A Thief hired a room in a tavern and stayed a while in the hope of
stealing something which should enable him to pay his reckoning.
When he had waited some days in vain, he saw the Innkeeper
dressed in a new and handsome coat and sitting before his door.
The Thief sat down beside him and talked with him. As the
conversation began to flag, the Thief yawned terribly and at the
same time howled like a wolf.
The Innkeeper said, "Why do you howl so fearfully?"
"I will tell you," said the Thief, "but first let me ask you to hold
my clothes, or I shall tear them to pieces. I know not, sir, when
I got this habit of yawning, nor whether these attacks of howling
were inflicted on me as a judgment for my crimes, or for any other
cause; but this I do know, that when I yawn for the third time, I
actually turn into a wolf and attack men."
With this speech he commenced a second fit of yawning and again
howled like a wolf, as he had at first. The Innkeeper, hearing his tale
and believing what he said, became greatly alarmed and, rising from
his seat, attempted to run away.
The Thief laid hold of his coat and entreated him to stop, saying,
"Pray wait, sir, and hold my clothes, or I shall tear them to pieces in
my fury, when I turn into a wolf." At the same moment he yawned the
third time and set up a terrible howl. The Innkeeper, frightened lest
he should be attacked, left his new coat in the Thief's hand and ran
as fast as he could into the inn for safety. The Thief made off with the
coat and did not return again to the inn.
Every tale is not to be believed.
(Translated by George Fyler Townsend, 1814-1900)