The Boy Who Cried Wolf has a simple theme. When you present yourself as a dishonest person, people will think you are dishonest, even when you’re being truthful.
The story was probably inspired by the fact that children use lying as a way of testing their boundaries. To them, it’s a game that they win when they get adults and other children to react to their deception. They’re too young to realize that this can backfire when it becomes important for someone to believe them.
Honesty is the best policy. That’s what we teach our children. That is, until we get older and we learn that there are various categories for lying. There’s lies of omission, lies of commission, lies of influence, lying to protect someone’s feelings, lying to get something we want or need, and even using the truth in a deceptive manor. Honesty is the best policy until it becomes socially acceptable, or until we tell ourselves its no big deal.
But what happens when, in an effort to protect a loved one, we lie to such an extent that we soon have blood on our hands? Are there consequences to never crying wolf out of fear of some kind of backlash? These are themes I’m exploring in the story I’m currently working on, which is a retelling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.