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The Ox who won the Forfeit
LONG ago a man owned a very strong Ox. The owner
was so proud of his Ox, that he boasted to every
man he met about how strong his Ox was.
One day the owner went into a village, and said
to the men there: "I will pay a forfeit of a
thousand pieces of silver if my strong Ox cannot
draw a line of one hundred wagons."
The men laughed, and said: "Very well; bring
your Ox, and we will tie a hundred wagons in a
line and see your Ox draw them along."
So the man brought his Ox into the village. A
crowd gathered to see the sight. The hundred
carts were in line, and the strong Ox was yoked
to the first wagon.
Then the owner whipped his Ox, and said: "Get
up, you wretch! Get along, you rascal!"
But the Ox had never been talked to in that way,
and he stood still. Neither the blows nor the
hard names could make him move.
At last the poor man paid his forfeit, and went
sadly home. There he threw himself on his bed
and cried: "Why did that strong Ox act so? Many
a time he has moved heavier loads easily. Why
did he shame me before all those people?"
At last he got up and went about his work. When
he went to feed the Ox that night, the Ox turned
to him and said: "Why did you whip me to-day?
You never whipped me before. Why did you call me
'wretch' and 'rascal'? You never called me hard
Then the man said: "I will never treat you badly
again. I am sorry I whipped you and called you
names. I will never do so any more. Forgive me."
"Very well," said the Ox. "To-morrow I will go
into the village and draw the one hundred carts
for you. You have always been a kind master
until to-day. To-morrow you shall gain what you
The next morning the owner fed the Ox well, and
hung a garland of flowers about his neck. When
they went into the village the men laughed at
the man again.
They said: "Did you come back to lose more
"To-day I will pay a forfeit of two thousand
pieces of silver if my Ox is not strong enough
to pull the one hundred carts," said the owner.
So again the carts were placed in a line, and
the Ox was yoked to the first. A crowd came to
watch again. The owner said: "Good Ox, show how
strong you are! You fine, fine creature!" And he
patted his neck and stroked his sides.
At once the Ox pulled with all his strength. The
carts moved on until the last cart stood where
the first had been.
Then the crowd shouted, and they paid back the
forfeit the man had lost, saying: "Your Ox is
the strongest Ox we ever saw."
And the Ox and the man went home, happy.