The Ram and the Goat

A peasant said to his wife one day: “Let’s drive away our ram and our goat; they eat a lot and are no use to us,” and he turned them out. They took a bag with them and set out early in the morning to look for a place where they could settle. As they walked along, they found a wolf’s head lying on thc ground; the goat picked it up and put it into their bag.

In the evening they saw the light of a bonfire at the edge of the forest and thought they might get some supper there. But when they came near, they found three wolves sitting around the fire, cooking porridge. It was too late to draw back, so the ram and the goat wished the wolves good evening and asked if they might join them. “Yes,” answered the wolves, “and when we have eaten our porridge, we’ll eat you for our second course.”

The ram trembled with fear, but the goat put a bold face on it and said: “Well, meanwhile let’s have supper. Give me a wolf’s head, brother ram.”

The ram drew the wolf’s head out of the bag.

“No,” said the goat, “find a bigger one.”

The ram put the head back into the bag and pulled it out again.

“No,” said the goat, “this one is too small, get another. There are plenty to choose from.”

When the wolves heard this, they felt distinctly uneasy; they had never before seen a ram with a bagful of wolves’ heads slung over his shoulder. One of the wolves said: “I think I’ll go and gather some dry sticks—the fire doesn’t seem to burn well,” and off he went to the forest.

After a time the second wolf said: “He is a long time gathering those sticks, I’d better go and help him”—and he also went away.

“I wonder what those two are doing,” said the third wolf. “I’ll go and tell them to hurry up”—and he, too, made for the forest...

The goat and the ram were very glad to be left alone. They ate the wolves’ porridge and decided to spend the night in a tree for safety. They helped each other to climb up among the branches and went to sleep.

When the three wolves met together in the forest, they felt rather foolish at having run away from a goat and a ram. “They couldn’t have done anything to the three of us,” they said. “Let’s go and fight them.”

They soon found the tree in which the goat and the ram had taken shelter, and settled under it waiting for them to come down. As soon as it was light, the ram woke up and the first thing he saw was the three wolves snapping their teeth at him. He trembled at the sight and, losing his balance, fell right on top of the big wolf nearest to the tree. The goat saw what had happened and called out from his branch: “That’s right! Bring me the biggest!”

The wolf was so frightened when he heard this that he jumped up and ran away as fast as his legs would carry him, and his two comrades followed suit.


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