Once upon a time, there was a man who could find no work for himself, for there was an abundance of others who were far better than he at their jobs. That day, he decided to leave for the village beyond the verdant forest in hopes of a better life. With only the clothes on his back and a meagre pouch containing stale food and water, he set off.
It was in the middle of broad daylight on the forest paths, when he was stopped by none other than a wolf that was startlingly thin; it's gray fur was ragged against the bones that struck out against its marred skin. It circled him, snarling and growling which such fierceness that the man could have sworn it was to be the end of him.
But for some reason, the wolf didn't make any attempt to devour him, though it prevented his every attempt to flee. After much consternation -for it was already night- the man lamented out loud: "What do you want from me, wolf?!"
"I want you to follow me," came the unexpected reply.
The man -who was already sitting on the ground and had long since finished what he deemed his 'last meal'- was so startled by this that he frantically scrambled backwards to get away from the beast, but was yet again prevented from going any further.
"W-- W-- Wh-- Why?"
In response, the wolf bit on the hem of the man's clothes with his sharp, sharp teeth and tugged, indicating for the man to move.
And so they trekked along rabbit paths under the broken light of the gibbous moon, with the man before and the wolf behind while the wolf told him its tale.
"I was a man once, greater than any you would know. However as my conquests grew, so did my responsibilities and I soon grew tired of that life.
"Then the witch offered me a choice to be free of such things, and to live until the End of Days as a noble wolf. In return, I can only eat whatever she gives me. I was satisfied with this until many moons ago, when I displeased her. She no longer allows me meals and though I continue to exist, pangs of unsatiable hunger plague me. I will have you approach her to convince her otherwise in exchange for your life."
They reached a part of the forest at the foot of a forbidding mountain that the people of the land called 'The Border of Death'; for it was beyond that point that all the trees branches were bare, their barks ashen white, and the ground was only dark earth littered with the scattered dead leaves of the bordering trees. No normal animal would willingly enter such a place.
The man's knees shook and he was bathed all in sweat from fear. Should he let the wolf tear him up after all? But the wolf managed to hound him onwards until they came within sight of a cave.
"That, is the abode of the Black Witch. Think well upon what you will say to her."
The man would have soiled himself there and then, if it weren't for the fangs biting into his arm and dragging him forward.
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