The Wolf and the Man Fairy Tale

The Wolf and the Man

The fox is quite scared of men, but the wolf is not so easily impressed. He likes to attack a man. Luckily the fox can point him in the right direction…

The Wolf and the Man is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a wolf who brags about attacking a man. The fox is scared of men, but helps the wolf find a hunter to attack. When the wolf attacks the hunter he gets shot and slashed, but survives with a healthy respect for men.

Complete text The Wolf and the Man

Once upon a time the fox was talking to the wolf of the strength of man: how no animal could withstand him, and how all were obliged to employ cunning in order to preserve themselves from him.

Then the wolf answered, “If I had but the chance of seeing a man for once, I would attack him anyway.”

“I can help you do that,” the fox said. “Come to me early tomorrow morning, and I will show you a man.”

The wolf showed up the next morning and the fox took him out on the road by which the huntsmen went daily.

First an old discharged soldier passed by. “Is that a man?” inquired the wolf. “No,” answered the fox, “that was one.”

Afterwards came a little boy who was going to school. “Is that a man?” “No, that is going to be one.”

At last a huntsman passed by with his double-barrelled gun at his back and a sword by his side.

The fox said to the wolf, “Look, there comes a man, you must attack him, but I will go to my hole.”

The wolf then rushed on the man. When the huntsman saw him he said, “It is a pity that I have not loaded it with a bullet,” aimed, and fired a load of shot in his face.

The wolf made a painful face, but did not let himself be frightened. He attacked him again. The huntsman gave him the second barrel.

Swallowing his pain, the wolf rushed on the huntsman, but he drew out his shiny sword and gave him a few cuts with it right and left.

Bleeding everywhere, the wolf ran howling back to the fox.

“Well, brother wolf,” the fox said, “how did it go with the man?”

“Ah!” replied the wolf, “I never imagined the strength of man to be what it is! First, he took a stick from his shoulder, blew into it, and something flew into my face which tickled me terribly. Next he breathed once more into the stick, and it flew into my nose like lightning and hail.

“And when I was quite close, he drew a white rib out of his side, and he beat me so with it that I was all but left lying dead.”

“Now you see what a braggart you are!” the fox said. “You throw your hatchet so far that you cannot get it back again!”

Tips for Telling The Wolf and the Man

Storyteller Rudolf Roos
  • The fox clearly is trying to teach the wolf a lesson. You don’t need to say that or emphasize it, but feel some of this craftiness of the fox inside when telling this story.
  • It’s interesting how the wolf experiences the weapons of the huntsman. You might even let the wolf tell about this first, so your audience will be guessing what the huntsman carried.
  • There are more short stories involving wolves and foxes (see below), you might want to combine some of them as episodes in a bigger story.
A reading of The Wolf and the Man

All Questions Answered

Who wrote the story The Wolf and the Man?

It was published by the Brothers Grimm in the second edition of their Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Source: Haxthausen family.

When was The Wolf and the Man written?

The Brothers Grimm included it in the 1819 second edition of their Grimm’s fairy tales.

Fairy tales with a fox

Fairy tales with a hunter

Fairy tales with a wolf

Photo credits: Storyblocks

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