This parable was reprinted with permission from  Democratic Underground . com


Once upon a time there was a boy who bit sheep.

“Wolf!” the boy cried, when shepherds saw the toothmarks.

The town sheriff investigated. He talked to a wolf biologist. She told him there were no wolves in the area, and the bite marks were human anyway. He talked to an eyewitness. He talked to a dentist, who provided a cast of the boy’s teeth. He obtained the boy’s diary, in which was written “I like biting sheep.”

The sheriff made his report. “The boy has been biting your sheep,” he told the shepherds. “There’s something seriously wrong with that boy.”

Reynard, the fox, did not like this. The boy had been letting him bite the sheep too. If the townsfolk knew about the boy, there’d be no more sheep chewing for Reynard.

“The boy is not biting sheep,” the fox told townsfolk. “But if he were, there’d be nothing wrong with it.”

“The real story,” the fox added, “is the unfair investigation by the sheriff. He hates the town. He’s part of the deep township.”

Some townsfolk believed the fox’s news.

“The sheriff is just angry!” they shouted. “Angry, angry, ANGRY!”

They gathered their pitchforks and ran the sheriff out of town.

Then the boy started biting other children.

“The boy is not biting other children,” the fox told townsfolk. “That’s fake news.”

“But,” the fox added, “If he were, there’d be nothing wrong with it.”

The boy learned that he could bite newcomers to the town.

“The boy is not biting newcomers,” the fox told townsfolk. “But if he were, there’d be nothing wrong with it. It would be their own fault, for coming to our town.”

The boy began biting more people. Still some townsfolk listened to the fox. They believed in the boy.

Bite marks became common. Townsfolk could see their neighbors’ injuries.

“Your neighbors bit themselves,” the fox told his followers. “They’re crisis actors. They don’t love the town.”

Now the boy who bit sheep and cried wolf is mayor. And now neighbor hates neighbor. And now we all have bite marks.