26 Comments

  1. It’s possible to interpret the moral that way, but if I was someone facing a pack of wolves, I don’t know if I would count on that interpretation saving me.

  2. While I was trying to recover the recently seen bit with a foolish but scheming character proffering weird and self-serving interpretations (“It’s only wrong when your lie mentions wolves”), I was surprised at how many articles there seem to be, both popular and academic, prepared to argue just what the lesson is; and what factors it turns on.

    Who is seen as the victim of the wolf – the boy, the sheep, the owners? What is the boy’s official role – Shepherd or passerby?

  3. In the version(s) that I remember, the boy is supposed to be tending the sheep, and raises the fake alarm for his own amusement, making fools out of the townspeople. The wolf doesn’t have any victims: this is a rare tale in which the wolf is portrayed merely as a “force of nature”, rather than an “evil agent”. The primary victims of the boy’s misbehavior are of course the sheep, but they are treated as “property” (or in this case “loss”), and therefore don’t count. The boy’s death is seen as “just desserts” for his misdeeds, and the townspeople are willing to forgive their previous inconvenience, since they won’t have to worry about the problem ever again.

    P.S. If I were to pair this comic up with anything recent, it would probably cross the line into forbidden political territory.

    P.P.S. There is a wonderful book (in German) by Iring Fetscher called “Wer hat Dornröschen wachgeküsst?” (literally “Who woke Sleeping Beauty with a kiss?”), in which he “unravels” a number of traditional fairy tales to reveal the “original” motivation of the stories. Two of the most amusing sections deal with the “Rehabilitation of the Wolf” and “Sexual Problems of Princesses“.

  4. Mitch: might it have been something related to false positives and the usefulness of a test with high false positives? In this era of pandemic, those kinds of things are always high on everyone’s mind…

  5. Thanks, @MyActualRealName. That wouldn’t be the particular scene I’m thinking of, as I have never followed DS9. But the final try at the lesson is very much in the spirit of the one I’m thinking of. “Don’t try to tell the same lie twice.”

    (I’m currently watching the fairly new Picard series, and am embarrassed at how many references and callbacks I am missing but can tell we are supposed to get. Even though I saw most of TOS and TNG, and this series credits say based-on TNG. “Oh wow, it’s Guinan!” “Who?”.)

  6. I don’t think even Aesop kills off the boy, right? The bad result is the loss of the sheep.

  7. From The Simspons:

    Bart, have you ever read “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”‘?

    I glanced at it. Boy cries “wolf,” has a few laughs. I forget how it ends.

  8. That was in the episode “Marge gets a job”, which I watched on DVD just recently. There was another “wolf” reference earlier in the episode, but I would have to watch it again to be able to quote it accurately. Bart does get attacked by a wolf near the end.

  9. Not to mention “Little Red Riding Hood”, in which the wolf manages to swallow both her and the grandmother so completely that the hunter can extract them unhurt (“fairy tale physics”). Just another reason for Iring Fetscher’s call to “rehabilitate the wolf”.

    P.S. On an equally amusing note:

    P.S. And as for “Peter“:

  10. Related to Kilby’s post of Peanuts – When I was a child it does seem to me that there were a lot of Peter and Wolf concerts in person and on TV – but that was in the 1950s to early 60s – and it may just be that I think so based on having a 33rpm record of it. And it is now running through my head!

  11. Meryl, if you go to the Sara Fishko radio piece about Peter and the Wolf (linked in an earlier comment, or I may remember to repost), she does a mix of many different narrators doing the spoken parts.

  12. There is a wonderful book (in German) by Iring Fetscher called
    “Wer hat Dornröschen wachgeküsst?” (literally “Who woke
    Sleeping Beauty with a kiss?”), in which he “unravels” a number
    of traditional fairy tales to reveal the “original” motivation
    of the stories. Two of the most amusing sections deal with the
    “Rehabilitation of the Wolf” and “Sexual Problems of Princesses“.

    Cheech & Chong have an interesting (and Parental Advisory & NSFW etc) take on the wakening of a sleeping princess..

  13. Mitch4 – Thank you.

    The original album should be in our collection of vinyl – unless my sister walked off it when she married and left home – before I did.

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