V. The Wisdom of a Poor Man
One day at noon 1 a poor man tied 2 his horse
to a tree, and sat down to eat his midday 1 meal.
A rich man came along and started 3 to tie his horse to the same
Do not fasten your horse to that tree," cried the poor man. " My
horse is very savage.4 He will kill yours. Fasten him to another
The rich man answered proudly, "I shall tie my horse where
I wish." 5
So he fastened his horse to the same tree to which the poor man's
horse was tied, and sat down to eat his dinner.
Suddenly 6 the men heard a great noise, and looked up. Their
horses were fighting. The two men rushed up 7 to stop them, but
too late. The rich man's horse was dead.
See what your horse has done! " he cried to the poor man in
great anger. " But you shall pay 8for it ! You shall pay for
it ! "
So saying, he dragged 9 the poor man before the judge.10
O wise 11 judge !" he cried. " This man's savage horse
has killed my horse-my beautiful, kind, gentle,4 horse ! Make him
pay for it or send him to prison,12 I beg of you."
The judge turned to the poor man. "Did your horse kill this
man's horse i" he asked.
But the poor man said not one word.13
Can't you talk 4" asked the judge.
The poor man answered never a word.
The judge asked the poor man many questions, but he still kept
his lips closed 14 and answered nothing.
At last the judge said to the rich man: " What can I do'!
This poor man is dumb. He cannot speak a word."
Oh, sir," said the rich man, "he can talk as well as
you or I. He spoke to me on the road."
Are you sure?" asked the judge. "What did he say!"
" Indeed, I am sure. He said quite plainly 15: ` Do not fasten
your horse to that tree. My horse is very savage. He will kill
yours. Fasten him to another tree."'
` Ah," said the judge, " now I see. If he warned
16 you, he need not pay for your horse.17 You only are to blame.18
You should have heeded 19 his warning 16."
Then the judge turned to the poor man. " Why did you not answer
my questions?" he asked.
Can you not seo,20 O wise judge?" answered the poor man. "If
I had told you that I warned him not to tie his horse near mine,
he would have denied 21 it. Then you would not know which of us
was telling the truth. I knew, 0 wise one, that if I let him tell
the story alone, you would soon learn the truth."
The poor man's words pleased the judge, and he sent the rich man
away without a penny. But he praised Is the poor man for his wisdom.
1 At twelve o'clock, in the middle of the day, at midday; opp,
midnight. 2 Or: fastened, made fast, by means of a rope (which
is like a string, but much thicker and stronger). 3 Or: began.
4 It is not a quiet horse, it bites ; opp. gentle. b Or: where
I like, where it pleases me.6 Or : all at once. 7 Or : hurried
towards them, ran up to them. 8 Or : suffer. 9 opp. to take gently.
Drag : dragged, cp. beg : begged, leg : two-legged. 10 When men
quarrel, for instance about a piece of land, they go before a judge,
who says which of them is in the right. 11 opp. foolish, silly,
stupid. 12 When a man has done a great wrong, he is sent to prison.
Then he is a prisoner. 13 Or: not a single word, never a word.
He did not speak at all. 14 When we talk, we open our lips ; when
we keep them closed, we are silent. 16 Ur : clearly. It was not
difficult to hear what he said. 16 We warn a man when we tell him
to take care, to be careful. The poor man gave a warning to the
rich man. 17 Or : why should he pay for your horse ? You can go
there if you like, but you need not go there. You need not write
to your friend, as you will see him this afternoon. 18 You lost
your horse because you were foolish. The teacher blames a boy if
he comes late to school ; he praises him if he does his work well.
19 Or: listened to. I did not heed what he said : it was as if
he had not spoken to me at all. He did not heed the warning : the
warning fell on deaf ears. 20 Or: do you not understand S 21 He
would have said : it is not true