autumn wisdom [wolf and owl]

It was autumn, and Wolf had his head buried in leaves, searching for signs of rabbits of any size. Without luck.

Shaking orange-red leaves from his head, Wolf said, “I do not wish to get old. I would not trade my freedom for experience.”

Owl, who was snacking on a rabbit that was small in size (but still larger than the rabbit Wolf was snacking on, which was of no size at all), replied, “What do you mean?”

“The young are free to think what they want. Because they do not know any better.” Wolf scratched his ear and thought of how best to explain. Finally, he said, “When I was an even younger wolf and with a larger pack, I had to fight for my place. One day, a particularly cunning and well-scarred older wolf sought to teach me a lesson in manners. I was faster and more enthusiastic – but he had fought many battles. I earned a few scars of my own that afternoon.”

Finishing his rabbit-sized snack, Owl asked with great patience, “And?”

Attacking another itch, Wolf, continued his story, “And after a few tussles, it became clear that while experience had taught the older wolf what worked and what didn’t, it also meant he was less likely to try something unexpected. He relied on what he knew. Whereas I, being young and fearless, was quite reckless and would try just about anything to win.”

“And did you win, Wolf?” Owl asked.

With his best wolf smile, Wolf said, “Let us just say that it _is_ possible to teach an old wolf new tricks. Provided the lesson is painful enough.”

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