"So who do I pray to?"
Francine Fox nudged her brother Frank and when he didn't pay any attention, she popped him on the forehead with her little fist.
"Pay attention to me!" she demanded.
"I was praying."
"You were not, you were ignoring me."
"I was." He gave her his serious look... as serious as a kit Fox could be when responding to a sister. "I was praying to Fumpbadiddle."
"Fumpbadiddle. The Fox god."
She swatted him a good one for that. This was a good excuse to have a wrestling match and for a moment they flopped around on the floor of the den alternately nipping and cuffing each other. When they finally broke apart, he asked her, 'What'd ya hit me for?"
"Cuz you're making fun of me."
Francine stuck her tongue out at him and then sprinted out of the den where she plowed right into the legs of a huge Wolf. She looked up at him... way up... and swallowed. She knew it was a him because even a kit understood which parts went with which sex, and his was so much larger than her brother's.
"Are you God?" she managed in a small voice.
The Wolf lowered his head so that his face was very close to hers. His breath smelled of fresh kill, and one of his canines was broken, giving his otherwise perfect face a flaw. He sniffed at her without saying anything. Finally he sneezed a wet sneeze and then turned and began walking away.
Frank stuck his head out of the den. "I can't believe he didn't eat you!" he whispered.
"And where were you?!" she hissed at him.
"Hiding," he told her unashamed. "It's what Mama told us to do if there was any trouble."
Francine was going to bop him on the head for failing to come to her assistance, even though she would have done the same thing; but she didn't. Instead, the little vixen scampered after the departing Wolf.
"Where you going?" her brother called after her.
"To talk with God," she called back.
"That's a Wolf you dumb... That's not God! He'll kill you... leave him alone!"
Ignoring her brother's advice, the kit charged into the woods. She was soon distressed when she couldn't find him, and also realized she was lost. Finally, as she rounded an old tree stump, a huge paw came down and grabbed her up by the nap of the neck.
"Why are you following me?" he growled at her, placing his face directly in hers. "Don't you know that Wolfs eat Foxes? Especially young and tender kits such as you."
"A wise and just God would not do that," she told him as she hung in the air, totally at his mercy.
"Is that a fact?"
"Yes... it is. A wise and just God would be kind to his people."
The Wolf laughed and dropped her to the ground. "You are not my people."
"Do you run in a pack?"
"Do you hunt in a pack?"
"Do you sleep with the many on cold nights, just to stay warm?"
Sandra struggled upright, and sat respectfully at his paws. "I sleep with my brother and mother... does that count?"
"No... it does not."
"We don't have a pack," she persisted, "But I can see that you don't either. You could join us if you want. We can always dig the den out more."
The big Wolf sighed... a nerve having been touched. "I had a pack, thank you very much for reminding me of bad things. I should eat you for that."
"Because I'm hungry, and you ask too many questions."
"If I had a mouse, I'd give it to you."
The Wolf smiled. "I'm sure you would."
Sandra screwed up her eyes and looked at him.
"What?" he asked.
"My brother says your name is Fumpbadiddle... is it?"
"Why do you need to know?"
"So I can pray to you properly."
The Wolf smiled, but it was not the hard smile of a Wolf... it was a warm and friendly smile. "My name is Metassus Wolf," he told her. "I am not a god, nor would I pretend to be... I am a Wolf. Now... you need to go back to your den before something bad happens to you. Your mother should not have left you to be found by the likes of me."
Sandra's expression became sad. "She had to... Father has gone away to heaven... she told us it was so. That's why I needed to be sure of your name, so I could ask you to watch over him in my prayers."
The Wolf picked the vixen up, and carried her back to her den. There he dropped her gently down into the hole. "Pray for dinner instead," he called after her, "Your father rests well, and you will see him again when it's your turn to follow the Dark Fox."
When he was gone, Frank had her tell him all about this strange god. Then, together, they prayed to Metassus Wolf.
That night, when their mother returned hungry from an unsuccessful hunt, she found a freshly killed rabbit next to the mouth of her den. Turning, she saw the flash of a gray tail in the trees... but only a flash. And so it went until her kits were old enough to leave the den on their own.
When she was finally alone and her life was again quiet, she bowed her head in prayer and thanked the strange Wolf who had adopted her and the kits as his pack... god enough to take care of his people.