The Short of It

A boy, who kept watch on a flock of sheep, was heard from time to time to call out, ‘The Wolf! The Wolf!’ in mere sport. Scores of times, in this way, had he drawn the men in the fields from their work. But when they found it was a joke, they made up their minds that, should the boy call ‘Wolf’ once more, they would not stir to help him. The wolf, at last, did come. ‘The Wolf! The Wolf!’ shrieks out the boy, in great fear, but none will now heed his cries, and the wolf kills the boy, that he may feast on the sheep.

One knows not how to trust those who speak lies, though they may tell one the truth.

— From Lucy Aikin, Æsop’s Fables in Words of One Syllable, 1868