Perhaps no other animal has been so vilified in human literature and expression. The title of this blog is but one of many expressions--the supposed origin for the expression "wolf at the door" that you will find on the Internet suggests it comes from the children's story "Three Little Pigs." Hmmm--I suspect the origin goes further back into human mythology.
If you should happen to be teaching a class on literature for children, you could try this exercise. Surprising how many children's stories use the wolf as villain.
But, I am not really thinking about wolves in children's literature or even in common expressions. The wolf I have buzzing around my head right now is the novel I am currently reading: Wolf Hall. I may write another blog about this work when I am finished. Suffice it to say that it is a most engrossing read. I didn't realize to what the title referred until I perused the handy guide just inside the novel's cover: Wolf Hall is the name of the Seymour family home which existed mid-1500s in England. No such residence stands today, the place having long ago fallen into disrepair. The novel centers on Thomas Cromwell, advisor to Henry VIII throughout a major portion of his reign.
Simultaneous to reading Wolf Hall, I encountered another wolf this weekend. My husband and I attended a production of Gilbert & Sullivan's comic opera The Mikado, which was performed at Wolf Trap. If you have never been there--and if you live in some proximity to Washington, DC, it is a treat of a place to visit. I admit it is the most tenuous of links--the word "wolf" in the novel title and the place name. Sorry about that.
Back to the various wolf expressions we use. "Wolf at the door" means to keep hunger or poverty at bay. The current economic times certainly have many people busily working to keep away the wolf at the door.
I had an interesting conversation this past week--I went to my hairdresser for a haircut. In an effort to engage in small talk--something at which I am woeful--I asked: so how's business been? Fantastic, she said. This week things have really picked up. Then, she observed, that the hair business is one of the last ones to be affected when the economy slows down, and one of the first to pick up, when the economy recovers. Maybe, the wolf will be kept from the door. Unless, he needs a hair cut!
Cover photo of the "The True Story of The 3 Little Pigs"--this delightful book was a birthday gift I received from a friend several years ago--a reworking of the traditional child's fairy tale, told from the wolf's perspective.