The Wolf and the Lamb
Retold by Bruce Holland RogersA wolf stopped to
drink at a stream and spied a young lamb resting in the shade nearby.
"You there!" the wolf said.
"Me, sir?" said the lamb, getting to his feet and bowing.
"Yes, you. You've been drinking in the stream, and you stirred up
the mud so the water was foul when I came to drink. It would be a matter
of justice if I ate you."
The lamb trembled. "Please, sir. I wasn't drinking at all. And in
any case, I am downstream from you. Any mud would have gone the other
"True, true," said the wolf, approaching. "But I remember
you now. We met here on this very spot a year ago, and you insulted me.
For such a gross insult, you owe me your life."
"Sir," said the lamb, "I am sorry that anyone gave you
offense. However, I could not have been the one who insulted you last
year, for I was born only four months ago."
"Hm," said the wolf, who now towered over the lamb. "I
see." The wolf narrowed his eyes. "But look at the destruction
of this meadow. Grass once grew up to my shoulders here. But you, you
greedy criminal, have cropped it down to the earth!"
"I do not wish to seem disrespectful," said the lamb, "but
I could not have eaten the grass as you say. To this day, I have tasted
only my mother's milk. I am innocent of every charge."
"Indeed, indeed," said the wolf. "I cannot eat you for
fouling the stream, for insulting me last year, or for eating all the
grass. I must say that your wit and your politeness impress me. You have
met every accusation with a fine argument."
"Thank you," said the lamb.
"Nevertheless," said the wolf, "arguments, no matter how
polite, tend to disturb the general peace. Therefore, it is my duty to
And he did.
Moral: A tyrant will find his excuse.
Click here for The Bullfrog and His Shadows
Stories by Bruce Holland Rogers have won a Pushcart Prize, the World
Fantasy Award, and two Nebula Awards, among other honors. He teaches
fiction writing for the Whidbey Writers low-residency MFA, and also teaches
writing seminars in Greece write-in-crete.com and Italy
(www.write-across-europe.com). Subscribers from all over the world receive
his newest stories by e-mail. See www.shortshortshort.com. Rogers lives in
Contact Bruce at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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