A long time ago there was a family destined for great things. The father, mother, and younger son held great promise. The older son was a friendly sort, but not quite as sharp as the others. He tried hard but could never quite measure up… until he grew up and a little luck went his way… placing him in a role of great importance: the guardian of his kind.
“Look at those guys over there!” the older son cried one day. “They’re breeding wolves! If we don’t do something quick we’ll be overwhelmed!” His family, friends, and neighbors all came out help, prepared to protect their kind… but there were neither wolves nor anyone breeding them when they got there. The gathered family and friends’ first instinct was to scold the older son, but they knew his heart to be good, and so forgave him this false alarm. Their trust in him was such that they agreed to stay, to help clean up the mess they made in their hasty rush to capture the wolves that weren’t there.
As time passed the older son’s problems and luck grew worse. Every time he thought he was making strides toward success on his own, something would happen to drag him back down.
Then one day he once again cried, “Look, over there, wolves! Really, this time I know better. These are the real thing. Come quick!” Once again they came, expending great effort to come to his aid. Well, some of them came… a number of them were still tied up cleaning up the first mess. When this tired group of remaining friends got there, once again there were no wolves. Instead they found pack after pack of rabid dogs, and it was a complete disaster. Wholly unprepared for what they found themselves up against, they were forced to cut their losses and head for home… much worse for the wear.
The older son was disgraced, and retreated to the shadows of history. The younger son took his place and was making strides to put things right. He wasn’t perfect and had substantial flaws of his own, but he was less prone to the hasty mistakes of his brother. And so it was when irony struck, and the younger son saw a wolf, a real wolf. By now the family’s friends could be categorized in one of three ways: dead, tired, or distrustful. And so it was that the younger son was made to face the wolf alone, on the wolf’s terms.
And wolf ate well that night.
**Author’s note: this morning it was reported that U.S. intelligence estimates that Iran may be no more than four years away from building an atomic bomb. Will this be a wolf that isn’t there, or maybe a wolf that eats well?
Thanks go out to Aesop for providing the moral lesson that was completely ignored by the characters in this story.