Monday, May 13, 2013

Story-time with Cardinal Fratelli, part 4

“I am not leaving until I hear the story about the wicked wolf,” Antonio pouted.
He stood man-like, hands clenched into fists, arms crossing his chest. Stefano glanced back at him, somewhat fearful that he would hiss or pinch again. Paolo glued his eyes on the scarlet-clad cardinal.
“It is growing late, near time for Vespers, but I shall tell one last tale,” Cardinal Fratelli decided aloud.
Ceasing his anger, Antonio sat down inches from the cardinal’s feet. Fratelli eyed him, this impetuous, mean-spirited youth and sighed. Slowly, he collected his thoughts and spoke in a voice that commanded attention:

“Oh, the wicked wolf, the wicked, wicked wolf… Everybody knows how scary he was- how wild and fierce! But do you know the way he was tamed? I will tell you then. You see, the wicked wolf prowled at night, growling and snatching away helpless people. Many people in the small village of Cocalo disappeared and they knew the wolf had gotten them. Now, outside this village lived a hermit monk. His name was Ferdo. His hair was dirty, full of clay from the river, his frame was thin from fasting and penance and his clothes hung in rags.
The wicked wolf raised such an outcry that parties began gathering to hunt and kill him. Surely this foul beast was no good, only fit to be slain! When the hunters marched out, Ferdo met them. In kindly voice, he implored, “Spare the wolf, he is just a beast and doesn’t understand. He doesn’t need to die. At least, let me talk to him before you go forth.”
Thinking Ferdo to be a madman, they laughed at him and said: “Sure, go talk to your wolf friend. But be warned, we will use our swords should we see him!”
Thus, Ferdo ventured out into the dark woods, went to meet the wicked wolf. As Ferdo sat in a glade praying, the sound of clawed feet came forth. It was the wolf, staring with bright yellow eyes, bearing his knife-like fangs.
Ferdo hid his fear and stood. Holding out his wooden staff, he spoke:
Brother wolf, you have gotten yourself in some trouble. I know you are hungry and need flesh to live but why eat the villagers? Why take lives that do nothing to harm you? The man are angry and they come to slay you but listen brother wolf, we can help you-if you only promise never to kill again.”
Bewildered, for men always came at him with sword, axe and club, the wolf shook his head. Bowing down, he replied:
            “I am sorry, my brother. Truly I am hungry and need flesh to live. If you help me, feed me, and raise not swords against me, I shall promise never to kill again.”
Right before the huntsmen, Fredo appeared, leading the wicked wolf by his scruff as if he were a tame dog. He reiterated their words, the promise made between them and instead of slaying the wolf; the villagers laid out for him a whole chicken. He ate it timidly and went away. No more people were snatched away in the night. Peace came. From now, they remembered Fredo, remembered not to make the beasts into enemies. For with kind words and understanding, war will cease.”

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