This is a modern retelling of the classical favourite short story about the boy who cried wolf. 

John was a very playful little boy who loved pulling pranks on the people around him. He was always pulling pranks in school on his classmates and teachers, at home on his parents and siblings, and around the neighbourhood on his friends. John always got into a lot of trouble for his pranks and his parents often tried to persuade him to stop playing pranks on others. But John never listened. In fact, when he heard the story about the boy who cried wolf, he thought it was an excellent way to prank people.

“Anyway,” he chuckled to himself, “there are no wolves in the city, so what is the worst that could happen?” John thought about it long and hard and eventually devised a devious little prank to play the next time he went to the playground. He decided that he would pretend to hurt himself and create a scene. He wanted things to be as sensational as possible so he saved up his lunch money and bought a bottle of fake blood from the local magician’s shop.

The day to play the prank arrived and he carefully hid a bottle of fake blood in his pocket when he went to the playground. At first, he played around with the other children as he usually did, then he pretended to trip and fall. He did an exaggerated roll on the grass before opening the bottle of fake blood in his pocket and pouring the liquid down his arm. He then threw the bottle as far away as he could. He sat down and pretended to cry while cradling his arm. It looked like he had a serious injury and all the children at the playground panicked and screamed. Many children ran to their parents screaming: “John is hurt! He is bleeding badly!”

John expected all the parents to come running to him, and after a while, he would start laughing at them and tell them it was all a joke. As he expected, he was soon surrounded by many children and their parents. Many of the adults also called 911 and John’s parents. Since many people had called 911, within a few minutes an ambulance had arrived at the scene. John had not yet told everyone that he was pulling a prank. When he saw the ambulance arrive with the flashing lights, he realized that things had gone too far. He hesitated to tell them it was all a joke. He knew he would be in a lot of trouble! Since there was so much blood all over John’s hand, one of the paramedics had also called the police, and within minutes a police car arrived with four police officers.

John decided to keep up the act because telling everyone it was a joke would land him in a lot of trouble now. He screamed and cried while cradling his hand like it was really hurt. He refused to let the paramedics take a look at it. He planned to keep up the act until his parents arrived, then he would just go home with them and only tell them that it was all a prank when he got home. But little John had no idea that things were not going to work out that way at all. The four police officers gathered around John and tried to persuade him to let the paramedic take a look at his injured hand. The officers spoke very kindly but looked very fierce and serious in their uniforms. Eventually, John’s parents arrived and rushed to their son. They asked John to stop crying and to let the paramedics help him. His parents, too, started crying when they saw the blood on the floor. They thought that their little boy was badly hurt. John kept saying between his sobs: “Mummy and Daddy, can we just go home?” But the paramedic advised against it and the police officers informed John’s parents that they would have to let their son receive medical attention, so going home was out of the question.

John was in a real mess now. He did not know how long he could keep his act up. The crowd that had gathered around him was growing bigger and bigger. Suddenly, John heard a familiar voice ask: “John, are you faking all this?” The voice was kind, but also very stern. John looked up and saw that the salesman from the magician’s shop was there. He was the one who had asked John the question. He repeated the question again, but this time he also picked up the bottle of fake blood from the floor which he was able to recognize easily. He handed the bottle over to one of the police officers. John knew the game was up.

John’s parents stared at him. The paramedics stared at him. The four police officers stared at him. Everybody that had gathered around stared at him. John was now crying for real. He decided that it was time to be honest and stood up and confessed that everything was just a joke. Many people in the crowd made nasty comments about John. The paramedics and police officers were clearly very angry, but they did not speak with John. Instead, they spoke with John’s parents, who were now crying even more. They felt very embarrassed by what their son had just done. The paramedics left because they received a call to attend another emergency—a real one. The police officers remained at the playground speaking to John’s parents, who were both still crying. John realized that he had done something horrible and that his parents were ashamed of his actions. Nothing about his prank was funny and things had gone too far. The policemen informed John’s parents that the paramedics had spent a lot of time with John while they could have been helping someone else who was really hurt. The policemen, too, could have been elsewhere preventing crime instead of standing around in the playground. The mess that John made with the fake blood would also have to be cleaned up by the city council.

Eventually, the policemen allowed John’s parents to leave the playground. Everyone left the playground without saying a word to John. They did not even look at John as they walked away. John was very upset by this, but he knew he had misbehaved badly. He walked home alone and miserable, afraid of what was going to happen at home. When he got home, his parents still said nothing to him. Just before bed, his mother went up to him and said: “The only thing good about today, is that you were not really hurt. Good night.” She did not kiss him on his forehead like she always used to.

John’s parents never spoke to him about that day. Eventually, they did speak to him as lovingly as before, but only after John had showed them that his prank-playing days were over. He worked hard at earning their trust over the next few months and even paid a visit to the police station to apologize to the police officers and to the medical centre to apologize to the paramedics. For a while, he was too embarrassed to go to the playground and face the other children and their parents, but since he had been such a good boy for such a long time, on his birthday, some of the children came over to his house to call him out to play. John gladly accepted the invitation, but this time he had nothing devious planned for the playground; he went there simply to play and have fun like everybody else!
ay and have fun like everybody else!


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Categories: English Short Stories