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illustration by Drew Blomquist

How the Wolf Got Its Howl
by James Welch

  One upon a time on Turtle Rock (America in Early Native American times) 3000 B.C., all the animals had no powers. Then one day the Creator said, "The day after tomorrow I will give all of you animals a power."

When the wolf heard this, because he was a sly creature, he said "since tomorrow the whole day will be dark, I’ll stay up late to get the best power." What he didn’t know is that wolves can sleep with their eyes open.

The day after tomorrow, he slept later than he should have. "Oh no," he said. He went to the Creator, but there were at least 2,602 animals on the line. "Rats," he said.

Two thousand, six hundred and two minutes later he was at the front of the line, but there were no powers left. Well, the wolf begged. Three hours later, the Creator gave him two powers: a power to swim, and a power to fly.

"Beware," said the Creator, "five minutes is all you have for each power…did you hear me?" The wolf, however, was already in the water swimming with the fish.

Five minutes later, he couldn’t breathe. When he got on land he said, "I have the power to fly." So he flapped his wings and flew. When he was in the air, he fell in love with a goose. He caught up with her, but his five minutes were up. He fell and landed on his nose. "Awooooooooo," he yelled. "I don’t want this power," he screamed, and he kicked a wasp tree. Wasps came flying out and stung him. That’s how the wolf got its howl.


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DUCTS summer issue 2001
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