Finished on 29/3/21 in Sunshine Coast, Australia.

"It can’t be emphasized too strongly that the wolf simply goes about his business; and men select only those (few) things the wolf does that interest them to pay attention to."

"Another famous outlaw wolf, a bobtailed animal named Courtaud, appeared outside the walled city of Paris in the summer of 1447. Courtaud and a pack of ten or twelve other wolves attacked small flocks of domestic animals being driven to market through the bramble woods where they lived. They chased horses, upsetting carts and frightening children. In February 1450, they supposedly entered Paris through a breach in the walls and killed forty people. As the hard winter bore on and attempts to kill the wolves in their lairs failed, they were lured into the city proper with a bloody trail of butchered livestock. Trapped in the square in front of Notre Dame, they were stoned and lanced to death."

"Some wolves who killed human beings were thought to be more than mere wolves. In 1685 a wolf preying on domestic stock and supposed to have killed women and children near Ansbach, Germany, was identified as the reincarnation of a local, hated burgomaster. Hunted down and killed, the wolf was dressed up in a suit of flesh-colored cloth and fitted with a chestnut brown wig and white beard. The wolf’s muzzle was cut off and a mask fashioned after the burgomaster’s face was strapped on. The animal was then hung in the town square. A generally accepted practice in Europe was an almost ritualized purging of wolves from the countryside after wars. Preying on thousands of dead bodies on the battlefields and left unmolested by a population at war, the wolf population increased and took advantage of untended flocks. Members of a victorious army, returning home elated, immediately set about killing the wolves and regarded the activity simply as a continuation of the war. Similarly, American soldiers returning after World War II to the upper Midwest began to refer to all wolves as Nazis and to hunt them down with great intensity."

"It was during this period, 1875 to 1895, that the slaughter of wolves on the plains reached its peak. Spurred by the promises of substantial state and local, as well as stockmen’s associations, bounties, a market value for the pelts, and the possibility of hiring on somewhere as a wolfer for wages, thousands of men bought up enormous quantities of strychnine and rode out pell-mell on the range. They lay down poisoned meat everywhere, in lines as long as 150 miles. The more demented among them shot small birds, carefully painted a thin paste of strychnine solution under the skin at the breast bone, and then scattered these about the prairie. Ranch dogs died. Children died. Everything that ate meat died. The greed, the ready availability of poison, and a refusal to consider the consequences generated a holocaust."

"By 1905 wolf predation in Montana was light, but a small cadre of bitter stockmen, unable to stand any loss, obsessed with the idea that the wolf was taking money out of their pockets—what actually galled them was that someone was living for free on their land—not only got the bounty back up to ten dollars but had passed an outrageous law requiring the state veterinarian to inoculate wolves with scarcoptic mange and then turn them loose. Cattlemen were to get fifteen dollars from the legislature for every wolf they trapped for the program. In spite of the ethical outrage, in spite of the fact that it didn’t work, in spite of the fact that a similar disease spread to domestic stock and the federal government forbade human consumption of cattle from some counties, this program was continued for eleven years. An increased bounty of fifteen dollars in 1911 failed, as had the ten-dollar bounty of 1905, to produce any more bountied wolves. The animal was virtually wiped out, and in 1933 the bounty law in Montana was repealed."

"THE WOLF DISEASE Seventeenth-century Europeans commonly referred to a lump that might announce breast cancer as a wolf. They similarly called open sores and knobs on their legs (and on the legs of their animals) wolves. In nineteenth-century medicine a type of general skin disorder characterized by ulcerative lesions and tubercules was called lupus vulgaris, the common wolf. A related disorder was lupus erythematosus unquium mutilans, literally “the mutilated red talons of the wolf,” a disease that attacks the hands and so disfigures the skin and nails that they look like the paws of a wolf. The notion is medieval and the hint of werewolves is hardly concealed. Today, systemic lupus erythematosus is recognized as one of the most puzzling disorders in medicine. An autoimmune or connective tissue disease like rheumatoid arthritis, its cause is unknown. The body simply produces antibodies that continue to attack healthy tissues. Eight out of ten victims are women, mostly in their child-bearing years. It remains incurable."

"Given a depressed populace, a belief in werewolves, and the intimidation practiced by the court of the Inquisition, it is not surprising that people panicked and confessed precipitously to being werewolves, to having committed crimes against nature. And it wasn’t just werewolves; in 1275 a deranged woman named Angela de la Barthe confessed to the Inquisition at Toulouse that she had given birth to a creature that was half wolf, half snake, and that she had kept it alive by feeding it human babies she stole. In 1425 in Neider-Hauenstein near modern Basel a woman was sentenced to death for consorting with wolves, on whom, it was alleged, she had ridden across the night sky."

"Still angry over Lycaon’s blasphemy and incensed at the ways of men in general, Zeus unleashed a flood to drown them all. Deucalion’s flood (named for the man who built an ark and escaped) destroyed Lycaon and his sons, but some survivors who later emigrated to Arcadia ritually killed people to satisfy the gods. These survivors were former residents of the country around Mount Parnassus. Ironically, they had been awakened on the night of the flood by the howling of wolves who led them to high ground."

"A poignant aspect of the wolf’s predicament emerges here. In a hunter society, like that of the Cheyenne, traits that were universally admired—courage, hunting skill, endurance—placed the wolf in a pantheon of respected animals; but when man turned to agriculture and husbandry, to cities, the very same wolf was hated as cowardly, stupid, and rapacious. The wolf itself remains unchanged but man now speaks of his hated “animal” nature. By standing around a burning stake, jeering at and cursing an accused werewolf, a person demonstrated an allegiance to his human nature and increased his own sense of well-being. The tragedy, and I think that is the proper word, is that the projection of such self-hatred was never satisfied. No amount of carnage, no pile of wolves in the village square, no number of human beings burned as werewolves, was enough to end it. It is, I suppose, not that different from the slaughter of Jews at the hands of the Nazis, except that when it happens to animals it is easier to forget. In the case of the werewolf, however, it must be recalled that we are talking about human beings."

'The possibility has yet to be realized of a synthesis between the benevolent wolf of many native American stories and the malcontented wolf of most European fairy tales. At present we seem incapable of such a creation, unable to write about a whole wolf because, for most of us, animals are still either two-dimensional symbols or simply inconsequential, suitable only for children’s stories where good and evil are clearly separated."

Notes and Quotes - Of Wolves and Men (Barry H. Lopez)