Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
415. THE SOLDIER AND HIS HORSE
Perry 320 (Babrius
War was raging, so the cavalryman was able to feed his horse with barley
and give him good hay to eat, treating the horse as his noble companion
in battle. Then the war came to an end and a time of peace ensued. The
soldier was no longer given wages by the state so his horse now had to
work all the time carrying heavy logs down out of the woods into the city.
In addition, his owner hired the horse out to other people to carry their
loads as well. All the while, the horse had as his food only the worst
sort of chaff, and the harness he wore on his back was no longer that
of a warhorse. Some time later, the clash of battle resounded once again
around the city walls, and the trumpet summoned every man to dust off
his shield, sharpen his sword, and ready his horse. The horse's owner
put the bridle back on his steed, but when he led the horse out to be
mounted, the horse collapsed and fell to his knees, having lost all his
former strength. 'Go join the infantry!' the horse told his owner. 'You
have transferred me from the horse regiment to the donkeys; do you really
think you can just change me back again?'
Note: The Greek proverb 'from horses to donkeys' (e.g., Apostolius
4.53) was commonly used to express a drastic reversal of fortune.
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.