The Vain She-Wolf
Tunisian oral litterature transcribed by Raouf Ochi
Translation Dominique de Caprona
© Ochi 2010

      Once upon a time there was a she-wolf* who had a very beautiful shiny ash gray fur and a long nicely bushy tail. She thought of herself as a real queen. Her husband, the old wolf, made wise by time, was the chief of the entire pack, which increased her vanity even more: she thought everyone owed her respect and obedience.

     One day, as she was prancing in the fields, she caught sight by chance of  the Sloughi's daughter and was fascinated by her elan, her bearing and the beautiful black mask on her muzzle which contrasted with her lovely pale coat 

    As soon as she was back home, she went to find her husband and told him:

_ Our son has become old enough and it it high time he gets married

_ Yes, why not? my brother's daughter is exactly his age and she is a good hunter. If you want, I.....

_ What are you saying here ? she interrupted him. I already found him a beautiful princess from a noble family which equals our level. Guess who she is!

_ Your sister's daughter of course. She is quite lazy that one, and I already tell you I do not agree.

_ You are mistaken, my dear, not at all. It is about the daughter of the Sloughi who guards his master's herd in the valley near the river.

_ This is evidently a joke! retorted the old wolf, smiling to hide his dread.

_ No, it is true, I am serious.Oh! If you had seen her...! What a bearing! What beauty! What litheness! What pride...!

   No matter the old wolf's trying to dissuade her, but it is in vain. He reminded her of the terrors of the hunting scenes, but with no result. With the determination of a spoiled and capricious she-wolf, she ended up imposing upon him her choice.

    Then, early the next day, they went to buy fruit, vegetables and meat, took their son with them and took the path that lead to the farm where the Sloughi lived with his family to ask for his daughter's hand. The she-wolf walked up front with great enthusiasm and her son hurried behind her. As for the old wolf, wise and suspicious, he walked backwards, as we say "one step forward, two steps backwards". As he was approaching the farm more and more, he stopped, placed himself on a high rock and waited to see what would happen.

   They had hardly arrived at the level of the great fence when the Sloughi caught sight of them and leaped like an arrow behind the she-wolf and her poor son who, terrified by their host's formidable assault, threw the basket full of fruit, vegetables and meat and went right away into the neighboring forest. The Sloughi, faster and tougher, ended up making breathless and choking the she-wolf by seizing her throat. 

   The old wolf, who was following the scene from afar, but with great attention, saw in front of his eyes the confirmation of the eternal enmity between the wolf and the Sloughi while reflecting that his wife had what she deserved because she was vain.

The moral
Vanity makes one blind, and as one says:
"One must find a piece as big - never bigger - than one's mouth!"

*Note: By "wolf" one means "jackal" in Tunisian dialectical Arabic




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