A farmer had a horse that had been an excellent faithful servant to
him: but he was now grown too old to work; so the farmer would give
him nothing more to eat, and said, 'I want you no longer, so take
yourself off out of my stable; I shall not take you back again until
you are stronger than a lion.' Then he opened the door and turned him
The poor horse was very melancholy, and wandered up and down in the
wood, seeking some little shelter from the cold wind and rain.
Presently a fox met him: 'What's the matter, my friend?' said he, 'why
do you hang down your head and look so lonely and woe-begone?' 'Ah!'
replied the horse, 'justice and avarice never dwell in one house; my
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; what
chance can I have of that? he knows I have none, or he would not talk
However, the fox bid him be of good cheer, and said, 'I will help you;
lie down there, stretch yourself out quite stiff, and pretend to be
dead.' The 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; come with me and you may make an excellent meal of
his carcase.' The lion was greatly pleased, and set off immediately;
and when they came to the horse, the fox said, 'You will not be able
to eat him comfortably here; I'll tell you what—I will tie you fast
to his tail, and then you can draw him to your den, and eat him at
This advice pleased the lion, so he laid himself down quietly for the
fox to make him fast to the horse. But 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. When the work was done, the fox clapped
the horse on the shoulder, and said, 'Jip! Dobbin! Jip!' Then up he
sprang, and moved off, dragging the lion behind him. The beast began
to roar and bellow, till all the birds of the wood flew away for
fright; but the horse let him sing on, and made his way quietly over
the fields to his master's 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.' And so the
poor old horse had plenty to eat, and lived—till he died.