Happy New Year! I’m not going to get into a whole big post about turning over a new leaf for 2022 or a list of goals or plans for 2022. There won’t be a theme or a color or a road map or even a knitting goal.
What I’d like to do is revisit a post I wrote in Feb 2021 about lies. Here is the link to refresh your memory. I’ll be revisiting old posts when it feels necessary. The passage of time opens our eyes and let’s us see things differently.
In that post I mentioned in passing the story of the boy who cried wolf. It’s been a lot of years since I told this story and way more years since it was told to me. I do still have a very strong memory of my grandmother telling me the story. The lesson is fresh, as fresh as the day it was taught. I won’t tell it as well as she did but you’ll get the idea.
Once upon a time there was a boy who was tasked with tending the sheep for his village. He had been instructed to call for the villagers if a wolf appeared and was going attack the sheep. The boy was out in the field with the sheep and feeling a little bored so he called out to the villagers that a wolf was coming for the sheep. The villagers came running with their weapons to defend the sheep but when they arrived there was no wolf. The villagers told the boy not to call them again unless there was a wolf. A bit later the boy called to the villagers again and when they arrived there was no wolf. They again said don’t call unless there is a wolf. Some time passed and the boy saw a wolf coming over the hill into the field where the sheep were grazing. He called “wolf, wolf!” to the villagers but they ignored him. The wolf killed and dragged off a sheep. Finally one of the villagers came to see what the boy was yelling about. The boy said a wolf had taken a sheep. The villager said how could we know that you were telling the truth if you had lied twice before. We all paid a price for your lies particularly the innocent sheep. The boy said he would not lie again.
This is such a simple story with a profound lesson that is applicable in every age to every person in every situation: once credibility is lost it is very difficult to regain.
A lesson I didn’t get at age 4 or 5 when this story was told to me was the part about the sheep. I didn’t understand at the time the symbolism of the sheep. The innocent sheep who is at the mercy of both the wolf and the boy who lied. We understand the wolf. It’s exactly what it appears to be. It is the enemy of the sheep. But the boy is different. He’s tasked with protecting the sheep. The boy is a friend to the sheep. The sheep trust the boy. But he betrays them and one pays the price for that betrayal.
So many lessons in one simple story told to me so many years ago and still applicable every single day in so many situations.