The Wolf Who Believed He Was A Sheep: A Fable


A pack of wolves lived on a mountain. One winter day, the youngest wolf, the son of the Alpha male, joined the pack on a hunt, and they attacked a band of bighorn sheep.

The young wolf stood by, watching the slaughter of two old ewes, and when it was over, the wolves ate until their bellies were full.

After the pack returned to their den, the young wolf was so disturbed by the deaths that he howled all night long.

The next morning, he told his father, “I’m not eating sheep anymore, or any other animal.”

His father laughed at him. “What are you going to eat?”


And the young wolf became a vegetarian.

A week later, his father commanded him, “You can’t stay in the den tonight. You must join me on the hunt.”

“No,” the young wolf said. “I’m not a killer.”

“If you don’t come with me,” his father said sternly, “you’ll embarrass me before the pack.”

“I will go,” the young wolf replied. “But I will not kill.”

The young wolf went with his father, and watched the pack attack another band of bighorn sheep, killing two old rams. But when the wolves ate, the young wolf turned his head away.

That night, he had an epiphany. He kept it a secret until spring arrived; then one day he told his father, “I’m a sheep trapped inside a wolf’s body.”

His father frowned. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“It’s the truth,” the young wolf said.

“Believing something is true doesn’t make it true.”

“I know what I am; and I am not a wolf.”

The Alpha male growled at his son. “If you’re not a wolf, then go live with the sheep!”

“Is that what you really want?” the young wolf asked sadly.

“Yes; you’re banished until you realize what you are!”

The Alpha was so angry, he mocked his son before the pack, saying, “My son is crazy! He thinks he’s a sheep!”

The young wolf looked at his father, then left the den, and as he walked away, all the wolves laughed and howled at him.

He wandered for a long time until he found a band of bighorn sheep. The band, comprised of ewes, yearlings, and lambs, ran away in fear, but he caught up with them.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” the young wolf said. “I’m a sheep like you. I’m just trapped inside a wolf’s body.”

The sheep all stared at the wolf in confusion, and then they looked at each other.

“It’s a trick!” one of the ewes finally said.

A yearling cried, “He’ll eat us all!”

“No; I only eat grass,” the young wolf said. “I’ve never killed a sheep in my life.”

Hearing this, the sheep didn’t know what to think, but they didn’t run away. The wolf joined their band, and ate junegrass and wheatgrass like they did.

The wolf and the bighorn sheep lived together in peace and harmony until the end of summer. Then, in early fall, two rams joined the band.

“Leave us—now!” the larger ram commanded the wolf.

“I’m not a wolf. I’m a sheep just like you.”

“It’s true,” one of the ewes said. “He’s never hurt any of us.”

“He’s a nice wolf,” another ewe said. “I mean, a nice sheep living inside a wolf’s body.”

The rams didn’t believe it. “A wolf is a wolf is a wolf,” the larger ram said.

“Nature made you what you are,” the smaller ram added.

“I know I don’t look like you,” the wolf said to the rams. “But I know who I am inside. I’m a sheep.”

The young wolf tried to persuade the rams, yet no matter what he said, he could not change their minds.

That night, the two rams waited until the young wolf was asleep, and they attacked him, ramming him in the head with their spiralled horns.

The wolf woke up, fought the rams, and wounded them with his sharp teeth. The rams fell to the ground, and the wolf stood over them.

The larger ram said weakly, “I was right… You’re not a sheep.”

“No; I have the soul of a sheep,” the wolf replied. “But I still have the strength and power of a wolf.”

And after that, the rams never attacked the wolf again.

Two Reasons Why ISIS Practices Beheading


If there is a top 10 list of the most shocking crimes of the 21st century, the beheading of people by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) should be on that list. There are two primary reasons why ISIS practices such barbaric cruelty: as a means of psychological warfare, and because they believe it is the will of Allah.

The first reason ISIS beheads people is to instill fear and terror in the Iraqi army. According to Shashank Joshi, “the Islamic State’s fighters have used their reputation for terror to dissuade Iraqi forces from ever seeking battle. Which poorly paid soldier wishes to risk decapitation, impalement, or amputation for the sake of a distant, crumbling government? Fear is a uniquely effective weapon.”1 Every soldier who goes to war knows that he may die in battle, but the thought of having your head chopped off is much more terrifying than to die from a bullet to the head or heart.

The second reason ISIS beheads people is because they believe it is the will of Allah. There are two verses in the Qur’an that command Muslims to chop off the heads of “those who disbelieve”:

  • Qur’an 8:12 – When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.2
  • Qur’an 47:4 – So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates.3

To argue that the Qur’an does not command beheading is disingenuous. There is nothing figurative or symbolic about smiting someone on the neck. As Timothy R. Furnish makes clear, “Mahmud b. Umar az-Zamakhshari (d. 1143 C.E.), in a major commentary studied for centuries by Sunni religious scholars, suggested that any prescription to ‘strike at the necks’ commands to avoid striking elsewhere so as to confirm death and not simply wound.”4 During the 7th century, Muhammad and his followers waged war with the sword. If you “smite” a person’s neck with a sword, the obvious will happen: Their head will come off.

