Stephen Berer
the Eternal Jew's biographer

The Eternal Jew’s Tale, #59, Ethop’s Fables: I, A Wolf

As I Lay Dyin', I, a Wolf, image colorized and modified by the author, from the public domain source, Wikimedia Commons, where it was uploaded from the Wellcome Images, image V0021602.
As I Lay Dyin', I, a Wolf, image colorized and modified by the author, from the public domain source, Wikimedia Commons, where it was uploaded from the Wellcome Images, image V0021602.

In this episode we meet the wolf that lays dying.

The Eternal Jew’s Tale
Thirteenth Era, Part 3c,
Ethop Interlude 1, As I Lay Dyin’, I, a Wolf

… One mornin’ sippin’ some rosemary tea and crunchin’ on pita, crispy fried, he sighs and wearily starts a tale….

“A wolf, a king of fur and blood come to me in me sleep that night and sayd,

‘I could easy tear out your heart and devour it to make you me slave, but if you takes on a mission for me I will grant you freedoms, at least for now.’

“What is this thing that I must do?
“I couldn’t hear what him sayd to me. And then him gone, and I awake.

“Panics. Comfusions. Doubts and despairs. What for do? Where to go? Who might holp me? I just lay a-bed. The next night, tossin’ turn, I looks up; droolin’ down on me, a snarlin’ wolf; him growlin’,

‘I needs a drink a fresh blood.’
“And him bends to rip out me spleen.

“‘Brother, I ams a wolf like you,’ I howl. Appals, him backs aways.
‘Looks a man. Talks a wolf. Smell of fear and rotten meat. Such a thing I never knowd. Except you be a healin’ spirit sent to save our wolf king.’

“‘I be that geist. Tell me his griefs.’

‘Him, the mightiest warrior king as ever rules forest and field. No deer or beaver, moose or elk ‘scapes him pack, him tooth and jaw. The hare in him burrow be starve himself rather than graze when our king be near. The fish in the stream be swim to a pool and bury himselv in silt at him sight. Even the lion, that terrible beast, makin’ a pact to hunt with our king.

‘Then comes man, wicked and cruel, and builds a den of log and mud and spark him fire to burns the land and tear the earth with him iron tooth. And day and nights he howl him spell, shootin’ his arrow of shock and awe; piercin’ our heart with comfusion and dread.

‘Now our king am run no more to panic the herd and fell the bull. Him howl to the moon of sorrow endures and the moon weep forth her teary rains. And all the pack starve, all the pack grieve, that the soul of our king be stealed by man. Tell me, sprite of the wolf pack, how can we steal him spirit back?’

“There I be, an angel in him eyes; I, clueless of what to do. In a desper gesture I say to him,
“‘I’ll heal you king. Take me to him.’

“Runnin’ along the starry trails all the night. Wind in our face, frosty brow. A faintest tint of indigo lights the coal-dark horizon. Our paws step down into crusty snows and we stops at the edge of a dense copse. Chokin’ vine swallow the trees. Eyes glint and disappears. Yippin’ and bark and we enters the thicket escort by some silvery wolve, them shoulder towers over me head. Mercy! What big eyes they have!

“The king lay on a bed of furs, pantin’, a-tremble; he seen me face.
‘You finally come. You stink of man. Give me the cure, or me soldiers here will tear out you heart, as I sayd before.’

“‘I need three day to study you woe and consult you magics and spirit howls.’

‘You have one day. Tomorrow at dawn I be risen or you be dead.’

“The chief howler in him sheepskin cape lined with fur of beaver and hare, wait for me in an alder den.
‘All we know be a demon man chaunt him spells all day long, a poison nary a wolf can indure.’

“‘Show me where this demon live. In man-shape I be man-talk him and learn him magics if I cans.’

“Along a footpath, mud and ice, through a thorny tangle edgin’ a wood of giant oak. There the hut. A sickly sun already set, the sky deepen to angry gray. Nary a fleck of light in the sky. A candle flicker through a broken pane. I hears the terrible magic chaunt. Me soul shuddern; me hand a-shake….”


In the next episode, powerful medicine. Can the wolf survive it?

About the Author
I am a writer, educator, artist, and artisan. My poetry is devoted to composing long narrative poems that explore the clash between the real and the ideal, in the lives of historical figures and people I have known. Some of the titles of my books are: The Song uv Elmallahz Kumming A Pilgimmage tu Jerusalem The Pardaes Dokkumen The Atternen Juez Talen You can listen to podcasts of my Eternal Jew posts on my personal blog, Textures and Shadows, which can be found on my website, or directly, at: I live just outside Washington, DC with my bashert, and we have two remarkable sons. Those three light my life.
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