The Oxen and The Butchers

Some Oxen wanted the destruction of the Butchers. A wiser member of the herd said to wait; Butchers slaughter skillfully; If gone unskilled will do the job.

Do not rush to change evils.

The Oxen gathered to plot the destruction of the Butchers who they saw as the enemy. But, an older and wiser member of the herd said: “It’s true the Butchers slaughter us, but they do it skillfully. If the Butchers are destroyed we shall be subject to unskilled people and suffer greatly. Butchers or not, men will always want our meat.”

Townsend VersionTownsend version

The Oxen once upon a time sought to destroy the Butchers, who practiced a trade destructive to their race. They assembled on a certain day to carry out their purpose, and sharpened their horns for the contest. But one of them who was exceedingly old (for many a field had he plowed) thus spoke: “These Butchers, it is true, slaughter us, but they do so with skillful hands, and with no unnecessary pain. If we get rid of them, we shall fall into the hands of unskillful operators, and thus suffer a double death: for you may be assured, that though all the Butchers should perish, yet will men never want beef.”


Do not be in a hurry to change one evil for another.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

Once upon a time the Oxen took counsel together, and resolved upon ridding the land of all the Butchers, who so constantly led away the finest and fattest of their number to perish by the axe and knife. They were on the point of proceeding to carry out their plan, when a wise old Ox prayed them to reconsider their intentions. “You may be certain,” said he, “that men will not go without beef. If then we kill the Butchers, who are already expert in their trade, and who put us out of pain as quickly as possible, we shall be hacked and hewed by others, who have yet to learn the business.” This sensible reasoning prevailed, and the plan dropped to the ground.

1001Boves et Coqui

Boves quondam coquos quaerebant perdere, quippe qui sibi inimicam tractabant artem. Et ideo congregabantur, iam ad proelium acuentes cornua. Unus vero illorum aliquis, valde senex, araverat enim diu, “Isti quidem,” ait, “nos peritis mactant manibus ac magno trucidant sine cruciatu. Quod si in imperitos incidemus homines, duplex tunc impendebit mors. Non deerit enim qui bovem immolet, coquus etsi defuerit.”


Qui praesens effugere cupit infortunium, providere debet ne peius quid inveniat sibi. Doctis et aequis servire dominis satius est quam scaevis parere et indoctis.

Perry #290