There was once a kingdom of black and white. No lush greens graced the hills. No sapphire blue deepened the sky. No reds or yellows or oranges tinted the fall tress. Color had forsaken the kingdom and all its inhabitants. Only somber grays and empty whites painted the landscape so that even in the bright afternoon sun the world seemed dark and cold.
Now, as it were, the King of this land was very young. Barely a man at the age of sixteen, he had taken the throne after his father vanished in the forest during a hunting trip. The young King was somber and gray like the landscape of his cursed kingdom. And though he ruled fairly and justly, the citizens were in a constant state of discontent.
The colorless kingdom was sad and its people were never merry. Children walked through the streets and never ran, or laughed. Mothers looked out of kitchen windows with cloudy eyes to the distant, shadowed horizon. Only a few remembered the colors. Old and wizened, these few held the smiles of the kingdom. Only they could be seen, sitting on their rustic porches and stoops, looking at the sky and smiling. Remembering the deep blues of the sky and the explosions of pink and purple during sunsets past, they held onto these memories gently.
Occasionally one of these ancient creatures, born in a time of grandeur and laughter, would try to coax a smile from a young lass or lad with stories of adventure under azure sky's and over emerald hills in search of gleaming golden treasure horded by giant serpents. However, try as they might, no giggles or smiles met their efforts. The gray of the world was heavy and even the newborn babe was cast under a mood so melancholy it never even uttered a sigh of happiness. And so the holders of the past looked on the gray world, still seeing the red of apples on the passing carts or the yellow blossoms on a maidens hair ribbon where others only saw gray and white.
For all the woes of man it is well know that the animal kingdom has little sympathy. Though the birds missed the tints and hues of spring, they still sang cheerfully every morning and graced each day with grateful song. The deer nibbled the gray grass happily and the squirrel gathered his winters stores with the same diligence. All the animals, both big and small, dealt with the colorless world with silent acceptance. And none were more pleased with the current state of affairs then the Grey Wolf.
Yes, where others merely accepted the black and white world, the Wolf took joy in it. She frolicked in the dark grass and the gray woods. Happily and content she hunted the nights, of which were even darker for the deepened shadows. In the world of color she had been a shadow, black and menacing. But here, in this world, she blended in and felt truly at home. All was shadow. Just as she was always shadow.
It happened one day that the Wolf was romping along the ashen hills, enjoying the brisk morning, when she saw it. A flash of red! Frozen, the Wolf stared at the red streak as it raced across the hills. Color in a world of black and white.
The Wolf took little time to hesitate and, after shaking the surprise from her coal black fur, she bolted after the red streak.
"It can not be back!" The Wolf thought frantically, "Not after all this time. Not when the world finally had a place for me! The Color can not be back!"
Desperately she raced forward, but the red streak was to fast. Heart pounding and lungs burning, the Wolf slowed to a gentle lope. Here and there were little red hairs stuck to the gray blades of grass like little calling cards. But the streak was gone...disappeared into the forest.
The Wolf spent a week and a day looking for the color that had shocked her so soundly. After another night of searching in vain she decided to rest near a stream and regain her strength. With a painful sigh, she laid down on the soft moss and soon was in the dreamless sleep she so rightfully needed.
"That smell..." Dreamt the Wolf, "Color..."
With a startled growl the Wolf sprang up and looked around for the sound that had awakened her. Her fur sprang up and her teeth instinctively bared themselves at the sight before her. There, right across the stream, was the red streak.
The Red Fox was frozen in mid step, as still as a statue. She blinked and swished her giant tail nervously. The Wolf just growled, not sure what to do herself. Finally, Fox laughed and sat down with a thump.
"Well, you certainly did scare the beegebus out of me!" The Fox laughed, "And I was trying so hard not to wake you too, what a shame." The Wolf bristled more, she was in no mood for banter. This was the color...the key to the undoing of her happy life. The Fox cocked her head and now looked a bit worried. "Come cousin, why do you great me so? Have I harmed you in some way?"
"You..." The Wolf growled, stepping forward.
"You are the color!" With that the Wolf sprang forward and tackled the surprised Fox. "You dare to come and destroy my perfect world of shadow!" Biting and clawing, the Wolf surged for the terrified Fox's neck.
"Cousin!" The Fox cried, dodging the Wolfs attacks "I don't understand! Please, STOP!"
Luckily the Wolf was so overcome with anger that her attacks were wild and easily escaped. The Fox, more worried for the Wolfs sake then her own, gracefully eluded the Wolfs lunges and snaps. Though her size and power could easily overcome the Fox, the Wolfs eyes were clouded with such anger that she could not see.
After a day of chase the Wolf fell in mid attack to her belly. She still snapped and growled, but her paws simply wouldn't support her any longer. The Fox looked on silently and nervously.
"I have done something terrible to you." The Fox whispered, "Of that I'm sure...I do not know what I did but for you to be so distressed just at the sight of me...I must have done something TERRIBLE." The Wolf was silent, to tired and hungry to growl. They sat there for a time in silence. The Fox's head was lowered and she appeared to be sleeping to the Wolf.
"A perfect time,"Thought the tired Wolf, "to spring up and snap her neck. Then the color will be gone and all will be well again." Silently the Wolf pooled her strength and flexed her muscles. Yet, just as she was about to spring, the Fox suddenly looked up. Her eyes were glossy and the fur around her muzzle was wet.
"I know!" Chirped the Fox, unaware of what the Wolf had been planning, "You must be hungry! No...STARVED. Let me gather us some dinner and then we will sit and eat and fill our bellies until you are about to burst. Then," The Fox paused shyly, getting up and turning to leave, "you can perhaps tells me what ails you so." With that the Fox smiled and loped out of the clearing they had ended up in. The Wolf was dumbfounded.
"The fool." The Wolf thought angrily "Yes, fetch me my dinner, then I shall kill you when I am at my full strength."