Chinese Fable Stories – The Wild Goose Sentry





The Wild Goose Sentry

The smallest and the most alert of a flock of wild geese is often chosen to keep vigil for the others during the night. At the slightest untoward sound it raises the alarm and the flock starts from their sleep and make off.

So some wild goose hunters once devised a scheme to outwit the sentry. First they marked the haunt of the flock, spread an enormous net there and hid themselves in holes dug nearby.

As night fell, the flock descended and went to sleep. The hunters lit a torch. As soon as the sentry gave the warning, they extinguished the torch. The flock, startled to their feet, found it all quiet and went back to sleep. The trick was repeated three times. On the third occasion the flock decided the sentry was inefficient and pecked him by way of chastisement. Then they went back to sleep.

After some time, the hunters again lit the torch. This time the sentry remained silent. Hearing no stir among the flock, the hunters drew in the net, bagging more than half the birds.

Work of Jing Wen

(杨宪益、戴乃迭 译)

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