the boy who cried wolf

A shepherd’s Boy was tending his flock near a village, and thought it would be great fun to hoax the villagers by pretending that a Wolf was attacking the sheep:  so he shouted, “Wolf!  Wolf!” and when the people came running up, he laughed at them for their pains.

He did this more than once, and every time the villagers found they had been hoaxed, for there was no Wolf at all.

At last a Wolf really did come, and the Boy cried, “Wolf!  Wolf!” as loud as he could:  but the people were so used to hearing him call that they took no notice of his cries for help.  And so the Wolf had it all his own way, and killed off sheep after sheep at his pleasure.

Moral lesson:  You cannot believe a liar even when he tells the truth.

The Trees and the Ax

A Woodman went into the forest and begged of the Trees the favor of a handle for his Ax.

The principal Trees at once agreed to so modest a request, and unhesitatingly gave him a young ash sapling, out of which he fashioned the handle he desired.

No sooner had he done so that he set to work to fell the noblest Trees in the world.

When they saw the use to which he was putting their gift, they cried:  “Alas!  Alas!  We are undone, but we are ourselves to blame.  The little we gave has cost us all:  had we not sacrificed the rights of the ash, we might ourselves have stood for ages.”

Moral lesson:  When the rich surrender the rights of the poor, they endanger their own privileges.

The Fisherman Piping

A Fisherman who could play the flute went down one day to the seashore with his nets and his flute; and, taking his stand on a projecting rock, began to play a tune, thinking that the music would bring the fish jumping out of the sea.

He went on playing for some time, but not a fish appeared:  so at last he threw down his flute and cast his net into the sea, and made a great haul of fish.

When they were landed and he saw them leaping about on the shore, he cried, “You rascals!  You wouldn’t dance when I piped:  but now I’ve stopped, you can do nothing else!”

Moral lesson:  The whole world doesn’t dance to our own tune.

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

A Wolf once found a Sheep’s skin, and, thinking he would have an easy way of getting his prey, wrapped himself in it and slipped into the sheepfold with the flock, intending to kill all he wanted during the night.

But soon after the Shepherd had made the door fast, he found he had nothing for supper, and, in going in with an ax to kill a sheep, he mistook the Wolf for one of them and killed him on the spot.

Moral lesson:  The wicked often fall into their own traps.

Taken from “Aesop’s Fables,” Copyright 2010 Heinle, Cengage Learning.  First Philippine reprint 2010.

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