Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
38. THE WOLF AND THE SHEPHERD
Perry 234 (Chambry
A wolf followed along after a flock of sheep without doing them any harm.
At first the shepherd kept his eye on the wolf as a potential enemy to
the flock and never let him out of his sight. But as the wolf continued
to accompany the shepherd and did not make any kind of attempt to raid
the flock, the shepherd eventually began to regard the wolf more as a
guardian of the flock than as a threat. Then, when the shepherd happened
to have to go to town, he commended the sheep to the wolf in his absence.
The wolf seized his chance and attacked the sheep, slaughtering most of
the flock. When the shepherd came back and saw that his flock had been
utterly destroyed, he said, 'It serves me right! How could I have ever
trusted my sheep to a wolf?'
The same is true of people: if you entrust your bank deposits to greedy
men, you are certain to get robbed.
Note: 'Leaving the sheep to be watched by the wolves' was already a
Roman proverb (e.g., Plautus,
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.