Although the wolf can depict our sense that ‘things’ are out to get us, the wolf is often just fear. Fear is one of our insiinctive reactions to situations, so is depicted by an animal. We may find ourselves a pnsoner of such feelings, as Anna in the following example: ‘I was in a caravan in the middle of a field and in this field was a large black wolf. Every time I tried to run from the caravan to the edge of the field, the wolf chased me back, so I was a prisoner in the caravan. It all sounds so simple now, but at the time I was truly ternfied.’

This next example from Oliver, a boy of six, illustrates how such fears can be met with a little courage. It is a dream which recurred several times, so his descnption is of a series of dreams: ‘1 am in my bed in my own room and I hear what I know to be a wolf wearing the son of clogs worn in Lanca­shire. He (the wolf) gets to a certain point, there is a bang, and I wake terrified. My mother’s reassurances do not help. Each night he gets a bit nearer before my panicky awakening. The night comes when I know he will reach me. Sure enough he arrives, and the bedroom door—in my dream—is flung wide open with a tremendous bang. There is no one there. I never dreamt it again.’ Idioms: wolf at the door, wolf in sheep’s clothing; cry wolf, throw to the wolves.