One winter day, a young wolf joined his pack on a hunt, and the wolves 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, the Alpha male of the pack, laughed at him. “What are you going to eat?”
And the young wolf became a vegetarian.
A week later, his father said, “You can’t stay in the den tonight. You must join me on the hunt.”
“No,” the young wolf replied. “I’m not a killer.”
“You have to come with me,” his father said sternly, “or you’ll embarrass me before the pack.”
“I will go,” the young wolf sighed. “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, he refused to eat with them, and he turned his head away.
That night, he had a realization. He kept it a secret until spring arrived; then one morning 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.
The young wolf wandered for many days until he found a band of bighorn sheep. The band, comprised of ewes, yearlings, and lambs, ran away in fear, but he quickly 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 stared at the wolf, 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 young wolf joined their band, and ate junegrass and wheatgrass like they did.
The wolf and the bighorn sheep became friends, and all was well until early fall when 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 said.
“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 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 wolf was asleep, and then 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.