She was tough. She was intelligent. She was capable. And she was mean as hell.
She beat the crap out of her inferiors. She beat the crap out of her husband. She even beat the crap out of her sister…on a daily basis.
When it came to survival, and all the problems in life, you wanted her on your side. You certainly didn’t want her on the other side. No way, not a chance — you did not want to face her on any battlefield!
Everyone hated her. She knew that, and she didn’t give a damn. They could go right along hating her, so long as they obeyed her.
So, she kept pushing. She kept leading, and she most definitely kept abusing the shit out of everyone else.
But, like most tyrants, she went too far. She pushed too hard, too many times.
She started to drive folks away. Anyone who didn’t want to toe the line, who refused to see things her way, could get bent. They could self-select out and leave her the hell alone to lead the rest, to run things her way.
So, many left.
Finally, even her sister left.
Who of us wouldn’t leave, having spent so long under daily abuse and beatings?
But the rest…
Those who remained…
To the rest, the line had finally been crossed.
The knives came out, and she was pulled down.
Err….no…that’s not quite right.
The teeth came out. They didn’t “pull her down”, they killed her.
She was a wolf, you see. And we humans…we have far more in common with our lupine brethren than we like to admit. As a writer I know these animals…I know these animals, and I know the stories that define them. True stories, by the way, that would do any writer proud to put together.
Think about this “woman.” Think about this leader who “led” so effectively that those whose lives depended on her decided death was preferable. Think about the pain, anger and resentment that led those who should have revered this smart, capable individual to instead hate her to the point of violence.
Think about this wolf. Think about her, then think about the end of her life. Blood and cold and loneliness on the side of the road, that was all that she had to show for her life.
Here endeth the parable.
Oh, and to my YF friends…you do the math.
The sister who got the shit beat out of her? The one whose departure finally pushed the others over the edge enough to depose the tyrant? She became the pack alpha. I say that so easily, and with such insouciance. She became the alpha. She became “just” another alpha.
She was “just” an alpha like Churchill was “just” a Prime Minister, or Ghandi “just” a philosopher. This wolf — 42F, to give her the tag number by which she is known, or “Cinderella” as folks called her — became the most famous and revered individual in the entire storied history of Yellowstone’s wolves.