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The Thief and the Innkeeper

from Aesop's Fables





A THIEF hired a room in a tavern and stayed a while in the hope
of stealing something which should enable him to pay his
reckoning. When he had waited some days in vain, he saw the
Innkeeper dressed in a new and handsome coat and sitting before
his door. The Thief sat down beside him and talked with him. As
the conversation began to flag, the Thief yawned terribly and at
the same time howled like a wolf. The Innkeeper said, "Why do
you howl so fearfully?' "I will tell you," said the Thief, "but
first let me ask you to hold my clothes, or I shall tear them to
pieces. I know not, sir, when I got this habit of yawning, nor
whether these attacks of howling were inflicted on me as a
judgment for my crimes, or for any other cause; but this I do
know, that when I yawn for the third time, I actually turn into a
wolf and attack men." With this speech he commenced a second fit
of yawning and again howled like a wolf, as he had at first. The
Innkeeper. hearing his tale and believing what he said, became
greatly alarmed and, rising from his seat, attempted to run away.
The Thief laid hold of his coat and entreated him to stop,
saying, "Pray wait, sir, and hold my clothes, or I shall tear
them to pieces in my fury, when I turn into a wolf." At the same
moment he yawned the third time and set up a terrible howl. The
Innkeeper, frightened lest he should be attacked, left his new
coat in the Thief's hand and ran as fast as he could into the inn
for safety. The Thief made off with the coat and did not return
again to the inn.

Every tale is not to be believed.





Next: The Mule

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