Uncle Wolf

The story of Uncle Wolf begins with a greedy little girl who was upset when she didn’t get any pancakes at school because she fell asleep in the privy. She goes home to her mother and cries. Her mother, taking pity on her, says she will make her some pancakes. Unfortunately they don’t have a skillet, so the little girl is sent to Uncle Wolf’s house to fetch one.


Despite the rude knocking upon his door, Uncle Wolf gives the skillet to the girl, with the provision that she will return it together with a stack of pancakes, a loaf of bread, and a bottle of wine. The girl goes home and her mother makes for her a stack of delicious pancakes and all was right in the world.


Keeping her end of the bargain, the mother sends the little girl back to Uncle Wolf’s house with the required food. But the little girl, being greedy, eats it all up herself. Not only is she greedy, but also deceitful, and she fills the skillet with donkey dung, the wine bottle with muddy water, and shapes a block of lime (pilfered from a stonemason’s shop) into a round loaf of bread. She then gives all this to Uncle Wolf.


Not surprisingly, Uncle Wolf wasn’t fooled, nor was he particularly happy with the little girl’s deception. He tells her that he will come and eat her later that night (seems like he’d eat her then and there, but I suppose there’s a proper procedure to these kinds of things).


Upset, the little girl runs home and cries to her mother. They lock up the doors and windows, but Uncle Wolf comes down the chimney and eats the little girl.


Moral of the story: Don’t be a jerk.



Source: Calvino, Italo, “Uncle Wolf”, Italian Folktales, Penguin Books, 2002.


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  1. Well the little girl was definitely asking for it. A little bit of community service might have been a better punishment, but this is a fairy story, so death by wolf seems only fair ;).
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    • Sara C. Snider

      Haha! Yeah, death by wolf does seem to be a standard in these kinds of stories. 😉

  2. Good moral! Be nice to your uncle Wolf and don’t be greedy else you’re greed will get you in the end.
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    • Sara C. Snider

      Uncle Wolf really seems like a nice, reasonable guy (he lives in a house, wears clothes, and likes pancakes), but he doesn’t take any nonsense, that’s for sure.

  3. Yeah, that kind of serves her right. She shouldn’t have been a jerk. Great story, haven’t heard that one before!

  4. Man, all these old fairy tales are gruesome. But I guess that is to be expected.

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    • Sara C. Snider

      This one really sounds like a story mothers tell their children to get them to behave. “Don’t eat all the pancakes, Billy, or Uncle Wolf will come and get you!” 😛

  5. LOL I love the moral of the story, and wonder along with you why the wolf didn’t just eat her up right there at his house… unless he was also proving that sometimes your parents can’t protect you…

    • Sara C. Snider

      In the story the mother and little girl go through this big rigmarole of locking all the doors and windows and then the little girl hides in her bed. It gets drawn out quite a bit with Uncle Wolf “coming to get her” before he finally does. I’d imagine in telling this story to children, that might have the desired creepy effect.

  6. Djinnia

    Good for the wolf! If I behaved like that, my mother would have been scarier than the wolf!

    • Sara C. Snider

      No joke! I bet the wolf was like, “Kids these days!” 😉

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