This is a true story. In December 1964, our squad was assigned to conduct prospecting in northeast Yunnan Province, China. There were eight people in the squad, four of them guards; each was equipped with a submachine gun.
On the day we departed, a man of the Naxi tribe joined us and rode with us. Heavy snow fell on that day, and the bumpy road was covered with snow. We had to constantly get out to push the truck when it became stuck in the snow.
One time when we were pushing the truck, a group of yellow-brown “shapes” was seen coming slowly toward us from the woods. While we were speculating on the identity of the “shapes” in fear, the Naxi man shouted: “It is a pack of wolves; get into the truck quickly!”
Driver Wong immediately started the truck and stepped on the gas…
Unfortunately, the wheels just spun in vain, and the truck did not move at all. By then, the pack of wolves was near the truck. We could clearly see that there were eight wolves as big as calves and pretty hungry.
Guard Wu raised his gun, but the Naxi man quickly took the gun away and said loudly and calmly: “Do not shoot. Once a gun is fired, the wolves will either hide under the truck or run into the woods. Then they will chew the tires, lay siege to us, and howl for more wolves to fight us.”
The Naxi man continued: “The wolves are starving and are looking for food. Is there any food in the truck?” We simultaneously answered: “Yes!” “Throw the food to the wolves!” the man ordered.
We had never encountered such an incident before, and we totally lost the ability to think. So upon hearing the “command,” everyone rushed to throw bacon, hams, and even precious deer meat away without any hesitation.
The pack of wolves noisily jumped on the food with excited red eyes. They devoured the food and finished it in seconds.
The Naxi man kept ordering: “Throw more food!” Another 50 kg of meat flew out of the back door. Again, the wolves ate up everything in a few minutes. Then, the wolves sat in a row, with eyes staring at the back door.
At this time, we were so nervous that we nearly stopped breathing. We could clearly hear our own heartbeats. We did not know if there was a way to break through the siege of the wolves.
Suddenly, the Naxi man said again: “Is there more food? Throw everything out. If you want to stay alive, you should not keep any of the food!”
We were afraid and shameful. Being guards, our duty was to protect the valuable materials, even at the cost of our own lives. Nevertheless, the truth was that our truck was stuck in a pothole, we were trapped, and we had limited ammunition. If more wolves gathered, we would be in an even more dismal situation.
After exchanging glances and momentary hesitations, nobody complained about throwing away all meat in the truck, together with a dozen packs of biscuits.
The eight wolves had another big meal. After finishing the meat, they smelled the packs of biscuits, but they did not touch them.
Now, the wolves had round bellies, and their fierce eyes had turned gentle. One of the wolves circled around the truck twice, while the other seven wolves sat tight. Then, the head wolf led the pack into the woods.
Amazing things happened after that!
In a few moments, the eight wolves came out of the woods with branches in their mouths. They laid down the branches underneath the two back wheels. We could not believe what we were witnessing. It appeared that the wolves intended to elevate the back wheels with branches so that our truck could come out of the pothole.
I was so excited that I started to laugh loudly, but my mouth was quickly covered by another guard. He was afraid that the wolves might be disturbed by the sudden burst of laughter.
Soon after, the eight wolves went under the truck, and snow was seen flying out. With tears in my eyes, I urged the driver: “The wolves are helping us to sweep the snow away; let’s start the engine!”
The truck moved, but it soon went astray on the slippery surface. The wolves repeated the previous sequence. They put down branches under the wheels first, then they dug the snow out of the way. Each time allowed the truck to move forward a distance. After more than 10 repetitions of this, the truck moved 1 mile and was near the mountain top, with a down-hill slope ahead.
We looked back to see the eight wolves sitting in a row behind the truck, with one wolf one step ahead of the other seven. The Naxi man said: “The leading one is the head wolf; it makes all the decisions.” We were so touched that we all excitedly applauded and waved to the wolves. Those eight lovely wolves gave no response to our gesture; they just looked at us steadily. Then, the head wolf led the pack toward the mountains and disappeared into the wilderness…
Translated by Jean Chen.