The Sheep Who Refused To Fight: A Fable

sheep-goatA goat herder bought a herd of young goats and raised them in a field that he owned. But he was mean and cruel, and enjoyed yelling at them, and chasing them around the field. Then one evening, he left the gate open, and when he came back the next morning, the goats were gone.

The goats had fled to a grassy plain where they could graze. They enjoyed their freedom and had plenty to eat. However, one night, after the goats went to sleep, they were attacked by a wolf. No matter where the herd went, the wolf followed them, and every night the goats wondered which goat he would eat next.

A nanny goat decided to do something about the wolf. She waited until sunrise (when the wolf went to sleep), then she tip-toed away, and walked all day until she came to a flock of sheep.

“A wolf has eaten nearly half of my herd,” the nanny goat said to the sheep. “Can you send your strongest and bravest rams to help us?”

The sheep, both ewes and rams, all replied, “We are peaceful sheep and don’t believe in fighting. But if any goats want to come and live with us, they are welcome here.”

The nanny goat pleaded with the sheep; however, no matter what she said, they would not change their minds, so she kicked the ground and left them.

When the nanny goat returned home, to her great surprise, the young billy goats had grown horns.

That night, she gathered the billy goats together, and they rammed the wolf in the head until he dropped dead.

Several days later, a ewe lamb came to the goats and said, “A pack of wolves has attacked our flock. Can you send your strongest and bravest billy goats to help us?”

The billy goats shook their heads. “No; it’s not our fight.”

The nanny goat reminded her, “None of your rams came when we needed help.”

The ewe lamb pleaded with the goats, yet no matter what she said, she could not change their minds. So she kicked the ground and left them.

When the ewe lamb returned home, she bleated and cried. The wolves were gone, and all that remained of her flock was bits of wool and scattered bones.

The Greedy Goose that Laid Golden Eggs: A Fable

greylagIn a kingdom long ago, a Greylag goose, after eating certain flowers and grasses, laid a golden egg in her nest. She lived on an island in the middle of a lake, and built her nest in the reeds.

Every day the goose ate the same flowers and grasses, and every day she laid a golden egg until she had a clutch of five eggs. She sat on them all day long, and whenever she left her nest to eat, she covered them with sticks.

On the sixth day, a young man rowed his boat to the island. As he walked through the reeds, he saw the goose sitting in her nest.

“Get out of here!” the young man yelled. “I’m taking your eggs.”

The goose stretched out her neck. “No, you’re not!” she cried. “I made them, and they’re mine. I’m not leaving.”

The young man drew his sword. “Then I’ll have eggs and goose for dinner.”

“Oh my!” the goose sighed.

The young man started waving his sword, and the goose, fearing for her life, flew away.

The goose was so upset at being robbed, she flew straight to the king’s castle. But when the guard took her to the throne room, the king was asleep. So she honked until the old man woke up.

“A young thug stole my eggs!” the goose said sadly, bowing before the throne.

The king, whose name was John, shrugged his shoulders. “My people are poor and need to eat.”

“But these aren’t eggs you can eat. They are golden eggs.”

King John’s eyes opened wide, and he ran his fingers through his long grey hair. “Real gold you say?”

“Yes; if I eat certain grasses and flowers, I can lay an egg made of pure gold.”

King John thought for a moment; then he ran his fingers through his long grey beard. “I will help you if you help me.”

“You can get my eggs back for me?” the goose asked.

“Probably not,” King John admitted. “But I can protect you from thieves. You can build a nest in the turret of my castle, and my guards will bring you grass and flowers to eat.”

The goose looked at the guard; then she looked at the king. “What do you want in return?”

King John smiled. “Only one out of every ten eggs that you lay.”

The goose looked into the king’s eyes. They were dark, swollen, and half-open, and she didn’t know if she could trust him. She thought long and hard; then finally she said, “Okay. One tenth sounds fair to me.”

And so, King John let the goose live in the turret of his castle where she built the largest nest a goose has ever made. (It was five feet wide and two feet deep.) The guards brought her flowers and grass to eat, and every day she laid a golden egg. She sat on them, stared at them, and sometimes, when no one was looking, she kissed them with her beak.

When summer came to an end, the goose had laid one hundred golden eggs, and she gave ten to King John.

