The moon peaked through the drifting clouds to bleach the green slopes of the valley of Antica with a haunting shade of white. The few log huts that lay scattered over the hills, lay dark and quiet. Their owners sleeping peacefully in their beds after spending a long tiring day on the slopes of Mt.Antica, where they were out grazing their sheep, little aware of the approaching danger. A distant blood curling howl was heard in the valley, echoing off the surrounding mountains that towered overhead. Though none of the shepards heard it, for it was too little a noise to wake such tired souls, but it was heard by their beasts of labour and caused great distress and agitation amongst them. They all knew who that dreaded howl belonged to, The Great Wolves of Blackforest, a beastly pack of the mightiest and most deadly wolves in the country for whom the unguarded sheep were easy prey. The sheep sensed this and there was a general uproar in their yards as doom approached with every passing second.
Santiano, the son of shepard Antigo, felt a queer sense of uneasiness in his heart as he lay tossing and turning in his bed. He got up to drink some water to ease his nerves. While passing by the window he paused to gaze out and admire the beauty of the landscape. It was then that he noticed something strange. The sheep were fidgeting about in the yard instead of lying down peacefully. He went out to see what the matter was. As he stepped out the door, headed for the yard, the uneasy sensation returned. He felt a chill run down his spine. Glancing back nervously, he saw, to his horror, long shadows of some slinking creatures falling on the grass, all headed towards him. Overcome by panic, he started running around wildly, screaming at the top of his lungs, “The wolves are coming!”
Awakened by the commotion, his father, Antigo, came out to witness the same chilling sight that greeted his son except that the wolves were nearer. He could see their glowing eyes, their bared teeth, the drool rolling of their red tongues and the faint gurgle in their throats. He was stunned. What could he do, alone against a pack of about fifty wolves? With no one near enough to help him, it would be sheer foolishness to try anything. But then, another thought struck him. What would he do with all his sheep dead? He did not have enough money to buy more sheep. The sheep provided him with whatever little that he and his family needed to survive. With them dead, they all would die of starvation. Then he saw his two year old daughter, Arlena’s face swim before his eyes. Agonizingly he thought of her. How would he feed her? How would she survive? Anger surged through his body, flames leapt in his eyes. Seizing an old shepard’s stick, he ran out to defend his sheep, his livelihood. He’d rather die than see his family suffer.
And so he stood in front of the yard, stick in hand while the wolves came nearer and nearer. It seemed as if they were mocking him, laughing at his foolishness. “Away you dirty hounds!” he cried. Raising his stick above his head, he charged at them, striking the first one of the pack on the head. With a sickening crunch of broken bone, it fell lifeless on the ground. The others lunged at him. He killed two others with a mighty swing of his stick but was soon overpowered by the might of the wolves and fell to the ground. The beasts leapt onto him to begin the feast. Antigo closed his eyes and prepared for the most horrible and painful death that a mortal can suffer. Visions of his family drifted before his eyes, all of them weeping over his mangled carcass.
Suddenly, a huge cry echoed around the hills. Antigo opened his eyes, raised his head, hardly daring to believe, and then, to his joy and amazement, he saw a crowd of men with flaming torches in hand, surging towards him. The wolves all around him stepped back, dismayed. As the men drew nearer, all of them fled, tails stuck between their legs, hungrier than before. They howled all the way back, cursing.
It turned out that Santiago had run all the way over the hills to the village below and told them of the attack and they all came out to help. The rest of the night passed without any further excitement. The next day, all the shepard’s of the valley met at Antigo’s house to discuss possible safety measures to prevent the wolves from causing any more harm to them. Finally it was decided that every shepard’s house would be fitted with a large bell and if anyone needed help, they’d only have to ring it, and all the shepard’s of Antica would come by to help.
Many years have passed since that night, but in all these years, not one sheep has been killed by the wolves. Not that there haven’t been any attacks but because whenever there has been one, the wolves have found themselves facing the whole village of Antica. Nowadays, they are no longer seen and it is said that they have gone away looking for a safer hunting ground. The story of Antigo and the wolves has become an integral part of Antican history and the old and young still like to recall it with pride to anyone who would listen. And even though Antigo has long passed away, a skeleton of a wolf with a cracked skull still hangs in front of his house, reminding people to rise above their fears.