John was a shepherd boy. He cared for his father’s sheep. As there were many wolves prowling about waiting for a chance to kill the sheep, John had to be very watchful.
Some men were harvesting wheat in a field not far from where the flock was feeding. One day they were startled by the cry, “A wolf! a wolf!” They looked up and saw John motioning wildly to them and pointing toward the sheep.
They threw down their sickles and ran to the flock. But they found the sheep quietly grazing, and there was no wolf to be seen.
“Where is the wolf?” they asked.
“I didn’t say the wolf was here,’ replied John, and he laughed loud and long as he saw the look of surprise in the men’s faces.
“What do you mean, you young rascal, by fooling us so?” they cried.
If they could have caught John, they would have given him a sound whipping, but he had run out of their reach.
Not many days after, these same men heard the cry, “Wolf! wolf!”
“John is trying to fool us again,” they said, and went on with their work.
John called again and again, and seemed in so much trouble that the kind-hearted men left their work and hurried toward the sheep pasture.
When they came to the pasture, they knew that John had been playing another trick on them. They looked for him, but could not find him. He had hidden in some bushes where he could look on and enjoy their surprise and anger. At last they went back to their work.
One day wolves did come. John was very much frightened. He ran to the men for help. They only laughed at him. “Oh, you have fooled us twice,” they said. “You shall not have another chance.”
“But the wolves are surely there,” cried John. “They are killing the sheep. Do come and help!” The men kept on with their work and did not even look at John.
Before he could find anyone who would believe him, many of the sheep had been killed.
THE TWO GOATS
A small stream ran between two hills. Over this stream there was a very narrow bridge. If two persons came to the opposite ends of this bridge at the same time, one must wait for the other to cross before he could go over.
One morning, two goats, a black one and a white one, reached the opposite ends of the bridge at the same moment.
The black goat called out to the white one, “Hold on a minute; I am coming over.”
The white goat replied, “No, I will go over first; I am in a hurry.”
“No,” said the black goat, “I will not wait for you. I am the older.”
“You shall wait for me,” roared the white goat as he stepped upon the bridge and started across.
“We’ll see if I am to wait for you,” said the black goat, and he too started across.
They met in the middle of the bridge.
“Go back and let me cross,’ said the white goat, stamping his foot.