The Stag in the Ox-Stall





A STAG, roundly chased by the hounds and blinded by fear to the

danger he was running into, took shelter in a farmyard and hid

himself in a shed among the oxen. An Ox gave him this kindly

warning: "O unhappy creature! why should you thus, of your own

accord, incur destruction and trust yourself in the house of your

enemy?' The Stag replied: "Only allow me, friend, to stay where I

am, and I will undertake to find some favorable opportunity of

effecting my escape." At the approach of the evening the herdsman

came to feed his cattle, but did not see the Stag; and even the

farm-bailiff with several laborers passed through the shed and

failed to notice him. The Stag, congratulating himself on his

safety, began to express his sincere thanks to the Oxen who had

kindly helped him in the hour of need. One of them again

answered him: "We indeed wish you well, but the danger is not

over. There is one other yet to pass through the shed, who has

as it were a hundred eyes, and until he has come and gone, your

life is still in peril." At that moment the master himself

entered, and having had to complain that his oxen had not been

properly fed, he went up to their racks and cried out: "Why is

there such a scarcity of fodder? There is not half enough straw

for them to lie on. Those lazy fellows have not even swept the

cobwebs away." While he thus examined everything in turn, he

spied the tips of the antlers of the Stag peeping out of the

straw. Then summoning his laborers, he ordered that the Stag

should be seized and killed.





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