In American and Canadian literature of the nineteenth century, indigenous peoples of North America were frequently equated with wild animals, particularly wolves. By the nineteenth century, wolves had been hunted to extinction in the north-east and their loss has often been linked in literature with the forced removal of North American tribes from their land. Nineteenth-century authors such as James Fenimore Cooper and Honoré Beaugrand chose to set their narratives during America's colonial period when Native Americans and wolves were still mainly in possession of their land and considered a threat to European colonists. In 'The Werewolves', published in 1898 in Century Illustrated Magazine, Canadian author Honoré Beaugrand takes the motif of 'Indians' as wolflike one step further by transforming them completely into loup-garous or werewolves. As a werewolf, La-Linotte-Qui-Chante is the ultimate symbol of otherness in nineteenth-century fiction, female, indigenous and monstrous.
In many fairy tales and folktales, wolves and witches are villains that lead the protagonists into the dark realm of the forest to commit crimes with impunity. However, in the Russian folktale ‘Tsarevich Ivan and the Grey Wolf’, the wolf and the witch become figures of salvation, aiding the heroes and heroines in their quest, while the forest itself, although ruled by the super-natural, becomes a respite from the cruelty of human nature and civilisation. In the forest, the Grey Wolf provides Ivan with wise counsel, escape and resurrection from death. And when events are outside his power, the Grey Wolf directs Ivan to the only other equally powerful being in the forest – the witch Baba Yaga. Although the Russian taiga, or boreal forest, is a wild and liminal space, it, along with its inhabitants (Baba Yaga, the Grey Wolf and the Leshii, or forest spirits who take the form of wolves), offers the only hope of survival for the fairy tale protagonists. If the hero or heroine are to survive, they must go into the forest and place themselves into the paws of the wolf or the ancient hands of Baba Yaga, seeking wild sanctuary to survive.