Why Wolves howl at the moon


Often creation myths deal with a great ‘father’ figure. I wanted to redress the balance a little with a maternal creator. While it is an original story, it could well be first nation in style.

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A long time, never ago, when the world was young and the great mother had made a place for all things, there lived a wolf. Now wolf was very ancient and wise and had been there when the great mother had made the world and had named all things, and so he too knew all the names of things, and he had lived a very long time.

The great mother had loved all the things she had made and because she loved them so, she wanted them to live forever and so had not created death. But wolf was tired and his bones ached in the cold and the winter rain, and his teeth were loose and he couldn’t eat tough meat anymore and he had to make do with soft foods and milk like a cub.

Wolf was proud and he didn’t want his life to be like this, so one day he hobbled over to the great mother and said to her “Great mother, I am old and tired and my bones ache and my teeth are loose, and I need a rest, please won’t you create death so I can rest?”

The great mother said, “But wolf, you have been my oldest and dearest friend, you were there when I created all things and named them. I would miss you and so would all the other wolves. Also, you will miss all the new things that happen in the world if I were to create death and that would never do.”

Now wolf was wise because he had lived for so many years and he was very clever, so he said to the great mother “Oh, great mother, I have seen many things and I know that if you were to create death I might miss the things that would happen. How about you make me a silver boat in which I can sleep and I will sail the silver boat across the night sky and tell of your greatness to the stars and to make sure I do not miss the news of things that happen in the world. All the other wolves can sing their songs to me of the things that happen while I sleep in my silver boat. Please great mother, I am very tired.”

So, the great mother, who was kind and loved all things said that yes, maybe it was time for wolf to rest and so saying she created death, the great sleep that now all things must accept. Wolf thanked the great mother and settled down at her feet, curled up and closed his eyes and passed over, and the great mother granted wolf’s request and made a boat of pure silver and placed wolf on a bed of ferns and moss and pushed the boat into the night sky and the stars. So she went to all the wolves in the world and told them that they must listen to all the things that happen in the world and remember them and make songs of them to sing to old wolf. And they all solemnly promised that this is what they would do every night when they saw wolf in his silver boat. To this day they have kept their promise to the great mother and old wolf, and sing their songs to the moon.