He was, he said, a man of Ossory, on whose race lay an ancient curse, whereby every seven years a man and a woman were changed into wolves; at the end of seven years they recovered their proper form, and two others suffered a like transformation. He and his wife were the present victims of the curse; his wife was at the point of death, and he prayed the priest to come and give her the viaticum [Last Eucharist] .
After some hesitation the priest complied; and next morning the wolf put him in the right road, and took leave of him with words of gratitude. The priest doubted whether he had not done wrong, and consulted many theologians on the point. In the end he went to the Pope; the result is not stated.
One wonders if this legend’s origins might lie in the pre-Christian Era of Ireland, where most of island was heavily forested and the deer and the wolf were common.
I wonder if this story could have been passed down from an original story in which a people with the wolf’s prowess at hunting deer was celebrated, and then in the Christian Era, it was twisted in a kind of ”reverse syncretism” into a curse.
Wolves have always been potent symbolic animals.
It really doesn’t matter where or how the symbols get used.
The wolf gets mixed into our culture.
That’s why it is so hard to be objective about the wolf.
The creature is so distorted through out cultural lenses that they become quite subject.
One culture sees them as a shaman.
Another sees them as evil incarnate.
And this is still a biological animal with its own instincts, intellect, drives, and emotions.