The Wanton Calf

052. THE WANTON CALF. A calf, full of play and wantonness, seeing the ox at plough, could not forbear insulting him, “What a sorry poor drudge are you,” says he, “to bear that heavy yoke upon your neck, and go all day drawing a plough at your tail to turn up the ground for your master! But you are a wretched dull slave, and know no better, or else you would not do it. See what a happy life I lead; I go just where I please; sometimes I lie down under the cool shade; sometimes I frisk about in the open sunshine; and, when I please, slake my thirst in the clear sweet brook; but you, if you were to perish, have not so much as a little dirty water to refresh you.”
The ox, not at all moved with what was said, went quietly and calmly on with his work, and in the evening was unyoked and turned loose. Soon after which he saw the calf taken out of the field, and delivered into the hands of a priest, who immediately led him to the altar, and prepared to sacrifice him. His head was hung round with fillets of flowers, and the fatal knife was just going to be applied to his throat, when the ox drew near, and whispered him to this purpose: “Behold the end of your insolence and arrogance; it was for this only you were suffered to live at all; and pray now, friend, whose condition is best, yours or mine?” [more info]

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