THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF.

From Dr. Boli’s Fables for Children Who Are Too Old to Believe in Fables.

Once there was a boy who had a keen pair of eyes and a particularly loud and piercing voice, so he was employed by a syndicate of sheep-owners to watch over their flock. “And if you see a wolf among the sheep,” the leader of the syndicate told him, “you shout ‘Wolf! Wolf!’ at the top of your lungs.”

The boy solemnly swore that he would keep a careful eye out and warn everyone the moment he saw a wolf, and he went to work watching the sheep with unflagging vigilance.

He had been watching most of the afternoon with nothing to report, when suddenly a wolf sprang out of the underbrush and, to his horror, began devouring one of the sheep.

“Wolf! Wolf!” the boy cried at the top of his lungs.

Immediately the leader of the syndicate came running.

“Look here, boy,” he said sternly, as the wolf continued his meal, “what are you trying to do? Do you want the whole village to think we don’t know how to take care of our sheep?”

“But the wolf is eating them!”

“That’s no excuse for such an unseemly ruckus. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” And the leader of the syndicate turned and walked away, leaving the wolf to eat mutton until he was satisfied.

The next day the boy was in position again, and once again the wolf leaped out of the brush and began tearing a sheep to pieces.

“Wolf! Wolf!” the boy cried in his piercing soprano.

The leader of the syndicate came running even faster than he had the previous day.

“Now, what did I tell you?” he demanded angrily. “You’re making the whole village think there are wolves about! Do you think that makes them feel secure?”

“But the wolf is right there,” the boy explained.

“I don’t want to be bothered with details! Now, not another peep from you, or there will be serious consequences.” And he turned and stomped away angrily, once again leaving the wolf to eat sheep until he could eat no more.

The next day, the boy was in his place, and once again the wolf leaped out of the shrubbery and began gobbling up sheep.

The boy was not at all certain what to do. He seriously considered just letting the wolf go about his business unmolested. But in the end he remembered that he had sworn a solemn oath to watch over the sheep, and he did what he knew was his duty.

“Wolf! Wolf!” the boy cried.

This time the leader of the syndicate simply called the police and had the boy arrested, and he is now serving six years in juvenile detention for disturbing the peace.

The wolf, meanwhile, ate all the sheep at his leisure; but the members of the syndicate decided that they had never liked sheep very much and were better off without them.

Moral: A comfortable lie beats immoderate truth any old day.

Comments

  1. Clay Potts says:

    Sub-moral: he who makes his bed among well fed wolves sleeps soundly without having to count sheep.

    I have always found, more frequently than not, most wolves are actually sheep dressed in wolf’s clothing. And, these are most often leading the pack.

  2. Larry says:

    I take it the subject here is the sexual abuse of children by priests. Don’t cry “wolf”!

  3. Dr. Boli says:

    Any good fable will fit many stories in the news today. Even a poor one will fit a fair number of them.

  4. Vincent says:

    Snowdon and the Obama administration?

  5. RepubAnon says:

    If one considers the banks as the wolves, the sheep as home loan applicants, the shepherd as a bank inspector, and the syndicate leader as the political appointee running the regulatory agency, the allegory also works nicely.

    Perhaps the wolf was too big to fail, or to even indict.

  6. Clay Potts says:

    Since we are engaging in arm chair conjecture – perhaps the wolf is Communist China, the Sheep are the American consumers and the syndicate leader is Walmart…. (please people, don’t “snap a Z” at me, I know it’s all fun and games until someone disses Walmart!) 🙂

  7. RepubAnon says:

    “Communist” China? Given their predatory capitalistic policies, I’d suggest “Totalitarian” or some other adjective.

  8. Clay Potts says:

    Point taken – it seems to me, the two are inter-changeable, but I referenced “Communist China”, as the term is so infrequently used any more that I suspect most persons under the age of 40 even realize China is a communist country, (much less find it on a map).

  9. Greybeard says:

    The term, “Communist China” is one way to distinguish the China on the asian mainland from the China located on the island of Formosa.

    • Dr. Boli says:

      We must also remember that capitalism is but a temporary stage in mainland China, a century of exploitation of the workers being a necessary precondition of a Communist utopia. The government is still Communist, simply using capitalism as the most efficient means of reaching its ultimate goal. The Chinese government thinks in the long term, and doubtless already has detailed plans for managing the violent revolution that will overthrow the capitalist oppressors of the people. The date is marked on their calendars.

  10. Greybeard says:

    You don’t have to look very far to find an application for the Fable. It reminds me of various bosses I’ve worked for over the years who sought to surround themselves with “Yes-Men.” Of course, that hits too close to home for most people. Wolves are fables themselves. Nobody I know is evil. They would never do anything wrong. At least they would never do anything wrong that isn’t so commonly done as to be considered right.

  11. Clay Potts says:

    The great mystery for the West is to determine just which of their many historical and contemporary calendars they have marked it on.

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