A FARMER had a horse that had been an excellent faithful servant to him:
PPPbut he was now grown too old to work;
PPPso the farmer would give him nothing more to eat, and said, I want you no longer, so take yourself off out of my stable;
PPPI shall not take you back again until you are stronger than a lion.
PPPThen he opened the door and turned him adrift.
The poor horse was very melancholy, and wandered up and down in the wood, seeking some little shelter from the cold wind and rain.
PPPPresently a fox met him:
PPPWhats the matter, my friend?
PPPsaid he, why do you hang down your head and look so lonely and woe-begone?
PPPreplied the horse, justice.
PPPand avarice never dwell in one house;
PPPmy master has forgotten all that I have done for him so many years, and because I can no longer work he has turned me adrift, and says unless I become stronger than a lion he will not take me back again;
PPPwhat chance can I have of that?
PPPhe knows I have none, or he would not talk so.
However, the fox bid him be of good cheer, and said, I will help you;
PPPlie down there, stretch yourself out quite stiff, and petend to be dead.
PPPThe horse did as he was told, and the fox went straight to the lion who lived in a cave close by, and said to him, A little way off lies a dead horse;
PPPcome with me and you may make an excellent meal of his carcase.
PPPThe lion was greatly pleased, and set off immediately;
PPPand when they came to the horse, the fox said, You will not be able to eat him comfortably here;
PPPIll tell you what I will tie you fast to his tail, and then you can draw him to your den, and eat him at your leisure.
This advice pleased the lion, so he laid himself down quietly for the fox to make him fast to the horse.
PPPBut the fox managed to tie his legs together and bound all so hard and fast that with all his strength he could not set himself free.
PPPWhen the work was done, the fox clapped the horse on the shoulder, and said, Jip!
PPPThen up he sprang, and moved off, dragging the lion behind him.
PPPThe beast began to roar and bellow, till all the birds of the wood flew away for fright;
PPPbut the horse let him sing on, and made his way quietly over the fields to his masters house.
Here he is, master, said he, I have got the better of him: and when the farmer saw his old servant, his heart relented, and he said, Thou shalt stay in thy stable and be well taken care of.
PPPAnd so the poor old horse had plenty to eat, and lived - till be died.