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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 268 (Chambry 33)

An earthworm saw a snake stretched out and envied his length. The earthworm wanted to be as long as that snake, so he lay down beside the snake and tried to extend himself. The worm stretched and stretched until he accidentally split into pieces.
This is what happens to someone who competes with his superiors: he destroys himself before he can equal them.

Note: Following Crusius as adopted by Perry, I have changed Chambry's alopeks, 'fox' to skoleks, 'earthworm.'

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.