Once upon a time, a shepherd boy was tending his sheep on a hill. He had been told by the villagers to raise the alarm if he saw a wolf attacking the animals.
Alone all day, the boy felt bored and decided to play a practical joke on the villagers. He suddenly started shouting, “Wolf! Wolf! Beware, a wolf!”
The villagers rushed to the rescue, but when they reached the spot they saw no wolf. There was only the laughing boy.
“This is not funny. You shouldn’t play such tricks.”
Angry, they returned to the village and then went about their business.
A little later, the boy giggled as he sucked his breath in before hollering out, “Wolf! Wolf! It’s chasing the sheep!”
He burst out laughing when he saw the concerned villagers march up the hill. The men were furious when they saw again that there was no wolf about.
“You mustn’t cry wolf when there is no wolf, silly boy. Stop wasting our time.” they said.
But the boy only stifled a chuckle as he watched them stride back to the village.
Later that day, the boy had a nasty fright when he saw an actual wolf lurching near his flock. Panicked, he jumped to his feet and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Wolf! Wolf!”
But to his dismay nobody came. The villagers, who had been fooled twice already, thought it was another trick and ignored the boy.
At dusk, they looked around wondering why the shepherd boy hadn’t returned with their sheep. They came up the hill and found him crying.
“A real wolf came and attacked all the sheep. I called out ‘Wolf! Wolf!’ but no one came,” the boy stammered.
A wise old man from the group stepped forward.
“Don’t cry, boy,” he said kindly, “but never lie again because no one believes a liar, even when he is telling the truth.”