The following spring, when the goose started to lay eggs again, she was summoned to see the king. A guard escorted her to the throne room, and when he opened the double doors for her, she bowed her head and walked to the throne.

“My dear goose,” King John said with a smile, “my people are poor, and I need you to give a little bit more to help me provide for them.”

The goose raised her head. “But we agreed to one tenth.”

“That was last year. Times have changed, and I need you to give a little bit more.”

“How much?” the goose asked.

“One fifth.”

The goose looked at the guard; then she looked at King John. “What if I say no?”

“Then you can go back to your island and take your chances with thieves.”

The goose loved her eggs, and didn’t want to lose them, so she agreed to the king’s terms.

The following spring, the goose was summoned again before the king, and he asked her for one fourth. And the year after that, one third.

The fifth year, a guard came to turret and took the goose to see King John. But when she entered the throne room, she did not bow her head.

“Let me guess,” the goose said. “You want more of my eggs.”

“Yes, goose,” King John said sternly. “You have much more gold than you need. My people are poor, and I need you to serve the greater good.”

“How much do you want now?” the goose asked.

“Half.”

The goose thought for a moment. “No; that’s too much. I’ve spoken to another king, and he will let me live in his castle for much less.”

“You greedy goose!” King John shouted, his face red with anger.

The goose stretched out her neck. “I made my eggs, not you!” she said defiantly. “And I’ll do whatever I want with them.”

King John turned to the guard. “Seize her and lock her up!”

The guard chased the goose around the throne room, but he couldn’t catch her. Then he drew his sword, but she flew over him, escaped the castle and fled to another kingdom.

With the goose gone, King John took all the eggs that the goose left behind, kept a dozen for himself, and used the rest to provide for his people. However, when the gold ran out, the people were just as poor as they were before.

The Wolf Who Believed He Was A Sheep: A Fable

wolf sniperOne winter day, a young wolf joined his pack on a hunt, and the wolves attacked a band of bighorn sheep.

The young wolf stood by, watching the slaughter of two old ewes, and when it was over, the wolves ate until their bellies were full.

After the pack returned to their den, the young wolf was so disturbed by the deaths that he howled all night long.

The next morning, he told his father: “I’m not eating sheep anymore, or any other animal.”

His father, the Alpha male of the pack, laughed at him. “What are you going to eat?”

“Grass.”

And the young wolf became a vegetarian.

A week later, his father said, “You can’t stay in the den tonight. You must join me on the hunt.”

“No,” the young wolf replied. “I’m not a killer.”

“You have to come with me,” his father said sternly, “or you’ll embarrass me before the pack.”

“I will go,” the young wolf sighed. “But I will not kill.”

The young wolf went with his father, and watched the pack attack another band of bighorn sheep, killing two old rams. But when the wolves ate, he refused to eat with them, and he turned his head away.

That night, he had a realization. He kept it a secret until spring arrived; then one morning he told his father: “I’m a sheep trapped inside a wolf’s body.”

His father frowned. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“It’s the truth,” the young wolf said.

“Believing something is true doesn’t make it true.”

“I know what I am; and I am not a wolf.”

The Alpha male growled at his son. “If you’re not a wolf, then go live with the sheep!”

“Is that what you really want?” the young wolf asked sadly.

“Yes; you’re banished until you realize what you are!”

The Alpha was so angry, he mocked his son before the pack, saying, “My son is crazy! He thinks he’s a sheep!”

The young wolf looked at his father, then left the den, and as he walked away, all the wolves laughed and howled at him.

The young wolf wandered for many days until he found a band of bighorn sheep. The band, comprised of ewes, yearlings, and lambs, ran away in fear, but he quickly caught up with them.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” the young wolf said. “I’m a sheep like you. I’m just trapped inside a wolf’s body.”

The sheep stared at the wolf, and then they looked at each other.

“It’s a trick!” one of the ewes finally said.

A yearling cried, “He’ll eat us all!”

“No; I only eat grass,” the young wolf said. “I’ve never killed a sheep in my life.”

Hearing this, the sheep didn’t know what to think, but they didn’t run away. The young wolf joined their band, and ate junegrass and wheatgrass like they did.

The wolf and the bighorn sheep became friends, and all was well until early fall when two rams joined the band.

