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 when 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’ll 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, 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, stroking his long grey beard. “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 to renegotiate with me.”

“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-974056_960_720One winter day, a young wolf joined the pack on a hunt, and they 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, who was the Alpha male of the wolf pack, laughed at him. “What are you going to eat?”

“Grass.”

And the young wolf became a vegetarian.

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

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

“If you don’t come with me,” his father said sternly, “you’ll embarrass me before the pack.”

“I will go,” the young wolf replied. “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, the young wolf 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.

He wandered for a long time until he found a band of bighorn sheep. The band, comprised of ewes, yearlings, and lambs, ran away in fear, but he 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 wolf joined their band, and ate junegrass and wheatgrass like they did.

The wolf and the bighorn sheep lived together in peace and harmony until the end of summer. Then, in early fall, 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 added.

“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 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.

The Lying Wolf: A Fable

Wolves_and_bones

A 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 and fell asleep in the field.

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 grass!

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.”

“We did no such thing,” the wolf 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. With his head hung low, 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 fell into a deep sleep. When he awoke at sunrise, three more sheep were missing. To his great dismay, he found fresh wolf tracks in the grass.

The young 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 missing.”

The farmer, having 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.”

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 again raised his rifle.

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

“You lied to me,” the shepherd said angrily. “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 was not pleased. “If any more wolves kill my sheep,” he frowned, “you’re fired.”

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

Moments later, the pack of wolves appeared at the edge of the forest. But the shepherd heard them. He was only pretending to be sleeping.

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 admitted, “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.