The wolf and the lion were going to be friends forever. They met, as so many do, at a time in youth when every new thing encountered is a potential new friend.
On one of its first excursions away from the rest of his family, the wolf cub made its way out into the woods with little understanding that there might be a reason not to. Chasing a perennially frustrating blackbird’s hopping path through the brush, the wolf cub stumbled upon a reddish cub of a kind he’d never encountered before.
The lion cub sprang up, and the two circled each other, sniffing. After each dared hazard a closer smell, they were entranced. This other thing was strange. But interesting. And fun. They played for a time: running, wrestling, still not quite catching that pesky blackbird.
The wolf cub noticed that the lion cub was alone in a way unlike him. She could not just run home to her pack. So he enticed her to come back home with him. Despite initial hesitation, mother wolf allowed this new friend to join the rest of the pups for dinner, and with them she stayed.
The litter’s adopted sister quickly outstripped her siblings in size, though she never reminded them. She was happy with this family, and being so much more capable a hunter, she repaid them for their kindness many times over.
One day, on one of their private trips through the woods, the wolf and the lion heard a call that was not at all like the high howls the pack used. This was the low, rumbling roar of the lion. The lion was thrilled to investigate, but the wolf hesitated. He had never met other lions, and he was unsure if he would like them. Or if they would like him.
His sister urged him on, but when it became obvious that he would go no closer to the sound, the lion determined she would go alone. They nuzzled each other, and the lion padded off to investigate something new. The wolf waited for a time, but after she didn’t come trotting back soon, he walked back to the family and home he knew.