The Ox Who Won a Bet
Long ago a farmer owned a large strong Ox. He had raised the Ox from birth. He had fed him and washed him, and taught him to work in the fields. He sang to himself and to the Ox as they plowed the rice fields and as they pulled heavy loads to the market.
"My master has been very kind to me," thought the Ox. He has always treated me right. Perhaps there is something I can do for him." That night, the Ox did something he had never done before. He talked out loud, "Master," he said. "Go to the rich man when he is in front of others in the market place. Tell him, 'I bet a thousand pieces of silver that my strong Ox can pull a hundred carts filled with stone!' "
The farmer went to the rich man the next day. "Do you know anyone who has a very strong ox?"
My oxen are the strongest in the land," said the rich man.
"Can your oxen pull a hundred carts of stone?" asked the farmer.
"No ox can pull a load that large," replied the rich man.
"I have a very strong Ox. I bet a thousand silver coins that he can do it." The Bet was made!
The farmer went home to get his Ox. Villagers from all over came to watch the contest. The rich man had a hundred carts tied one to the other and filled them with stones. The farmer hitched his Ox to the first cart. He began to yell, "Pull you lazy ox. Pull those carts. Move you rascal." Then the farmer beat the Ox with a stick.
The Ox did not move. He just looked at the farmer. The farmer had never talked mean to him before. The farmer had never hit him before. He would not help him now. The farmer lost the bet and had to pay the rich man 1000 silver coins.
That night, the farmer talked to his Ox. "You made me lose 1000 coins today," he said.
The Ox answered, "You have always treated me well. But today you beat me and insulted me in front of others. That is why I did not pull the carts for you."
"I am so sorry," said the farmer. The rich man talks that way to his oxen. I was in the wrong. I treated you badly and got what I deserved. Please accept my apology."
"I accept your apology," said the Ox. Please go tomorrow to the rich man again. Make a bet for 2000 silver coins that I can pull 200 carts filled with stone."
The next day the farmer put a necklace of flowers around the Ox's neck and led him to the market place.
"Did you come to lose more money?" asked the rich man.
"I will bet you 2000 silver coins that my Ox can pull 200 carts filled with stone." The bet was accepted. A crowd soon gathered to watch the event. "Pull, my strong beautiful Ox," said the farmer. "Pull and show everyone what you can do, my fine pet."
The Ox looked at the farmer. Then he began to tug and pull. Soon the load started to move. It was not long before the last cart of stones stood where the first cart had started.
The crowd cheered, and the farmer was paid his 2000 silver coins. Then the farmer and his Ox went home happy. Kindness and good treatment are always a good way to act with people and animals.