For as long as anyone could remember, wolves lived in the forest and sheep lived in the meadow. The wolves never came out of their forest. They were never seen by the sheep. Mostly, the inhabitants of the meadow and the forest lived in harmony, kindly minding their boundaries. The sheep knew not to enter the dangerous forests, and wolves simply did not know of nor could acknowledge the sheep. The sheep grazed on lush grass day and night. They had their lambs and had their own little families. The wolves preyed on the white tail that thrived in the woods. The wolves, as well, had their families. All was peaceful. There was no distress. No one dared change that.
Time went by. The sheep were having lambs and the wolves were having pups - more and more each day. Very soon, the forest became absolutely crowded with the vicious canines. There were no dens left to call home, for they had all been taken up. The deer population ran out, and thus, the wolves grew very hungry. However, in the meadow, the sheep population maintained that same peace and harmony. Grass grew and lambs were welcomed into the world. One wolf caught sight of this, poking his head out of the treeline to spot a sea of white wool completely covering acres and acres of green, healthy grass. The wolf went home to his family and said, "mother, father, wife, and pups, I bring good tidings! I have found us a new place to live and it is full of prey for us to eat! Follow me."
His pack followed him, and other packs followed them. Word got around, and very soon the meadows were flooded with savage, starving, homeless wolves. Sheep and lambs alike were bitten through the neck and brought home to families of wolves. The wooly creatures ran as fast as they possibly could to maybe escape the sudden scourge of hungry canines. Screams of helpless mothers and children were shot across the land.
Night came, and the wolves all sat around each other in a feast of fruitful pickings. They were happy again with new land to populate and new prey to eat. The mother wolves fed their young and the elders could finally rest beside their grandchildren without worry of tomorrow's meal or where and when they may ever find shelter again. The leaders of each pack came together and declared they would go hunt the sheep again and bring home another feast for their families.
In the morning, this was so. They began their kill, but as one wolf was about to bite through the neck of another sheep, the sheep cried out, "have you no mercy? Your ilk are monsters!"
The wolf raised a brow. "Monsters? How say you?"
"You wolves have taken away my old mother, my loving wife, and my innocent son." The sheep claimed. "You have turned our green meadows red and runny with the blood of my kind."
The wolf became angry. "I shed your blood because I need to feed my own old mother, my own living wife, and my own innocent son. Don't you dare call me a monster."
"A monster." The sheep persisted. "A beast, indeed. Go back to where you came from. I don't care if death takes away your whole family from you. You have no right to take away mine."
"There more wolves than sheep in this land." The wolf argued. "Your kind is outnumbered. We have the teeth to take your lives. What do you have? Fluffy coats and tiny hooves?" He laughed.
The sheep became depressed with the idea of dying, but he cleverly thought of something sure to change the wolf's mind. "Yes, sir wolf. You have your teeth and I have nothing. You are more powerful than I, but hear me out on this, for I see a hole in your plan to prey upon my kind."
"Speak before I run out of patience and my stomach begins to growl."
The sheep said, "with more of you and less of me, you will do what you did to your last land. My kind will vanish and your kind will thrive. When all of us sheep are gone, where will you go? You must allow us some right to live and have more children, else you shall go hungry and homeless once again."
The wolf was enlightened. "Yes, sheep. You are correct. I will tell my family of this and you shall tell your own. Go, prey. Bring this news, and hopefully, we shall find harmony again."
And so the wolf went to his pack as the sheep went to his herd. Word came round again, and a universal law came upon the meadow. In hunt, a wolf must not kill lambs. He may kill however and whenever much as many sheep as he like, but the lambs must remain untouched by teeth or claws.
One day, a mother sheep was caught in the jaws of a hungry wolf. She cried, "mercy! Have you none? I have a child! If you kill me, my child will die as well. You shall break the very law you live by."
The wolf was enlightened, and so he ran back to his pack and told them not to hunt the mother sheep. From that day on, lambs and mothers could not be harmed by teeth or claws.
In a week, an ill sheep was caught in the jaws of yet another wolf. He cried, "mercy! I am sick with something incurable. You mustn't eat me. If you do, I shall make your whole family as sick as I am!"
Frightened by the thought of his family becoming ill, the wolf let loose of the sheep and instructed his kind not to eat the sick sheep. They as well were unharmed by teeth or claws.
In the same week, a black wooled sheep was caught in the jaws of a hungry wolf. She cried, "mercy! There are few of my kind! My wool is very rare and hardly passed down to my children. If you eat me, there will be none left of my color!"
As all wolves enlightened before, this wolf went to his family and instructed that the black sheep go unharmed by teeth or claws.
That night, a wolf pup went to his father and sobbed, "father, I am so hungry that my stomach hurts. It growls louder than you can. Why is there no sheep for us to feast on tonight?"
"It is the law, son." Said the wolf. "Today while your mother and I were hunting, we could not find a single sheep to kill. All of the sheep we saw today were either a lamb, a mother, a black sheep, or an ill sheep."
"I don't understand, father." The pup said. "Why are we not allowed to eat them?"
"As I said, son." The father wolf told the pup. "It is the law of the land. We must not break our own laws even though we want to. If we do, there will be no sheep left for us to eat and we will have nowhere else to go for us to survive. If I break the law, I will be punished by the other wolves for doing so. I must abide, my son."
