“Help! A Wolf is eating my sheep!”
What happens when a bored shepherd boy lies to the people in his village - and then he later tells the truth?
What do a man and his wife do when their goose lays golden eggs? And what can two travelers learn from a bear in the woods?
These three Greek tales teach us important truths about people today.
Kosmas is a shepherd boy in Greece. One evening, he is bored. "What can I do?" he thinks. He goes to the nearest village and cries, "Help! A wolf is eating my sheep!" The villagers run up the hill angrily. But the sheep are standing there quietly, with no wolf. "where's the wolf?" they ask. "It isn't here now," Kosmas says. Later, Kosmas tells his dog Sirius "What a good trick! I lie and they believe me!"
The next week, Kosmas cries "Wolf!" again, and all villagers run up the hill. But this time, some villagers listen when Kosmas speaks to Sirius. So they learn about the trick. "Never tell lies again!" they say. "All right. I promise!" Kosmas answers.
The next day, Kosmas is watching the sheep. Suddenly, Sirius hears a noise. A big wolf comes out from behind a tree. It takes a lamb in its mouth. Kosmas runs down the path to the village. "Help!" he cries. "There's a wolf on the hill! and it's killing my sheep!" "Remember your promise. Don't tell lies!" the villagers say. And they quickly close all their doors and windows. "But this time, it's true! Please help me!" Kosmas cries.
Kosmas climbs back up the hill alone. He finds some of his lambs, but they are dead. "Where's Sirius?" he thinks. "Sirius! Where are you? Come here boy!" he calls again and again. Just then, he sees his dog on the ground. "Oh no! Sirius is dead, too!" he cries.
Kosmas sits down slowly. "I understand now," he thinks. "When you tell lies, people stop listening to you. From this day, I must always tell the truth."
Yiannis and Dafni live in a little house in the country. One day, a young goose walks up the path to their front door. They look after the goose carefully, and every day it becomes bigger and fatter. One morning, the goose lay an egg. But it isn't an ordinary egg. "Look at this, Dafni," Yiannis says. "It's a golden egg! Can you believe it?" Later, Yiannis goes to a shop in town. He sells the golden egg there for lots of money.
The next morning, the goose lays an egg again. Yiannis and his wife look after the goose well. Day after day, they find a golden egg under it. Yiannis sells all the eggs, and soon they have lots of money. One morning, Yiannis is counting the money when he thinks "This goose is very slow. It lays only one golden egg every day - no more. I want to become rich more quickly. What can I do?"
The next day, Yiannis takes out a big knife. "What do you want that for?" his wife asks. "I want to kill the golden goose," he answers. "Then we can have all of its eggs now." "Is that a good idea?" Dafni asks. "Yes, of course," Yiannis says. "With all those eggs we can become the richest people in any of the towns and villages near here!"
Yiannis goes into the garden alone. He quickly kills the goose, and he opens it with his big knife. "Oh no! I can't believe it!" he cries. "There aren't any golden eggs inside it." "You fool!" Dafni says. "Our golden goose has an ordinary goose's body! Now it's dead, and we can't have any more golden eggs!"
Later that day, Yiannis says "We can never find a golden goose again. You're right, Dafni. I'm a fool - a greedy fool!" "And when people become greedy," Dafni says, "they often lose everything." "Yes," Yiannis says quietly. "I know that now."
One day two friends, Marios and Nikos are traveling through some woods. Marios has a big bag on his back. Inside the bag, there are lots of things. He wants to sell these in the nearest town. Suddenly, the two men hear a loud noise. Nikos stops walking. "What's that noise, Marios?" he asks. Just then, a big brown bear arrives on the path. It stands up on its back legs in front of the two travelers. "Aargh! It's a bear!" Nikos cries loudly. He quickly climbs up a big tree and leaves Marios alone on the path. Marios can't climb the tree because his bag is big and heavy. "What can I do?" he thinks.
Marios suddenly has an idea. "Bears never touch a dead body," he thinks. So he lies down on the ground and doesn't move. The big, heavy bear walks slowly over to Marios. Marios closes his eyes and stays very still. Nikos looks down from the tall tree. He watches the bear. It moves nearer to Marios. Nikos is afraid. He doesn't help his friend.
The bear begins to sniff Marios with its big, black nose. First, it slowly sniffs his body. But Marios doesn't move. Then, it sniffs hair, nose, and face. But Marios doesn't open his eyes. Next, it sniffs his ears for a long time. But Marios lies very still on the ground. Nikos watches carefully from the tree. "That bear is whispering something in Marios's ear," he thinks. "What's it saying? I want to know!" In the end, the bear becomes bored with Marios. It walks down the path and goes away into the woods.
After some minutes, Marios stands up. Nikos quickly climbs down the tree and runs to his friend. "Are you OK? Tell me about the bear's words in your ear!" Nikos says excitedly to Marios. "I must know the truth." "All right. I can tell you his advice to me," Marios says. "When times are bad, you know your true friends. -- And after all this, I know you better, I feel. And you're not a true friend to me, Nikos!"
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