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Old Bodrík and the Wolf - A traditional Slovak tale

A shepherd (bača) had a white dog called Bodrík that had been guarding the shepherd's sheep for many years, both day and night, so that no wolf could approach the sheepfold. But what was to be done when old Bodrik's leg became lame and the dog had no teeth? "An old dog is good only for the rubbish heap!" said the bača. "Why keep an old dog if it is good for nothing?"

So a new young dog was brought and fed, and put outside in the sheepfold. Old Bodrík was lying at the rubbish heap, hungry and sad about what had happened to him. Darkness fell on the country. The young dog crawled into its doghouse and stretched out on his bed.

Old Bodrík had always slept vigilantly, and did so now. He sensed a wolf. Bodrík wanted to jump over the fence, but his legs could not move because he was very hungry. He lay down sadly again and thought to himself, "While I have nothing to eat, a wolf can have something for its teeth!" And he did not even bark.

In the morning, the bača went to milk the sheep and he noticed that a sheep was missing. At the very moment, an idea arose in his head, "Oh, if old Bodrík had guarded the flock, the wolf would not have taken the sheep away!"

Old Bodrik and the wolf

The bača called old Bodrík back and fed him well. Old Bodrík clung to the bača's legs and sprang for joy. In the evening, Bodrík did not lie at the rubbish heap anymore. He circled around the sheepfold because he knew that where the wolf had once found a delicacy for his teeth, there he would return. The wolf returned, as if everything had been prepared for him.

Bodrík stood up against the wolf and said, "What do you want here?" "What do I want? I want a sheep!" the wolf answered. "Go away, you, scoundrel! I won't let you steal any sheep!" Bodrík snarled at the wolf. "Just give me a sheep. We will share it. Your farmer has not fed you well."

"Making a deal with a wolf - sheep and bulls will be taken away!" answered old Bodrík. "I wasn't fed by my bača yesterday and I was hungry and weak. It was easy for you to steal a sheep, but today, I was fed well. I am strong again and I won't let you steal a sheep." "If you won't let me steal a sheep, prepare for a fight." the wolf said angrily. "Oh, if you want, prepare for a fight! After I finish my guard around the sheepfold, I will come in the morning and fight with you in the forest. Do you understand me?"

Hearing that, the wolf snarled and ran to the forest to find some help. He really wanted to vent his wrath on old Bodrík. He asked a bear and a fox to help him.

The dog knew the wolf's habits very well and he did not go to the forest alone. He invited a pregnant sow and an old tomcat to accompany him. Bodrík limped on one leg. His companions were not young, however, they were faithful and experienced friends. When the bear and the fox saw the approaching trio, they became very frightened. "Look, brethren," the bear exclaimed, "look at the first one. He is stooping all the time. He may be collecting stones to kill us!"

Bodrík limped, and the bear thought that when he stooped, he was also collecting stones. "Look at the second one," screamed the fox, "he is brandishing a sword around his hips!" Since the tomcat moved with his tail up, indeed, the fox thought that he was brandishing a sword! And when they heard the sow grumble, they recognized by her voice that it was a pregnant pig. They knew very well that such a swine knew no jokes. That is why they took her threat very seriously and did not want to joke either. The bear climbed up a tree, and the fox jumped into some thornbush.

When our friends came to the forest, the tomcat snarled joyfully, "Vrni-vrni-vrni"(buzz-buzz-buzz)." The fox understood, "V trni, v trni, v trni" (in the thornbush). The fox thought that the tomcat wanted to attack so he did not wait, jumped out of the thornbush, and ran away!

The swine began to grumble under the tree where the bear was hiding. "Hr-hr-hr." The bear understood, "Hor-hor" (up-up). The bear thought that the swine knew that he was up in the tree and that she wanted to uproot the tree where he was hiding. And the swine dug with her snout. The bear did not wait, jumped down, and ran away - beyond the mountains and valleys. The wolf stood alone, but was glad, at last, to be able to escape without being hurt.

Old Bodrík barked so strongly that it echoed throughout the whole forest. He was glad that his friends had helped him and that they had driven those wild beasts away. After that, Old Bodrík lived well in the sheepfold for the rest of his life.

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