Beware the Wrath of Le Maître de Forêt

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.

– Moonlight

By moonlight

One of the writers for, as well as


  1. I love you…

    A slight variation to the French Wolf Master, there is also the Meneur de loup or Wolf Charmer. Someone who could control wolves by use of a bone flute. I had first encountered this legend in the Steve Jackson game supplement Shapeshifters and have been delighted to see it show up from time to time in other places.

  2. This was a belief widely held by people living in Gaul and Germania at the time of the Roman invasions/conquests (though I’m partial to the theory that this being is Pan/Sylvanus/The Green Man…and that plethora of other names he has!), by the way–just read about it a couple of days ago! Either way, you can definitely tell what part of the world it comes from just for the shapeshifting aspect; that seems particularly rampant in Celtic folklore (both in the British Isles and on the continent). Not only that, but that fickle attitude toward humans just smacks of the sidhe-folk to me!

    1. So the Wild Hunt isn’t portrayed as a faerie host? Sorry–fakelore bothers me beyond belief. Considering, you know, the Wild Hunt is a faerie host and the hounds aren’t wolflike.

      Sorry–fakelore really irks me at times, as I mentioned before. Just also wanted to clear that up; if anything, the Wild Hunt pursued wolves (along with, you know, deer, boar and…women XD). While I admire the creativity, there are no stories about men being turned into hounds to be made to run with the Hunt. King Herle is a different story–literally! XD

  3. If any of you ever happen to read The Secrets of the Immortals, Nicholas Flamel; not only are they a great read (although a little young) they have much the same character, only he goes under the name: Cernunnos, and his Wild Hunt ( men transformed into wolf-like beasts). Cernunnos looks almost exactly like your pic up there.

  4. Your articles on ancient lore have always been quite a joy. This Wolf Master seems quite facinating, movie worthy even. Do they ever appear in modern fiction?

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