| Jataka Tales|
|by Ellen C. Babbitt|
|Eighteen fables from the Jatakas of India, skillfully retold and attractively illustrated. Includes The Monkey and the Crocodile, The Merchant of Seri, The Turtle Who Wouldn’t Stop Talking, The Foolish Timid Rabbit, The Banyan Deer, and others. Ages 7-10 |
THE OX WHO WON THE FORFEIT
ONG ago a man owned a very
strong Ox. The owner was so proud of his Ox, that he
boasted to every man he met about how strong his Ox was.
One day the owner went into a village, and said to the men
there: "I will pay a forfeit of a thousand pieces of silver
if my strong Ox cannot draw a line of one hundred wagons."
The men laughed, and said: "Very well; bring your Ox, and we
will tie a hundred wagons in a line and see your Ox draw
So the man brought his Ox into the village. A crowd gathered
to see the sight. The hundred carts were in line, and the
strong Ox was yoked to the first wagon.
Then the owner whipped his Ox, and said: "Get up, you
wretch! Get along, you rascal!"
 But the Ox had never been talked to in that way, and he
stood still. Neither the blows nor the hard names could make
"Get along, you rascal."
At last the poor man paid his forfeit, and went sadly
home. There he threw himself on his bed and cried: "Why
did that strong Ox act so? Many a time he has moved heavier
loads easily. Why did he shame me before all those people?"
At last he got up and went about his work. When
 he went to feed the Ox that night, the Ox turned to him and
said: "Why did you whip me to-day? You never whipped me
before. Why did you call me 'wretch' and 'rascal'? You never
called me hard names before."
Then the man said: "I will never treat you badly again.
I am sorry I whipped you and called you names. I will never
do so any more. Forgive me."
"Very well," said the Ox.
"To-morrow I will go into the village and draw the one
hundred carts for you. You have always been a kind master
until to-day. To-morrow you shall gain what you lost."
The next morning the owner fed the Ox well, and hung a
garland of flowers about his neck. When they went into the
village the men laughed at the man again.
They said: "Did you come back to lose more money?"
"To-day I will pay a forfeit of two thousand pieces of
silver if my Ox is not strong enough to pull the one hundred
carts," said the owner.
A garland of flowers about his neck.
So again the carts were placed in a line, and the Ox was
yoked to the first. A crowd came to watch again. The
owner said: "Good Ox, show how strong you
 are! You fine, fine creature!" And he patted his
neck and stroked his sides.
At once the Ox pulled with all his strength. The carts
moved on until the last cart stood where the first had been.
Then the crowd shouted, and they paid back the forfeit the
man had lost, saying: "Your Ox is the strongest Ox we ever
And the Ox and the man went home, happy.
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