Five little wolf puppies, three girls and two boys, were giving their mother a bad time. In a cozy den, Mother Wolf had picked before the babies were born, well hidden from danger, the little puppies were running around their mom nibbling at her ears, her nose and her tail. She of course thought that they were the most beautiful and smart puppies every born. In fact the whole pack of wolves, that lived deep in the forest, thought so too. That their father was the leader of the pack had a lot to do with that though. Soon the wolf children would be able to go outside, where in the daytime, the spring sun was bright and warm, and they could run and play. But now she gave each one a little nip to make them settle down. Sleep soon came. In their sleep they wiggled and squirmed as if they were still playing. But Mother Wolf curled up and soon fell asleep herself.
It was one of those very special nights. The moon was so bright it looked like an orbit of pure silver and every star twinkled like pure diamonds. The air was cold and crisp.
Every night creature in the forest was out sniffing the breeze that stole through the huge pine trees causing just the slightest stirring.
All was quiet. So very quiet. Then it came, the shrill piercing howl of a lone wolf. Again and again the wolf howl was heard by all. Soon the air was filled with the sound of a pack of wolves all singing together. The sound filled the forest. Quickly the other animals scurried for the shelter of their homes. Mother Wolf woke from her sleep, got up and stepped outside to hear better. The puppies slept on, their eyes and ears were still shut but soon they would see and hear. Their father’s voice had called out to all. The singing went on for some time then one by one, the pack headed home.
The next morning all the wolves were busy, some helping to find food for the little puppies, some helping Mother Wolf clean them up for the day ahead. For the little ones a strange thing was happening. One by one their eyes and ears began opening. Their eyes were all blue but later they would change to a yellow gold colour.
Father Wolf soon had his children outside in the warm sun showing them bones to play with, feathers that tickled their noses, twigs to bite. He had such fun wrestling each one around and nibbling their ears they were soon wrestling back with him and each other. Father wolf soon noticed that one of the boys seemed to be quicker and stronger than his sisters or brother and was soon seen biting and growling at the old bones. Father Wolf threw the bones up in the air and when they landed the little wolf would pounce on them and growl. Sometimes he caught them in his mouth and would shake them until he dropped them, biting and pawing them on the ground.
Mother Wolf taught her children how to clean themselves and they were soon playing in the shallow river that was a little ways away. With the help of the pack they learned to catch fish and little rodents, they soon learned the grunts and little barks of the wolf language and joined in games, which the pack played, mostly running and wrestling.
Everyone noticed the larger boy pup was quick and smart at learning. He earned the name Bone Catcher by jumping in the air to catch a bone while everyone else waited for the bone to land.

Bone Catcher was a restless wolf and as he grew older he was often seen wandering away and then some one would have to go and find him before danger found him first.
“He is so disobedient some days he puts us in danger of being found here,” Mother Wolf complained to her husband. “You could take the children hunting, they are old enough by now. Show them some of the dangers out there. Especially the boys.”
“Oh they do grow up fast don’t they. I’m sure that Bone Catcher will fill my shoes some day. I’m sure he will challenge me some day when both of us are older. He is already a bossy little fellow. His brother and sisters get angry with him quite often. Well there is a hunt on early in the morning tomorrow so get them prepared to go with the pack.”
Even before the sun was up the wolves were well on their way to find food. Anyone who wandered off received a nip, mostly of course it was Bone Catcher. They hunted until there was enough food for several days and were soon home gorging themselves on a good breakfast.
On a night when the moon was bright, the air crisp and cool, Father Wolf took his family to the top of a steep rocky hill. It was a hard climb for the young ones and it took them some time to reach the top. After a rest Father Wolf said that it was time for them to put all their yelping into the traditional wolf howl. They had heard the pack howling many times but were never able to howl themselves although they had come close. Close that is except for Bone Catcher. He screeched, he whimpered and grunted, he got mad and just plain barked his head off making everyone else mad too. The rest all sounded pretty close to a full out howl, which pleased their parents. No one could understand what was the matter with Bone Catcher.
“Now then, you all take a deep breath, lift your head up and point your nose right at the moon up there. From deep inside just let a big howl come out. Ready, go,” said Father Wolf.

