The Charger and the Miller is one of the fables attributed to one of the most famed storytellers of all time, that being Aesop. The fable is as follows.

A Charger, feeling the infirmities of age, was sent to work in a mill instead of going out to battle. But when he was compelled to grind instead of serving in the wars, he bewailed his change of fortune and called to mind his former state, saying, "Ah! Miller, I had indeed to go campaigning before, but I was barbed from counter to tail, and a man went along to groom me; and now I cannot understand what ailed me to prefer the mill before the battle." "Forbear," said the Miller to him, "harping on what was of yore, for it is the common lot of mortals to sustain the ups and downs of fortune."

The fables of Aesop were taught as a means of imparting basic lessons to the hearer of the tale. Most of these lessons were very common sense in nature, imparting good advice in an entertaining fashion, performing their function in a palatable way.

This fable tells of a war horse (the Charger) who, upon becoming too old for the rigors of war, is sent to do a task he is still capable of doing. The relief at not being exposed to the possibility of a painful and bloody death is soon eclipsed by the drudgery of the task. The Charger bewails his lost splendor to the Miller. He recounts how he had previously been gloriously arrayed in his armor and tack, complete with a vassal to groom him. Now there are no horns to trumpet his approach, no crowd to appreciate his glory, no recognition at all.

The safety he has been given came with a price. What remains to him is a career of regularity, turning the wheel to grind the grain. His relief is gone and an incipient bitterness at his fate is quickly sprouting.

The Miller cuts the Charger off, forstalling his mourning for past glories. He advises the Charger to accept his change of fortune. He also advises that what had befallen the Charger is common to mortals, whether man or steed. Fortunes change, times change, situations change. One may as well resolve to make the best of things. There are few things one can depend upon in this worldly existence, one of which is change. Nothing stays the way it once was, neither man, beast, nor nation. The prudent being expects things to change.

Had the Miller been a bit more hip he might have told the Charger "You have to roll with the punches. The grass might be greener on the other side of the fence, but someone still has to mow it."

Dr. Phil McGraw might have told the Charger "It's not about YOU!" I bet Dr. Phil never was hitched to a millstone.


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