Shearing the Wolf (Henry)

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Shearing the Wolf
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Two con men intervened in a businessman's plan to swindle green goods men in Chicago, ultimately taking his money and teaching him a lesson about the immorality of attempting to get something for nothing.
Jeff Peters and Andy Tucker
Jeff Peters — narrator; con man with a conscience; eloquent, ethical.
Andy Tucker — Jeff's partner; con man; practical, sometimes questioning Jeff's ethics.
were two friends who often disagreed on the ethics of their profession. One summer, they decided to take a vacation in a small town in Kentucky called Grassdale. There, they befriended a local hardware merchant named Murkison
Bill Murkison — wealthy hardware merchant; naive, determined to outsmart green goods men.
. One day, Murkison showed them a letter he received from a green goods swindler, offering to sell him counterfeit money at a rate of five dollars for one. Murkison was amused by the letter and decided to play along, thinking he could outsmart the swindler.

Jeff and Andy, concerned for their friend, decided to accompany Murkison to Chicago to prevent him from being swindled. Upon arriving in Chicago, they discussed a plan to expose the swindler. However, Jeff suddenly turned on Murkison, accusing him of being just as bad as the swindler for trying to take advantage of the situation.

It’s you supposedly respectable citizens who are always on the lookout to get something for nothing, that support the lotteries and wild-cat mines and stock exchanges and wire tappers of this country.

Jeff demanded Murkison hand over the money he had brought to buy the counterfeit bills and threatened to expose his actions in Grassdale if he didn't comply.

Murkison reluctantly handed over the money, and Jeff and Andy left him in the hotel room. On the train ride back, Andy questioned Jeff's actions, not fully understanding his friend's moral compass. Jeff insisted that his actions were justified, as he had prevented Murkison from committing a crime and potentially ruining his reputation in Grassdale.

Jeff, some time when you have the leisure I wish you’d draw off a diagram and foot-notes of that conscience of yours. I’d like to have it to refer to occasionally.