The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

A Wolf found a Sheep’s pelt and wore it to blend in with the flock. Worked for awhile until the Shepherd noticed. No more Wolf!

Seek to harm and harm shall find you

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children

Wolf in Sheep Clothes

Milo Winter (1919)

A certain Wolf could not get enough to eat because of the watchfulness of the Shepherds. But one night he found a sheep skin that had been cast aside and forgotten. The next day, dressed in the skin, the Wolf strolled into the pasture with the Sheep. Soon a little Lamb was following him about and was quickly led away to slaughter.

That evening the Wolf entered the fold with the flock. But it happened that the Shepherd took a fancy for mutton broth that very evening, and, picking up a knife, went to the fold. There the first he laid hands on and killed was the Wolf.


The evil doer often comes to harm through his own deceit.

Eliot-JacobsEliot/Jacobs Version

A Wolf found great difficulty in getting at the sheep owing to the vigilance of the shepherd and his dogs. One day he found the skin of a sheep that had been flayed, put it on over its own pelt, and strolled down among the sheep. For a time he succeeded in deceiving the sheep, and enjoying hearty meals; but the shepherd happened upon him resting and killed him.

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall

Croxall - Wolf in Sheep's ClothingA WOLF clothing himself in the skin of a Sheep, and getting in among the flock, by this means took the opportunity to devour many of them. At last the Shepherd discovered him, and cunningly fastened a rope about his neck, tying him up to a tree which stood hard by. Some other Shepherds happening to pass that way, and observing what he was about, drew near, and expressed their admiration at it. What, says one of them, Brother, do you make hanging of Sheep? No, replies the other, but I make hanging of a Wolf whenever I catch him, though in the habit and garb of a Sheep. Then he showed them their mistake, and they applauded the justice of the execution.


Whittingham - Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

C. Whittingham (1814)

This fable shows us, that no regard is to be had to the mere habit or outside of any person, but to undisguised worth and intrinsic virtue. When we place our esteem upon the external garb, before we inform ourselves of the qualities which it covers, we may often mistake evil for good, and instead of a sheep, take a wolf into our protection. Therefore, however innocent or sanctified any one may appear, as to the vesture wherewith he is clothed, we may act rashly, because we may be imposed upon, if from thence we take it for granted that he is inwardly as good and righteous as his outward robe would persuade us he is. Men of judgment and penetration do not use to give an implicit credit to a particular habit, or a peculiar colour, but love to make a more exact scrutiny; for that he will come up to the character of an honest good kind of man, when stripped of his sleep’s clothing, is but the more detestetble for his intended imposture; as the wolf was but the more obnoxious to the shepherd’s resentment, by wearing a habit so little suiting to his manners.


JBR CollectionJBR Collection

Dog in the original

Ernest Griset (1874)

A Wolf, wrapping himself in the skin of a Sheep, by that means got admission into a sheepfold; where he devoured several of the young Lambs. The Shepherd, however, soon found him out and hung him up to a tree, still in his assumed disguise. Some other Shepherds passing that way, thought it was a Sheep hanging, and cried to their friend, “what, brother! is that the way you serve Sheep in this part of the country?” “No, friends,” cried he, giving at the same time the carcase a swing round, so that they might see what it was; “but it is the way to serve Wolves, even though they be dressed in Sheep’s clothing.”

[Note: The picture seems to have no relation to the fable but is the picture printed in the original book so it is shown here as well.]

Townsend VersionTownsend version

Once upon a time a Wolf resolved to disguise his appearance in order to secure food more easily. Encased in the skin of a sheep, he pastured with the flock deceiving the shepherd by his costume. In the evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold; the gate was closed, and the entrance made thoroughly secure. But the shepherd, returning to the fold during the night to obtain meat for the next day, mistakenly caught up the Wolf instead of a sheep, and killed him instantly.


Harm seek, harm find.

Perry #451