A story of the internet’s favourite idiot werewolf, by Alice Black.
This is a story about a Wolf-Skin who changed everything. He was so good at changing everything that he did it three times.
His name was Moon-Moon.
Moon-Moon and I were like brother and sister. I can’t remember a time before I knew him. We were born under the same moon, days apart. We played together, snapping at each other with sharp milk teeth. We learned to change our Skins and ran through the forest with the wildness of the young.
That Moon-Moon and I, we grew up and stopped being pups. Then winter came for the first time. The hunts were hard, the snows deep and the prey scarce and snow kept getting down this ‘Skin’s ears.
It was Moon-Moon that brought us winter that first time, and this is how it happened: Old Man Coyote had pissed off Polar Bear something fierce, and she had brought all her snow and cold down to dump on his head. But that Old Man Coyote got tired of carrying around all that snow and so he decided to get rid of it.
He came up to that silly Moon-Moon one day while we were
hunting and said to him: ‘Moon-Moon, Polar Bear gave me all this snow. It’s the best kind of snow there is.’
‘That’s a lot of snow,’ said Moon-Moon, tongue hanging out. ‘Isn’t that a lot of snow Soft-Paw? That’s a lot of snow! …what’s “snow”?’
We had been on a hunt, but Moon-Moon had started dancing and scared all those tasty Deer away. I was sitting next to him, ignoring him. He was bad at noticing when I was ignoring him. Moon-Moon was bad at a lot of things. But he was real good at believing.
‘Snow is the best kind of stuff. It’s cold and tastes sweet and makes Deer fall out of the sky. Do you want the snow?’ Asked Old Man Coyote.
‘It does?’ Asked Moon-Moon, the tip of his silly tail started to wag. I growled. Moon-Moon was too good at believing.
‘I don’t think that’s what snow does,’ I said. Coyote ignored me.
‘Oh yes. Do you want the snow? You want the snow? Whowantsthesnow?’ said that tricky Old Man Coyote. Moon-Moon had started to dance and whine as Coyote waved that snow in his face.
‘Moon-Moon, don’t take the snow,’ I told him, and snapped at his shoulder. He danced out of the way, still whining as Coyote teased him.
‘I want the snow! I want it! Please? Pretty please can I have the snow?’
‘Moon-Moon I’m warning you!’ I growled, and tried to chase Coyote away. But it was too late. That coyote dumped all that snow onto Moon-Moon.
‘Hee hee, sucker,’ Coyote shouted, as he ran off.
I looked for Moon-Moon, but he had disappeared under that snow. All of a sudden the pile of snow started to shake, and flew up into the air as Moon-Moon shook it off. The snow went everywhere, causing a big mess and covering the whole forest up in white. Moon-Moon shook himself again, and this time the snow from his fur caused a big blizzard that made it hard to see our paws in front of our faces.
‘That snow is really something special!’ Moon-Moon said when we were walking home, hungry and cold. ‘It’s twice as cold as normal snow. But I think Coyote lied. I haven’t seen Deer fall anywhere, just more of that snow.’
Moon-Moon wasn’t allowed back in the den that night.
The next morning, we saw that he’d spent all night gathering firewood and had fallen asleep next to it. Moon-Moon was too good at believing, but he was also good at fixing things. He’s had a lot of practice fixing things.
The snows lasted years and by the time Moon-Moon found a way to get rid of all that snow, all us ‘Skins were ragged bundles bones and fur. This is how that happened.
‘Moon-Moon,’ I said to him one morning. ‘We have to do something about all that snow.’ There was a lot of snow. Some days, if the wind blew just right, the snow banks would reach up all the way to the moon.
‘Yup,’ said Moon-Moon. ‘Old Man Coyote gave us too much snow. It gets up my nose and makes me sneeze.’
No one knew how to get rid of the snow. I went to my Father and asked him.
‘Dunno. Did you ask your Grannie?’ he said. So I went and asked my Grannie.
‘Dunno. Never seen snow before Moon-Moon brought it here. But it’s damn cold. Put another log on the fire. And get me something hot to drink.’ And so after I did that, I went and asked Coyote. He said:
‘Mfhphhhhnsh.’ That Coyote wasn’t tall enough to stick his face up out of the snow.
‘Hee hee,’ Moon-Moon said, ‘Hee hee.’
I lifted that Coyote up, and shook him to get some of the snow off. I might have shook him a bit too hard, because he was cross eyed when I stopped and had turned a funny green colour that I didn’t know Coyotes could turn.
‘All right, Coyote,’ I said, all grumpy and stern. ‘Tell us how to get rid of all this snow.’
‘Hee-hurk.’ That Coyote must have been drinking again, because after I shook him again he lost all his Coyote-dinner.
‘Alright, alright,’ he said, just as green as ever. ‘You have to do a Sun Dance to melt away the snow.’ I looked at Moon-Moon. What was a Sun Dance? Back then we only knew a couple of dances and most of them were hunting dances.
‘Like this?’ said Moon-Moon, and he began to Waltz.
