Yesterday morning around sunrise I was splitting the day’s portion of firewood. More or less by chance I was wearing boots with steel toecaps. Luckily for me, for when the axe broke, the weighty head ended up on my foot – no injury. My first reaction was indignation, fury even. Strange, I ought to have been glad I hadn’t been wounded. Earlier in the week I had also met with setbacks. Two of my five chickens had died. I’d seen it coming – they were old birds. In my chicken coop the most frequent cause of death is a fox or polecat – old age is a rarity. Active perpetrators have my preference, with old age it’s hard to feel indignation, only resignation, a dull feeling. Finally, someone had made a dent in my car in the parking lot. It was a respectable citizen, his card was stuck behind a windscreen-wiper. Even here I felt dissatisfied, I’d much rather have groused about an unknown perpetrator.
These three incidents – the splitting axe, old age, the dent – completely vanished at the pleasure I felt this morning when I read in the newspaper that a wolf from Germany had killed two sheep near a small village in East Groningen. After this act of nature, it had returned to Germany. The name of the village is Hungry Wolf.