Well you never heard such sounds as were made that night. The girls did quite well, which pleased their mother, the boys, well let’s just say one screamed and the other was dead silent. Everyone practiced and practiced until four little wolves were howling at the moon. They romped around with joy teasing Bone Catcher as they did so.
Poor Bone Catcher, so quick and smart, couldn’t get a sound out. The little fellow moved to the edge of the pack and when no one was watching, slipped off down the rocky cliff, hurting his paws on the way, and disappeared running into the forest. He didn’t know where he was going he just wanted to et away from the pack, he felt so ashamed. Bone Catcher could see every rock and stump but saw nothing to eat and everything looked peaceful. Besides he was too down in the dumps to do anything but run, and run he did. After some time he changed direction and came to the river where they washed and played. He felt safe here.
Sitting on the bank he thought and thought about why he, of all the wolves could not howl. Well a wolf wasn’t a wolf if he couldn’t howl was he? Whatever was to become of him? He would never lead the pack like his father did.
And so time went by. No one came looking for him which he thought was strange. He didn’t know it but he had wandered down the river so far no one thought of looking for him there and they were all farther upstream. The sun was beginning to show over the tops of the trees so he decided that he might as well go home and face everyone even though he felt shame. The only problem was he didn’t know which way to go. Just then he saw a movement across the river on the other side. Finally they had come for him. But no. Whatever it was it was big. Whatever it was saw him and whatever it was let out a deep rumbling growl. Fear tingled all the way down his spine as this big brown hulk started across the shallow river growling as it came.
Which direction to go didn’t matter now, just go, and go he did as fast as his four legs could run. He knew that whatever was behind him was coming close. Where was home where were his pack? Where could he hide? On and on he ran until he came to a big rocky bluff. He stopped and looked back. He just had to get to the top of the bluff and maybe he could see home. He had just started his climb when he slipped on a sharp rock leaving a huge gash in his paw. Sobbing with pain and fright, he made his way to the top. The sobs poured and poured out, he was exhausted, the pain in his foot was terrible. He couldn’t go any further. The sobs turned to loud cries. The big “whatever it was” came closer and closer and began to climb the bluff. Poor little Bone Catcher just couldn’t go any further. The big hulk was snorting and grunting as it had trouble climbing the sharp rock.
Bone Catcher shook with fear. He tried to stand but his sore foot wouldn’t let him. His cries grew louder. Then a miracle happened. From deep inside Bone catcher’s throat there came the most pure wolf howl anyone had ever heard. It reached higher and higher until the whole forest was filled with the sound. It was the most beautiful sound that had ever been heard by his mother and father. They knew that at last Bone Catcher could howl, in fact he outhowled everyone else. But they sensed that the howl was one of fear.
“It has to be Bone Catcher there is no one else out there, everyone is here,” one of his sisters said.
“But he can’t howl,” reminded another sister.
Father Wolf didn’t wait to wonder, he leapt across logs, dashed between trees with a speed no one had ever seen before. What Father Wolf saw when he came to the rocky bluff filled him with fear but it filled him with such a terrible rage that he attacked the big brown bear advancing on Bone Catcher. Leaping at its throat he sunk his long sharp teeth in and hung on. The bear tried to shake the wolf off but the hold was too strong and he backed down the bluff dragging Father Wolf with him. Finally the sharp rocks made the wolf let go of the bear who turned and ran for the forest just in time for the pack to set chase after him.
The family reached the top of the bluff and surrounded the little wolf that was still crying only now he cried tears of joy. Mother Wolf noticed the gashed paw right away and began cleaning it with her tongue while everyone else was discussing the fact that Bone Catcher had really howled.
“I really did didn’t I,” he said. He hadn’t even realized that he had until now.
“And such a howl. I guess it was there all the time. It took a great fear to bring it out of you,” his father said.
With everyone helping him Bone Catcher made it home. No one asked the others about the bear but you can be sure he had gone a long way before he stopped running from the wolf pack.
After a good meal and a little nap Bone Catcher was up and outside. Going a little way from the den he looked up and there he saw it, a big yellow moon. He was sure the moon was there just for him and throwing his head back he pointed his nose right up at the moon and howled and howled and howled.
by Jimmie Kobayashi

Listen some Wolf Sounds


Responses to "The Little Wolf who couldn't Howl"

  1. nola says:

    I love wolves. I love what they are all about. The spirit, the respect for one another, the teaching and learning, the cooperation as a team. Most of all, they don't abuse or waste food, are not greedy.. but just needy. They are an amazing family oriented group (pack). I will, whenever I have an opportunity, to say to people.. "Humans should study, (not disturb) these intelligent, loving creatures of God." Thank you for sharing this story. Great lesson for humans too!! <3

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  3. Unknown says:

    What a lovely story and picture. I would like to know if I can have permission to use this picture as the background on my bank card? I would be most honored. Please let me know.
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