'MAX the Stubborn Little Wolf'


* Editor's note: A young son decides to stray from the family tradition, much to his father's dismay.

Quick as a wink, when anyone asked Max what he'd like to be one day, the little wolf always said: "I want to be a florist."

That answer made Papa Wolf so angry that his tail twitched. Finally he laid down the law. "Wolf fathers and sons are hunters, have always been hunters and always will be hunters. You, my son, will follow the family tradition. And that is that!"

"But I don't like hunting," said Max.

"That's impossible," roared the big wolf. "All wolves love to hunt!"

"I like meat that you buy, but not meat that you hunt," explained the little wolf. "I won't be a hunter. I will have a beautiful flower shop. With the money I earn selling tulips, roses and daisies, I'll be able to buy all the meat I can eat. I want to be a florist, and that is that!"

The stubbornness of his son kept Papa Wolf awake all night. While Max slept peacefully, the big wolf paced up and down the kitchen.

"I must stop my son from becoming a florist," he muttered over and over again.

The next evening, in the middle of dinner, Papa Wolf suddenly had an idea: HO-HO-HO! I know how to stop Max from becoming a florist. He just has to learn to love hunting. That'll make him forget about those good-for-nothing flowers!

The big wolf banged his paw on the table to be sure Max was paying attention. "Tomorrow," he declared, "We will go hunting for rabbits and young boars."

At dawn the next morning, Papa Wolf shook Max awake. "Get up quickly," he ordered. "We're going hunting!"

When they arrived in the forest, the big wolf whispered, "SSHH, we'll hide here. As soon as a rabbit passes by, we'll jump on it and put it in the basket."

A few minutes later, a rabbit pushing a wheelbarrow appeared.

Max leaped out of the thicket.

"Quick! Save yourself, little rabbit," he shouted. "My papa wants to eat you!"

The rabbit dropped his wheelbarrow and ran off without waiting to hear more.

"What's the matter with you?" yelled Papa Wolf. "Why did you do that?"

"Because I don't like hunting," said the little wolf. "I already told you that."

In the middle of the night, another idea popped into Papa Wolf's head.

HO-HO-HO, he said to himself. This time I know how to keep Max from becoming a florist. I'll just tell him that it's a dangerous job.

At breakfast the next morning the big wolf said, "It's fine to be a florist, my little son, but do you know that it is dangerous work?"

"Weally?" mumbled Max, his mouth full of crispy flakes.

"Yes, indeed," said Papa Wolf. "You might prick yourself on a rose thorn, or slip and fall in the mud, or cut yourself with the garden shears ..."

Max jumped up and kissed his father.

"Don't worry, my little papa," he said. "I'll be very careful. I'll put on gloves so I don't prick myself and boots so I don't slip in the mud."

The next afternoon, Papa Wolf woke up from his snooze with a sneeze.

"HO-HO-HO!" he cried out. "Now I really know how to keep my son from becoming a florist. I'll make him hate the smell of flowers!"

He bought three bottles of strong-smelling perfumes: rose, lilac and violet.

That very night he crept into Max's room and emptied the three bottles of perfume all over the blanket, the pillow and the head of the little wolf.

As soon as Max got up the next morning, he went to find his father. Papa Wolf was shaving in the bathroom.

"There's a very strange scent in my room," Max said. "It smells like roses and lilacs and violets.

"Papa," said the little wolf, taking a deep breath. "I have something to tell you. I no longer want to be a florist!"

"Is that really true?" Papa Wolf asked, trembling with joy.

"Yes, it's true," said Max, as Papa Wolf sat down in his favorite chair. "I want to make perfumes instead! I think what I really like about the flowers is their smell."

From MAX THE STUBBORN LITTLE WOLF by Marie-Odile Judes, illustrated by Martine Bourre. Copyright c 1996 by Pere Castor, Flammarion, Paris. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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