The Flea and The Ox

A Flea and Ox discussed their treatment by man. The Ox bore the work for the reward of being patted. The Flea commented that such patting would kill it.

A reward for one might be destruction for another.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A flea thus questioned an Ox: “What ails you, that being so huge and strong, you submit to the wrongs you receive from men and slave for them day by day, while I, being so small a creature, mercilessly feed on their flesh and drink their blood without stint?’ The Ox replied: “I do not wish to be ungrateful, for I am loved and well cared for by men, and they often pat my head and shoulders.” “Woe’s me!” said the flea; “this very patting which you like, whenever it happens to me, brings with it my inevitable destruction.”

1001Pulex et Bos

Pulex sic olim bovem interrogavit, “Quid causae est quod tu, qui tam magnus ac fortis es, hominibus quotidie inservias, dum ego eorum carnes acriter vellico et sanguinem hianti ore bibo?” “Ego,” bos ait, “in hominum genus ingratus non sum; ipsi enim ingenti amore atque benevolentia continuo me excipiunt ac frequenter mihi frontem atque humeros fricant.” Tum pulex, ad haec respondens, “At mihi,” ait, “misero contrarium fit; nam si ab illis ego fricarer, id mihi mortem funestissimam compararet.”

Perry #273