The Heifer and The Ox

A heifer (or calf) watched an ox pulling a plow and chided him for his hard life versus the others easy life. The ox got the last word. See why here.

Be careful how you make fun of anyone.

A Heifer watched an Ox working a plow and made fun of his working while she lived a life of leisure. When festival time arrived, however, the Ox was released from his yoke and watched as the Heifer was bound and led away to be slain for the festival. The Ox smiled as he went back to work the next day.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A Heifer saw an Ox hard at work harnessed to a plow, and tormented him with reflections on his unhappy fate in being compelled to labor. Shortly afterwards, at the harvest festival, the owner released the Ox from his yoke, but bound the Heifer with cords and led him away to the altar to be slain in honor of the occasion. The Ox saw what was being done, and said with a smile to the Heifer: “For this you were allowed to live in idleness, because you were presently to be sacrificed.”

JBR CollectionJBR Collection (The Wanton Calf)

A Calf, full of play and wantonness, seeing an Ox at the plough, could not forbear insulting him. “What a sorry poor drudge are you,” said he, to bear that heavy yoke upon your neck, and with a plough at your tail all day, to go turning up the ground for a master. You arc a wretched poor slave, and know no better, or you would not do it. See what a happy life I lead; I go just where I please–sometimes in the cool shade, sometimes in the warm sunshine; and whenever I like I drink at the clear and running brook.” The Ox, not at all moved by this address, went on quietly and calmly with his work, and in the evening, when unyoked and going to take his rest, he saw the Calf, hung with garlands of flowers, being led off for sacrifice by the priests. He pitied him, but could not help saying, as he passed, “Now, friend, whose condition is the better, yours or mine?”

1001Bos Laborans et Vitula

Mollis et lasciva vitula, cum bovem agricolae aculeo agitatum et arantem cerneret, contempsit. Sed, cum immolationis dies affuit, bos a iugo liberatus per pascua vagabatur; vitula vero, ut immolaretur, retenta est. Quod cum bos conspicatur, subridens ait, “Heus vitula, ideo non laborabas: ut immolareris!”


Qui alteri irridet, sibi ipsi caveat: qui labori suo sedulo incumbit securus est; otioso et nihil agenti pericula semper imminent.

Perry #300