The young boy had had a bad day; he had been very disobedient – as young boys are wont to do – and, now, in the warm shadows of the firelight, old man and young boy sat in silence. The boy’s face was rigid with resentment over his parents’ punishment for his disobedience, while the old man, leaning heavily on his knees, idly drew figures in the dusty earth.
After a long while, the grandfather began to speak. “There is a terrible battle going on inside my soul,” he said quietly. Another long pause. When the boy could stand the suspense no longer, he asked “What does that mean, Grandfather? What kind of battle do you face?”
“There are two wolves living inside me and they are in a raging battle.”
“Right now?” the boy asked.
“Yes, right now. In fact the wolves never seem to stop their warfare.” The old man sat back – looking far into the distance.
“What are they fighting over, Grandfather?” the boy asked.
“My life… ” the old man replied.
“I don’t understand,” said the boy, turning toward the old man. “Who are the two wolves?”
The wise old man continued. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” These two wolves are fighting all the time, and my soul is their battleground.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”