Friday, December 30, 2022

The Company of Wolves

The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter can be read online here. It begins,
One beast and only one howls in the woods by night.

The wolf is carnivore incarnate and he’s as cunning as he is ferocious; once he’s had a taste of flesh then nothing else will do.

At night, the eyes of wolves shine like candle flames, yellowish, reddish, but that is because the pupils of their eyes fatten on darkness and catch the light from your lantern to flash it back to you – red for danger; if a wolf’s eyes reflect only moonlight, then they gleam a cold and unnatural green, a mineral, a piercing colour. If the benighted traveller spies those luminous, terrible sequins stitched suddenly on the black thickets, then he knows he must run, if fear has not struck him stock-still.

But those eyes are all you will be able to glimpse of the forest assassins as they cluster invisibly round your smell of meat as you go through the wood unwisely late. They will be like shadows, they will be like wraiths, grey members of a congregation of nightmare; hark! his long, wavering howl ... an aria of fear made audible.

The wolfsong is the sound of the rending you will suffer, in itself a murdering.

It is winter and cold weather. In this region of mountain and forest, there is now nothing for the wolves to eat. Goats and sheep are locked up in the byre, the deer departed for the remaining pasturage on the southern slopes – wolves grow lean and famished. There is so little flesh on them that you could count the starveling ribs through their pelts, if they gave you time before they pounced. Those slavering jaws; the lolling tongue; the rime of saliva on the grizzled chops – of all the teeming perils of the night and the forest, ghosts, hobgoblins, ogres that grill babies upon gridirons, witches that fatten their captives in cages for cannibal tables, the wolf is worst for he cannot listen to reason.

You are always in danger in the forest, where no people are. ...

22 comments:

  1. This sounds like something I want to read. Happy end of 2022, and start to 2023 also. hugs-Erika

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    1. I liked it :) Definitely a Winter tale :)

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  2. ...wolves gave been a misunderstood animal.

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  3. I am really glad I live in West Germany. Wolves are in East Germany (so far) only. I´m already afraid of dogs and rather step out into the street... Boy, do I often get nasty looks from the owners ;-) But better that than getting bitten!

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    1. The stray dogs are the danger here. There are no wolves anywhere near, though we do have foxes and coyotes.

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  4. My mother never warned us about staying out of the woods because of the wolves. She was more concerned there were hoboes in the woods. đŸ˜º

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    1. No wolves here at all. "Hobo" is a word I never hear any more.

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  5. I like wolves. I think we've only coyotes here. My friend, who co-owns a family resort, takes guests out and howls to them. They answer!

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    1. Cool! I'd enjoy howling at the wolves :)

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  6. Wolves are incredibly intelligent animals. I'm fascinated by them. Have a Happy New Year!!

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    1. They do strike a chord, from the days of my earliest fairy tale readings through later feminist readings. Happy New Year!

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  7. I do like the image used here ...

    Enjoy these last December days and my good wishes for a Happy New Year.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Finding the images is as much fun as finding the stories :)

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  8. She has a way with words but my feelings for wolves are so different. LOL Thank you for being part of my blogging world and I wish you the very best for the New Year.

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  9. This sounds intriguing! Happy New Year to you and yours, stay safe and healthy!

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    1. Happy New Year, and may it bring us all peace :)

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  10. That's a good opening.

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  11. I found this intriguing. Wish I had time to finish it before the ball drops on 2022.

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    1. I actually stayed up -or awake, anyway, watching tv in my PJs on the couch- to see in the New Year. Happy New Year!

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