The pup now understood, but he was still very hungry. He laid next to his father and whimpered at the pain in his stomach. If he can't eat within the next few days, his body will begin to slowly perish away. His parents knew this, but they were dedicated to the laws their kind set for themselves. The mother wolf sobbed beside her son and husband that night.
In the morning, a wolf caught a young, healthy, white wool, male sheep in his jaws. As all the sheep before that made a plea for their lives, he cried, "mercy! You are a monster! Don't you know I must father a lamb in my lifetime? You must understand that it is my duty to find a wife and have a lamb with her in order to continue my lineage. You can't eat me, sir wolf."
At first, the wolf was unmoved, but in a moment, he felt it best to instruct his kind that it should not be allowed to hunt male sheep who have never fathered a lamb. In hesitant agreement, the wolves agreed that this was fair. Bachelor sheep were declared to go unharmed by teeth or claws.
By the end of the month, a female, white wool, healthy, young sheep made a plea for her life whilst in the jaws of a starving wolf. His ribs were showing and he was savage for meat. Quickly, the sheep cried, "mercy! Mercy! I haven't had my lambs yet! I must be given the chance to further my lineage! If you kill me, you kill a dozen lambs! You monster!"
The wolf was almost too hungry to listen to the sheep as she cried out for mercy, but he felt sickened by the idea of killing so many lambs and breaking his own law on so many levels. He limped back home to his wife. "Wife! We should not kill any of the female sheep! They birth the lambs, and by our law, sabotaging the lives of the lambs is illegal." When she did not answer him or even react in the slightest way to his desperate words, the wolf became very concerned. He approached her as she was sitting in front of something small and furry, sobbing. Lying there in his den was his dead daughter. She was very skinny and flies tried to swarm her. The wolf turned away from the sight of his dead child. He cried himself into a starved death that night beside his sick wife's body.
The ill wife of the now dead wolf brought home the corpse of an old, healthy, white wool, father sheep for her to feast on, and her alone. However, in passing the village of her kind, a pack of stranger wolves attacked her for the dead sheep's meat. One growled, "my son is dying and my wife is already dead! I need this meat more than you do!"
"Back away!" The female wolf growled back. "My family is already dead and I haven't eaten in weeks!"
Another wolf came into the mix. "I need to feed my mate who is pregnant with a son and a daughter!"
Soon enough, a mob of wolves were tearing at the dead sheep's meat. In a matter of minutes, there was none left for the female wolf. Trying to protect a tiny scrap in her mouth, a male wolf sunk his teeth into her jugular and killed her. Some wolves could disperse with some tiny reward for their quarreling, others resorted to consuming the meat of the dead wife.
The sun came and went five times. On the final night, every wolf had been starved, eaten, or killed.
The morning after, upon the discovery of the gory battlefield placed there by the wolves, made of their own rotting corpses, the sheep rejoiced. At last, after all their struggle, they had reclaimed their meadow - their home. As the sheep were celebrating and bounding across the graves of the wolves in glee, a lone doe emerged from the treeline of the forest and asked the happy sheep, "what makes you so happy, fellow sheep? You dance across the dead bodies of these canines. Was a war won here?"
"Yay and nay," said a sheep. "We have indeed won a war, but our weapons were not our hooves, but our words. We have won our home back from the wolves who attempted to make meals of us and destroy our families. Now, the wolves of both the land of the deer and the land of the sheep are gone for good. They are all starved! All dead!"
The doe joined their dancing as she said, "oh joy! What great joy! What clever sheep you all are. This news is very good to hear, for this means my family can return to the forest."
Another sheep piped up, "to the forest? To the meadow as well! Let us share our lands in testify to our new triumph!"
And so the white tail did. Both the sheep and the deer shared the forest and the meadow. They shared the grass and they shared the bark on the trees. Finally, harmony was maintained once again. Months and months went by, and soon, years. The sheep and the deer lived side by side with no predators to threaten their families any longer. Their families grew larger and larger. More lambs and more fawns were being born each and everyday. This was the happiest time the land had ever seen.
However, one year, both the deer and the sheep noticed the depletion of the bark on the trees and the grass in the meadow. The land had become quite crowded, but there was declaration that there was nothing to worry about now that the wolves were gone.
Very soon, there was nothing left for the sheep to eat. The bark that had not yet been stripped from the trees was up too high for them to reach, though the deer could. All of the many, many sheep ate away at the patches of grass remaining until there was absolutely none left. The sheep grew hungry, starving, ill; and the lambs became malnourished with no milk to nurse on, for their mothers could no longer give it with empty stomachs. Some had no mother, for they had starved to death already.
The deer could survive, but only for a short while. Like it was for the sheep, the bark on the trees soon became too high up for the deer to reach and they to starved. Mothers died with their fawns. Both the herd of the sheep and the herd of the white tails became small groups of three to five, then couples, then singular loners.
Finally, once every patch of grass and every bit of bark had been completely stripped away from the land, both populations died away.
Once everyone was gone and every sheep and every wolf and every white tail extinct from both the meadow and the forest, the grass grew back and the trees were renewed with tough bark, but there was no one left to enjoy it. Not a soul. Nothing but the blood stained soil and the empty wind.