The Lie of the Cherokee Wolves

Tricksters, Bad Wolves, and Shadows Cast in the Land of Purity

Devin Gleeson
5 min readOct 30, 2019
‘Wolf Wind’ — Susan Seddon Boulet

One evening, an elderly Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on in people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is bad. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

“The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson thought about this for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

“Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied: “The one you feed.”

Have you heard this old story? I once had a copy of it pinned to my bedroom wall that I read often.

It’s an amazing, incredibly clean little piece. It has duality and symmetry. It seems to be intuitively true.

That it’s Cherokee also lends it weight.

Nowadays, I don’t care so much for this story. There are a few big reasons for this.

The Cruelty of Good Wolves