The Natural Bent

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A WOLF there was, and he was ravenous and huge. He snapped at his fellows, and : would not hunt with the pack. He ate his cubs, and, because he was fierce and swift, he killed more prey than he could eat.

God blessed his brute, and said to him, "Feast on your cubs, and eat their mother, too; for there is nothing better for a Wolf. "

A Yariah-dog there was, and he was strong and churlish. The hand that caressed . him he bit. In the night he went sheep stealing, till watch-dogs attacked him. Then he ran away, and saved his skin.

God blessed his cur, and said, "Go, fill yourself with flesh, and tear the friendly hand; for that is the best you know."

A Hound there was, and he was cunning and sharp. He hunted game, and watched the house. But, when he could, he stole; and he lived in fear of the whip.

God blessed his creature, saying to him, "Ay, steal the game, and fear the lash; for only so you may learn."

A Mastiff there was, and he loved the children; and, when gypsies stole his master's sheep, he flew upon the men. But with other dogs he fought, and he would leave his charge for strife.

God blessed his dog, and said, "Yes, guard the sheep, and fight till your flesh is torn to shreds; for that is the way I teach."

* * *

For Beast or Man learns only by working out experience. Dog eats dog in war, and what we call sins and consequences are but lessons in the primer of our Nature's God.

Source: Bolton Hall, “The Natural Bent,” Mind 2, no. 3 (June 1898): 143.