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Why does the wolf run after the devil?

The Story of God, the Devil and the Stone.
According to a curious Rumanian version from Transylvania (in Archiv. f. Siebenburg Landeskunde, 23, pp. 4-8, abbreviated by Dähnhardt, pp. 152-3), the devil went to God and said to him, "O Lord, thou hast created man and so many other creatures, but thou hast not yet created the wolf." And God replied, "Very well," and, showing him a huge boulder near a forest, told him to go and say to the stone, "Devil, eat the stone." The devil went and said, "Stone, eat the wolf." The boulder did not move. The devil went to God and said, "The stone does not move." "What didst thou say?" "Stone, eat the wolf." "But thou must say, 'Devil, eat the stone.'" The devil went again to the stone and said, "Stone, eat the devil." Whereupon the stone moved and ate the devil, and in its place there stood a wolf with the face of the devil. Since then there are no more devils in the world, but wolves too many.

THIS story, as here abbreviated, is undoubtedly corrupted. The real form must have been at the beginning, "Stone, eat the devil," but the devil changed it into, "Devil, eat the stone," until he spoke exactly as he was told, and the stone turned into a wolf.


               The wolf is dreaded as the most savage beast, and could therefore only be conceived by the popular imagination as the creation of the devil.

               In the northern mythology there occurs the wolf Fenrir, whose father is Loki, the God of Fire, who will play such a decisive rôle at Doomsday. Hahn (No. 105) contains the following version:

               After the creation of man, the devil boasted that he could create something better. God allowed him to do so. He took some clay and moulded it and made the wolf. Then God said to him, "Give him life, as I have done." The devil started blowing into the wolf until he got red and blue in the face, but all in vain. Then God took a cane and smote the wolf on his back, and that is why the back of the wolf looks broken in the middle, and he said, "Creature, eat thy maker." Up jumped the wolf and ate the devil. (Cf. Grimm, 148.)

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Why does the wolf run after the devil?
Tale Author/Editor:
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin:

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