Not Crying Wolf

Armei says when she’s applying a fresh coat of paint on her nails, “Lulu, dear, can’t you write something more interesting? Like a romantic story that women like to read? I mean you are so intelligent and I hate to see you like this–writing things that nobody wants to read.”

Lulu says, “Armei, I’m not interested in romantic stories. However hear me out. You might like this book I am writing. It’s called ‘The Alternative Stories’ about Aesop’s fables.”

When Aesop was gathering folklore and listening to stories to write his fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, he’s already old and hard of hearing. This explains why he completely misunderstood everything. He thought this is a story about a mischievous boy who tried to trick honest villagers by repeatedly crying wolf when wolf was nowhere to be found. After being tricked twice and didn’t see any wolf coming, the villagers stopped believing the boy. When the wolf really came, the sheep and the boy were eaten.

Actually the real story is like this: A boy sees one or two wolves emerging on the horizon and warns the villagers about this every day after work. However what can the villagers do? They can’t drop their work and accompany the boy and the sheep every day. The boy points out that the fields the villagers are working are too far away from the sheep and even if he cries wolf loud, it will take the villagers too long to come to his rescue. The boy proposes that several Great Pyrenees should be obtained to help him guard the sheep, but the villagers didn’t think they had enough money for that at the moment. It is quite uneconomical to exchange sheep for dogs since once one proposes a barter, one reveals one’s lack of money and ends up in a weaker position at the bargain. The boy, being young and innocent, doesn’t understand villagers’ hesitation and just can’t stop nagging. He’s too young to understand that he’s being annoying. When the wolf pack comes soon after, eating the boy and destroying the flock, the villagers starts to feel guilty about their lack of consideration for the boy’s foresight. The boy has a sister who married somebody in the nearby village. She starts to tell stories about her brother’s brilliance and the villager’s bad decision. The villagers are very angry about this. In order to save their own skin, they invent a story about a boy crying wolf, which is much simpler and easier to understand than the story the sister tells. So it ends up that the villagers win the battle of stories.

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