The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: A Tale about Appearances
. Reader's Digest Young Families . Pleasantville, NY
PZ8.2.F368 Wolf 2006 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This story represents a transformation of the traditional Aesopic fable. First, this version develops the beginning by inserting three phases taken from two fairy tales and a fable. This wolf sees Little Red walking along the path but remembers the bad experience arising out of his last encounter with her. He next encounters three little pigs but remembers the scorched tale he got from his encounter with them. In his third phase he comes upon a shepherd boy who sees him and cries Wolf! His brother mutters Not again, and his parents come and comfort the boy, saying perhaps he is lonely and needs company. His mother offers him a glass of milk! When it seems that we are ready for the usual fable, there is a brilliant narrative turn. Instead of donning a skin, the wolf has hid in a pile of fleece and gets the bright idea of smearing himself with honey and letting fleece stick all over his body. Two illustrations, both repeated, mark this moment and the result. The two pictures occur not only during the story but on the cover and title-page, respectively. This story does not then go the usual route of the fable, according to which the disguised wolf gets into the pen but is seized by the shepherd as his evening meal. Rather the sheep themselves reject this intruder. A ram butts him into brambles, which remove his disguise. Both the bees and the townsfolk come after him. He barely escapes and returns to eating nuts, berries, and leaves. The story gives witness to the creativity of the fable tradition.