While reading one of my favorite werewolf books, I came across a wonderfully wicked tale involving not only wolves, but werewolves too. In certain parts of the world it was believed that werewolves, as well as natural wolves and other forest animals, were under the control by a powerful and inhuman being – a being known by many names.
In Romania this being was known as the Wolf Master, and he would guide and command the wolf packs of that lived in the forest. The Wolf Master was also believed to have been able to turn men into beasts whenever he felt like it. Like all mythological beings, descriptions of him vary from area to area. Some describe him as an elderly looking man with a cruel face, wrapped in a green cloak and wearing a hat decorated flowers and ferns. In other accounts the Wolf Master is said to be a creature with long antlers, goat’s feet and a hairy lower body. According to some, this may very well be the embodiment of the ancient God Sylvanus, who was the god of forests and animals, and who, like Pan, also liked to scare travelers.
As the Wolf Master, he liked to send wolf packs out to harm humans because he hated them. Although, some say that as the protector of all living things in the forest, he only harmed humans dumb enough to trespass on his territory.
Over in France, this being is known as Le Maître de Forêt – the Master of the Forest – and was once greatly feared by those living in rural areas. He is described as a giant or an ogre who can turn men into animals with one look. In some wooded areas he is sometimes confused with Le Grand Bissetre, who was an omen of death to whoever was unlucky enough to see him. Personally I’d rather come across Le Maître de Forêt instead of Le Grand Bissetre, I’d much rather be an animal than, well, dead.