Monday, March 1, 2010

Lamb and Wolf- A Turkish Fable

 Here is the fifth in our series of Turkish fables. I have left off the moral of the fable. In general, the meanings are either clear or open to your own interpretation. All of the fables I have submitted come from an anthology of pre-Republic Ottoman literature collected in a book by Epiphanius Wilson. HERE is a link at Google Books.

The Lamb and The Wolf

A tender lamb was in the fold, when suddenly a Wolf Wolf1 (1) entered for the purpose of devouring her.

Throwing herself at the feet of the Wolf, she said, weeping: ‘God has put me in your power; sound therefore your horn in order to grant me one moment’s delight; my desires will then be perfectly satisfied, for my parents have told me that the race of wolves are the best players on the horn.”

The wolf heard this silly proposal and set himself to cry out with all his might and main; when lo and behold, the dogs were waked up and attacked him.

He took to flight, and did not stop until he reached a hill, where he said, lamenting: “I certainly deserve this mishap, for who has made me a musician, when I have never been anything but a butcher?”


  1. Interesting. It's similar to that Aesop fable where an animal convinces a crow to sing her beautiful song so she'll drop the bit of food she's holding...

  2. I guess it shouldn't be surprising if some of the morals don't overlap somewhat. Human nature being what it is. Of course, Aesop was probably born in this area anyway. Some say he was born on the Greek island of Samos, others say in Thrace on the Black Sea. In any case, fables are especially easy to pass down from generation to generation.
    What exactly is the moral of this tale? Vanity? or remaining at one's station in life?

  3. Hmmm. Good question. All of those, I think. Also these fables have a theme about a seemingly weak/stupid creature being cleverer than the supposedly strong/clever creature. So maybe not so much a moral as a reminder that you can use flattery as a weapon against the vain and stupid? Depends on the angle, I guess. I like that Native American (and from many other cultures too) fable where the girl rescues the snake and the snake bites the girl. She asks why, and he says, "Because I'm a snake!" Very straightforward and complex at the same time.


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