There once was a shepherd-boy who kept his sheep outside of a village.
One day, he thought he would play a trick on the villagers and have some fun. He ran toward the village crying out with all his might: “Wolf! Wolf! Come and help me! The wolves are trying to get my sheep!”
The kind villagers left their work and ran to the field to help him. But when they got there the boy just laughed at them. There was no wolf there at all!
The villagers were confused and said, “Dear boy, you must not play such tricks. This is not a laughing matter.” “Alright,” said the boy. “I won’t play that trick again.” The villagers went back to the town and the boy went back to his sheep.
Still another day the boy tried the same trick again. He yelled out with all his might: “Wolf! Wolf! Help me the wolves are coming after my sheep!”
Again the kind villagers came running and when they reached the boy again he laughed at them. There were still no wolves.
The villagers were now upset with the boy. They looked down at him and said, “This is not a laughing matter. You play these tricks but they are not funny. We are beginning to feel like you do not truly need our help when you say you do!” The villagers went back to the town and the boy went back to his sheep.
Then one day a wolf did break into the herd of sheep. He began taking the sheep one by one away from the field. In a great fright, the boy ran for help. “Wolf! Wolf!” he screamed. “There truly is a wolf in my flock of sheep! Help!”
The villagers heard him but they thought it was another mean trick. No one paid any attention to the crying boy.
“Please, please!” pleaded the boy. “I am so sorry for lying. I promise never to trick you again! I promise to only tell the truth!”
The villagers looked up from their work. “We see now that you are truly upset, just as we were when you tricked us. Now that you tell the truth, we will help you .”
The villagers and the boy went back to the field only to see one sheep left. They followed the trail that the wolf left behind him to retrieve all the taken sheep. When the boy had each one of his sheep returned he was eternally grateful for the help. From then on, he always told the truth.