‘No, not like that,’ said Coyote.
‘Oh. What about this?’ Moon-Moon asked, and did the Hustle.
‘This?’ This time Moon-Moon began a wild dance, throwing his arms all over the place and bouncing from foot to foot.
‘Yup. That’s the Sun Dance, alright.’ I held onto that Old Man Coyote, waiting to see if Moon-Moon was really doing the right dance. The cold air started to warm up, and the sun started to get brighter and brighter. The giant snow drifts began to weep, cold water running down them to pool in the valleys. The sun got hotter and hotter until it felt like summer again, and the snow melted faster and faster.
‘Moon-Moon, I think you’re done Sun Dancing,’ I said, and let go of Coyote. He landed in the water with a splash, and started to Coyote-paddle around.
‘Nope. I must dance!’ That silly Moon-Moon said. And he kept dancing.
‘Uh oh,’ Coyote said.
‘Uh oh?’ I asked.
‘That’s too much Sun Dancing. We’d better get to higher ground, and then we can start repopulating the Forest.’ He waggled his Coyote eyebrows at me, and then let out a bunch of bubbles when I pushed him under the surface of the water. Coyote was right about Moon-Moon doing too much Sun Dancing, but he was still a pervert.
The snow was melting fast, and the water had nowhere to go. Moon-Moon had finally stopped dancing, because the water too deep for him to jump around in. Already it was at our waists and getting higher by the moment.
‘Uh oh,’ said Moon-Moon. ‘Maybe that was a bit too much Sun Dancing.’
‘Gurgle,’ Agreed Coyote, from under the water. Moon-Moon and I swam back to the village and helped carry everyone to the tops of the trees to wait out the flood.
‘Now I’m all wet,’ grumbled Grannie.
‘But at least the snow is all gone!’ Moon-Moon said with a grin. ‘My Sun Dancing melted it all away.’ The snow was all gone, but the flood lasted forty days and forty nights, and caused a big hullabaloo in some dusty desert. People haven’t shut up about it since. All the forest animals and ‘Skins were stuck up in those trees until the water went down.
Wolves might be strong and fierce on the ground, but not even Wolf-Skins are good at trees. Trees are made for other ‘Skins, like the Squirrel-Skins, the Crow-Skins, or the dreaded Stickers.
What? You don’t know about the Stickers? Well, this is the story about the meanest, awful-est ‘Skins ever to walk the earth: the Porcupine-Skins.
There weren’t many Stickers around by the time I was born, and even less by the time I was grown up. My own Grannie told me stories about how they would stick sharp thorns into your paws while you were sleeping. The Stickers were the ones that would put burrs into your fur behind your ears where you couldn’t bite them out. The Stickers hated Wolf-Skins because they had lived in this forest first and wanted to kick us out. The only reason they hadn’t yet was because we avoided them as much as possible.
Then Moon-Moon found a Sticker. It was a couple years after the big flood; I was on a Hunt with Moon-Moon and my brother, Pisses-on-Squirrels.
‘Deer,’ Pisses-on-Squirrels whispered. His ears flattened back and he hunched down low.
‘Deer? Where?’ Moon-Moon asked, and poked his head up. I grabbed the scruff of his neck in my teeth and tugged him back down.
‘Shush,’ I whispered back. ‘Be quiet.’
Pisses-on-Squirrels never liked Moon-Moon. A litter older than both of us, Pisses-on-Squirrels had a bad temper. That’s why his name changed from ‘Chases-Squirrels’ earlier that year.
‘Who invited Moon-Moon?’ he snapped.
‘I did,’ I whisper back. ‘Don’t be so loud.’
‘Who invited Deer?’ Moon-Moon asked.
‘No-one invited Deer,’ Pisses-on-Squirrels growled.
‘Oh no,’ I said, and put a paw over my eyes.
‘Well that’s rude,’ said Moon-Moon. Then he shouted: ‘HEY, DEER! NO ONE INVITED YOU. GO AWAY. WE’RE ON A HUNT.’
‘Oh no,’ I said, again.
Pisses-on-Squirrels leapt to his feet and chased after Deer as fast as he could. But it was too late. Thanks to Moon-Moon, that Deer and everyone else in the forest knew we were hunting today.
‘Oh my god. That was, like, so rude,’ said that Moon-Moon, and he lifted his leg to piss on a nearby tree. ‘That Deer coming on the hunt when he wasn’t invited? I bet he has no friends.’
‘Moon-Moon,’ I said, paw still over my eyes. ‘We were hunting that Deer.’
‘Oh,’ he said. ‘Oops!’
‘MOON-MOON!’ howled Pisses-on-Squirrels from where he had given up chasing the Deer.
‘Moon-Moon,’ I said, peeking over my paw. ‘You should run.’
‘Yup,’ he said, and ran. That Moon-Moon wasn’t good at hunting, or thinking, but he was good at Running. He got a lot of practice. He practiced running after squirrels. He practiced running after Coyotes. He practiced running away from Pisses-on-Squirrels every day, sometimes twice. With so much practice, Moon-Moon was the best runner in the whole forest. But like I said, he wasn’t always the best thinker. The problem with Moon-Moon running so fast is that he had even less time to think about things.