“Leave us—now!” the larger ram commanded the wolf.

“I’m not a wolf. I’m a sheep just like you.”

“It’s true,” one of the ewes said. “He’s never hurt any of us.”

“He’s a nice wolf,” another ewe said. “I mean, a nice sheep living inside a wolf’s body.”

The rams didn’t believe it. “A wolf is a wolf is a wolf,” the larger ram said.

“Nature made you what you are,” the smaller ram said.

“I know I don’t look like you,” the wolf said to the rams. “But I know who I am inside. I’m a sheep.”

The wolf tried to persuade the rams, yet no matter what he said, he could not change their minds.

That night, the two rams waited until the wolf was asleep, and then they attacked him, ramming him in the head with their spiralled horns.

The wolf woke up, fought the rams, and wounded them with his sharp teeth. The rams fell to the ground, and the wolf stood over them.

The larger ram said weakly, “I was right… You’re not a sheep.”

“No; I have the soul of a sheep,” the wolf replied. “But I still have the strength and power of a wolf.”

And after that, the rams never attacked the wolf again.

Image Credit: http://worldanimalnews.com/traveling-700-miles-young-wolf-gunned-government-sniper/

The Sasquatch Who Spoke His Mind: A Fable

8584-911-call-bigfootMany years ago, in a forest in British Columbia, a Sasquatch lived alone in a cave. He was nine feet tall, covered from head to toe with long black hair, and because he ate too many berries, he weighed 500 pounds.

To try and lose weight, the Sasquatch stomped through the forest all day, and the more he stomped, the more paths he made.

The rabbits often left their droppings on the paths, and this made the Sasquatch mad. When he wasn’t looking, he would stomp on the droppings, and they got stuck in his hairy feet.

One morning, the Sasquatch was stomping through the forest when he saw a rabbit about to poop on the path. He stretched out his hand and yelled, “Stop! Don’t do that!”

“What’s your problem?!” the rabbit answered angrily. “I’m doing my business.”

The Sasquatch frowned. “You rabbits always poop on my paths. When I go to sleep at night, my feet stink.”

The rabbit turned up his nose. “You don’t own this forest. I can poop anywhere I want to.”

“Why can’t you do it under a tree?”

“Because when I gotta go, I go,” the rabbit said with sass. “And I gotta go right now!”

The Sasquatch stomped closer to the rabbit and pointed his finger. “Go poop behind that tree, you inconsiderate animal!”

“This is no longer a safe space for me,” the rabbit said assertively. “Please step back.”

The Sasquatch, realizing that he had been rude, immediately stepped back. Then the rabbit pooped on the path, and hopped away.

After his conflict with the rabbit, the Sasquatch felt stressed, and he needed a drink. So he left the path, and took another path that led to a stream. But when he reached the end, the stream was gone. It was now a beaver pond.

Seeing a beaver working on a new dam, he stomped across the dam to speak to him. He decided to take a more friendly approach.

“Hello there,” the Sasquatch said with smile.

The beaver had a scowl on his face. “What do you want?”

“I was here yesterday, and this was a stream with fresh water.”

“It was,” the beaver said, returning to his work. “But not anymore.” He packed mud on the dam and laid down more branches.

The Sasquatch took a deep breath, and tried to stay calm. “This creates a problem for me. When you build a dam, the water becomes stale, and I can’t drink it.”

“That’s your problem, not mine,” the beaver said. Then he slapped his tail in the mud, and it splattered on the Sasquatch’s chest. “Go further downstream. You can drink all the fresh water you want.”

“But that’s a long way from my cave,” the Sasquatch said, wiping the mud from his hairy chest. He decided to be firm and direct: “The truth is—you’re destroying the environment. You started with one dam, and now you have 13. You’re a greedy animal.”

The beaver exploded with anger. “Greedy?! I live in poverty in a mud house, and I freeze my tail off every winter! But you’re rich compared to me. You have a cave, and a fire to keep you warm at night.”

“Just because I have a nice cave doesn’t give you the right to flood miles and miles of the stream.”

“And you have no right to make endless trails that zigzag everywhere. You know what you are?”

“What?” the Sasquatch wondered.

“A hypocrite!” Then the beaver slapped his tail several times in the water, and got the Sasquatch all wet.

