ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


Home  ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)


 the wolf . . .  slowly he rose on his hind legs, pointed his snout at the ceiling and

started howling. It was not a howl, but a cry devilish and ominous.

 The same way the women would howl on funerals.



The Wondrous Wolf

By Stoyan Valev


One February evening, when the pub was full of men and outside the wind was fiercely hauling, the door slowly opened.

It opened, but nobody came in.

They fell silent and waited.

For, when a door is being opened, somebody should have opened it.  

And since it is opened by someone, that someone would like to come in.

The tip of his snout showed first.

Next all of his body sneaked in.

A wolf came into the pub.

Lord! the bartender exclaimed.

He had never had such a customer, though he had been doing this business for thirty years.

Ivan slowly rose from a table and stepped towards the wolf.

So far, so good: the wolf, however, snarled and bared his teeth.

Where, Ivan? old Stoimen cried while Ivan was looking right into the wolfs eyes.

Im going to fix him! Ivan rolled up his sleeves and again made a step towards the animal.

Old Stoimen reached out to stop him, but it was too late.

A human being and a wolf grappled into a deadly combat.

Ivan was trying to grip the wolfs neck but kept failing.

The wolf was growling and his teeth were clattering but it was obvious he only defended himself; he did not attack, he only protected himself, pushing his adversary away.

When Ivan at last managed to nab the wolfs neck with both hands and his fingers started tightening, the animal gave such a growl that everyones hair stood on end.

Unexpectedly, Ivan loosened his fingers and got up from the floor.

The wolf also got up on his four feet, shook himself and made for the bar.

My, that bloody cur! the bartender whimpered and deftly leaped onto the bar, despite his hundred kilograms.

The wolf stopped in front of the bar and stared at him with his wide-opened, wondrous, sad eyes.

Nobody dared move.

A couple of minutes lasted the wolfs survey and an eternity it seemed to the people. Then slowly he rose on his hind legs, pointed his snout at the ceiling and started howling.

It was not a howl, but a cry devilish and ominous. The same way the women would howl on funerals.

Dumbfounded, a score of men in the village pub were listening.

So the wolf kept howling and they kept standing silent.

It was understood, then, that a grief was upon that wolf; a grief heavy and dark as the night outside, if it was a wolf at all.

And as unexpectedly as it had began, the howling ceased.

The wolf lay on the floor, placed his head between his front legs and moved no more.

He was lying.

And the men were standing still, watching the wolf.

Then old Stoimen got up and went to him.

Someone bit their lips, but not a voice was heard to prevent him doing that.

The wolf would probably jump on him and bite his throat! It would be easy, how much was the old mans strength . . .

But the wolf kept lying still.

Old Stoimen squatted, with a low moan, rested one knee on the floor and bowed over the wolf. He reached out both hands, took the wolfs head, stared at his eyes.

It was as if the wolf was confiding something to him, but old Stoimen did not wanted to admit it.

After a long moment he laid the animal¡¯s head between its paws again and took off his greasy hat.

So stood the old man, on his knees as if before a dead man dear to his heart.

The men perceived the wolf had given away his spirit to God, to the Devil, or to some Deity of his own kind? . . .

They drew closer, watching him with scrutinizing eyes they saw a most wonderful wolf!

Then old Stoimen stood up slowly and said:

Now, get the hoes and shovels and lets bury him!”

But you . . . have you lost your mind? the bartender snapped at him, getting down from the bar.

Shut up! the old man ordered and at the authority of his voice everyone felt he was right.

The men quickly fetched hoes and shovels.

Where? they asked old Stoimen.

What do you mean where? the old man snapped in front of the pub!”

They filed out of the pub.

It was a bitter cold. A blizzard, quite a blizzard. The earth: ice-bound. But the men set off digging.

They were warming up with one gulp of rakia at a time and at last they dug up the grave.

Old Stoimen laid the wolf into the grave and bowed to the ground.

Take a bow, you! the old man ordered and score of men bowed to a dead wolf.  

But what kind of wolf? . . . A wondrous wolf! . . .

They filled up the grave and got back to the pub.

It was then when the mayor burst in.

Eh, what have you been doing again? he was mad, it was obvious.

You shut up! old Stoimen said reprovingly and poured out a drop of his glass on the floor.

Bury a wolf! In the center of the village! Tell me, arent you savage? raged the mayor, sipping at his glass of rakia and already starting to relax with each sip.

He poured out a drop on the floor, too.

Let the powers that watch over us, condone the sins of that wolf!”

So goes the world.

If a door is being opened, someone is surely to come in. Wolf or a man.

And was it a wolf?

They kept asking old Stoimen, who was renowned for his wisdom, but he only smiled and waved his hand at them:

What, a wolf? Are you out of your mind? If it was a wolf, would I have you buried it in the centre of the village, you fools!”

Well, then! What was it?”

Did it matter, after all?

It came, it was gone, it was buried, and the rest is for everyone to decide.

Isnt that right?!

Translated from Bulgarian by: Nevena Pascaleva

*   *   *   *   *

Stojan Valev was born and live in Bulgaria, Eastern Europe. He is specialist in Bulgarian language and literature. He graduated Paisii Hilendarski University in Plovdiv in 1982 and taught there 5 years as an assistant in Russian literature of XX century. He used to work as a journalist in radios, weekly papers and daily papers. He used to be chief editor of the weekly “Freedom,” the daily press “Maritza” and  “Twenty-four-hour news maker.”  He published his stories in the Collection of stories “A Murder on Christmas” and “A Murder of Love,” in the following editions “Paper for the Woman,” “Woman’s Kingdom,” “Review,” and “For the Woman.” In 1999 Hermes Publishing House published his first book “When God Was On Leave.”

In 2000 two Bulgarian theatres put on scene his play for teenagers “An United Class.” His second book is The Bulgarian Decameron,” in two volumes published in 2002 and 2003 by Golden Apple Publishing House. The two volumes include 30 stories about the love life of the Bulgarian in the past. His screen script on his story “Unfaithfulness – one time and a half” won a competition of the Bulgarian National TV in November 2002. In 2003 Golden Apple Publishing House published a story collection of 40 stories named “Time for Infidelities.” Some of his stories have been published in many issues in USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, Italy, Poland, Kingdom of Nepal, Ireland, Canada, Switzerland and some are going to be published soon.

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011


#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

 *   *   *   *   *

Michelle Alexander: US Prisons, The New Jim Crow  / Judge Mathis Weighs in on the execution of Troy Davis

The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness 

By Michelle Alexander

The mass incarceration of people of color through the War on Drugs is a big part of the reason that a black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery. The absence of black fathers from families across America is not simply a function of laziness, immaturity, or too much time watching Sports Center. Hundreds of thousands of black men have disappeared into prisons and jails, locked away for drug crimes that are largely ignored when committed by whites. Most people seem to imagine that the drug war—which has swept millions of poor people of color behind bars—has been aimed at rooting out drug kingpins or violent drug offenders. Nothing could be further from the truth. This war has been focused overwhelmingly on low-level drug offenses, like marijuana possession—the very crimes that happen with equal frequency in middle class white communities.

*   *   *   *   *

The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.”  His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *






update 4 February 2012




Home  Kola Boof Table  ChickenBones Short Stories

Related files: June, The Colonel's Youngest Daughter  Dont Kill Mother!   The Wondrous Wolf