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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