In a wooded realm, not far from you or I, it is said that a soul named Man took up residence many, many years ago. Man was strong, kind hearted, and mentally fit. It is said that he was able to cross the widest valleys, climb the tallest mountains, and swim the most vast of oceans. He possessed the moral character to do what was right in the face of evil. He could slay any giant that dared oppose him with a swift, fatal blow. It was because of these things that Man acquired a large head and full chest. Unfortunately for man, the giant was the least of his worries.
You see, Man had a wife named Love and three daughters named Wealth, Purity, and Joy. He had spent all of his years cultivating a life for his wife and three children. He built them a home with his own two hands, provided food for them by hunting the largest beasts that roamed the Earth, and only allowed them to drink from the cleanest of springs. Man greatly treasured his belongings and vowed to never see them be troubled or hurt. This protective soul taught his wife and daughters lessons of the woods from his own experience. He showed them how to protect one another and how to fend off the evil wiles of the wood. He dared not risk the livelihood of his investments so he did all that he could to keep them safe.
It was one sunny, warm day that Man was approached by a creature of the wood. Upon seeing said creature Man was taken aback by it’s forthrightness. No animal dared approach Man for they knew the danger he posed.
“What is your business approaching my land and my belongings?” cried Man.
“Oh, good and masterful Man I am but a humble servant of the wood coming to you with a proposition. I am but a lowly sheep searching for an honorable, powerful, and able bodied man to assist me in my ventures. I see that you have all that you could ever ask for. You possess unnatural strength, a sturdy home, and a beautiful family. You have the wealth of many great Kings yet it seems to me that you may be unaware of the possibilities before you.” said the sheep cunningly.
“Possibilities?” smirked Man. “As you have stated I have all that a man requires and wants. How much more can one gain from this Earth?”
“A fair question indeed most honorable Man. You see, there are many towns surrounding these woods. Towns that you may not yet know of, full of rich abundance. Yes, you have much, but there is a chance for more. It is of no question that these woods are dangerous. They are ever changing and you can only do so much before they strike you back. What about your Love, Wealth, Purity, and Joy? You, among all people should know just how important they are to protect.” the Sheep said.
“Little Sheep your offer intrigues me. I do indeed see myself as a strong Man but the day will come when I can longer protect the things I love. Do tell me though, what is the nature of your request?” inquired Man.
“It is a quest of peril, toil, and utmost victory. These Men of the Town are ruthless, cunning, and will try to rob you of all that you have. You could very well try on your own but without me you will certainly fail. What we must do is this: Take your wealth and invest it in to the town. After due time your investment will profit you a large return so that you may go to other towns and invest more. After some while will you be richer, stronger, and more able than before to protect that which you love.”
“This is a most noble thing you inquire of me Sheep. You may count on my assistance in this venture. I will look for you on the rising of the Sun the next day. Though I must ask what your name is. I do not recall it being said earlier.”
The Sheep smiled a coy grin underneath his fur and whispered,
And it was with that that the Sheep Named Wolf disappeared into the Wood.
Much time had passed and it seemed to Man that his adventures with Wolf were progressing at an acceptable rate. They were venturing from town to town investing Man’s wealth and waiting for a return. Though one day a brutal storm shook the foundations of the Earth. The Towns were greatly distraught because of the magnitude of such an occurrence. Buildings crumbled, caught fire, and turned to ash. Among the casualties of the storm was Man’s daughter Wealth. It was in the great fires that she was caught and burned alive. Not a trace of Man’s investment remained.
“Oh Wolf, what are we to do now? I have lost all of my wealth and I miss her greatly. How could I not have protected her from such a catastrophe?” Man cried out amidst sobs of tears.
“There, there Man. This is indeed an incredulous event. One that I could NEVER have seen coming. I do pity you amidst your loss but must urge you to move quickly before another event such as this threatens your remaining livelihood.”
“I rightly agree Wolf but where am I to start now? Over these past few months I have gained a great love of wealth. I still maintain my Love, Purity, and Joy but I fear I will not be able to protect them. What must I do?”
“There is but a way to regain your wealth and prosper the health of your family. You must work the fields of labor. It is a hard and sometimes rewardless work but it must be done. I know of another Man looking for able bodied workers. Come.” said Wolf as He led Man to his next proprietary venture.