The historical record shows that Muhammad approved of, directly ordered, and possibly participated in numerous beheadings.5 The most horrific example is the Raid on the Banu Qurayza in 627 A.D. Ibn Ishaq, the 8th century Muslim historian, records that after the Jewish tribe “surrendered to the apostle’s judgement”6, Muhammad appointed Sa’d b. Mu’adh “umpire in the matter”7 who ruled that “the men should be killed.”8 Muhammad declared it was “the judgement of Allah”, and “then he sent for them and struck off their heads.”9 The total number of men beheaded was “600 or 700 in all.”10 If the historical record is accurate, then Muhammad has at least one thing in common with ISIS: He had no objections to beheading his enemies, even after they had surrendered.

It must be emphasized that the beheading of people by ISIS does not reflect the views of the vast majority of Muslims today. Moderate Muslims have strongly condemned the actions of ISIS.11 However, to argue that beheading people is un-Islamic is blatantly false. This is because there is no such thing as one “true” form of Islam, or any other religion. All religions have doctrines that are based on human argument and interpretation of their sacred texts. Determining the “true” interpretation of Islam will always be a matter of debate.

The leader and founder of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has a doctorate in Islamic studies12, believes that his version of Islam is the correct interpretation. Further, as the self-proclaimed caliph, he believes he is on a divine mission from Allah, declaring in a 2015 speech, “O Muslims, indeed we fight in obedience to Allah and as a means of coming closer to Him.”13 Baghdadi’s leadership in directing his followers to behead people is not un-Islamic. It is simply the belief and practice of radical Islam.


  1. Shashank Joshi, “Where does the Islamic State’s fetish with beheading people come from?,” The Telegraph, September 14, 2014,
  2. Qur’an 8:12 (Shakir).
  3. Qur’an 8:12 (Shakir).
  4. Timothy R. Furnish, “Beheading in the Name of Islam,” Middle East Quarterly 12, no.2 (Spring 2005), 51-57,
  5. “List of Killings Ordered or Supported by Muhammad,” accessed October 9, 2016,
  6. Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume (Pakistan: Oxford University Press, 1955), 463,
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, 464.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Matt Payton, “More than 30,000 Muslims from across the world meet in the UK to reject Isis and Islamic extremism,” Independent, August 15, 2016,
  12. William McCants, “Who Exactly is Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the Leader of ISIS?”, Newsweek, September 16, 2015,
  13. S.J. Prince, “READ: Full English Translation of ISIS ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s New Speech,” Heavy, December 28, 2015,

The Philosophy of Non-Attachment: Heat (1995)


A central theme in Michael Mann’s Heat (1995) is non-attachment: a “transcendent evenness of mind which enables one to participate in the temporal process without attachment.”1 Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) lives by this philosophy. To avoid going to prison, he is prepared to let go of anything he is emotionally attached to when the police are onto him.

For a career criminal like Neil, the worst form of suffering is going to prison. He tells Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), “I am never going back.” In prison, he is no longer free to do what he loves most in life: to “take scores.”

When Neil believes the police are aware of his plans, he lets go of his emotional attachment to carrying out a specific crime. He says, “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything …  if you feel the heat around the corner.” For Neil, the financial gain from a robbery is not worth the increased risk of getting caught.

Neil holds to his philosophy of non-attachment when he attempts to rob IGM, a precious metals depository. He hears a noise coming from a van across the street, and immediately leaves with his crew. However, he abandons his philosophy when he decides to rob the Far East National Bank.

Neil is unable to let go of his desire to rob the bank because of another desire: He is in love with Eady (Amy Brenneman) and wants to run away with her to New Zealand. He doesn’t have enough money to live with her (without working), so he reasons that the robbery is “worth the stretch.” Neil decides that the reward of living with her is worth the risk of getting caught.

When a person has a strong desire for something, they are more likely to take risks to obtain it. An overpowering desire can also impair a person’s ability to think logically. Neil survives the bank robbery, and could have had the life he dreamed of with Eady, but he can’t let go of another emotional attachment: the desire to kill Waingro (Kevin Gage). His desire for revenge leads him to the same place as Vincent, and he pays the ultimate price: He loses his own life.


  1. Winfield E. Nagley, “Thoreau on Attachment, Detachment, and Non-Attachment,” Philosophy East and West 3, no. 4 (January 1954): 307,

The Cat that Suffered from Dogphobia: A Short Story


An old man lived alone in his house, and he didn’t want to live that way anymore. So he climbed out of bed, put in his false teeth, combed his white hair, ate a bowl of oatmeal, drank a cup of coffee, and then he got in his car, and drove to the SPCA.

He wanted a cat to keep him company, and adopted a Cymric cat. Skinny, with long orange hair, it was missing one ear.

