One winter's day, during a severe storm, a Horse, an Ox, and a
Dog came and begged for shelter in the house of a Man. He
readily admitted them, and, as they were cold and wet, he lit a
fire for their comfort, and he put oats before the Horse, and hay
before the Ox, while he fed the Dog with the remains of his own
When the storm abated, and they were about to depart, they
determined to show their gratitude in the following way. They
divided the life of Man among them, and each endowed one
part of it with the qualities which were peculiarly his own.
The Horse took youth, and hence young men are impetuous,
headstrong, and obstinate in maintaining his own opinion.
The Ox took middle age, and accordingly man in his middle age
is fond of work, devoted to labor, and resolute to amass wealth
and to husband his resources.
The Dog took old age, which is the reason why old men are so
often peevish and ill-tempered, and, like dogs, attached chiefly
to those who look to their comfort, while they are disposed to
snap at those who are unfamiliar or distasteful to them.