1. challenges
  2. character
  3. character education
  4. commitment
  5. compassion
  6. conflict resolution
  7. contentment
  8. cooperation
  9. courage
  10. decision-making
  11. encouragement
  12. filial piety
  13. goals
  14. gratitude
  15. healthy families
  16. healthy lifestyle
  17. integrity
  18. kindness
  19. leadership
  20. life goals
  21. loyalty
  22. marriage
  23. meaningful life
  24. moral education
  25. perseverance
  26. politeness
  27. relationship skills
  28. religion
  29. respect
  30. responsibility
  31. self-awareness
  32. self-improvement
  33. service
  34. sexuality
  35. social awareness
  36. sportsmanship
  37. teamwork
  38. tolerance
  39. trustworthiness


There once was a boy who lived in a small mountain village. This boy had a job, and that was to guard the farmer’s sheep as they grazed in a meadow near a dark forest. Why do you think he had to guard the sheep? There were hungry wolves in the forest that wanted to eat the sheep. Every day the shepherd boy woke up early, and with his dog and shepherd’s pipe he’d lead the sheep to the meadow.

A shepherd’s job is pretty easy. That is, until a hungry wolf comes to visit! Luckily, the farmer who owned the sheep had a plan to help the shepherd boy protect the sheep from the hungry wolves. He told the boy that if a wolf appeared, the boy was to call out, “Wolf! Wolf!” and all the villagers would come and scare the wolf away. Neighbors in that village would always help each other in times of difficulty because it was a friendly village. They took care of each other.

Well, even though this boy was lucky to have a job, he complained that it was too boring. Day after day, it was the same thing: get up early, lead the sheep to the meadow, and sit there under a shady tree while the sheep grazed. Then at sunset, lead the sheep home. Sometimes he’d play his pipe, and other times he’d pet his dog. But he’d tire of this quickly.

“I’m so bored I can’t stand it!” he’d say out loud to the dog. “I wish something exciting would happen.”

One day the boy had an idea! “I know what to do!” he said. “I’ll pretend that a wolf is attacking the sheep, and I’ll cry out for help from the villagers. They’ll drop what they’re doing and come running up to the meadow to scare away the wolf! It will be so funny when they see there’s no wolf!”

The boy went ahead with his plan and cried out, “Wolf! Wolf!”

The loyal villagers dropped what they were doing and ran to the meadow to save the sheep. Of course, they found no wolf. They only found the shepherd boy rolling around on the grass, laughing. Do you think they were upset with the boy? Yes! They were mad! The naughty boy had tricked them.

The next day, the boy set out as usual toward the meadow with the herd, laughing to himself. “How clever I am,” he thought. “I tricked everyone!” He was not at all sorry for the trouble he caused the villagers. As he settled down under the shady tree, once again he grew bored.

“I think I’ll see if I can trick those villagers again!” he said. Again he cried, “Wolf! Wolf!” and again the villagers came up the hill to save the sheep. They couldn’t believe that the shepherd boy had tricked them again! The boy was scolded, and the angry villagers left. An hour later, as the boy was again laughing to himself about how clever he was, a really hungry wolf crept out of the dark woods! The boy looked up and saw the wolf sneaking up on one of the sheep.

He ran to scream to the villagers, “Wolf! Wolf!” Do you think they trusted him this time? Do you think they came to rescue the sheep? No. This time they decided not to believe the boy because he had already lied to them twice. That day the wolf ate many sheep while the boy watched, crying. Then the wolf, with a big, full belly, slipped back into the dark woods.


Cognitive: Students will understand that others won’t trust you if you lie. Lying is disrespectful behavior towards others.
Affective: Students will feel sad that the wolf ate the sheep and will realize that it was because of the boy’s lies and disrespect towards the villagers. They will want to tell the truth and be trusted.
Behavioral: Students will choose to be respectful of others and to tell the truth so they can be trusted.

Class Session 1

Read the story and lead the students in a discussion by asking the following questions:
  • Did this story have a happy or sad ending?
  • Why did the ending turn out to be sad?
  • Why did the boy choose to lie?
  • How did he feel after he lied the first time?
  • The second time?
  • The third time?
  • How did the villagers feel about the boy’s tricks?
  • Why didn’t the villagers come the third time?
  • Do you think the boy thought they would come, even though he had lied twice?
  • What did the boy learn at the end of the story?
  • Do you think he will still have his job or will the farmer find someone else?
  • What could the boy tell the farmer and the villagers at the end of the story?

Say, “Let’s remember this story when we are thinking about tricking someone else. We can ask ourselves how they will feel if we trick them. Will they think it’s funny? Let’s also remember this story when we are tempted to tell a lie. It’s always good to tell the truth, even if it’s difficult to do. Then people will trust you.”

Class Session 2

Play the tag game called “Shepherds, Sheep, and Wolves.” Choose one student to be the sheep. Then divide the rest of the group into two equal groups. One group is the “Shepherds”; the other is the “Wolves.” Have the two groups stand as far apart as possible in lines facing each other. The sheep stands in the middle. Each line counts off, starting in opposite directions. Call out a number. The opponents with that number run to the center to see who can snatch the sheep first. The object of the game is to see who can snatch the sheep and, holding hands with the sheep, get back to his or her side without being tagged by the one with the same number from the other side. The winning team, either shepherds or wolves, is the one who gets the most points. You score a point if you get back to your side with the sheep without being tagged. The other team scores a point if they tag you.

Discuss the game afterwards and especially talk about the fact that these shepherds were really trying hard to do their job, unlike the shepherd in the story! Lead the students in a discussion about lying. Ask them to imagine this: You were playing ball and the ball broke the neighbor’s window. What would you choose to do? Mention that they could choose to run away. But what if they got caught? Ask them how they think they would feel after running away even if they didn’t get caught. Explain, “You’d feel better if you told the truth and got it over with. People would trust you because you were honest and you told the truth when it was hard to do.”

Ask them to imagine this: Imagine you stole something from the store and your mom saw it and asked you where you got it. What would you choose to do? You could lie. But if you lied, how do you think you would feel? The boy in the story lied, but he didn’t feel badly about lying. Most people do feel bad about lying. I’m sure the boy felt badly about lying at the end of the story. You could choose to tell the truth. Your mom would be upset that you stole something, and she’d make you take it back and that would be hard to do, wouldn’t it? But she and the storeowner would probably respect you for telling the truth. I think you wouldn’t want to steal again because it really didn’t feel right and you got in trouble. I also think you would feel good about yourself because you did the right thing by telling the truth.

Ask the students to think of other times when they might have to choose to tell the truth or to lie.

From: Discovering the Real Me, Book 1. For book orders, click here.


A video of the Aesop Fable: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Similar stories in various cultures


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