After carrying the cat to his car, the old man drove to a pet store to buy cat food, and a leash and harness. When he got home, the cat followed him to the kitchen, and he set the bag of items he bought on the counter.

“Would you like something to eat?” he asked the cat.

“Yes; I’m starving.”

The old man opened a can of cat food, put it in a bowl, and the cat ate it.

“Would you like a saucer of milk?”

“Yes; I’m thirsty.”

The old man went to the fridge, poured milk into a saucer, and the cat lapped it up.

“Would you like to go for a walk?”

“No,” the cat said, and he walked to the kitchen table, and sat under it.

The old man, who couldn’t understand a word the cat said, took the leash and harness out of the bag. “You’re going to love wearing this.”

The cat frowned. “No; I won’t.”

Kneeling by the table, the old man put the harness on the cat, and clipped on the leash. Then he tried to walk the cat out the door, but the cat hissed, and stepped back.

The old man pulled on the leash, but the cat spread his claws on the hardwood floor, and scratched it, so the old man removed the harness, and went for a walk by himself. When he returned, the cat was sitting on the kitchen counter, and he tried to pet him.

“I’m not touchy-feely,” the cat said, jumping down from the counter.

Every day for a week, it was the same. The cat refused to go for a walk, and he wouldn’t let the old man pet him. So the old man drove to the SPCA, and got a dog: a Standard Schnauzer with black hair.

When the old man brought the dog home, he took him to the kitchen, opened a can of beans, and put it in a bowl. After the dog finished eating, he started barking.

The cat came into the kitchen, and hissed at the dog. “The dog has to go.”

“What’s wrong with you?” the old man asked.

“The dog will kill me.”

The dog shook his head. “No; no. I’m a good dog.”

The old man and the dog became best friends. Every day, they went for a walk, and the dog let the old man pet him, and rub his back and belly.

Every night, after the old man went to bed, the cat slept on top of the fridge; and the dog sat by the stove, and growled at the cat.

A month went by, and the old man couldn’t understand why the cat didn’t like the dog, so he made an appointment with a veterinarian. He drove the cat to the animal hospital, and the receptionist took them to a waiting room. The old man sat on a chair, and the cat sat under the table.

When the vet came in, he asked the old man, “What can I do for you today?”

“My cat hates my dog. He hisses at him all the time.”

The vet knelt by the table, and looked at the cat. “He’s missing an ear. What happened to him?”

The old man shrugged. “I don’t know. I got him from the SPCA.”

“A Rottweiler tried to eat me,” the cat said to the vet.

The vet stood to his feet. “What kind of dog do you have?”

“A Standard Schnauzer.”

“It’s normal for a cat to be afraid of a dog. And some Schnauzers do attack cats.”

The old man shook his head. “Not my schnauzer. He wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

“He’s planning to kill me,” the cat said to the vet. “He taunts me every night.”

“Can you do anything for the cat?” the old man asked.

“I’ll give you a prescription for diazepam. It will help calm his fear.”

“Let’s try it,” the old man said.

The cat frowned. “Let’s not.”


After leaving the animal hospital, the old man drove to a pharmacy, and ordered the diazepam. When he got home, he mixed the drug in the cat food, and put it in a bowl.

“I don’t do drugs,” the cat said, staring at the bowl. “I’d rather starve.”

The old man tried for two days, but the cat refused to eat the diazepam. So the old man put the drug in the garbage, and fed the cat normal cat food.

But he warned him: “You need to learn how to get along with the dog.”

“That beast is not my friend,” the cat said, and then he hissed at the dog.

“I didn’t do anything to you!” the dog said.

“You will,” the cat replied.

That night, after the old man went to bed, the cat jumped down from the fridge, and went to the bathroom to drink from the toilet.

The dog followed him, and said, “The master is good to you, but you won’t go for a walk with him, or let him pet you. You need to be taught a lesson.”

The cat finished lapping up water from the toilet. “Try it.”

The dog growled, charged at the cat, knocked him into the toilet, bit down hard on his tail, and wouldn’t let go.

The cat yowled, broke free of the dog’s bite, and jumping out of the toilet with his claws spread wide, he landed on the dog, and scratched him on his back, belly, and face.

The sound of the cat yowling and the dog yelping woke the old man up. He got out of bed, and hurried to the bathroom.

“Stop it!” the old man shouted.

The cat was still scratching the dog, so the old man kicked the cat to the wall, and stood between them.

“Why are you two fighting?” he asked them.

“It was self-defense,” the cat said calmly. “He tried to kill me.”

“No; no. I just wanted him to be nice to you,” the dog said. “He doesn’t love you like I do.”

The old man saw how badly the dog was scratched. There was blood all over the bathroom floor.

“You’re a mean and nasty cat!” he thundered.

“I’m the victim here,” the cat said. “The dog got what he deserved.”

The old man picked up the cat, walked to the front door, and threw him outside.

And after that, the dog never attacked the cat again.