Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Every Dog Has Its Day

An Aesop’s Fable Retold

Long ago in ancient Greece, Homer the sheep and his friends were playing basketball. They were having a fine time until two young pups named Zeus and Apollo ran them off.

“Scram, you silly sheep,” said Zeus as he chased a lamb. “This is our basketball court now.”

And the sheep, since they were afraid of dogs, obeyed. They sat on the hill, scowled, and watched Zeus and Apollo play.

But the dogs weren’t playing well. They couldn’t hit a shot.

“I’m tired of missing,” Zeus complained.

“Let’s lower the basket,” his friend Apollo suggested.

“Good idea,” said Zeus, and he called out to the sheep. “Hey, you woolly things, come and adjust this pole.”

And the sheep, since they were afraid of dogs, obeyed.

Soon Zeus and Apollo were making every shot. It was easy. Every shot was a slam dunk.

“All right!” said Zeus as he dunked. “I am the greatest!”

“Prove it,” said Apollo.

“Fine. We’ll play a game,” said Zeus.

“That sheep, Homer, can be our referee. And the winner will be the greatest basketball player ever in the universe.”

Homer and the two dogs walked to the center of the court.

“All right, you pups,” commanded Homer. “No fouls. No rough stuff. And no.…”

“Just blow the whistle, wool bag,” Zeus scolded. And Homer, being afraid of dogs, obeyed. He tossed the ball into the air for the jump ball.

Zeus grabbed it.

“Oooooh, I am so cool,” he bragged as he slam-dunked the first basket.

The game went on for almost an hour. Zeus was leading 48-46. He had the ball with only five seconds left.

“Next basket can win,” said Homer.

Zeus spun around, leaped into the air, and dunked the ball. He started dancing and pointing his finger at Apollo.

“I’m the greatest. I’m so cool. I’m the winner. You’re a fool!” Zeus chanted. Apollo drooped his ears and walked away.

“What a baby,” Zeus muttered. “Who can I beat now?” Then he looked at Homer.

“How about you, sheepie?” Zeus said. “I’ll give you twenty points just to be fair.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Homer said nervously. “I’ll be glad to play you. But may I suggest we follow the official rules of the ABA?” (That’s the Animal Basketball Association.)

“Fine,” said Zeus. “I’ll wipe you out.”

Homer didn’t reply. He just pointed to the basket, and his friends raised it.

“Hey, what’s goin’ on?” Zeus said.

“We said official ABA rules,” said Homer. “That means the basket is ten feet up.”

“I don’t care,” said Zeus. “I’ll still send you cryin’ to Bo Peep.”

But he didn’t. In fact, Zeus didn’t score a basket. He may have been taller, but that little sheep was a great dribbler and a good shooter. And Homer played the best defense of any sheep in the country. The poor dog never even got off a shot!

The final score was 50-0. Homer reached out his hoof to Zeus and said, “Good game.” But the angry dog sulked off.

“I’ll get you next time,” Zeus grumbled.

And all the sheep, no longer afraid of dogs, laughed until they fell over.

The moral of the story is: Pride goes before a fall Or, When it comes to basketball, dogs may be good, but sheep are ba-aahhhd!

By: Davis, Charles, U+S+ Kids