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The Fox and the Horse

  • A farmer had a horse that had been an excellent faithful servant to him: but
  • he was now grown too old to work; so the farmer would give him nothing more to
  • eat, and said, 'I want you no longer, so take yourself off out of my stable; I
  • shall not take you back again until you are stronger than a lion.' Then he
  • opened the door and turned him adrift.
  • The poor horse was very melancholy, and wandered up and down in the wood,
  • seeking some little shelter from the cold wind and rain. Presently a fox met
  • him: 'What's the matter, my friend?' said he, 'why do you hang down your head
  • and look so lonely and woe-begone?' 'Ah!' replied the horse, 'justice and
  • avarice never dwell in one house; my master has forgotten all that I have done
  • for him so many years, and because I can no longer work he has turned me
  • adrift, and says unless I become stronger than a lion he will not take me back
  • again; what chance can I have of that? he knows I have none, or he would not
  • talk so.'
  • However, the fox bid him be of good cheer, and said, 'I will help you; lie
  • down there, stretch yourself out quite stiff, and pretend to be dead.' The
  • horse did as he was told, and the fox went straight to the lion who lived in a
  • cave close by, and said to him, 'A little way off lies a dead horse; come with
  • me and you may make an excellent meal of his carcase.' The lion was greatly
  • pleased, and set off immediately; and when they came to the horse, the fox
  • said, 'You will not be able to eat him comfortably here; I'll tell you what—I
  • will tie you fast to his tail, and then you can draw him to your den, and eat
  • him at your leisure.'
  • This advice pleased the lion, so he laid himself down quietly for the fox to
  • make him fast to the horse. But the fox managed to tie his legs together and
  • bound all so hard and fast that with all his strength he could not set himself
  • free. When the work was done, the fox clapped the horse on the shoulder, and
  • said, 'Jip! Dobbin! Jip!' Then up he sprang, and moved off, dragging the lion
  • behind him. The beast began to roar and bellow, till all the birds of the wood
  • flew away for fright; but the horse let him sing on, and made his way quietly
  • over the fields to his master's house.
  • 'Here he is, master,' said he, 'I have got the better of him': and when the
  • farmer saw his old servant, his heart relented, and he said. 'Thou shalt stay
  • in thy stable and be well taken care of.' And so the poor old horse had plenty
  • to eat, and lived—till he died.