The Boy Who Cried Wolf

July 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm (Fairy Tales, Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Once upon a time there was a Newspaper man who married a Newspaper woman and they had 7 children. The oldest was named Jack, and he too became a newspaper man, writing the hard-hitting investigative  stories for his father’s paper. The second oldest was named Lucy and she too became a newspaper woman, writing the advice columns. The third child was named Rick, and he became a lumberjack, cutting down trees to be made into newspaper. The fourth child was named Tom; he was not a newspaper man. The fifth child was named Justin, and he was not a newspaper man, but he was written about in the newspaper. The sixth child was named Pam, and she wrote the entertainment section for her father’s paper. The youngest child, the seventh, was named Ed, and he did the weather.

Poor Tom, the middlest of the middle children, did not fit in. He had nothing to do with running his Father’s paper. He had tried delivering the paper, but he had gotten lost, he had tried writing for the paper, but he couldn’t engage the reader, he tried copy editing for his mother (the chief editor), but he couldn’t spell, he even tried doing the weather, but he was always wrong. And so Tom was not a newspaper man, and his family didn’t know how to relate to him.

Because Tom was so unlike his family, they tended to forget about him. He would come home a little late from school, and they would have already eaten dinner, and cleaned it up, having forgotten to save anything for Tom. He would bring home a report card, and proudly show his mother, and she would say “Oh, that’s nice, Tim. But your brothers all got straight A’s, don’t you think you could work harder?” Tom would walk away dejectedly, not even bothering to remind his mother that his name was Tom, not Tim.

This sort of thing went on for years, then finally, Tom saw a sign that said “Help Wanted” hanging on the gate to the sheep pasture. Tom loved sheep more than anything in the world. So he went through the gate, found the farmer, and applied for the job. He got it (probably because no one else in the town would take the job), and he ran home to tell his father.

“Father! Father! I got a job!” cried Tom excitedly.

“That’s nice. Where?”

“At old McDonald’s farm. As a shepherd.”

“What do you want to work with sheep for? We Beibers are Newspaper men, not Farmers! You should work for the newspaper! There must be something you can do! Anne, isn’t there something your son can do in the family business?” His father shouted over to his wife.

“There is nothing left for him to try. He failed at everything. Did you know that he got lost in our town? There are only three streets! And what is this business about ‘your son?’ If anything he gets his sense of direction from you!”

Tom walked away, head down, as his parents argued over who was to blame for Tom’s continued failure. The fight would soon morph into an argument about who was responsible for the success of their other children. He had been so proud of getting a job, and he had hoped his father would be proud too. But he was wrong. Again. The only attention he ever got was brief, and negative. If only there was a way to keep the attention on him, rather than his failures.

One day, while sitting out on a hillside watching his new charges frolic in the grass, Tom pondered what he could do to make his family realize that sheep are important. But he knew his father only thought something was important if it involved the newspaper. Suddenly, Tom let out a whoop of joy!

“I know! If I can find something newsworthy about sheep, then Father will have to care about them too!”

But what was newsworthy about sheep? They were soft, and cuddly, and very sweet. They made such cute noises, and made nice friends, but none of that was really headline worthy.

That night, Tom tried telling his father about the single exciting thing that had happened to him that day: “Father.”

“Yes, Tom?” His father replied, never taking his eyes off the proof for the next day’s paper.

“A bird chased the sheep today. It was a big bird, like a hawk.”

“Hmm, that’s nice.” Tom saw that his father was not paying any attention, and he had to add some excitement.

“But father, the bird attacked –”

“A lamb?!” His father cut in. “Now that is a story: ‘Giant Bird menaces McDonald’s sheep.’ Good work son, we’ll made a paper man out of you yet!” With that he rushed off to write the not quite true story.

Tom felt a rush of inspiration. All he had to do was lie! That was easy. He could have a story for his father every day!

And so the next day when Tom came home, he told his father a lie about the snake that had strangled one of the ewes.

And the following day he told his father about the fox that had battled a ram.

Each day the lies grew larger, until Tom told his father about the Wolf that had stalked the sheep. This drew the biggest reaction of all, his whole family gathered around to hear the tale, and the next day the villagers fortified their homes against wolves.

Tom was basking in the glory of popularity, and did not want to lose that feeling, so the next day he told his father that he had single-handedly fought a bear to protect his sheep. Tom had obviously not fought anything that day, let alone a bear, and so his father went to check the story with Farmer McDonald.

Not only did McDonald tell Mr. Beiber that there was never a bear on his farm, but none of his sheep had been harmed in any way for the past few months.

The next day the headlines were not quite what Tom had expected:

“Tom the Shepherd a Liar: no sheep attacked in months.”

Tom watched the sheep as usual that day, but this time, one of the sheep got very sick. It was his favorite sheep, Fuzzybottom, who had taken ill. Tom rushed to the village, but no one would listen when he told them that he needed help to save the sheep. “You lie little Tom, why should we belive you?” said person after person. Finally, a very dejected Tom returned to the hills to wait for dear Fuzzybottom’s death.

That night things returned to normal in the Beiber home: Justin sang and was mobbed by gangs of pre-teen girls, Pam wrote about Justin’s singing, Lucy wrote advice, Rick made the paper, Ed did the weather, Jack investigated, and Tom was thoroughly ignored.

The End

Want to read the real thing? Check out: http://www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/stories/boy.html

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2 Comments

  1. Brenda said,

    Fuzzybottom? Love it!! Now I kind of want a sheep . . .

  2. Cecily said,

    Such a sad ending. I wanted Tom to be something.

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