The Mother and The Wolf

A Wolf overheard a mother telling a child if the child wasn’t quiet she would feed him to the wolves. Expecting supper, all the Wolf got was disappointment.

Enemies promises were made to be broken.

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children

Mother and Wolf

Milo Winter (1919)

Early one morning a hungry Wolf was prowling around a cottage at the edge of a village, when he heard a child crying in the house. Then he heard the Mother’s voice say:

“Hush, child, hush! Stop your crying, or I will give you to the Wolf!”

Surprised but delighted at the prospect of so delicious a meal, the Wolf settled down under an open window, expecting every moment to have the child handed out to him. But though the little one continued to fret, the Wolf waited all day in vain. Then, toward nightfall, he heard the Mother’s voice again as she sat down near the window to sing and rock her baby to sleep.

“There, child, there! The Wolf shall not get you. No, no! Daddy is watching and Daddy will kill him if he should come near!”

Just then the Father came within sight of the home, and the Wolf was barely able to save himself from the Dogs by a clever bit of running.


Do not believe everything you hear.

Eliot-JacobsEliot/Jacobs Version

“Be quiet now,” said an old Nurse to a child sitting on her lap. “If you make that noise again I will throw you to the Wolf.”

Now it chanced that a Wolf was passing close under the window as this was said. So he crouched down by the side of the house and waited. “I am in good luck to-day,” thought he. “It is sure to cry soon, and a daintier morsel I haven’t had for many a long day.” So he waited, and he waited, and he waited, till at last the child began to cry, and the Wolf came forward before the window, and looked up to the Nurse, wagging his tail. But all the Nurse did was to shut down the window and call for help, and the dogs of the house came rushing out. “Ah,” said the Wolf as he galloped away, “Enemies promises were made to be broken.”

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall (The Nurse and the Wolf)

Croxall - A Nurse and a WolfA NURSE, who was endeavouring to quiet a froward bawling child, among other attempts, threatened to throw it out of doors to the Wolf, if it did not leave off crying. A Wolf, who chanced to be prowling near the door just at that time, heard the expression, and believing the woman to be in earnest, waited a lung while about the house in expectation of seeing her words made good. But at last the child, wearied with its own importunities, fell asleep, and the poor Wolf was forced to return back to the woods empty and supperless. The Fox meeting him, and surprised to see him going home so thin and disconsolate, asked him what the matter was, and how he came to speed no better that night? Ah! do not ask me, says he, I was so silly as to believe what the nurse said, and have been disappointed.


Whittingham - Nurse and Wolf

C. Whittingham (1814)

All the moralists have agreed to interpret this fable as a caution to us never to trust a woman. What reasons they could have for giving so rough and uncourtly a precept, is not easy to be imagined: for however fickle and unstable some women may be, it is well known there are several who have a greater regard for truth in what they assert or promise, than most men. There is not room in so short a compass to express a due concern for the honour of the ladies upon this occasion, nor show how much one is disposed to vindicate them: and though there is nothing bad which can he said of them, but may, with equal justice, be averred of the other sex; yet one would not venture to give them quite so absolute a precaution as the old mythologists have affixed to this fable, but only to advise them to consider well and thoroughly of the matter, before they trust any man living.


JBR CollectionJBR Collection (The Nurse and The Wolf)

Nurse and Wolf

Ernest Griset (1874)

As a Wolf was hunting up and down for his supper, he passed by the door of a house where a little child was crying loudly. “Hold your tongue,” said the Nurse to the child, “or I’ll thr0w you to the Wolf.” The Wolf, hearing this, waited near the house, expecting that she would keep her word. The Nurse, however, when the child was quiet, changed her tone, and said, “If the naughty Wolf comes now we’ll beat his brains out for him.” The Wolf thought it was then high time to be off, and went away grumbling at his fully in putting faith in the words of a woman.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A famished wolf was prowling about in the morning in search of food. As he passed the door of a cottage built in the forest, he heard a Mother say to her child, “Be quiet, or I will throw you out of the window, and the Wolf shall eat you.” The Wolf sat all day waiting at the door. In the evening he heard the same woman fondling her child and saying: “You are quiet now, and if the Wolf should come, we will kill him.” The Wolf, hearing these words, went home, gasping with cold and hunger. When he reached his den, Mistress Wolf inquired of him why he returned wearied and supperless, so contrary to his wont. He replied: “Why, forsooth! [Missing from all translations]…use I gave credence to the words of a woman!”

1001Lupus Esuriens et Nutrix

Nutrix minatur puerum plorantem, ni taceat, se lupo illum tradituram. Lupus, praeteriens, id forte audit et spe praedae manet ad fores. Puer tandem, obrepente somno, silescit. Regreditur lupus in silvas, ieiunus et inanis. Lupa obviam illi habens sciscitatur ubi sit praeda. Cui gemebundus lupus “Verba,” inquit, “mihi data sunt. Puerum plorantem abiicere nutrix minabatur, sed fefellit.”


Multa promittentibus omnes libenter auscultamus.

Perry #158