Behelit myth, fully articulated story version and less anime

There once was a son of a nobleman who’d fallen on hard times and could no longer support the estate. “I’m sorry my son,” he said, “you will have to earn your food with your labor like a peasant.” So his son went out from his home to find work. A shepherd gave him a job watching over a flock of sheep at the edge of the woods. “You can have all the porridge you can eat, as well as two coins each day you keep my sheep safe,” he said. It was hard work, but the young man took to it like he’d been born to do it. The sheep were dirty and impulsive, but this didn’t bother him because no one expects much from a sheep. With a little foresight they could be driven anywhere he needed them to go, and because he was from good stock himself he learned to do this very quickly.

One day, a pack of wolves attacked the flock from the woods. The young man drew his sword, his only inheritance from his father, and fought them off. Only a couple of the sheep were slaughtered in the attack because he fought so fiercely. Later that day, the wolf king came to the edge of the woods and entreated the young man. “Peace,” he said, “I didn’t come to fight you. I know now that you’re strong like a wolf and I have no desire to die on your sword. I only came to ask what you will do with those sheep who died.”

“I will burn them,” the young man said. “I have no intention of letting you dig up their bodies for food.”

“Then you are wise as well as strong,” said the wolf king. “If we could dig up the bodies at night then we could attack and eat meat every day and become strong. Only, don’t you think you’re wasting the meat? You could eat some of it yourself rather than burning it, and it would make no difference.”

“I have as much porridge as I want,” the young man said, but in truth he had grown weary of eating porridge day in and day out, and his mind was divided.

“You need to keep up your strength to do continue to fight with us wolves. We are strong. You are strong now, but if you only eat porridge like one of these farm animals then one day you will be weak, and on that day we will kill you and have our feast.”

“Why are you helping me?” the young man asked, suspicious.

“As a matter of principle, of course,” the wolf king said, “free beasts of the wilds are honorable, so we only like to fight others when they are strong.” Then the wolf king laughed at some joke that the young man didn’t understand, and in that moment the young man became jealous off the wolf’s carefree attitude. “Anyway,” the wolf king continued, “sheep are low creatures, and the best they can achieve in life is to fill the belly of a more noble creature like us. It’s the way of things.”

So when the nobleman’s son burned the bodies of the two sheep who had died, he cooked some of the meat and ate it, but he didn’t tell the owner of the sheep. The next day he felt stronger and his blood was hot with the memory of battle, so that he looked forward to the next time the wolves would attack so he could fight them again. But a week passed and the wolves didn’t attack. The young man became discontented with his simple life herding sheep and eating porridge. The sheep dung filled him with disgust and the porridge sat in his belly. And whenever he looked at the sheep, he couldn’t help but think of how delicious their meat would be even though he tried his best not to.

The wolf king came again to talk with him. “Peace,” he said. “I came to bring you this gift.” And a wolf from his pack brought the carcass of a deer out of the woods and left it there. “You see,” the wolf king said, “we hunted so well that we have food to spare. And being a free beast of the wild, it offends my principles…” (here he laughed and had to pretend it was a cough) “…to see someone as strong as you rotting away like…well, like one of these sheep!”

Seeing that the young man was listening intently, he made an offer. “I believe you are not happy guarding these sheep. Why don’t you ask the shepherd if he’ll let you leave for a day and come hunting with my pack? We’ll run through the woods all day and test our strength and our wits, and at the end have all the meat we can eat.” The young man turned down the offer and asked the wolf king to take the deer with him. But the wolf king refused. “It’s a free gift,” he said, and returned to the woods.

The young man decided it would be a waste to let the deer rot, so he cooked some of it and ate it. His blood became hot with the thought of battle again, and he suddenly began to feel he couldn’t stand one more boring day herding sheep and eating porridge without a break. So he asked the shepherd to leave for a day and because the young man had been such a good worker the shepherd agreed. The next morning he went to the edge of the woods and found the wolf king there.

“I’ve changed my mind,” he said.

“I thought you might,” the wolf king said.

They spent that day hunting with the wolf pack and because he had eaten so much meat the day before, the young man felt like he could run like the wind all day and never get tired. Indeed, he took to hunting as naturally as he’d taken to shepherding. At the end of the day they feasted on the wild beasts they’d killed. This became their habit. Every few days the wolf king would invite the young man to hunt and, over time, the young man hunted more and more days each week and began to neglect his duties as the shepherd’s hired help. Sometimes, a sheep would go missing or break an ankle, which only made the young man hate them more for their stupidity. He could no longer stand the sight of sheep, the smell of sheep dung, or the taste of porridge compared to the freedom of hunting in the woods.

One day, the wolf king came to the edge of the woods and said something different. “Soon there will be no more food in these woods. I am leaving with my pack to travel over the mountains to find a new hunting ground. Will you come with us?”

