USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘lying’
Childhood
general
Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Boy Who Cried Wolf- Children Story

Main piece: 

“There was a boy who was a shepherd. The boy would get very bored watching the sheep all day, so he decided to yell out that there was a wolf amongst the sheep one day. All the villagers came in a hurry to find out that there was no wolf. The next day the shepherd boy did it again. And the villagers came running, only to find that once again there was no wolf. On the third day, the shepherd boy was watching the sheep, and a wolf came. The boy yelled out to the villagers, ‘there is a wolf! Help! there is a wolf!’ but this time no one believed him, and the wolf ate all of his sheep.”

Context and Analysis:

My informant is a 21-year-old female. I asked her to narrate to me a commonly known story she is familiar with. The informant narrated to me the story of the “Boy Who Cried, Wolf.” She claims this was a bedtime story told to her when she was a child. My informant believes the message of this story is that “if you lie people will catch on to it and then they will not believe anything you say ever, even if it is true.”

I agree with my informant’s interpretation of the story. The story of The Boy Who Cried wolf is often used to teach children about the dangers of lying. The story follows the plot of a boy playing around with the kindness of the village and the sense of community that made them reach out to help when the boy was in danger. Because of this when the boy was actually in danger, the villagers no longer believed him and did not come out to help. I think this story also emphasizes the fragility of community awareness and support. Most communities are known for caring for one another and wanting to help other members of that community, however, this bond takes work on both sides. Each member of the community must participate in making it strong. By tricking the village, the boy broke this bond and therefore he was excluded from the community. I think many times people take these communities for granted and do not put in what they are getting from it. This story does not just warn about the dangers of lying, but also about preserving the trust within a community.

I think the use of three is also important to note as it is a prominent number in storytelling. The boy cries out to the villagers three times. Having a trio creates a pattern making the story more memorable and emphasizes an idea. 

Proverbs

Lying & Stealing Proverb

Because most proverbs I know of tend to be incredibly well known and overstated in America, I decided to search online for unusual proverbs I would not recognize and research those proverbs’ meaning and origins. I found the most unique one to have Slovenian origins.

Proverb:

Lying a little and stealing a little will get you nicely through the world.

Translation:

Perhaps synonymous with “rules are made to be broken,” this proverb suggests that a little white lie and a little harmless stealing will lead to a smoother, easier life than avoiding these inevitabilities at all cost.

Context:

Originating in Slovenia, I discovered this proverb on the website ExpatFocus, on a page entitled “10 Unusual Proverbs from Around the World.”

Analysis:

I think this proverb is distinctly intriguing because it slightly contradicts the essential purpose of proverbs: to give resounding advice that suggests universal truths of the world. Instead, this proverb is almost meant to not be taken too seriously because it advocates criminal activity. It also holds a considerable amount of humor, in my opinion, which also could be argued it is a mix between a proverb and a folk joke. Typically, I do not come across humorous proverbs, so this one stood out to me because it is unique and incomparable to others.

 

Website Citation: For more references, visit the URL for other similarly unusual and unique proverbs with specified explanations and origins: https://www.expatfocus.com/c/aid=2408/articles/general/10-unusual-proverbs-from-around-the-world/

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