I was reminded of this tribal story on another blog of mine from a comment left by my friend MiMi. The discussion was about teaching without pointing a finger and giving our children moral lessons through telling stories that they can relate to. Stories from our cultures and our ancestors. I promised her that I would do a post retelling the story:

A grandfather from the Cherokee Nation was sitting with his two grandsons one day. He saw that this was a good time to share a life lesson with them so he said:
“Young ones, did you know that there is a great war going on?”

“No Grandfather! We know of no war. Our warriors are still here in camp. Why would they not go off to fight this war and bring honor back to our tribe?” asked the oldest of the two boys.

“The war is not fought on a battlefield, young ones. It is fought inside my body each day. There are two mighty warriors fighting inside of me.” the Grandfather replied.

“Inside of you? How can this be, Grandfather?” asked the youngest boy.

“Each day there are two wolves who fight for control of my actions. The dark wolf is angry, he is bitter, hurtful, arrogant, and resentful. His heart is filled with greed, sorrow, and regret. He has convinced himself that he is superior to all others and he spreads his lies and false pride wherever he goes.”

The boys eyes grew big as they imagined this dark wolf inside of their Grandfather.

The Grandfather continued, “The other wolf is the white one. He is filled with joy, peace, and love. He brings  hope and serenity to the People. His heart is filled with  humility, kindness, and benevolence. He shares truth and gives freely with compassion and faith.”

The two boys looked at their Grandfather with wonder in their eyes and not sure what to think.

“This battle goes on inside of me but it also goes on inside of you, too. Each day the battle continues.”

The oldest grandson gave this some thought and then asked, “Wise Grandfather, who will win this battle?”

“The one you feed, dear child. The one you feed.” answered the Grandfather.

~Mitauye Oyasin~ We are all related

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