Eyes On Him
He was already in a dangerous situation, but it didn’t help that the wolves seemed to be watching him with frightening curiosity. He had been struggling in the river for a while before the wolves started making their way down the hill. He began to panic.
He was shaking in fear and wondered if they would attack him. His blood ran cold when they started howling, but he would never have guessed what they would do next.
The Neman River
The mighty Neman River runs through Belarus. In the winter months, the river gets cold enough to ice over. For Viktar Aladau, it was his favorite time of year. This meant that he could play on the ice with his wooden sled.
There was nothing the boy enjoyed more. But he had no idea how quickly events could take a turn for the worse.
Even though Viktar Aladau was a 10-year-old boy, he felt that it was harder to impress him than all of his peers. While children his age were content sitting at home and watching TV, he preferred to go out and have adventures.
He loved climbing trees, playing in the park, and, most of all, sledding. That’s why, when winter came, it was his paradise.
Christmas Rolls Around
Christmas was right around the corner to make his favorite season of the year even better. The cold snow mixed with festivities, hot chocolate, and gifts made him the happiest kid imaginable.
And when Viktar got to unwrap his present, it was something that he could immediately put to use. It was a wooden sled. The possibilities of playing in the snow opened up like never before, but he should have known better.
When his parents gave it to him, they warned him about the dangers of going too far from the house. He had known about the wolves that frequented the forests outside of Minsk, but he had never encountered one before.
As most 10-year-olds do, Viktar didn’t pay too much attention to the warning. He just wanted to go out and play. But just a week later, he wished he had listened to them.
A Week Later
A week later, Viktar couldn’t contain his excitement anymore. He finally managed to get out of the house and go out with his sled. He couldn’t wait to use it on the snowy hills around the river.
The river Neman flows through Minsk and forms beautiful snowy hills in the winter, where the edge of the river is in the summer. But Viktar wasn’t aware of how fragile the ice could be.
Sledding Into The Ice
Viktar walked to the edge of the river and found a nice hill that he could slide down. He walked to the top of the hill and sat down on his sled before pushing himself down the hill.
He pushed himself down the snowy hill three, four, and five times. He was overjoyed at the rush he felt each time. But then he decided to go down a sixth. This time he would go skidding across the ice of the frozen river. Then he heard the sound of cracking.
A Bad Situation
Viktar had just put himself in a terrible situation. The ice beneath him was thinner than he had thought and was now cracking. As a ten-year-old, he wasn’t equipped to deal with a dire situation like this.
But he had no idea that he’d go from the frying pan and into the fire in a moment after one last loud crack.
In The Water
Viktar was now fully submerged in the water. He managed to get his head out of the water but was in a dire situation. He wished that there was someone there to help him. But that’s when he noticed that there was something watching him, and he wasn’t alone.
That’s when the memory of his parents’ warning rang out in his mind just a week ago. He knew that his situation was about to get a lot worse.
Viktar could see a pack of wolves watching him. It was clear that they wanted to take advantage of his situation. He desperately wanted to vanish and appear in his warm home as opposed to being in an icy lake surrounded by wolves.
Tears streamed down his face, and he had no idea how he would get out of this. But the whole time, the wolves had their own plans.
Waiting For The Perfect Opportunity
The wolves watched in morbid curiosity; his situation was already potentially deadly, but the wolves posed their own complicating threat. After watching him struggle in the river for a minute, they finally decided to descend the hill.
They surrounded the terrified boy and howled at him. Were they just waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack? What they did next surprised the boy.
Grabbing His Collar
One of the wolves took the first step forward. It seemed as if she was the matriarch. She lunged for Viktar and managed to get a hold of his collar. The boy was understandably terrified and screamed.
With eyes shut, Viktar was pulled against the ice. He tried to understand what the wolf was doing, then it all made sense.
Trying To Help
He understood that the wolves were only trying to help him. They weren’t biting him but tugging at his clothes to try and pull him from the hole in the icy surface. Knowing this, he tried desperately to cling to the ice ledge, but it was too slippery.
Then another wolf stepped forward to help. Together, they tried desperately to pull him out. But Viktar had no idea how the situation would end.
Onto The Ice
After a lot of tugging, Viktar managed to pull himself onto the ice with the help of the wolves. They looked down at him with concern in their eyes. He was not convinced that they were trying to help above all else.
