The Stag in the Ox Stall

A hunted stag, driven out of the thicket and distracted by fear, made for the first farmhouse he saw and hid himself in an ox stall which happened to be open. As he was trying to conceal himself under the straw, "What can you mean," said an ox, "by running into such certain destruction as to trust yourself to the haunts of man?" "Only do you not betray me," said the stag, "and I shall be off again on the first opportunity."

Evening came on; the herdsman foddered the cattle, but observed nothing. The other farm-servants came in and out. The stag was still safe. Presently the bailiff passed through; all seemed right. The stag, now feeling himself quite secure, began to thank the oxen for their hospitality. "Wait a while," said one of them, "we indeed wish you well, but there is yet another person, one with a hundred eyes; if he should happen to come this way I fear your life will be still in jeopardy."

While he was speaking, the master, having finished his supper, came round to see that all was safe for the night, for he thought that his cattle had not of late looked as well as they ought. Going up to the rack, "Why so little fodder here?" says he. "Why is there not more straw?" And "How long, I wonder, would it take to sweep down these cobwebs!" Prying and observing, here and there and everywhere, the stag's antlers, jutting from out the straw, caught his eye, and calling in his servants he instantly made prize of him.