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The Boy who Cried Wolf

THE BOY WHO CRIED ‘WOLF!’ By Rob John

A young boy got a job with a shepherd. ‘Just keep your eyes open and look out for wolves,’ said the shepherd. ‘Wolves always try to eat my sheep. If you see one, ring this bell and shout out ‘Wolf..! Wolf..!’ Then we’ll come running with our guns. Can you do that, boy?’ ‘Don’t you worry Mr Shepherd,’ said the boy. ‘Your sheep are safe with me.’

The boy took the sheep up into the hills and sat down with his bell. ‘Don’t worry sheep,’ he said. ‘I’m here now. I’m in charge. You’ll be safe with me.’ All morning the boy sat in the grass looking for wolves. ‘I expect they’re hiding,’ he said to the sheep. That night the boy took the sheep back to the village. The shepherd counted his sheep and was very pleased. ‘Well done,’ he said. ‘All safe. Same again tomorrow?’ ‘Yes sir!’ said the boy.

The next day was exactly the same as the first day. The boy took the sheep to the hills and sat down with his bell looking for wolves. There weren’t any. The boy noticed that the day felt very long. There was no-one to talk to...except sheep...and the sheep never talked back...they just ate grass...all day... By the fifth day the boy was very bored with his job. He looked up at the mountains. Not a wolf in sight. He looked down at the bell and he thought: ‘Maybe I could just pretend there’s a wolf.’ So he picked up his bell...and rang it, shouting: ‘Wolf! Wolf! Hurry! Come quickly! There’s a big old wolf coming!’

Soon he could hear the sound of people running up the hill. ‘Where is it?’ said the shepherd. ‘Gone,’ said the boy. ‘He just ran off.’ ‘Well done boy,’ said the shepherd. ‘You saved my sheep.’ The others all patted the boy on the head and said how brave he’d been and what a good job he’d done. The boy felt so proud and pleased with himself that he almost forgot that he’d made the whole thing up.

A few days later he was bored again. ‘The only good day I had in this job was when I pretended there was a wolf,’ he told the sheep. ‘And I rang my bell and all the people came and told me what a good job I’d done. It was brilliant.’ He looked at his bell. And that’s when he decided to do it again. He rang, he shouted and again the people came running. ‘Where is it?’ said the shepherd. ‘Gone,’ said the boy. ‘Ran away.’ This time they didn’t say ‘well done’ and pat him on the head. This time they looked at the boy like they didn’t believe him. ‘There was a wolf, honest,’ he said.

The people just walked back to the village without speaking. Now the boy felt really sorry for himself. ‘They know I rang my bell when there was no wolf.’ Then out of the corner of his eye he saw a movement - a big grey thing was coming down the hillside heading straight for the sheep. The boy rang his bell and he shouted. ‘Wolf! Wolf! Come quickly! There’s a wolf!’

Down in the village they heard the bell ring and just carried on working. ‘Little fool,’ said the shepherd. ‘Does he really think we’ll fall for that again?’ The boy kept ringing his bell. There were tears in his eyes as he watched the wolf make a meal of one of the shepherd’s fattest sheep. ‘I rang my bell but nobody came,’ the boy told the shepherd that evening. The shepherd nodded. ‘Nobody believes a liar...even when he’s speaking the truth.’

Questions:

  1. What was the boy’s job with the sheep? What was he supposed to do? 

  2. Why did the boy pretend that a wolf was attacking? 

  3. How did the shepherd and the villagers react the first time the boy does this trick? Why did the boy feel proud? 

  4. How did the shepherd and the villagers react the second time the boy played this trick? Why did they ‘walk back to the village without speaking’? 

  5. Why didn’t the shepherd and the villagers come when the wolf really appeared?

  6. Do you think the boy could show he was sorry for not being truthful?  What could he do, to get their trust back? 

 

Vocabulary Questions:

  1. (3rd paragraph)   ‘The boy noticed that the day felt very long.’  In this sentence, ‘noticed’ means:  (pick one verb)   watched    observed     cried  

  2. (3rd paragraph)   Which word tells us that the boy was fed up with just watching sheep all day? Pick one:    sheep      grass       bored  

  3. (6th paragraph)  ‘a big grey thing was coming down the hillside’ Find the two adjectives in this sentence.  (remember - adjectives tell us about a noun; ‘thing’ is a noun) Can you swap them for much better adjectives to describe the wolf?

  4. (Last paragraph)  1)  In the sentence  ‘Does he really think we’ll fall for that again?’ ‘we’ll’ is the contracted form of:    pick one   we are         we can    we will                2)   ‘one of the shepherd’s fattest sheep’  Why is there an apostrophe in shepherd’s?   

         Pick one answer:     there is more than one shepherd           the sheep belongs to               the shepherd there are lots of sheep

 

Answers

  1.  The boy’s job was to protect the sheep. He was meant to keep his eyes open for wolves, and to warn the villagers if there was danger.

  2. He’d been on the hillside on his own, with only sheep for company, for 5 days…. and he was bored. He wanted some excitement!

  3. The villagers thought he’d done the right thing, so they praised him. He felt pleased to be the centre of attention and to receive their thanks.

  4. This time, they suspected the boy was playing a trick. They weren’t sure, but there was enough doubt to make them feel uncomfortable. They may have felt embarrassed. They probably didn’t like admitting to each other that the boy might not be being truthful.

  5. When the boy called for them again so soon after the 2nd time they decided he must be playing his trick again. It was a long way to the hills and they didn’t want to waste their time again. So, they ignored him….

  6. This answer is up to you. If you were the shepherd, would you trust the boy again?  What would you say to him? Maybe you could give him a job in the village, where you could watch him, and if he did that well he might earn your trust again. 

Vocabulary Answers

  1.  ‘observed’ means the same as ‘noticed’ in this sentence

  2. ‘bored’ means fed up.

  3. The adjectives here are ‘big’ and ‘grey’, but you can think of lots more to describe a wolf:  huge/hairy/fearful/terrifying/monstrous/…..

  4. 1) The contracted form of ‘we will’ is we’ll   2) The fat sheep belongs to the shepherd, so we write ‘the shepherd’s …. sheep’ with an apostrophe before the s. If it was just a plural, there would be no apostrophe (example:  Lots of shepherds looked after the sheep.)   https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zvwwxnb/articles/zx9ydxs can help.  

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