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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 300 (Babrius 37)

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.'

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.