A Dog, A Sheep, and A Wolf

A Dog brought court action against a Sheep for wheat borrowed but not returned. Three false witnesses testified and the Sheep lost but did nothing wrong.

Justice demands a fair court hearing.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection (The Dog and The Sheep)

The Dog sued the Sheep for a debt; the Kite and the Wolf were the judges, and the Fox and the Vulture gave evidence. Judgment was given in favour of the plaintiff, and debt, costs, and expenses of witnesses were all paid out of the body of the poor Sheep.

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall (The Dog and the Sheep)

Croxall - Dog and SheetTHE Dog sued the Sheep for a debt, of which the Kite and the Wolf were to be judges: they, without debating long upon the matter, or making tiny scruple for want of evidence, gave sentence for the plaintiff; who immediately tore the poor Sheep in pieces, and divided the spoil with the unjust judges.


Whittingham - Dog and Sheep

C. Whittingham (1814)

Deplorable are the times, when open, barefaced villany is protected and encouraged, when innocence is obnoxious, honesty contemptible, and it is reckoned criminal to espouse the cause of virtue. Men originally entered into covenants and civil compacts with each other for the promotion of their happiness aud well-being, for the establishment of justice and public peace. How comes it then that they look stupidly on, and tamely acquiesce when wicked men pervert this end, and establish an arbitrary tyranny of iheir own, upon the foundation of fraud arid oppression? Among beasts, who are incapable of being civilised by social laws, it is no strange thing to see innocent, helpless sheep fall a prey to dogs, wolves, aud kites: but it is amazing how mankind could ever sink down to such a low degree of base cowardice, as to suitor some of the worst of their species to usurp a power over them, to supersede the righteous laws of good government, and to exercise all kinds of injustice and hardship, in gratifying their own vicious lusts. Wherever such enormities are practised, it is when a few rapacious statesmen combine together to get and secure the power in their own hands, and agree to divide the spoils among themselves. For, as long as the cause is to be tried only among themselves, no question but they will always vouch for each other. But, at the same time, it is hard to determine which resemble brutes most, they in acting, or the people ill suffering them to act their vile selfish schemes.

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

A dog brought an action of the case against a sheep, for some certain measures of wheat, that he had lent him. The plaintiff prov’d the debt by three positive witnesses, the wolf, the kite, and the vultur, (testes probi and legales). The defendent was cast into costs and damages, and forc’d to sell the wool off his back to satisfie the creditor.


‘Tis not a straw matter whether the main cause be right or wrong, or the charge true or false; where the bench, jury and witnesses are in a conspiracy against the pris’ner.

1001Ovis et Canis Calumniosus

Canis calumniosus dixit ad ovem, “Debes mihi reddere panem quem dederam mutuo.” Contendebant autem; ovis dicebat numquam ab illo panem se accepisse. Cum ante iudicem venissent, canis dixisse fertur habere testes. Introductus lupus ait, “Scio panem canis commodatum ovi.” Introductus milvus dixit, “Me coram accepit.” Accipiter introiens ait, “Negas tu quod accepisti?” Victa ovis a tribus falsis testibus, artius exigitur; coacta vero extractam lanam suam vendidit ut quod non acceperat redderet.

Perry #478