Aska and the Wolf

At first glance, a short story by the Nobel Prize Winner, Ivo Andrić, Aska and the Wolf tell us about a lamb and a wolf, but actually it is a story of the important things in life and death, of good and bad people, of victims and their tormentors, but above all of the role of art in the world. Aska, still a lamb, faced with the wolf’s teeth, starts a dance that will transcend all the boundaries of her knowledge, slowly mesmerising the wolf, leading him before a shepherd’s shotgun. In the characters of Aska and the wolf, as if through an open window, we see at first a primordial tragic relationship between the two animals, then a relationship of a victim and its tormentor – which was quite common in Bosnia for ages, then again, we see a vaste range of human abilities – from a total purity of a lamb to a cynical wolf’s bloodlust, the confronted good and evil and finally, the creative power of art, turning a certain death into life, which as a special gift may be experienced only once in a lifetime.  In the end, as nothing is black-and-white in a work of art, we feel sorry for the wolf, as it seems that, mesmerised by the dancing Aska, he is now less of a wolf. And what is the man who takes all exhausted Aska to his shoulders but a Good Shepherd, taking a lost lamb back to safety?