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Stanley McDaniel and the Wulver

September 9, 2010

It was a goodly span of time ago (more than seven centuries and less than seventy) that Stanley McDaniel, as the man was called in those nights, was walking along the edges of his forest. He was not a hundred paces away from the ground he last havened, when he heard the sound of a creature in pain or in despair - and being one not afraid to do such things, McDaniel hunted the sound to it's source, and there within a thicket by a long lake found a wolf - alone, howling and naked without it's skin.

And so said McDaniel to the wolf, "Where is your pack, brother wolf, and why is it that you have no skin on your back."

And so said the wolf to McDaniel, "I was taken to bathe in the lake, McDaniel, and no sooner had I taken my skin from my back, but a wulver came to the sedge where it hung and stole it from me - and as such, I cannot go back to my people for shame."

And Stanley McDaniel and thought on the matter and then said to the wolf, "And what would you have for me if I brought thy skin back?"

And the wolf then said back, "I should give you my howl in times you need for to be heard, my fangs in times you need for fighting, my flesh itself in times you hunger."

And McDaniel smiled and went his way, not telling the wolf yea or nae, and he walked along the lake and through the green wood path until he came upon a trapper, who had slung over his back a slew of fresh slain foxes and was merrily making his toward home.

And so said McDaniel to the trapper, "You there! I'm far finer a beast than a fox, so let me make you a pact if you be as fine a trapsman."

And the trapper laid down his catch and stared at McDaniel long, for he had never, was true, seen such a beast as he.

And McDaniel spake further, "I'll bleed myself on the muzzles of your hounds, trapsman, and then run myself through the woods and let you give chase - and if you can find me in one night and one day, I shall give myself over to be your quarry."

"And if not?" spake the trapper.

"Then your foxes to me, down to the last kit."

And the trapper, thinking this a fine bargain, let McDaniel slash his wrist and bleed for his dogs, and gave chase, thinking that McDaniel would be found in short time. But McDaniel was cunning and hid himself under the earth where no dog could scent him, and listened to the hounds whine by the night and then took his sleep by the day, and when he awoke he came to the trapper and took the foxes from him, down to the last kit.

And so then McDaniel walked back along the lake and through the wood's path until he came upon a tanner, working deer skins by his house stretching them across bent saplings.

And so said McDaniel to the tanner, "You there! I'm far finer a beast than a hind, so let me make you a pact if you be as fine a tanner."

And the tanner laid down his catch and stared at McDaniel long, for he had never, was true, seen such a beast as he.

And McDaniel spake further, "I'll let you take your knife to my back, and if you can get my hide off and stretched across a sapling in one night and one day, I shall give my hide over to you to keep."

"And if not?" spake the tanner.

"Then tan these foxes for me, down to the last kit."

And the tanner, thinking this a fine bargain, lay McDaniel down and struck his knife against his back, thinking that the skin should pe pult off in short time. But McDaniel was strong and his skin broken the knife, and each knife that struck it thereafter that night, and when the sun came up and he bore the weight of its fire along with the knife strokes and when the cool moon was on his face again he gave over the trapper's catch to the tanner and had him tan them, down to the last kit.

And so then McDaniel walked back again along the lake and through the wood's path until he came upon a tailor, who was sewing a bear fur into a fine winter coat.

And so said McDaniel to the tailor, "You there! I'm far finer a beast than a bear, so let me make you a pact if you be as fine a tailor."

And the tailor laid down his catch and stared at McDaniel long, for he had never, was true, seen such a beast as he.

And McDaniel spake further, "I'll take your needle there, and you shall take my sword, and we'll cast them both into the lake, and if you can find the tool of my craft before I find yours, you shall keep it, and I shall give my sinews over to you for your thread"

"And if not?" spake the tailor.

"Then sew these foxskins all up into the seeming of a wolfskin for me, down to the last kit."

And the tailor, thinking this a fine bargain, threw his needle into the lake and had McDaniel do the same with his sword, and into the lake they both went to seek. But McDaniel was cunning and called the birds from the sky to light down and search for him, and therein the needle was found in short time, and he gave his skins to the tailor and had him stitch them all up into the seeming of a wolfskin, down to the last kit.

And so then McDaniel wandered some, and he laid his wolfskin of foxes on a tree and began to bathe himself in the ice cold waters of the lake. And sure as the moon chases the sun, the wulver appeared, clad in the wolf's skin, and seeing the skin McDaniel had laid on the tree, grew envious and laid the the one skin aside and took the foxes skin for his own. No sooner had he done this, than straight he turned into a fox, and McDaniel, having been wise to wait for him, snapped up the wolf's skin and laid it on his back.

And so the chase began, with McDaniel as a wolf chasing the wulver up and down the woods, until they had run for three nights straight - and then and there McDaniel caught the wulver in his jaws and beat him until the fox skin fell off of him and he lay naked, black and blue, under the moon.

And triumphant, McDaniel headed himself back to the thicket where lay the wolf, and gave him his back him, and said to the wolf, "If I need hearing, you are my howl. If I need fighting, you are my fangs. If I need eating, you are my food."

And the wolf, it's skin once more on it's back, realized what it had promised to McDaniel and it grew afraid and ran, through the woods and over the highest mountains, hoping that McDaniel would never find him to make good on his pact.

And it is for this reason that all wolves, be the born wolf or be they born man, fear McDaniel and his line - for the one lives in fear of the anticipation of his fury and the other lives in fear of its memory.

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