The Tale of Two Wolves
A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other.
One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.
The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed
The Tale of Two Wolves is often attributed to the Cherokee indians but there seems to be no real proof of this. It has also been attributed to evangelical preacher Billy Graham and Irish Playwright George Bernard Shaw. It appears no one knows for sure but this does not diminish the power of the parable.
This parable goes by many names including:
The Tale of Two Wolves
The Parable of the Two Wolves
Which Wolf Do You Feed
Which Wolf are You Feeding
Which Wolf Will You Feed
It also often features different animals, mainly two dogs.
Excerpt from Google Answers:
Using Amazon.com's "Search Inside the Book" feature, my friend and colleague Leli found two books which contain variations of the Tale of Two Wolves story: From "The Holy Spirit: Activating God's Power in Your Life," by Billy Graham (1978): "An Eskimo fisherman came to town every Saturday afternoon. He always brought his two dogs with him. One was white and the other was black. He had taught them to fight on command. Every Saturday afternoon in the town square the people would gather and these two dogs would fight and the fisherman would take bets. On one Saturday, the black dog would win; another Saturday the white dog would win - but the fisherman always won! His friends began to ask him how he did it. He said, "I starve one and feed the other. The one I feed always wins because he is stronger." From "Experiencing the Soul: Before Birth, During Life, After Death," by Eliot Rosen and Ellen Burstyn (1997): "A Native American Elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: 'Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.' When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, 'The one I feed the most." ====================================================================== My own experience of the story dates back to 1958. I grew up in northeastern Oklahoma, very near the Cherokee Nation Tribal Headquarters. One of my closest friends, a little girl named Billie, attended a Cherokee Baptist Church. Occasionally Billie and her family would take me to church with them on Sunday mornings. The church services were in the Cherokee language, which I did not understand, but Bible studies and Sunday school classes were taught in English. I remember being very impressed by a simple parable told by the Sunday school teacher, an elderly Cherokee man. The parable was about a young Cherokee who is brought before the tribal elders, who are concerned about his aggressive tendencies. One of the elders takes the young man aside and tells him that his anger is understandable, since all humans have within them two wolves. One wolf is good and peaceable, and the other is evil and angry. The two wolves are in constant battle with one another, since neither is powerful enough to destroy the other. The young man asks the elder "But if they are of equal power, which wolf will win?" And the elder replies, "The one you feed the most." This does not, of course, prove that the story has a Cherokee origin. But there are many, many citations of the story (usually with two wolves, rather than two dogs) which link it with Cherokee tradition. You can find hundreds of variations on the story by scanning through the results of this Google search: Here is a page that examines the tale and discusses its possible origins: Story-Lovers: "THE WOLF I FEED" or "THE ONE I FEED" STORY http://www.story-lovers.com/listswolfifeedstory.html One rather bizarre source that is sometimes mentioned in connection with this story is Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. It seems to me very unlikely that Shaw would have circulated a story of this sort, but many citations of the story give him the credit: "Drum maker Wayne Manthey has a George Bernard Shaw quote on the back of his business card. It reads, 'A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: 'Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.' When asked which dog wins, he reflected a moment and replied, 'The one I feed the most." Note that the "Shaw" version quoted above is identical to the quote that appeared in the book "Experiencing the Soul" that Leli found. Other mentions of Shaw as the source may be found with this Google search: As is often the case with folklore, the true origins of this tale are uncertain. The story was told by a Native American shaman in the 2003 film "The Missing," which seems to have given it new life. Wherever it came from, it is a beautifully concise summation of the human condition, and its wisdom is meaningful to almost everyone who hears it.