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Payne: The Shepherd and the Thief

[Go back to The Foxes and the Wolf]

There was once a shepherd, who fed a flock of sheep in the desert and kept strait watch over them. One night, there came to him a thief thinking to steal some of his flock and finding him assiduous in guarding them, sleeping
not by night neither relaxing in his vigilance by day, prowled about him all night, but could get nothing of him. So, when he was weary of striving, he betook himself to [another part of] the desert and trapping a lion, skinned him and stuffed his hide with straw; after which he carried it to a high place, where the shepherd might see it and be assured thereof, and set it up there. Then he went up to the shepherd and said to him, "Yonder lion hath sent me to demand his supper of these sheep." "Where is the lion?" asked the shepherd; and the thief answered, "Lift thine eyes: there he stands."

The shepherd raised his eyes and seeing the stuffed hide, deemed it a very lion and was mightily affrighted; so he said to the thief, "O my brother, take what thou wilt. I will not anywise gainsay thee." So the thief took what he would of the sheep and redoubled in avidity by reason of the excess of the shepherd's affright. Accordingly, every little while, he would go to him and frighten him, saying, "The lion hath need of this and that, and his intent is to do thus and thus," and take what he would of the sheep; and he stinted not to do thus with him, till he had wasted the most part of his flock. This, O king,' added the favourite, 'I tell thee but that thou suffer not the grandees of thy realm to be deluded by thy mildness and easiness of temper and presume on thee; and in sound judgment their death were better than that they deal thus with thee.' Quoth the king, 'I accept this thine admonition and will not go hearken to their counsel neither go out unto them...

[Resume King Jelyaad of Hind and His Vizier Shimas: Whereafter Ensueth the History of King Wird Khan, Son of King Jelyaad, With His Women and Viziers]

Payne, John (1842-1916). The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night. London. 1901. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version. Wollamshram Vol. V. Wollamshram Vol. VI. Wollamshram Vol. VII. Wollamshram Vol. VIII. Wollamshram Vol. IX. Please consult the Wollamshram edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version.

1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM

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