Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
283. THE WOLF AND THE NURSE
Perry 158 (Babrius
There was a rustic nurse whose baby kept on crying, so she made the following
threat: 'Be quiet, or else I will throw you to the wolf!' A wolf heard
this and took the woman's words literally, so he sat there, waiting as
if dinner were about to be served. At evening time the baby finally fell
asleep, so the wolf went away hungry, his mouth gaping open, after having
waited with high hopes for something that was never going to happen. When
he got home, the she-wolf asked him, 'Why have you come back home without
bringing anything? You always used to bring something with you!' The wolf
said in reply, 'How could it be otherwise, since I believed the words
of a woman?'
Note: The 'wolf who gaped like a fool' or the 'gaping wolf' was a proverbial
figure in ancient Greece (e.g., Aristophanes,
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.