Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
163. THE DOG IN THE MANGER
Perry 702 (Steinhowel,
Fab. Ext. 11)
People frequently begrudge something to others that they themselves
cannot enjoy. Even though it does them no good, they won't let others
have it. Listen to a fable about such an event.
There was a wicked dog lying in a manger full of hay. When the cattle
came and wanted to eat, the dog barred their way, baring his teeth. The
cattle said to the dog, 'You are being very unfair by begrudging us something
we need which is useless to you. Dogs don't eat hay, but you will not
let us near it.' The same thing happened when a dog was holding a bone
in his mouth: the dog couldn't chew on the bone that way, but no other
dog was able to chew on it either.
The fable shows that it is not easy to avoid envy: with some effort
you can try to escape its effects, but it never goes away entirely.
Note: Although this story is not attested in the ancient Greek and
Roman fables, the proverbial 'dog in the manger' makes his appearance
in Lucian, Against the Unlearned 30: 'There was a dog lying in a manger
who did not eat the grain but who nevertheless prevented the horse from
being able to eat anything either.'
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.