The Wolf and the Crane

A wolf swallowed a bone which got stuck in his throat. The pain was excruciating, so the wolf started looking for someone who could be induced to remove the accursed thing in exchange for a reward. The wolf asked each of the animals if they would help him and finally the crane was convinced by the wolf’s solemn promises. Trusting her long beak to the wolf’s gaping maw, the crane carried out the dangerous cure. Yet when the crane demanded the promised reward, the wolf simply said, ‘You ungrateful creature! You extracted your head unharmed from my mouth and still you ask for a reward?’

If you think a scoundrel will reward you for a job well done, you are making two mistakes: first, you are helping someone who doesn’t deserve it, and second, you will be lucky to escape unharmed.

Perry Index 156. Photograph by Aaron Kather 2016.

Mark Twain's Study (Home)
The Mark Twain Archive
Trouble Begins at 8