The Wall of the World

Bythetimehismotherbeganleavingthecaveonhuntingexpeditions,thecubhadlearnedwellthelawthatforbadehisapproachingtheentrance.Notonlyhadthislawbeenforciblyandmanytimesimpressedonhimbyhismother’snoseandpaw,butinhimtheinstinctoffearwasdeveloping.Never,inhisbriefcave-life,hadheencounteredanythingofwhichtobeafraid.Yetfearwasinhim.Ithadcomedowntohimfromaremoteancestrythroughathousandthousandlives.ItwasaheritagehehadreceiveddirectlyfromOneEyeandtheshe-wolf;buttothem,inturn,ithadbeenpasseddownthroughallthegenerationsofwolvesthathadgonebefore.Fear!thatlegacyoftheWildwhichnoanimalmayescapenorexchangeforpottage.

Sothegreycubknewfear,thoughheknewnotthestuffofwhichfearwasmade.Possiblyheaccepteditasoneoftherestrictionsoflife.Forhehadalreadylearnedthatthereweresuchrestrictions.Hungerhehadknown;andwhenhecouldnotappeasehishungerhehadfeltrestriction.Thehardobstructionofthecave-wall,thesharpnudgeofhismother’snose,thesmashingstrokeofherpaw,thehungerunappeasedofseveralfamines,hadborneinuponhimthatallwasnotfreedomintheworld,thattolifetherewaslimitationsandrestraints.Theselimitationsandrestraintswerelaws.Tobeobedienttothemwastoescapehurtandmakeforhappiness.

Hedidnotreasonthequestionoutinthismanfashion.Hemerelyclassifiedthethingsthathurtandthethingsthatdidnothurt.Andaftersuchclassificationheavoidedthethingsthathurt,therestrictionsandrestraints,inordertoenjoythesatisfactionsandtheremunerationsoflife.

Thusitwasthatinobediencetothelawlaiddownbyhismother,andinobediencetothelawofthatunknownandnamelessthing,fear,hekeptawayfromthemouthofthecave.

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