adapted from Babrius, first century A.D., and Jean de La Fontaine, 1621-1695 __At least twelve thousand years (though likely more) Between the wolves and sheep had raged a war, Until the lupine clan convinced the ewes and rams They’d cease their onslaughts on the helpless lambs. The only stipulation to the peace, The wolves averred to those who wore the fleece, For harmony to reign throughout the land, Was that the woolly ones their dogs disband. The wolves declared, “Your dogs’ aggressive stance Is root cause of our bitter variance. Give us your guards that we may punish them And this incessant surge of warfare stem.” __The foolish sheep, who bleat on all occasions, Surrendered to these ravening persuasions. Yet, just before the terms were finalized, An ancient aries, wise in years advised, “How can we live secure in this wide mead, When time, both past and present, has decreed” (His woolly back now bristling in alarm) “That wolves to us are bent on bringing harm? Though presently the dogs serve as our shield, Still we our lives to wolf predations yield. Wolves sometimes slay a ewe or kill a ram And often seize and carry off a lamb, Where in the nearby forest, dimly-lit, By savage, yellowed fangs its throat is slit. If such acts wolves do when our dogs are here, What deeds must happen when they disappear? Eternal watch our shepherds cannot keep And thus retain the dogs to guard us sheep.” __Yet to the ram’s appeal, the herd refused to heed And to the thuggish wolves their dogs did cede. The wolves then took the watchdogs of the sheep And that night slew them when they fell asleep. The wolves grown bold, without the guardians’ check, The plot unknots as reason would expect And needs no stated moral for its close, For all can guess the way the ending goes. Terry L. Norton is professor emeritus of literacy acquisition at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He is the author of Cherokee Myths and Legends, Thirty Tales Retold, and is the 2020 second place winner of the 2020 Poetry Translation Competition sponsored by The Society. In addition to The Society, his poems have appeared in Ekphrastic Review and Kakalak Review.