The Council of Horses

A young Horse decried his servitude before the Horse Council. An elder Steed then argued that the reward is a warm stable and freedom in age. He won.

Consider all views when arguing.

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Council of Horses

Ernest Griset (1874)

Upon a time, a neighing steed,
Who grazed among a numerous breed,
With mutiny had fired the train,
And spread dissension through the plain.
On matters that concerned the State,
The Council met in grand debate.
A Colt, whose eyeballs flamed with ire,
Elate with strength and youthful fire,
In haste stepped forth before the rest,
And thus the listening throng addressed:
“Good gods! how abject is our race,
Condemned to slavery and disgrace!
Shall we our servitude retain,
Because our sires have borne the chain?
Consider, friends, your strength and might;
‘Tis conquest to assert your right.
How cumb’rous is the gilded coach!
The pride of man is our reproach.
Were we designed for daily toil;
To drag the ploughshare through the soil;
To sweat in harness through the road;
To groan beneath the carrier’s load?
How feeble are the two-legged kind!
What force is in our nerves combined!
Shall, then, our nobler jaws submit
To foam, and champ the galling bit?
Shall haughty man my back best ride?
Shall the sharp spur provoke my side?
Forbid it, heavens! Reject the rein;
Your shame, your infamy, disdain.
Let him the lion first control,
And still the tiger’s famished growl;
Let us, like them, our freedom claim,
And make him tremble at our name.”
A general nod approved the cause,
And all the circle neighed applause.
When, lo! with grave and solemn face,
A Steed advanced before the race,
With age and long experience wise;
Around he cast his thoughtful eyes,
And to the murmurers of the train
Thus spoke the Nestor of the plain:
“When I had health and strength like you,
The toils of servitude I knew;
Now grateful man rewards my pains,
And gives me all these wide domains.
At will I crop the year’s increase;
My latter life is rest and peace.
I grant, to man we lend our pains,
And aid him to correct the plains;
But doth he not divide the care,
Through all the labours of the year?
How many thousand structures rise,
To fence us from inclement skies!
For us he bears the sultry day,
And stores up all our winter’s hay:
He sows, he reaps the harvest’s grain;
we share the toil, and share the gain.
Since every creature was decreed
To aid each other’s mutual need.
Appease your discontented mind,
And act the part by Heaven assigned.”
The tumult ceased. The Colt submitted,
And, like his ancestors, was bitted.