Justin Li

The Alarm Which Cried Fire


There once was a fire alarm who was bored as it sat in a college dorm watching the students sleep. To amuse itself it took a great breath and sang out, "Fire! Fire! Clang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang!"

The students came running out of the dorm to heed the alarm's warning. But when they left the dorm, they found no fire. The alarm laughed at the sight of their angry faces.

"Don't cry 'fire', fire alarm," said the students, "when there's no fire!" They went grumbling back into the building.

Later, the fire alarm sang out again, "Fire! Fire! Clang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang!" To its naughty delight, it watched the students run out of the building to heed its warning.

When the students saw no fire they sternly said, "Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong! Don't cry 'fire' when there is NO fire!"

But the alarm just grinned and watche dthem go grumbling back into the building once more.

Later, the alarm saw a REAL fire spreading towards the people. Terrified, it leaped to his feet and sang out as loudly as it could, "Fire! Fire!"

But the students thought it was trying to fool them again, and so they didn't run out.

At sunset, everyone wondered why the shepherd boy hadn't returned to the village with their sheep. They went up the hill to find the boy. They found him weeping.

"There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, "Wolf!" Why didn't you come?"

An old man tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village.

"We'll help you look for the lost sheep in the morning," he said, putting his arm around the youth, "Nobody believes a liar...even when he is telling the truth!"

All the students died. The end.

Original text courtesy of Story Arts.