The Liar: A Fable

liar pants on fireA farmer hired a young man to guard his sheep at night. He told him: “It’s a really easy job. Just sit and watch the sheep.”

But the young man had a weakness: He loved to drink, and one night he drank too much wine, sat against a haystack in the center of the field, and fell asleep.

When he awoke at sunrise, he smelled like a sheep, and his head pounded like a thundercloud. After counting the flock, he threw up. Three sheep were missing, and he found wolf tracks in the mud!

The young shepherd went to the farmer and said, “A pack of wolves killed three sheep last night, but I couldn’t shoot them. My rifle jammed.”

“Hunt them down,” the farmer ordered him, “or pay me for the sheep that you lost.”

“I’ll find them,” the shepherd said meekly.

The wolf tracks led into the forest adjacent to the field, and the shepherd searched all day. As the sun was setting, he came upon a pack of wolves and raised his rifle.

“Don’t shoot us!” the leader of the pack pleaded. “What have we done to you?”

“You killed three of my sheep!” the shepherd said, his face red with anger.

“We did no such thing,” the wolf calmly replied. “We only eat wild animals, not sheep.”

And so, the shepherd, not having any proof that the wolves killed the sheep, lowered his weapon. He didn’t have the heart to kill an innocent pack of wolves. Breathing a heavy sigh, he returned to the farmer and paid him for the three sheep that he lost.

That night, the shepherd was so exhausted from hunting all day that he sat against the haystack, and fell into a deep sleep again. When he awoke at sunrise, three more sheep were missing. Then, to his great dismay, he found fresh wolf tracks in the mud.

The shepherd went to the farmer and said, “I was so tired from hunting for the wolves that I fell asleep last night. And now three more sheep are gone.”

The farmer, who had no patience for incompetence, gave him an ultimatum: “Hunt down the wolves that did this! If you can’t find them, don’t bother coming back to work tonight.”

The shepherd left at once, searched the forest all day, and as the sun was setting, he found the remains of a sheep. When he walked further, he came upon the same pack of wolves and raised his rifle.

“Don’t shoot me!” the leader of the pack pleaded, his tail held low. “I’m innocent!”

“You lied to me!” the shepherd yelled. “I found sheep bones not far from here.”

“I did not lie,” the wolf replied. “But after you left, I learned that a member of our pack attacked your flock. He is guilty, not us.”

The leader of the pack pointed to the guilty wolf, and the shepherd shot him. Then he cut off its tail and took it to the farmer.

“I shot one of the wolves,” he told the farmer. “But the rest ran away.”

The farmer frowned. “If any more wolves kill my sheep, you’re fired!”

That night, the shepherd sat against the haystack while watching the flock. He thought about owning his own sheep farm one day and closed his eyes.

An hour later, the pack of wolves appeared at the edge of the forest. But the shepherd saw them. He was only pretending to be asleep.

When the wolves came in closer for the kill, the shepherd sprang to his feet and raised his rifle.

“You’re a liar!” he said to the leader of the pack.

With his tail held high, the wolf replied, “If I told you the truth, you would have killed me.”

The shepherd thought for a moment, and said, “Yes, I would do the same thing—if I were a wolf.”

Then he shot the leader of the pack, and the rest of the wolves fled into the forest.


This story was published in The Donkey King and Other Stories

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The Troll Who Wanted To Build A Wall: A Fable

Theodor_Kittelsen_-_Skogtroll,_1906_(Forest_Troll)Long ago, there was a troll who lived in a cave on a mountain. His head was shaped like a pumpkin, his nose like a banana, and he was ten feet tall. His name was Thug, and he loved one thing more than anything else: He loved gold.

Thug had thousands of gold coins in his cave, which he had taken from the men who tried to kill him. During the day, Thug slept on his coins, and when he woke up in the evening, he played with them, tossing them in the air, or throwing them at the walls and ceiling. But as the years went by, his heart became empty, and the coins no longer satisfied him.

One evening, Thug woke up and said, “I want to do something meaningful with my life.”

Outside Thug’s cave, there were many boulders, and he rolled three to the stream at the bottom of the mountain. Then he returned to his cave and got a stone bowl and a hammer. With his hammer, he smashed the boulders into powder, and mixed the powder with water and his dung to make mortar.

“I put my dung to good purpose!” Thug said with a smile.

Thug worked through the night and built a wall that was six feet wide, ten feet high, and one foot thick. He looked with satisfaction at the work of his hands, then went back to his cave to sleep.

In the evening, when Thug woke up, he went for a walk, and saw a rabbit on the forest path.

“Hello, rabbit,” Thug said.

“Hello, Thug,” the rabbit replied.

