Many years ago, a merchant and his son travelled far and wide selling what goods they acquired, and in time amassed a small fortune. The father paid for him to have an education and upbringing of the very highest standards, though he himself remained in poverty. Knowing that his days were numbered, the father finally asked a friend of the family, a nobleman, if the boy would make a fitting groom for his daughter. The nobleman, aware the this girl was not blessed with an envious form, and that this was perhaps her only opportunity for marriage, accepted. The two young adults were introduced to each other and quickly became friends, and this soon appeared to blossom into love, much to the two families' delight. A date was set for them to be wed, and arrangements quickly began.
On the eve of their wedding, the boy sat alone in a chamber of his fiancée's home when his thoughts were disturbed by a knock at the door, and to his surprise a aged old woman entered. She beckoned him to be silent, and, intrigued, the young man remained seated. Immediately the woman told him the strangest tale: That the son was in fact a wolf, raised by the merchant as his own and given the appearance of a man through cunning magick. There was but one way to break the spell: He must return to the great forest from which he came before sunset the next day. If he did not, he would have no choice but to marry the girl and thus the spell would be forever sealed.
Perplexed, the boy asked why his father would do such a thing, if indeed it was true. She replied that, by marrying into a wealthy family, the merchant would have all the riches and power he could wish for. Love had nothing to do with this wedding, and the young man had only to look inside his soul to see where his true feelings lay. She then left, never to be seen again.
On the day of his wedding, the groom secretly sought out his bride to be and asked her what truth the story held. To his disbelief, she could only confirm that he was indeed a beast, but she loved him all the same. However she insisted that it was his choice whether they be wed, for she could not live with herself should he go against his own nature.
At that precise moment, they heard the sound of many feet approaching. The son looked out of the window and saw the sun low in the sky, silhouetting a dark forest against the blazing sky. He had to make the choice.
Looking into the eyes of his fiancée, he saw that she was indeed good, in heart. However, a much stronger force was drawing him away from her, toward the open window. Confused, the young man asked her to accompany him but she refused, insisting her place was with her family, not among the creatures of night. He never looked back to see if she shed a tear for him, for no sooner had he leaped from the window then he was forever lost to her world; as four strong legs carried him away from her.
The wedding procession found the bride alone, calm despite her loss.
Across the fields, the wolf bounded with swiftness unknown to him in so many years as he raced the setting sun. Before him, the forest rose up tall, its darkness a welcoming embrace. His ears pricked up as a familiar song was carried to him on the wind, he was coming home at last.