The Thief and the Innkeeper

: 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 Innkee
er 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.