The Boy who cried Wolf
To illustrate the idea that a liar will not be believed, even when telling the truth.
by Jude Scrutton
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To use this well-known story to illustrate the idea that a liar will not be believed, even when telling the truth.
Preparation and materials
- Practise the script with the children involved. You or another adult can be the Narrator, or ask a child who is a good reader (or split the role between a couple of children).
- Props: it might help if you have a phone for Milly to use, and a box of matches.
- You can find suggestions for the use of drama in assemblies in our resources section.
- Explain that today you will be investigating the meaning of a very well-known fable. If the children have heard one of these fable assemblies before, ask if they can name a very famous teller of fables.
Discuss Aesop and who he was. Explain that most of his characters were animals with human characteristics. Can children name any of his fables (links with Literacy from Year 3+)?
Tell the children that the fable we are retelling today is unusual because it has a human as its central character. Explain that you are going to tell the original story and ask them if they can guess the moral - the meaning or message - of the fable.
- The Boy who cried Wolf
There was a Shepherd Boy who tended his sheep at the foot of a mountain near a dark forest. It was lonely for him, so he devised a plan to get a little company. He rushed down towards the village calling out 'Wolf! Wolf!' and the villagers came out to help him.
This pleased the boy so much that a few days afterwards he tried the same trick, and again the villagers came to his help.
Shortly after this a Wolf did actually come out from the forest. The boy cried out 'Wolf! Wolf!' still louder than before. But this time the villagers, who had been fooled twice before, thought the boy was again lying, and nobody came to his aid. So the Wolf stole many of the sheep from the boy's flock.
- Ask the children if they can guess the meaning of the story. Direct children to thinking about the importance of telling the truth at all times and what happens if they become known as a liar.
Explain that now they are going to see a modern version of the story. Introduce the main characters.
- The Script
Narrator: Milly lived with her Nan because both her parents had died when she was still a baby. As she grew up, she realized that she could get whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. She was spoiled and by the age of 14 she was quite a handful. Her Nan had recently made friends with a neighbour and had started going out without Milly a lot more than she used to.
Milly: Nan, I don't want you to go to Bingo tonight. Can't you stay here?
Nan: Sorry, Milly. Wednesday night's my night. Here you are, here's five pounds. Pop to the video shop and get out whatever you want. Invite Julie round. I'll be back at 11 o'clock.
Narrator: Milly was not enjoying the video she had chosen. Julie hadn't wanted to come round. Milly wanted Nan to come back so they could play Monopoly. She decided that she was going to get Nan back home, no matter what she had to say. She went to the phone and dialled Nan's mobile number.
Nan: Hello! Is that you, Milly? Is everything OK?
Milly: Nan, come home quick! I've broken my foot!
Narrator: Nan rushed home. She phoned the doctor, who came round straight away. But the doctor simply said that there was nothing wrong and that Milly must have imagined it.
Nan: Milly, I am very angry with you.
Narrator: The next week, Nan went to Bingo again and gave Milly money for a video and a pizza for her and her friend Julie. But again Julie said she could not come round. In actual fact, Julie no longer liked Milly because she always lied and got her into trouble. Again Milly decided to get Nan to come home early.
Milly: Nan, I'm really sorry, but the next-door neighbours have been playing football and the ball has smashed through our lounge window!
Narrator: Nan did not know whether to believe Milly or not, but she thought that she would have to go back - just in case. But when she arrived to see that none of her windows had been broken she was very angry - she couldn't believe that Milly had lied to her again and made her miss her Bingo night.
Milly: I'm sorry, Nan, I was missing you!
Narrator: The next week Nan was determined to go to Bingo, so she arranged for Milly to have some friends from school over. She got out a video of Harry Potter and ordered some pizzas to entertain them while she was away.
Milly (holding up a box of matches): Look what I've got!
Narrator: The children started playing with the matches, doing some dangerous tricks and daring each other to take risks - until someone dropped a burning match onto the carpet. A fire broke out and the children ran from the house. One of Milly's neighbours called the fire brigade and Milly went to a phone box and phoned Nan.
Milly: Nan, come quick! There's a fire and the fire brigade are coming!
Narrator: Nan turned off her mobile. She didn't believe Milly - after all, she always lied.
- Ask the children to identify the similar moral to the original story. Point out the dangers of playing with matches. Ask the children to think about the consequences of lies. Next time they think about telling one - think about what could happen.
Time for reflection
A lie is just fun,
A lie's just a joke,
A lie can make me look better than I really am.
I don't lie that much,
Not all that much,
So how come no one believes me any more?
How come people don't want to be my friend?
Lord, I know it's not clever to lie,
Please help me to remember that.
Help me to remember when it really matters,
When I'm about to tell a lie.
'Make us worthy, Lord' (Come and Praise, 94)