Wednesday, December 1, 2010

a fable

The internet is an amazing trove of information. I was looking for one thing, and was caught up in reading interesting aesop's fables. This one I particularly liked, by French writer Jean De La Fontaine. There are differing translations, but all are interesting. I read the ones with horses...most of the time the horse beats the wolf but the horse is also dumber/more self-involved than the donkey. 

From the beginning of time Horses were not born for Men. 
Once Man was quite satisfied eating acorn,
Donkey, Horse and Mule dwelt in the forest; 
And one saw not, as in this century, 
So many saddles and  various packs, 
Nor such fittings for warfare, 
Many poste-chaises, legion of coaches; 
Likewise one did not witness  
So much feasting and numerous parties. 
One day, a Horse had an argument   
With a Stag capable of great speed, 
Chased it all about and failing utterly, 
Sought help from Man, begged for support. 
The Man rigged him with bit and rein, leapt on his back, 
Gave him no repose until 
The Stag was caught and lost his life; 
This done, the Horse gave thanks 
To Man his benefactor saying; I am grateful,  
Farewell, I'm going back to the wilderness. 
- Nay, said the Man; our dwelling is more suitable:
I clearly see how useful you might be. 
Stay with me you'll be treated well 
And to your belly in a bed of straw.
Alas, what good is fine food 
When one has lost freedom? 
The Horse perceived his foolishness; 
But it was too late: already his stable 
Was ready and  built so very well. 
He died there while pulling on his rope! 
Wiser had he forgiven a petty offense. 
Whatever pleasure vengeance may bring, 
It is too costly, when bought at the expense 
Of what is gone, all the rest is naught.
Never seek revenge for it may be your undoing

It makes me a little sad, but I know most of our horses are treated very well. But the first line of this piece just pulls at my heart: From the beginning of time, Horses were not born for Men. I keep going back to this idea, so it must be important to me: horses give us such gifts...

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