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The Man, the Horse, the Ox, and the Dog

from Aesop's Fables





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.





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