The Sheep named Wolf did in fact lead Man to a field of labor. Because of the great storm the field was barren. The work was to be started from the ground up. Man worked tirelessly for his new Master. He spent long days basting under the heat of the sun only to see little fruit and even smaller financial gain. The dirt was hard, dusty, and the ground was cracked under the pressure of the Sun. To add to Man’s fervent work, the Master of the field was abusive. He mentally and physically hurt Man if He did not toil fast enough. It seemed that hope was quickly fading for Man. Over time Man lost his Joy.
Some time later the Sheep named Wolf visited Man. He saw that Man was broken down and sad; beaten by the heat and by the strong hand of His Master.
“Man, why is it that you are in such a state? You were once strong, wily, and an able bodied ruler of your belongings. I come now to see you distraught, bent over, and weak. What is it that has caused such a great turn?” asked the Sheep, fully knowing what has been done.
“Sheep, there once was a time as you described but it is not at the moment. I am famished, the ground is hard, and my Master is wicked. Amidst my hard labor I have misplaced Joy. She came to me one day and the next morning she was gone. I am afraid that she has disappeared in the woods and has been taken as food. My wife, Love, is in great emotional turmoil. We have lost two of our daughters and I work long days and come home very tired. She says she does not feel safe anymore. Oh, Wolf what must I do?”
“I fear that you are in far worse of a situation than you originally thought. Come, take a walk with me and we will discuss what must be done next.”
So, Man and Wolf set off on a small hike when they came across a lone house on the side of the road. It looked to be abandoned, nothing covering the walls except vines and creeping things. Out of the shack appeared a seductress covered in fine cloth. She moved with swooning sways and had the eyes of a fierce hawk but the touch of a delicate flower. She made her way over to Man and smoothly coddled her way into his heart. As she led him into her home Man noticed that Wolf had since left. Man and the Seductress spent many a day together entangling themselves in the heat of the moment. Love seemed to be at its fullest and Man experienced feelings of Wealth and Joy. He for a moment thought that He had regained His beloved daughters but at a moment’s notice the Seductress tossed Him out on to the road.
“My dear, what are you doing? Do you not see me fit to be with you? How come you toss me out like this?” asked the Man desperately.
“You are but a shell of what you once were, Man. You are not strong, courageous, and kind. You are weak, cowardly, and selfish. Nothing of your nature and irresponsibility will have it’s place in my home.”
It was then that the Seductress slammed her door shut and Man realized that He had been played. He lay outside on the dirt for many hours crying, screaming, and cursing the Sheep when he heard a soft step fall behind him. He turned only to find that the Sheep had re-appeared but this time with blood staining it’s teeth.
“You! What have you done to me? You have brought me to this place and now I am empty, poor, and weak because of you! You stole my wealth, you took my joy, and my purity was taken by this Woman that you lead me to! It seems the only thing I have left is Love but that in and of itself seems shallow to my heart. How could you have done this to me?!” Screamed Man.
“Oh, poor and pathetic Man. You have come such a long way, assured of your own strength to profit you in the world. It seems that you have failed.” The Sheep Named Wolf began to circle Man.
“You see, I have met many a Man such as you. Independent, strong, and full of many blessings. To simply say that you disgust me is an understatement. Under the guise of profit and security I lure Men such as you into my trap. The trap that I like to call Abundance. Abundance screams that you will never have enough but that it is possible to gain such a level of monetary ability. I have taken many Men to and from the Towns and watched their wealth burn to the ground. I have lead many Men to the fields of toil where their backs are broken by the firm hand of Work. Then, each one I lead past this very shack and without fail each of you cave to the wiles of the Seductress. While you were busy at play I feasted on the one thing you had left…Love.” The Wolf said cheerfully as He licked His lips.
The Sheep Named Wolf removed His sheep cloth and full revealed himself as a snarling, wild Wolf.
“You see, You were much to strong at our first appointment and I would have surely died trying to feast on your bones. Over time I wore you down and have now brought you to my level. I am only but a Wolf Named Pride and Selfishness. And it is this mangled beast that will consume the once Strong Man’s flesh.”
As Man let out a blood curdling scream, the Wolf named Pride and Selfishness lunged one quick, fatal blow to the heart of Man. His blood ran thick across the ground only to join the cesspool of the blood of Men before Him.