Ivan Krylov’s Fable “The Wolf and the Lamb”

Alexander Zudin - G1 + G7
Alexander Zudin – G1 + G7

Ivan Andreyevich Krylov, The Wolf and the Lamb.

Always are the weak at fault before the strong.

In history we hear a host of examples,

But history we are not writing:

Here is how they tell of it in Fables.


A Lamb, one sweltering day, came by a stream to drink.

An lo, calamity had to befall him

In that a hungry Wolf was scouring about nearby.

He sees the Lamb and rushes to his prey;

But, to give the deed the look and sense of law,

He yells, “How dare you, you rogue, immerse your filthy mug

In my pure drinking water,

and cloud it with silt and sand?

For such impertinence

I will indeed remove your head!” –

“His Highness Wolf permitting,

I will dare submit that I am drinking

About a hundred paces downstream;

His wrath is all for naught:

I cannot possibly pollute his draft of water.” –

“And thus I lie?!

You wretch! Such rudeness is unheard of in this world!

And I remember, too, a couple of summers back,

You, in this very spot, insulted me!”

“For goodness’ sake, I am not a year old yet,”

Pleads the Lamb. “It was your brother, then.”

“I have no brothers.” “Then some other relative,

Or someone of your ilk.

You all, your dogs, and all your shepherds,

You wish me ill

And hurt me any time and any way you are able.

But I will make you pay for all their sins!”

“Oh, but how am I at fault?” – “Shut up! Enough!

I’ve no time to sort through your transgressions!

You are at fault that I am famished,”

He said – and dragged the Lamb into the woods.

Translated by Ellen Orner a.k.a. Meg Hiller, 1999.

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