Still in shock, he lay on his back while he caught his breath. The wolves stood with him to ensure he stayed out of trouble.
Viktar still knew they could be dangerous and didn’t want to see the limits of their kindness. Instead, he smiled at the wolves that had saved him and slowly trudged back home.
The wolves stood by the river and watched him leave. He turned back to look at them before making it over the hill where he couldn’t see the Neman river anymore. At least he had a once-in-a-lifetime story that he could share.
What If The Roles Are Reversed?
This encounter was definitely something that Viktar will never forget, but what would happen if the roles were reversed? What if it was the wolf who was in danger instead of the person? Would the results still be the same?
Let’s look at a much older story from the other side of the globe to see if the wolf would be grateful for the human’s help.
A Story From Alaska
Before World War 2, there was a man living in Alaska. He would often go into the desolate, foresty areas of the State to search for gold that might’ve washed up in some of the rivers.
But one day, he came across something completely unexpected, and his experience would stay with him for years to come.
John The Prospector
This man was known as John. One day John was kneeling next to the river and panning for gold, but he was not as successful as he hoped he’d be. It was starting to get late, and he decided to head home.
However, on his way out of the forest, he stumbled upon something that crushed his heart.
A Trapped Wolf
A few feet from where he was standing, there was a wolf who had its paw stuck in a trap that was set by hunters. John knew a few of the hunters in the area, and unfortunately, he also knew that the man who had set the trap had died a few days prior.
But that was not the only thing he picked up on while he was watching the injured wolf.
She Had Pups
John could see that the wolf was a female and that she’d been nursing. She had pups, and they had to be somewhere in the area.
A female wolf would never stray too far from her den because that would put her pups at risk, so they had to be nearby.
The Search Began
Determined to save the wolf and her pups, John began searching the area, but the woods were vast, and the ground was covered with snow. It would be impossible for him to find them if he didn’t have any clues to rely on.
All he needed was a sound or footprint to lead him in the right direction.
As he made his way through the woods, he got a lucky break. There were footprints leading in the direction he just came from. With newfound hope, he started following the tracks, which led him deeper into the woods.
It wasn’t long before he stumbled upon what looked like a wolf den, but something seemed to be wrong.
A Quiet Den
The den was far too quiet. If he didn’t know any better, he’d say that it has long been abandoned, but John felt that the pups had to be in there. The only problem was that he couldn’t just reach in and pull them out.
He needed the pups to come out on their own.
John sat just outside the den and started making wolf calls with the hopes that the pups would come out on their own. But minutes ticked by, and there was still no indication of any pups hiding in the den.
But John wouldn’t be giving up that easily. From the looks of their mother, he could tell it had been days since the pups had any nutrition.
Four Baby Wolves
John kept sitting there making wolf calls, and eventually, four small pups, who couldn’t be older than a few weeks, stepped out of the den.
Being extra cautious, John picked up each of the pups and gently put them in the bag he had with them. He would return them to their mother if it was the last thing he did.
Bringing Them Back
When John got back to the trapped wolf and took the pups out of his bag, they were ecstatic. They immediately ran up to her and started feeding. But she was still trapped, and John had to free her.
Unfortunately, the mother wasn’t as trusting as her pups, and she wouldn’t let John get anywhere near them.
Earning Her Trust
John camped near the wolf and her pups for days on end, hoping to earn her trust. With each day that passed, he gave her scraps of meat and played with her pup. He inched a little closer to them every time he had an opportunity to do so.
And then everything changed.
The wolf allowed him to touch her. It was the opportunity he’d been waiting for. He could finally release the trap. Being extra cautious, he placed a hand on the trap and pressed the release. He expected the wolf to take her pups and run off now that she was free.
But that wasn’t what happened at all.
Meeting The Pack
Instead, the wolf stood in front of him for a moment and watched him. Then she motioned for him to follow her, and he happily obliged.
The wolf led him through the forest and into a clearing, where he saw a pack of about nine wolves. He spent the night with the pack, who were rather curious about him, before returning to his home the next day.
Four Years Later
A lot happened to John over the next four years, but after he returned from fighting in the war, he went back to the forest. He found the trap laying where he had left it and decided to see if the pack was still there.
When he arrived at their territory, he let out a wolf call, and the wolf he saved approached him once more. His rescue attempts were something neither of them would ever forget. And the trust he worked so hard to earn was still there years later.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.