The black sheep from the Augusto Monterosso fable, painted by Juan Artola Miranda.

The Black Sheep by Augusto Monterroso (A Latin American Fable)

The Black Sheep (La Oveja Negra) is a fable by Augusto Monterroso (1921-2003), perhaps the most esteemed fabulist of the past century. He’s known for writing short but impactful fables, and this is the most famous of those. I translated it into English.

In a distant country, many years ago, there was a black sheep.

It was executed.

A century later, the repentant flock erected an equestrian statue of it, which looked quite good in the park. Thus, from then on, whenever a black sheep appeared, it was quickly executed so that future generations of ordinary sheep could also practice sculpture.

Juan Artola Miranda

I am Juan Artola Miranda, a fabulist living in the Mexican Caribbean. My friends know me by the name of my father's father, but that name grew into something bigger, my writing reaching tens of millions of readers. It was too strong for me to control. Artola Miranda is the name of my mother's mother. It's a better name for a fabulist.

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