“Of course!” the young man said. “I have no inheritance here and I can’t stand the sight of these sheep anymore. Why would I need porridge or money if I can be free and eat meat every day? I’ll tell the shepherd to keep my pay for today and leave with you immediately.”

“Well, there’s just one problem,” said the wolf king. “We’ll need food for the journey over the mountains and there aren’t enough deer in the woods. We need the sheep or we’ll starve before we find a new hunting ground.”

“I can’t do that,” the young man said, “even if I don’t care about these sheep, I can’t betray the shepherd! He’s always paid me on time and never mistreated me, and I have my family name to think of.”

“Your family name?” The wolf king laughed at this. “Your flock of sheep is already in shambles. I should know, I ate one of the ones that went missing just yesterday. The shepherd already disrespects you. Feeding porridge to someone with noble blood, I never heard of such a thing! No one here respects your great potential. You have no inheritance. Why should you care about your family name. On the other side of the mountain you can have any name you desire.”

“I won’t do it,” the young man said, “my honor won’t allow it.”

“Don’t talk to me about honor,” the wolf king said, showing his teeth, “when you’re too selfish to do what’s right for the pack. I thought you were one of us, but I can see now I was wrong. You’ll let that shepherd lead you around by the nose your entire life doing whatever he says like you’re one of those sheep, from some old-fashioned notion of morality. I won’t have someone like that in my pack.”

“Please let me go with you,” the young man begged. “I can’t stand it here even one more day!”

“You can come with us, but only if you do one thing,” the wolf king said. “When you bring the sheep back to the farm to sleep tonight, leave the gate unlatched. Then go to the woods to sleep and we’ll meet you there in the morning. If we find the latch open, then you can come with us over the mountain. But if the latch is locked, you will be our food. There can be no compromise in this. And take heart, you’ll never return to this place so it doesn’t matter what happens after you’re gone.”

That night the young man locked the sheep in their pen. Anguished, he walked through the fields until midnight, trying to decide what to do. Suddenly, he saw a shadow passing over the fields and looked up to see the moon eclipsed. In that moment he decided it was a fateful omen, heralding visions of everything he’d dreamed and some things he hadn’t dared to dream. He imagined himself as a king of barbarians leading an army of wolves to scour the land and right all the injustices which would cause a nobleman’s son to be wasting away as a humble shepherd’s helper. He imagined paying off his father’s debts with the spoils of conquest and buying the shepherd ten times as many sheep as he’d had before. In this way he made his decision.

He went back to the farm and unlatched the gate to the sheep pen, and took his father’s sword with him into the woods to sleep. But he slept fitfully, and was assailed by dark dreams of sheep screaming as he tore pieces of meat off them with his teeth while they burned alive in the flames of the shepherd’s barn. He awoke the next morning feeling like a sick old man, and not at all like a barbarian king leading an army of wolves. When he became hungry he began to hunt for food in the woods, like he had with the wolf pack. He found the wolves in a glen, laying about with their bellies distended from eating their fill of sheep. Aghast, he asked the wolf king if there was enough meat left for the journey over the mountains.

“That’s the thing,” said the wolf king, “we aren’t going anywhere. There’s still plenty to eat left in these woods.”

“You lied to me!” the young man cried out. “What happened to your honor as a free wolf? What happened to your principles? What happened to our deal?”

“Honor?” said the wolf king, and laughed. The whole pack joined in until they were laughing so hard they were howling and some even rolled in the grass. The wolf king had to wipe tears of mirth out of his eyes before continuing. “Young man, I am a wolf. I kill, and I eat. I cheat and lie. I steal cows from poor farmers who will starve without them. When I said I wanted you to be strong it was because I wanted to eat the sheep you were guarding, and now I have.

“Speaking of that, what use do I have for a shepherd’s helper with no sheep?” And with that the wolf pack fell on the young man. He fought back but his heart wasn’t in it, and he died there and was eaten.

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27 Responses to Behelit myth, fully articulated story version and less anime

  1. Obadiah says:

    Wrong! If a true Behelit, the young man would have indeed become the glorious wolf-emperor of the ephemeral material realm at the cost of his eternal immaterial soul. His empire would be very impressive and glorious for a while and be seen as the hope of the future by the people, but eventually deteriorate and rot away, ultimately causing everyone involved more harm than help. .

    • Obadiah says:

      As the amoral new Wolf King, his empire would be built upon the skulls and blood of the gradually-larger groups of people he predates upon and sacrifices–starting with the Shepherd and that first flock of sheep and eventually resulting in entire cities and nations falling under his sword. Every time he conquers new territory, his new subjects gain one superficial nice thing in exchange for losing two deeply held valuable things.

