The Oxen and The Axles

The oxen pulling a wagon were disturbed by the creaking of the wheels. Not seeing the heavy load on the wagon the oxen blamed the wheels for complaining.

Those who suffer most cry out the least.

[Note: This fable is similar to The Creaking Wheel but not enough to be included on the same page.]

A heavy wagon was being pulled along a country lane by a team of Oxen. The Axles in the wagon groaned and creaked constantly. After awhile, the Oxen, turning, said to the wheels: “Why do you make so much noise? We do all the work so it’s we, not you, who should be making noise.”

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children (The Oxen and The Wheels)

A pair of Oxen were drawing a heavily loaded wagon along a miry country road. They had to use all their strength to pull the wagon, but they did not complain.

The Wheels of the wagon were of a different sort. Though the task they had to do was very light compared with that of the Oxen, they creaked and groaned at every turn. The poor Oxen, pulling with all their might to draw the wagon through the deep mud, had their ears filled with the loud complaining of the Wheels. And this, you may well know, made their work so much the harder to endure.

“Silence!” the Oxen cried at last, out of patience. “What have you Wheels to complain about so loudly? We are drawing all the weight, not you, and we are keeping still about it besides.”


They complain most who suffer least.

Townsend VersionTownsend version (The Oxen and The Axle-Trees)

A heavy wagon was being dragged along a country lane by a team of Oxen. The Axle-trees groaned and creaked terribly; whereupon the Oxen, turning round, thus addressed the wheels: “Hullo there! why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labor, and we, not you, ought to cry out.”


Those who suffer most cry out the least.

1001Boves et Plaustrum

Boves plaustrum trahebant, cuius axis cum strideret, conversi dixere, “Heus tu, nobis onus omne ferentibus, quid quereris?”


Ita quoque nonnulli, dum alii insudant operi, ipsi laborare fingunt.

Perry #45