154. Aesop: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The Shepherd who cried “Wolf!” in Jest.

Aesop (c. 620-564 BCE) wrote this fable. It is numbered 210 in the Perry Index of Aesop’s Fables. It is one of the best known of well over 500 fables attributed to Aesop.

This tale tells of a shepherd boy who decides to trick nearby villagers by yelling that a wolf is attacking his flock. It works well, the first time. When he tries it again, fewer villagers come out. After a few times, a real wolf comes, and the boy’s cries are ignored by the villagers, so the wolf eats his flock.

The moral given in the fable is: “This shows how liars are rewarded: even if they tell the truth, no one believes them.”

Source for the story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Who_Cried_Wolf

The illustration of the boy and the wolf is by Francis Barlow (1687, public domain).

The woodcut of Aesop is from La vida del Ysopet con sus fabulas historiadas (Spain, 1489, public domain).


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