Gateway to the Classics: For the Children's Hour by Carolyn S. Bailey
For the Children's Hour by  Carolyn S. Bailey

The Dog and His Shadow

O NCE upon a time a great dog was walking through the streets, feeling very fine because the butcher had just given him a juicy marrow-bone. He held his head quite high, and his tail very stiff, and he looked neither to the right nor the left. All the little town-dogs ran on behind, barking and saying: "Please let us smell of your bone." But the great dog hurried on and would have nothing to do with the hungry little town-dogs.

He could not think of sitting down to enjoy his bone; some of his friends might come along and he would have to share his feast with them, and that he did not wish to do.

"I will bury my bone," said the great dog, "a long way from here, where no one can find it, and some other day I will dig it up and eat it."

So the great dog hurried on until he left the town behind him, and he came to a clear, running brook with a board laid across it for a bridge.

"There is not another dog here to see," said the great dog, clutching his bone more tightly in his teeth as he started across the brook. But no sooner had he set foot on the bridge than he saw, running along on the top of the water, another dog with another bone in his mouth!

"What may this be?" said the great dog to himself.

When he stopped, the dog in the water stopped; when he started on, the other dog started, too. When he turned his head, the dog in the water turned his head also.

"This will never do," said the great dog. "I am going to take his bone away from him."

So the great dog leaned away over to the edge of the water and opened his mouth wide to take the brook-dog's bone, but—there was no dog in the water at all, only the great dog's shadow. Splash! down went the great dog's bone in the water and off it sailed where he could not reach it; so he had no bone at all. And that was because he was selfish.

— Adapted by Clara M. Lewis from Æsop's fables   

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