The Sasquatch was so angry, he wanted to grab the beaver by the throat and strangle him. But he decided it would be better if he went back to his cave and meditated. Meditation helped him control his angry thoughts and violent impulses.

So he went back to his cave, pressed his palms together, crossed his legs, and meditated. Then he fell into a deep sleep.

At midnight, the Sasquatch woke up to a loud noise. The wolves were having a party, and when wolves are having a good time, they howl.

“Not again!” the Sasquatch yelled. “I can’t take this anymore!”

He came out of his cave, and stomped through the forest until he found the pack of wolves. They were howling and eating fresh meat.

“Shut up!” the Sasquatch shouted. “Shut your big mouths!”

“What’s wrong with you?” the leader of the pack asked.

“You howl every single night and wake me up!”

The wolf grinned. “Some animals sleep in the day, and some sleep at night.” Then he turned to the wolf pack. “We were made for the night, weren’t we, boys?”

The wolf pack howled in agreement.

The Sasquatch paused, took a deep breath, and said, “You need to be considerate of animals who sleep at night.”

“And you need to be considerate of animals who sleep in the day,” the wolf replied. “You often wake us up when you go stomping through the forest.”

The Sasquatch scoffed. “That’s ridiculous! I’m not that loud.”

“We can hear you from six miles away,” the wolf said. “Our ears are highly sensitive to noise.”

This conversation is going nowhere, the Sasquatch thought to himself. So he said to the wolf, “If you don’t stop howling, I’ll, I’ll…” And he tried to think what he might do.

The leader of the pack said, “Are you threatening us?” He turned to the wolf pack. “He’s threatening us, boys.”

The Sasquatch stomped up and down with both feet. “If you don’t stop howling, I’ll stomp up and down like this when you’re sleeping.” The Sasquatch had huge feet, the size of snowshoes.

One of the wolves shouted, “He’s going to stomp up and down on us, and murder us when we’re asleep! He’s planning a massacre.”

“You lying animal!” the Sasquatch yelled, pointing his finger. “I never said that.”

Another wolf hollered, “He’s a monster!”

The Sasquatch was so mad, he roared, a roar so loud that all the wolves became quiet and lowered their tails in fear. Some of the wolves were trembling.

Realizing that he had lost control, the Sasquatch turned and stomped back to his cave. He sat down and tried to meditate, but he couldn’t. He was too upset. But the wolves were no longer howling, so he went to sleep.

The next day, the Sasquatch woke up at noon, and came out of his cave. He was surprised to see dozens of rabbits and beavers, and the pack of wolves waiting for him.

“Did you come to apologize to me?” he asked them.

The rabbit that pooped on the path said, “We don’t want you in our forest anymore.”

“What?” the Sasquatch replied, taken aback. “Why?”

“Because you hate us,” the beaver from the dam said.

“I don’t hate you. You animals just do things that make me mad.”

“We think it’s best for everyone if you leave,” the leader of the wolf pack declared.

“No!” the Sasquatch said, raising his voice. “I have just as much right to live here as the rest of you.”

“No one has the right to hate other animals,” the beaver said.

“Hate leads to violence against innocent rabbits,” the rabbit said, and the other rabbits nodded their heads in agreement.

The Sasquatch shook his head. “I never said I hated you! All I did was speak my mind. And everything I said was true.”

“You insulted us, and hurt our feelings,” the rabbit cried. “You’re offensive!” Then all the rabbits chomped their teeth at the Sasquatch.

The Sasquatch took a deep breath and sighed. “I know I can be blunt sometimes, but you’re not nice to me either.”

“You don’t belong here,” the beaver declared. “You’re not even an animal. You’re a man-animal.” Then all the beavers chomped their teeth at the Sasquatch.

The Sasquatch crossed his arms and stomped one foot on the ground. “I’m not leaving!”

The wolf walked up to the Sasquatch, stared at him for a long moment, and then he said, “If you won’t leave voluntarily, we will use force.”

The Sasquatch looked at all the animals. “Your actions are more offensive than my words. It’s not fair to banish me.”

The wolves started growling and howling, and they formed a circle around the Sasquatch. And so, fearing the wolves might make fresh meat out of him, he gathered his things from his cave, and left the forest.

And to this day, the Sasquatch is rarely seen or heard by anyone.