak out among the sheep and bring them down. While this was a good idea it was far from perfect. Wolves like to hunt in packs, sticking together means that they can surround their prey, and stop it from running away.
Nonetheless, the head wolf tried to sneak out and get another sheep, but the shepherd, who was really very good at his job, sniffed it out immediately. He cried for help as he charged towards the wolf in sheep’s clothing. The wolf knew that the fix was in, and quickly ran into the bushes, where he turned around to watch what happened next.
He was quite interested to see that the other shepherd were very angry with the guy who had called for help. They had been deeply involved in a game of backgammon, and did not appreciate the unnecessary interruption. The wolves mused on this. He thought there was a way that he could use this dispute to his advantage, but wasn’t quite sure.
At last he came up with a plan. He hung around in the bushes until the shepherd who had chased him off had to come to the edge of the field and got really close to him.
“Hey, dude.” The wolves said from the bushes.
The shepherd looked around, quite startled.
“Seems like you’re the one who gets stuck with all the work around here.”
The shepherd swatted at the bushes, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from.
“Be nice if you could a little bigger piece of the pie.” The wolf spoke again.
Now the shepherd was genuinely interested.
“Yeah, that would be nice.”
“Well kid, I’ve got a plan that will get you the whole darn pie, if you want it.”
“Tell me more.” The shepherd replied.
“Here’s the deal. On the other side of the hill is a valley where nobody ever goes. It’s got real good grass, and a spring that gives water and all that. Now me and my boys are hungry, and really want to take a bite of these sheep, but you’re too on the ball for us to just sneak in and eat them. If you yell at the other shepherd a couple times that we’re attacking the sheep when everything is going just fine they’re going to stop paying attention to you. Then we’ll come in and eat some sheep, but we’ll chase most of them over the hill into the valley. Then you can go over to the valley and just take over the whole herd. You’re already doing all the work, why not reap the rewards?”
The shepherd immediately saw that this was a sensible plan, and scream out to the other shepherds that the sheep were being attacked. They ran over to him, and were totally disgusted that their backgammon game had been interrupted again. After the shepherd interrupted a couple more games the wolves were ready to pounce.
Everything went according to plan. When all of the sheep were gone the shepherd went over to the valley and got working on his sheep pens. The wolves were grateful for his help, and tried avoiding his sheep, choosing instead to focus on wild game and animals that other people in the area were raising.
The shepherd grew to be the wealthiest man in the entire country, and only the wolves knew why.
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