There was once a wolf. The wolf was hungry. He ate a large steak. He ate and ate as quickly as possible. He ate the whole steak … and he ate a bone. The bone was very long. The bone was stuck in his throat.
The wolf panicked, and cried “Help! Help!”
The crane saw the wolf. He felt bad for the wolf, so he said, “Ahhh, this poor wolf is suffering. It’s pathetic.”
Nervously, he approached the wolf. Then, the crane said, “Do you want some help, Mr. Wolf?”
“Yes, please help! If you help me, I will pay you. I will give you a rich reward,” said the wolf.
“What is the problem?” said the crane.
“A bone is stuck in my throat,” said the wolf. “But your beak is long. Put your beak in my throat. Then you can get the bone out.”
“Put my beak in your throat? That makes me nervous. If I do that, do you promise not to eat me?” asked the crane.
“Yes, I promise. I will not eat you,” said the wolf. He looked terrible. He was turning blue.
“And you promise to pay me?”
“Yes, a great reward! But help me! Fast!” said the wolf.
The wolf frantically pointed at his throat. He opened his throat, and the crane looked in. The wolf had terrifying teeth. But the crane wanted to help the poor wolf. Nervously, the crane approached with his long beak. He put his beak in the wolf’s throat.
The crane pulled and pulled on the bone. It was difficult to get the bone out. The crane had to put his beak further and further down the wolf’s throat. The crane was nervous. He hesitated and stopped for a minute.
“You promise you will not eat me?” he asked again.
“Yes, I promise!” said the wolf.
Finally, the crane caught the bone with his beak. Quickly, he got the bone out, and he got his beak out of the wolf’s throat.
Now the wolf was happy. Finally, the bone was out! The crane said, “There, I helped you. Now what’s the reward?” He imagined a treasure of gold, diamonds, or rubies.
“No, you already got a reward.”
“But you promised. You said, “I will give you a reward.”
The wolf laughed and said, “The reward is simple: I will not eat you. Animals go in my mouth regularly. You’re the only animal that has ever gone back out.”
The wolf was very serious, and the crane was nervous again. So the conversation ended. The poor crane returned home … without a payment.
Reminds me of Doctor De Soto by William Steig. I will be teaching this story today in Taipei, Taiwan. My student is a second grader who has an English learning phobia, but he enjoys SL classes.