“Can you tell rabbits to meet me by stream?”

“What for?”

“I have big surprise!” Thug said excitedly.

“Okay,” the rabbit said.

An hour later, the rabbits all gathered by the stream, and they looked at the wall that Thug had built.

“What is that?” a rabbit asked.

“It is small wall,” Thug said. “I want to build big wall, all around mountain.”

“Why?” another rabbit asked.

“To protect you from bad men who come and hunt you with arrows.”

While the rabbits were staring in awe at the small wall, a cougar climbed down from a tree. Her name was Hickory, and she loved one thing more than anything else: She loved to eat rabbits.

“Don’t run!” Hickory said to the rabbits. “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m going to save you.”

“Save us!” a rabbit said sarcastically. “You like to eat us!”

“Yes, that’s true,” Hickory admitted. “But I would never eat all of you. If the troll builds his wall, you will all die!”

Thug pointed at the cougar and said, “That is fake accusation! I want to protect rabbits from hunters.”

“His wall will save our lives,” another rabbit said. “It will keep the bad men out.”

“And I will keep bad animals out too,” Thug promised. “I will throw cougar over wall. She will not eat you anymore!”

Hearing this, the rabbits cheered. Then, with one voice, they chanted, “Thug! Thug! Thug!”

Hickory did not want to lose her food supply. So when the rabbits stopped chanting, she said, “It is true that Thug’s wall will keep you safe from bad men, and the wall will keep you safe from me. But there is one thing the wall will not do.”

“What is that?” a rabbit asked.

“The wall will not keep you safe from Thug! Once he has you surrounded, he will eat all of you!”

“That is fake accusation!” Thug shouted. “I only eat plants, flowers, and people who try to kill me.”

“Don’t be fools, rabbits!” Hickory continued. “Why would a troll who loves gold want to protect you? Once the wall is built, just imagine what he will do! He will smash you all with his hammer.”

The rabbits looked at each other. Then they looked at Thug and trembled.

“Thug is a monster!” a rabbit cried.

“He’s big and ugly!” another rabbit blurted. “He’s evil!”

The cougar continued to sow fear in the hearts of the rabbits: “And if Thug doesn’t kill you, he will catch you and sell you to the hunters for gold!”

“No!” Thug said to the rabbits. “I only want to save you from harm. I want to do something meaningful with my life.”

“No wall!” a rabbit yelled, then all the rabbits chanted, “No wall! No wall! No wall!”

Hickory looked at Thug and smiled. “Go back to your cave, you deplorable troll, and sleep on your pile of gold.”

Thug tried to reason with the rabbits: “If you don’t let me build wall, hunters and cougar will kill you.”

“But not all of us,” a rabbit said.

Another rabbit added, “If you build the wall, we know what you will do!”

Thug kicked the ground and frowned. “Stupid rabbits! If you don’t want my help, I will go.”

Then he went back to his cave and decided he would take care of the trees on the mountain.

After that, Hickory continued to eat one or two rabbits every day, and the hunters came and killed many rabbits with their arrows.

And all because the rabbits wouldn’t take a risk, and let the troll build a wall.


My Kindle eBook: The Donkey King and Other Stories

The Big Black Dog: A Fable

Cane Corso Dog 3A little old lady built a chicken coop in her backyard. She painted it red, and in the evening, when the paint was dry, she went to see a farmer and bought twelve hens and a rooster.

After loading the chickens into the back seat of her car, she drove down the highway, and they all flew into the front seat! It was like a tornado!

When the little old lady got home, she put the chickens in the coop, closed the door, and locked it with a hook.

“What a long day!” she said.

She felt so tired, she went straight to bed.

The next morning, the little old lady collected the eggs that the hens laid in the nesting boxes.

She fried two eggs for breakfast, and the rest, she put in a carton. “When I have a dozen,” she said, “I’ll sell them to my neighbour.”

The following day, when the little old lady delivered the eggs, her neighbor wanted to give her a dog: a poodle with white, curly hair. “I don’t have time to take care of him,” he said.

But the little old lady didn’t know if she wanted a dog.

The poodle promised, “I’ll stand guard each night and protect your chickens.”

The little old lady smiled. “You’re a good poodle—and brave.”

Then she took the poodle home with her.

A week went by without incident, but early one morning, the chickens were frantic. The hens were clucking outside the coop, and the rooster was crowing on the roof.

The little old lady counted them, and one hen was missing!

“What happened to my hen?” she asked the poodle.

“I slept with one eye open,” the poodle replied, “but I saw nothing, and I heard nothing.”

A hen named Martha was hysterical. “A large paw opened the door and grabbed Bertha. It was a big black dog!”

