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Contents > Author > Fable Aesop > The Man, the Horse, the Ox, and the Dog 620 BC- 560 BC
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Fable Aesop
The Man, the Horse, the Ox, and the Dog
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A Horse, Ox, and Dog, driven to great straits by the cold, sought
shelter and protection from Man. He received them kindly, lighted
a fire, and warmed them. He let the Horse make free with his oats,
gave the Ox an abundance of hay, and fed the Dog with meat from
his own table. Grateful for these favors, the animals determined to
repay him to the best of their ability. For this purpose, they divided
the term of his life between them, and each endowed one portion
of it with the qualities which chiefly characterized himself.

The Horse chose his earliest years and gave them his own attributes:
hence every man is in his youth impetuous, headstrong, and obstinate
in maintaining his own opinion.

The Ox took under his patronage the next term of life, and therefore
man in his middle age is fond of work, devoted to labor, and resolute
to amass wealth and to husband his resources.

The end of life was reserved for the Dog, wherefore the old man is
often snappish, irritable, hard to please, and selfish, tolerant only of
his own household, but averse to strangers and to all who do not
administer to his comfort or to his necessities.

(Translated by George Fyler Townsend, 1814-1900)

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