What does the sheep stand for?

May 25, 2014
Yossi Sheriff

So, this is a Kurd riddle: A farmer has to cross the river with his only sheep, a sack of cabbage for the winter and a big wolf. What he sees when he comes to the river is one tiny boat with place for two. It’s either him and the wolf, and then the sheep eats the cabbage, or if he takes the cabbage, the wolf eats the sheep.
You get the picture…

So it’s a simple kid’s riddle and the guy can solve it with some extra rowing, some extra work.

When my teacher told me this, I just figured it’s a lame riddle.
“Nope,” he said, “the point is not how to juggle the passage, the point is that the wolf comes with you”, he said: “you have to take the wolf”.

So I am watching my wolf, sometimes it scares me, there used to be a time it got me into trouble, many times it protected me, but for sure, my students, and many of my friends here in Israel have a wolf.

So the riddle is not one of transportation, instead it points to the necessity of being the master of the things you carry with you, voluntarily or not.

wolfImage CC BY-SA 2.0 by Dennis Matheson