The Boy Who Cried Wolf
A Shepherd-Boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, kept trying to call his dog by crying, “Woof! Woof!” But the Villagers thought he was yelling “Wolf! Wolf!” and the Shepherd-Boy would laugh when they came running to help him. When the Wolf really did come at last and the Shepherd-Boy shouted “Wolf! Wolf!” none of the Villagers paid any attention. They thought he was crying “Woof! Woof!” So the Wolf ate all the sheep and most of the Villagers starved to death a couple months later. The Shepherd-Boy is still in therapy.
Moral: Learn to enunciate, particularly the soft consonants.
Androcles and the Lion
An escaped slave named Androcles came upon a Lion moaning and wailing with a huge thorn in his paw. Maybe it was a nail. Or maybe it was one of those old-style beer can pop-tops that actually came off the can. It could be. It’s an old story. Anyway, he got some damn thing in his foot. So Androcles pulled out the thorn (or the nail or the pop-top) (it doesn’t really matter). The Lion got up and licked Androcles’s hand like a dog. But then Androcles and the Lion both got captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion. Instead of attacking, the Lion went over and licked Androcles’s hand. Again. So the emperor freed Androcles and let the Lion loose. Then Androcles got enormously sick on some really, really bad Chinese food and died throwing up. I’m guessing it was the kung pao. The emperor had the moo shu pork and he lived to be, like, 90. The Lion wound up as a rug.
Moral: Don’t even think about the kung pao.
The Ant and the Grasshopper
One summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping to its heart’s content, when an Ant passed by, hauling an ear of corn. “Why not stay and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of killing yourself like that?” “I am helping lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant. “Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper. “There’s plenty of food.” But when the winter came, the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the Ants eating the corn they had collected in the summer.
Moral: Where’s the Raid?
The Fox and the Goat
A Fox fell into a deep well from which he could not get out. A Goat passed by shortly afterwards, and asked the Fox what he was doing down there. “Oh,” said the Fox; “there is going to be a great drought, so I jumped down here to be sure to have water. Why don’t you come down too?” The Goat thought and then jumped down into the well. Goats, sheesh. But the Fox immediately jumped on her back and managed to jump up to the edge of the well. “Good-bye, friend,” said the Fox, “remember next time.” Well, the Goat called a seismic geologist he knew and they discovered vast untapped reserves of natural gas beneath the well. The Goat got stinking rich and hired a bunch of rednecks to go beat the snot out of the Fox.
Moral: Always seek the advice of a reputable seismic geologist.
The Wind and the Sun
The Wind and the Sun were arguing over which was the stronger when they saw a Traveler coming down the road. The Sun said, “Whichever of us can cause that Traveler to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger.” The Sun hid behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as he could. But the harder he blew the more closely did the Traveler wrap his cloak around him. At last the Wind gave up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone upon the Traveler, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on. So he took it off. But it turns out he was buck naked underneath, so he got arrested for indecent exposure. Plus he got a sunburn all over, if you know what I mean.
Moral: Wear layered clothing.
The Horse and the Ass
A Horse and an Ass were traveling together, the Horse prancing along in its fine trappings, the Ass carrying with difficulty a heavy load of barley. “I wish I were you,” sighed the Ass, “nothing to do and well fed, and all those fine trappings upon you.” Next day, however, there was a great battle, and the Horse was mortally wounded. His friend the Ass happened to pass by shortly afterwards and found him lingering at the point of demise. “Tough beans, horsey,” said the Ass. “By the way, I’m gonna take your fine trappings, once you’re finished with the death spasms.”
Moral: Get a will, even if it’s one of those boilerplate jobs off the Internet.
The Farmer and the Stork
A Farmer placed nets on his newly-sown plowlands and caught a number of Cranes, which came to pick up his seed. Along with them he trapped a Stork, who beseeched the Farmer to spare his life. “Pray save me, Master,” he said, “I am no Crane, I am a Stork, a bird of excellent character.” The Farmer laughed aloud and said, “It may be all as you say, I only know this: I have taken you with these robbers, the Cranes, and you must die in their company.” Then he capped him.
Moral: Beats me. Probably some annoying nonsense about not eating seeds.
The Dog and the Shadow
It happened that a Dog had got a piece of meat and was carrying it home in his mouth to eat it. On his way home he had to cross a bridge over a brook. As he crossed, he looked down and saw his own shadow reflected in the water beneath. Thinking it was another dog with another piece of meat, he snapped at the shadow in the water, but as he opened his mouth the piece of meat fell out, dropped into the water, and was never seen again.
Moral: Get a cat. Dogs are dumber than a bag of hammers. And they drool, for Chrissakes. Or get a ferret. Yeah, a ferret! They’re a lot cleaner than you think, even though they smell.
The Fox and the Crow
A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of kung pao chicken in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree. “That’s for me, as I am a Fox,” said Master Reynard. “Good day, Mistress Crow,” he cried. “How well you are looking today! How glossy your feathers, how bright your eye! I feel sure your voice, too, must surpass that of other birds! Let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds!” The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the kung pao fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox, who went off to his lair to devour the prize. But he got enormously sick and died throwing up. The Crow got a bit part in The Birds and parlayed it into a film career as a creepy extra in slasher flicks. She’s in a home for retired actors out in the Valley.
Moral: Were you not paying attention before?