The Wolf and the Crane

~ Stefan Horota’s sculpture of the fable in Berlin’s Treptower Park, 1968

A Wolf devoured his prey so ravenously that a bone got stuck in his throat, and in extreme agony, he ran and howled throughout the forest, beseeching every animal he met to pull out the bone. He even offered a generous reward to anyone who succeeded in pulling it out. Moved by his pleas as well as the prospect of the money, a crane ventured her long neck down the wolf’s throat and drew out the bone. She then modestly asked for the promised reward, but the wolf just grinned and bared his teeth.

“Ungrateful creature!” he replied with seeming indignation. “How dare you ask for any other reward than your life? After all, you’re among the very few who can say that you’ve put your head into the jaws of a wolf and were permitted to draw it out in safety.”

Gratitude and greed go not together. Expect no reward when you serve the wicked and cunning.

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