Two Wolves Within
An elder Cherokee Indian listened patiently while his grandson spoke about his own young life of hardship and misfortune; the unfairness and injustice he experiences, and how his anger and frustration are the reasons he has violent outbursts at school. The old Cherokee nodded slowly, poked at the fire, then told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people.
He said, “My son, inside us all, there is a fierce battle between two wolves. It is a terrible fight. One wolf is darkness and despair. . .anger, envy, jealousy and doubt. . .greed, arrogance, ego and superiority. . . this wolf is regret, resentment, self-pity and guilt. . . lies, false pride, cynicism and inferiority. . . .”
“The other wolf,” he continued, “is light and hope. . .joy, peace, love and generosity. . . compassion, understanding, empathy, and truth. . .this wolf is serenity, humility, kindness and gratitude. . . perseverance, resilience, patience and faith.
The same fight between two wolves is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win the battle?”
The elder Cherokee turned to his grandson and quietly replied, “The one. . . you feed the most.”
—a legend of unknown origin
This version—Two Wolves Within— is a modification (Kevin Plummer, 2018) for clinical consultation purposes. The author of the original legend is not known, although a number of people have claimed credit, and the original parable has been altered numerous times.