Story Length: < 1 minute

A horse, ox, and dog, driven to great straits by the cold, sought shelter and protection from a man. He received them kindly, lighted a fire, and warmed them. He allowed the horse to eat of his oats, gave the ox an abundance of hay, and fed the dog with meat from his own table.

Grateful for these favors, they determined to repay him to the best of their ability. They divided for this purpose the term of his life between them, and each endowed one portion of it with the qualities that chiefly characterized himself.

The horse chose the man’s earliest years and endowed them with his own attributes. Hence every man is in 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 to 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.

About the Author

Aesop (/ˈiːsɒp/ EE-sop or /ˈeɪsɒp/ AY-sop; Greek: Αἴσωπος, Aísopos; c. 620–564 BCE) was a Greek fabulist and storyteller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop's Fables. Although his existence remains unclear and no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day. Many of the tales are characterized by animals and inanimate objects that speak, solve problems, and generally have human characteristics.

View Articles