The Sheep and the Wolf
There was once a little sheep, tiny, vulnerable, and full of trust for the world. As he grew older, though, he learned that the world didn’t love him as much as he loved it. One day, he met a Wolf. The Wolf’s name was Fear - although he didn’t tell that to the sheep.
“Climb up on my shoulders,” said the Wolf to the sheep. “I will protect you from all those other mean little sheep in the field.”
The little sheep climbed up on the Wolf’s shoulders, and he felt very grand indeed.
“Look at that silly creature,” the other mean little sheep teased him. “What a weak and puny thing.” The sheep thought that this was unfair, and he started to cry.
“What are you doing?” said the Wolf viciously. “Don’t let them think you are a weak and puny thing by crying. Snarl at them, like this -” and the Wolf opened his mouth and bared his frightful fangs at the other mean little sheep, who shrieked and scattered away.
The little sheep was delighted. The Wolf’s trick worked well, and he once again felt very grand.
For a while the sheep and the Wolf got on well. Every time the other mean sheep came around, the Wolf did his part to protect the little sheep, and the little sheep stayed happy.
As he grew older, though, the Wolf became more and more domineering. The sheep soon forgot how to tell the Wolf what he did and did not want to do, and began to let the Wolf make more and more decisions for him. After all, the Wolf always kept him safe, kept him from hurting - if the price was a little nibble out of the sheep himself from time to time - well, that was nothing compared to what the other sheep would have done to him.
Before the sheep even realized it had happened, he found that his muscles began to atrophy through disuse. Where he once sat proud on top of the Wolf, he now lay limply, his wool covering that sleek fur and those gleaming eyes so that you couldn’t even see the Wolf beneath unless you looked very, very closely.
The Wolf moved the sheep through his life, feeding on his flesh in the solitude of their home and allowing the sheep to nibble on grass and talk pleasantly while other sheep were around. The sheep was unable to see that so many of his flock were in the exact same predicament - he couldn’t even understand that he himself was in a predicament, having grown so accustomed to the state of his affairs - but the Wolves could tell, and they tended to congregate together.
So the sheep, complacent and unaware, continued to clothe the Wolf, waiting passively until the day the Wolf might finally devour him altogether…