That was why he ran straight into a big, old oak.
Thunk, went Moon-Moon, making a Moon-Moon dent in that old oak.
Thunk, went the Sticker, falling out of the tree and landing on the ground.
‘Shit!’ said Pisses-on-Wolves and that one ran away.
‘Shit!’ I said and ran up to Moon-Moon and the Sticker. Moon-Moon was out cold, drooling onto some dirty leaves that had fallen down last fall. I ran back and forth, staring at the Sticker who was stuck to the ground, and at the out-cold Moon-Moon.
‘Stay back,’ said that Sticker, twisting this way and that, trying to un-stick his quills from the ground. He was good and stuck though, and nearly stuck me with one of his long quills. ‘I’m warning you, Wolf.’ The sticker had landed on his back, his spikes stuck deep into the dirt.
‘I am back.’ I hadn’t moved any closer, but I was worried that Sticker might do something to Moon-Moon.
‘My friends will be coming soon,’ he said, and wiggled his weird, wiggly, nose. His stickers stuck out all the way up to his head, and his little hands and feet wriggled in the air. ‘And they’ll get you if you try to hurt me!’
‘I don’t want to hurt you,’ I say, and glance at where Moon-Moon was still drooling on leaves. ‘I just want to make sure my friend is okay.’
‘When did the world get all spinny?’ That was Moon-Moon, alright. His head lifted to look at the Sticker, and his tail wagged, thumping against the ground next to the Sticker. “Look, Soft-Paw! A whole animal made out of sticks!’
‘I’m not sticks!’ The Sticker said, angry. ‘I’m pointy and sharp and if you bite me, you’ll regret it!’
‘So many sticks…’ Moon-Moon sighed happily; tail still wagging as he rested his head back on the ground.
‘Wolf, you change your skin first. Then I’ll go. No one has to get hurt.’ I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be on two feet when the Stickers came to get this one, but I didn’t want to let Moon-Moon get stuck either. The way this Sticker was talking, he was nervous. Nervous animals did stupid things.
I took off my wolf skin and stood up on two legs. Pacing back and forth was easier on four legs, but I couldn’t stay still. Not when one of my Pack was hurt.
‘Oh, you’re a lady wolf,’ said the sticker, who took off his stick skin. Part of it was still stuck in the ground. He tugged at his skin hard and it came loose, leaving a dozen sticks in the ground. I winced, imagining how those would feel in a paw, or worse, nose.
‘Stiiiiicks,’ said Moon-Moon. ‘So many.’
‘I think your friend hurt his head,’ said the Sticker, and he put his skin back on right away.
‘There’s spinny stars too! Did they bring the sticks?’ asked Moon-Moon, who slowly pushed himself up to his feet. I went to him and checked his eyes, looking at them carefully. Moon-Moon licked my cheek. ‘I’ll catch some for you.’
‘No,’ I said to that Sticker, and pulled my own skin back on. ‘He’s just like this.’
‘Oh,’ said the Sticker. He looked worried. Maybe he thought that all wolves had a head as hard as Moon-Moon’s. ‘Does he like sticks?’
‘Yes! Sticks? Where?’ Moon-Moon said, still drooling a bit from that Oak. His tail wagged.
‘I see,’ said that Sticker. ‘I think that I won’t be coming down to the ground again.’
‘So many sticks!’ Moon-Moon said, and bit down on one of those sticks that had stuck in the ground. He pulled it out, and held it up high and proud. The edge was wicked sharp with burr-like hooks on the end that would stick into wolf-skins good and deep and stay there.
‘Yes,’ I said to that Sticker. ‘That might be a good idea. Come on now, Moon-Moon. Let’s get you some ice for that thick head of yours.’
‘I dented the oak!’ Moon-Moon said, trotting with a wobble as we headed home.
‘You sure did.’
The rest of the Pack saw that stick that Moon-Moon had, and I told them about how the Sticker got scared and ran off up a tree after seeing Moon-Moon get back up. Those Stickers are real gossips. That one spread the word about Moon-Moon, and how strong he was. How stubborn and how he wasn’t afraid of no Sticker.
Those Stickers started staying up in the trees, wearing their skins all the time until they forgot they could change. They’re still mad at Moon-Moon though. Anytime a Wolf-Skin or dog goes near one, they’ll stick ‘em real good up in the muzzle. It hurts bad and takes doctors to get all those quills out.
But that story about Moon-Moon that the Stickers told, that story spread far and wide. It spread all the way across the big lake to the pale people who made up stories about us ‘Skins, put us in books and movies. They got one part wrong though: they listened to Moon-Moon’s name and they thought: ‘Oh, those silly people must mean the moon was full!’ We didn’t, but you know them. Too much wax in those ears to listen right, I think.
That Moon-Moon changed the world in lots of ways. He brought us winter, flooded the whole world, and made us famous. Yup. Not bad for a Wolf-Skin with such a silly name.