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.

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The Wolf Who Believed He Was A Sheep: A Fable

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

The pup 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 pack, laughed at him. “What are you going to eat?”


His father scoffed. “What are you? A sheep?”

“No, I’m a vegetarian.”

And so, the young wolf dug deep in the snow and found grass to eat.

A week later, the Alpha male said to his son: “You can’t stay in the den tonight. You have to join me on the hunt.”

The young wolf shook his head. “I’m not a killer.”

“You’re coming 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 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 living 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. You’re no longer a member of this pack!”

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

The young wolf looked at his father, then left the den. 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,” he promised. “I’m a sheep like you. I’m just trapped inside a wolf’s body.”

The sheep stared at him; 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 wolf declared. “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. And so, the wolf joined their band, and ate junegrass and wheatgrass like they did.

The wolf and the bighorn sheep lived in peace 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 the ewes. “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, they would not believe him.

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

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

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

“No, I have the soul of a sheep,” the wolf replied. “But I can defend myself, for I have the strength and power of a wolf.”

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

This story was published in The Donkey King and Other Stories