Early every morning, a shepherd took his flock of sheep out in the fields to graze. He would sit by watching – as the sheep lazily munched on fresh grass. After they had eaten, he would round them up and walk back home. Sometimes while watching his flock, he would curl up in a quiet corner and go off to sleep.
One day, the shepherd caught a wolf which had strayed into the field, eyeing his sheep. However, it was some distance away and it made no effort to come nearer. The shepherd at first stood on guard against the wolf, as against an enemy, and kept a strict watch over its movements.
But the wolf did not do anything. When the shepherd herded the sheep and headed home with his flock, the wolf quietly followed them at a distance.
This continued for a while. The shepherd would find the wolf waiting at the edge of the field every morning. But it made not the slightest effort to seize the sheep and would just watch. So, by and by, the shepherd let down his guard a bit. A few days later, he began to actually look forward to the wolf’s presence.
The wolf, who generally sat on a large piece of rock, looked like a big sheep dog from afar. The shepherd thought that other wild animals or mischief-makers would be scared of the ‘dog"s presence and not harm his flock while it was around.
Now, he began to look upon the wolf as a guardian of his flock. One day, in the middle of grazing his sheep, the shepherd was called back to home urgently. Leaving the sheep entirely in charge of the wolf, he left.
When he came back, what did he find? That the wolf had eaten most of his flock, with only a few sheep wandering about. Carcasses of the dead sheep lay around, everywhere.
The shepherd sat down in shock after witnessing the slaughter. “Serves me right,” he moaned to himself, “after all, I entrusted the welfare of my flock to a wolf.”