Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
215. THE BULL AND THE BULLOCK
Perry 300 (Babrius
There was a bullock who had been turned loose in the fields without ever
having borne the burden of the yoke. When he saw a hard-working bull who
was pulling a plow, the bullock said to him, 'You poor thing! What a lot
of hard work you have to endure!' The bull made no reply and continued
pulling the plow. Later on, when the people were about to make a sacrifice
to the gods, the old bull was unyoked and led out to pasture, while the
young bullock who had never done any work was dragged away by a rope that
they had tied to his horns. Seeing that the young bullock was doomed to
pour his blood out upon the altar, the old bull then said to him, 'This
is the reason why you were not required to do any work. Although you are
young, you are setting out on this journey ahead of your elders: you are
going to be sacrificed, and your neck is going to chafe not under the
yoke, but under the axe!'
Note: In the version found in Avianus 36,
there is an especially pessimistic epimythium: 'This is the fate of
mankind: death comes quickly to those who are happy, while death is
denied every day to the wretched.'
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.