A depiction of Jean La Fontaine’s fable, ‘The Wolf and the Lamb‘ by French artist Cassou.
The wolf is a judge representing the criminal justice system.
The lamb is thrust into the criminal justice system as the defendant. The lamb is honest and tells the truth yet has to justify itself and its actions to the tyrant judge. The lamb is smaller, weaker.
Using the power of his position, his physical size and psychology, the judge stands in the water berating and abusing the lamb. The power of the tyrant is that he will always find a pretext for his tyranny. The judge manipulates the lamb into questioning its own sanity, doubting its own perceptions, its understanding and memory. The judge does this by lying and changing the accusations each time the lamb refutes with the truth. The lamb is not able to withstand the force of the judge. This kind of psychological abuse is called gas lighting. It is bullying. It is Intimidation.
I share this fable not just because of Cassou’s law themed depiction but because it may have relevance to certain political events overseas.
The Wolf and the Lamb (originally by Aesop) by By Jean de La Fontaine (Translation by Eli Siegel):
The reason of those best able to have their way is always the best:
We now show how this is true.A lamb was quenching its thirst
In the water of a pure stream.
A fasting wolf came by, looking for something;
He was attracted by hunger to this place.
—What makes you so bold as to meddle with my drinking?
Said this animal, very angry.
You will be punished for your boldness.—Sir, answered the lamb, let Your Majesty
Not put himself into a rage;
But rather, let him consider
That I am taking a drink of water
In the stream
More than twenty steps below him;
And that, consequently, in no way,
Am I troubling his supply.
—You do trouble it, answered the cruel beast.
And I know you said bad things of me last year.
—How could I do that when I wasn’t born,
Answered the lamb; I am still at my mother’s breast.
—If it wasn’t you, then it was your brother.
—I haven’t a brother.—It was then someone close to you;
For you have no sympathy for me,
You, your shepherds and your dogs.
I have been told of this.I have to make things even.
Saying this, into the woods
The wolf carries the lamb, and then eats him
Without any other why or wherefore.
The Wolf and the Lamb – Wiki – Punch cartoon 1893
A Wolf, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf’s right to eat him.He thus addressed him: “Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me.””Indeed,” bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, “I was not then born.”Then said the Wolf, “You feed in my pasture.””No, good sir,” replied the Lamb, “I have not yet tasted grass.”Again said the Wolf, “You drink of my well.””No,” exclaimed the Lamb, “I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother’s milk is both food and drink to me.”Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, “Well! I won’t remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations.”
Tyrants need no excuse and will always find justification to bully, to control.
Story of a summary trial, criticized by La Fontaine (“without further ado”), where one of the parties, the wolf, because it is powerful and deadly as any, assumes the power and role of judge the executioner. His care to argue that was superfluous and the muddy nature of his argument itself highlight the fact that this is a travesty of justice. The irrefutable arguments of the lamb are forcing the wolf to betray bad faith.Although in absolute terms, in an impartial justice, reason lamb outweighs the wolf, the reason of the strongest, says La Fontaine, is always the best, implied “in the world we live “. In a somewhat advanced society, it is hoped that where the force is opposed to reason, force is not always victorious!One detail, however, shows us that the wolf is not fooled, it does not escape the judgment of his conscience: he will hide in the woods to enjoy his prey!
Short Moral Story of the Wold and Lamb for Kids Outline: A thirsty lamb went to stream a wolf, which stood upstream, accused the lamb that the latter made the water dirty the lamb pleaded innocence but the wolf killed him.Expanded Story: One day a thirsty lamb went to drink water from a stream. On the upper stream, there stood a wolf. He saw a plump lamb. His mouth watered. So he wanted to make some excuse so that he could kill the lamb.The wolf shouted at the lamb, “Hey, why do you make the water dirty. How can I drink dirty water?”The lamb humbly replied, “Sir, I’ve not made the water dirty. I’m standing at a lower level.The water cannot flow upwards from me. It always flows downwards.”The wolf said, “If it is not you, then it must be your father who has made the water dirty.” The lamb said, “Sir, my father died long ago. How can he do it now?”The wolf was getting impatient to kill the lamb. He angrily said, “Then it must be your grandfather who made my drinking water dirty!” So saying, the wolf jumped on the poor lamb and killed him without waiting for a reply.Moral: The wicked finds his own excuses.