      • Obadiah says:

        The OP has a good moral lesson about the importance of humility, but itz not a Beheritu Hamythu b/c the bargain-taker never actually stands to gain anything at any point and is simply being tricked into being materially killed and eaten–there are no real stakes involved at any point. Troo-Beherit means that the bargain-taker does in fact stand to gain the world by taking the bargain–but loses his immaterial, immortal soul in doing so.

    • Shitpost says:

      The boy was sacrificed.

  2. Mycroft Jones says:

    I’ll add this post to your all time top 20. Maybe even top 10. It is a worthy follow up and addendum to that classic work of Richard Kelly Hoskins, “The Wolf and the Sheep.” Once you’ve read it, you’ll recognize many in the manosphere who have also read it. I endorse this post… and also “The Wolf and the Sheep” as a complementary/supplementary piece.

  3. boneflour says:

    Top 10 Anime Betrayals
    Number One: The Nobleman’s Son

  4. Shitpost says:

    I thought the Behelit concept represented the sacrifice of one’s spiritual or affectionate possessions in exchange for material power and wealth. What you’ve showed here is the consequences of blind belief. The young man hand no property of his own, no land, no wife or children, no companions except for maybe the wolves and the sheep. What he exchanged for possible wealth wasn’t even his property but the property of another man. In death the only thing this guy managed to do was cuck someone out of his sheep.

    • Obadiah says:

      >I thought the Behelit concept represented the sacrifice of one’s spiritual or affectionate possessions in exchange for material power and wealth.

      ^Yes, that’s it. In the original Behelit myth, Griffith makes almost every person who had ever loved or cared about him die a horrible death in order to fulfill his dream of a worldly kingdom (it’s the inverse of the Christian Gospel story, where Satan offers Jesus the kingdoms of the world in exchange for spiritual submission, but Christ sacrifices his own physical flesh in order to gain the Kingdom of Heaven).

      The nobleman’s son should begin by personally murdering the Shepherd along with his entire family while the wolves lay waste to his flock, then recruit some degenerate bandits to begin his conquest. He should take the little neighboring village by having the wolves create a distraction to draw the guardsmen out while he and the bandits take the keep–guardsmen who submit to him become part of his army while those resist become wolf-chow along with their entire families. And so on, and so forth, and so on, and so forth.

      Napoleon and Genghis Khan did not immediately die in the woods without anything being sacrificed!

      • Obadiah says:

        (The Shepherd should have found the Nobleman’s Son homeless and on the brink of starvation a few years ago, taken him in and raised him as a son until the point where the story starts)

        • Obadiah says:

          The Son’s family should have been thriving and on the up-and-up until being hit with a nasty and sudden bout of plague, which eventually led to peasant insurrection, his father being hanged, his other family members dying of plague, and him being cast out into the wilderness with a few coins in his pocket and the shirt on his back. This is his Icarus moment that “blows his cool around the age of 20”

  5. Punished Sheep says:

    Playing off of memory, Griffith’s ascension was in part a show of his impassivity and apathy towards the people he betrayed, or a show of his descent in immorality. Even him fucking Casca was just a fuck you to Guts for believing he can take what was rightfully his. The young man was too much of a sucker for proper ascension, which is why this story is closer to the reality of what a common traitor looks like.

    Next chapter will feature a sheep with a right eye and left front leg missing.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      Why do anything anymore? Just to suffer?

    • Obadiah says:

      >The young man was too much of a sucker for proper ascension

      Not only that; he’s also never actually given the chance for ascension by a malevolent supernatural Idea of Evil, and is merely being worked by a hungry temporal creatura. Worldly ascension via bargain w/ supernatural evil is never actually in play or part of the equation for the nobleman’s son, making it a good moral lesson about awareness and entitlement–but not a Behelit story. Hence my deluge of triggered autism

      >Even him fucking Casca was just a fuck you to Guts for believing he can take what was rightfully his

      Griffith loved Guts and was quite literally unable to handle his emotional rejection–everything goes south for him after Gattsu walks away. Guddy-feesu’s real evil wasn’t his inability to love but his massive, overriding sense of entitlement.

  6. Kensuimo says:

    In mild agreement with Ophiuchus.

    So the Behelit myth is basically Travellers popping in to cash out on what their local melons have been growing for them. I was considering if it could be flavored to melon subtypes- starting with spider, for no particular reason- but it’s really about temptation, so it’s just a statement of the melon’s desired outcome followed by Traveller betrayal.

    One might think that melon attunement to the spiritual, i.e. always thinking there’s another layer upwards, is sort of a back door psychological hack to predispose them to vulnerability to Traveller harvesting. The hack would have been installed in them, to be clear.

    • I’ve meditated a lot on this, since I developed cognition. Life long quest that starts to take shape. I think this is the most important part of our lives. That s what dreams and nightmares are made of. And it’s also something that shouldn’t be disclosed to those who didn’t experience it… Wonderful.

  7. Pingback: Telos Evgeneias | Aeoli Pera

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