Then Martha fainted.

The poodle shook his head. “Dogs are kind and caring animals, and would never hurt a chicken.”

The little old lady agreed: “Yes. It must have been a fox.”

In the afternoon, she put a chicken-wire fence around the coop. And before she went to bed, she closed the coop door, and locked it with a hook.

The next morning, when the sun came up, the chickens were in a frenzy, running and flying around the yard.

The little old lady went to the coop and counted them, and another hen was missing!

“Did you watch the hens last night?” she asked the poodle.

“I saw a fox jump over the fence,” the poodle confessed, “but I was so afraid I couldn’t even bark.”

The rooster, named Roger, said sadly, “I was awake when its paw reached inside. It was a big black dog, and he stole Henrietta—the chicken I loved.”

The poodle shook his head. “Dogs are friendly and loving animals. They would never hurt a chicken.”

The little old lady knew what to do. That night, she closed the coop door and locked it with two hooks. Then she went to her bedroom, turned out the light, and sat by the window.

At midnight, when the moon hid behind a cloud, she saw a black figure climbing over the chicken-wire fence.

It made its way to the coop and slowly lifted one of the hooks with its paw.

With her heart pounding and hands trembling, the little old lady grabbed her broom, ran outside and threw open the gate.

The creature had a hen in its mouth. BAM! She hit it on the head until it let go of the hen.

It was the poodle!

The little old lady grabbed him by the collar and yelled, “You killed two of my chickens! Why?!”

The poodle answered weakly, “Because I’m a dog.”

The next morning, the little old lady was in a much better mood.

She fed the poodle as many eggs as he wanted for breakfast. Then she put on his leash and took him for a walk.

And gave him back to her neighbour.


This story was published in The Donkey King and Other Stories

The Dragon Egg: A Fable

Red Dragon

Long ago, two dragons lived in a cave high on a mountain. Drat was a small red dragon; Graisse was a large silver dragon, and they were mates. Unfortunately, despite having more gold than any king or queen, they were not happy dragons.

One day, Graisse said to Drat: “This cave is too small for our gold. I want you to dig me a bigger one!”

“I’m half your size!” Drat replied. “You do it, you fat dragon!”

Graisse was so angry, she breathed fire on Drat and blackened his face.

Drat couldn’t take the physical abuse anymore. His face was badly scarred from weekly firefights with Graisse, and his chest had turned black. “That’s it!” he said. “I’m going to find me a younger dragon, one that isn’t mean!”

“No dragon will want you!” Graisse scoffed. “You’re small and ugly.”

“We’ll see about that!” Drat said, and he walked out of the cave and flew away.

The next day, Graisse woke up in her nest, and she had laid an egg!

“Oh, my goodness!” she said. “I don’t want to have a son or daughter of Drat.”

Then she looked at the egg and sighed. “But if I have a baby, at least I won’t be lonely.”

So Graisse decided to keep her egg. Three months went by, and she sat on the egg from morning until night. With no time to go hunting, all she ate was the rats and mice in her cave. She lost a lot of weight, and the hungrier she got, the more she had doubts about becoming a mother.

“I can’t raise a dragon on my own,” she cried. “I’ll starve to death!”

Graisse decided to get rid of her egg. She picked it up in her clawed foot, flew to the edge of the mountain, and was about to drop it when Drat appeared in the sky.

He flew to her and yelled, “Don’t drop it!”

“Don’t tell me what to do! I laid this egg, not you!”

And Graisse dropped the egg.

Drat flew like a lightning bolt, and caught the egg before it hit the ground.

He flew back to the top of the mountain, took the egg back to their cave, and set it gently down in Graisse’s nest.

Graisse followed him into the cave and asked, “Why did you do that?”

“I searched all throughout the land,” Drat explained. “And we’re the only dragons left!”

Graisse opened her mouth wide. “The only dragons?”

“Yes,” Drat said sadly. “Men have slayed every dragon but us.”

“Then this egg is precious,” Graisse said.

“Yes, it is. But it was always precious. It will be our baby!”

“Do you want to make more baby dragons with me?” Graisse asked.

Drat looked at Graisse up and down. “Definitely!” he said with a big grin. In the three months Drat was away, she had lost 500 pounds.

“I’m not too fat for you?” Graisse asked.

“Nope. I’ve always been attracted to big dragons!”

This made Graisse smile. “Can you get me a moose for me to eat? I’m starving!”

“Whatever you want, I will get it for you.”

Drat kissed Graisse on the cheek, and flew out of the cave.

Graisse and Drat became the parents of twelve dragons. They stayed together until the end of their days, and even though they still had a nasty fire fight once in a while, they were happy.


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