The Boy Who Cried Wolf  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Boy Who Cried Wolf, also known as The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf, is a fable attributed to Aesop (210 in Perry's numbering system). The protagonist of the fable is a bored shepherd boy who entertained himself by calling out "Wolf!". Nearby villagers who came to his rescue found that the alarms were false and that they had wasted their time. When the boy was actually confronted by a wolf, the villagers did not believe his cries for help and the wolf ate the flock (and in some versions the boy). The moral is stated at the end of the fable as:

Even when liars tell the truth, they are never believed. The liar will lie once, twice, and then perish when he tells the truth.

In reference to this tale, the phrase to "cry wolf" has long been a common idiom in English, described in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and modern English dictionaries. The phrase "boy who cried wolf" has also become somewhat of a figure of speech, meaning that one is calling for help when he or she does not really need it. Also in common English there goes the saying: "Never cry wolf" to say that you never should lie, as in the above phrases.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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