Despite the gorgeous weather today, we’ve all been a little on the grumpy side; each of us nursing our own black cloud of irritation. Things that normally wash over us, barely dimming our sparkle, today have caused major upset and the most irritating thing of all is that the cause of this family foul mood can not be addressed. If it could, believe us we would!
As so often happens in our day to day living, external influences often mirror incidents we have already had to confront, deal with and step over in the normal rhythm of our Union Homestead existence. So it was that over the course of last weekend, Farm Girl stepped up a certain behaviour that required the input of dear old Aesop (a Greek fabulist who may or may not have existed around 600BC). The behaviour was an irritating whine whenever The Farmer was within 3 metres of her; the fable: The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
In a nutshell, for those who grew up in households that utilised time out, naughty steps or the like rather than the tedious retelling of fables or (general consensus puts this as even worse) anecdotes from the discipliner’s own childhood retold whilst affecting the I’m so very disappointed face, it goes like this:
Once upon a time, when children didn’t get to go to school and instead had to hold down full time jobs for no recompense, there was a boy whose occupation as shepherd meant he had take all the goats (here Aesop and the Homestead differ, but sheep/goats; it’s incidental) belonging to his village in the valley to the hills, to graze. Well, this wasn’t exactly laugh a minute and the boy would get rather bored. One day as he was mindlessly watching the villagers bustle about their own jobs down in the valley, he had an idea of how to spice his day up a bit. Standing up and waving his arms he shouted; “Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is eating the goats!” That got things happening! Up the hill panted all the villagers, only to be met by the boy laughing uproariously because, of course, there was no wolf. You can see where this is going can’t you? His fellow villagers were mighty annoyed and let him know it, but that didn’t stop him doing the exact same thing the next day, and the one after that too. By now the villagers were ropeable! Of course, on the fourth day what should come padding over the crest of the hill as the shepherd boy lay chewing on a blade of grass and keeping one eye on his charges but the very thing he’d been yelling about: a wolf. “Wolf! Wolf!,” he yelled, but no one in the village even stopped what they were doing. “Wolf!” He screamed, but the villagers just shook their heads, raised their eyebrows and shrugged at his stupidity. No one sprinted up the hill to help him and so the wolf was free to enjoy goats for tea and there was no more milk or cheese for the village for the foreseeable future.
The effect it had on Farm Girl is that she enlisted The Farmer’s help to record her acting out the fable (complete with wolf figurine binder-twined to the apple tree) so the fable had the desired effect: peace was restored and whining ceased.
The bored shepherd tends his flock.
Leia seems rather unperturbed by the appearance of a real-life wolf (see tree base) but Farm Girl takes matters into her own hands and, seeing the villagers not coming to their aid, sets about the wolf with a bean stake.
This morning, EARLY this morning (we’re talking pre 5 am), The Bean Counter’s cell phone rung. Those of the family not woken by The Clash spiritedly belting out I Fought the Law certainly were by the time the call was terminated. The Bean Counter is not one given to terseness. It didn’t take that much imagination to work it out: it was Michael crying his version of “Wolf”. Michael’s shift starts at 6am, outside it was blowing a bit of a gale, Michael’s form of transport is push-bike, this morning, like most mornings where the weather is unfavourable, Michael had been suddenly struck by a dreadful bug.
For The Bean Counter, this equates to a hurried shower, rushed breakfast, and blurry eyed drive to fill the Michael sized gap in his staff; the rest of us tend to seethe in indignation rendering sleep over and done with for the day.
It’s very, very petty of us, but over morning coffee it was agreed that we would be very satisfied if that bug had indeed appeared, wolf-like, on Michael’s horizon.
Failing that, a real life wolf would work at a pinch.
5 thoughts on “Crying Wolf”
Very annoying indeed and so thoughtless. I liked the way you solved the Farm Girl’s behaviour.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This parenting lark can be a bit of a lottery 🙂
I don’t know what caused the retelling of the fable, but I must say I like it a lot better in NZ vernacular. And it is absolutely no surprise to me that Farm Girl would turn the end of the story around in her remake of the movie…of COURSE she would save the goats. She’s got gumption. Maybe Bean Counter should turn off the ringer on his phone on days when the weather is likely to make cycling difficult…
Farm Girl is the sort of person you always want on your side when the wolf comes calling!
Tempting to turn that blimmin’ phone off permanently, unfortunately “the man” who puts the bread on our table pays for The Bean Counter to be at the ready 24/7.
The pleasures of retirement sometimes outweigh the pains of old age, especially when reading stories of parenting and work. Keep your pecker up and soldier on.