'The Dog and his Reflection', an illustration by John Vernon Lord
in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 13.
The Dog and his Reflection
A dog, a bony hound and homeward bound, passing a butcher’s shop
Sneaked through the door and snatched from the floor a succulent mutton chop.
With heaving chest he stopped to rest on a bridge which straddled a stream ...
And there by chance he took a glance at the water’s reflecting gleam.
He saw, of course, himself.
‘You mangy cur! More scoff! I’m off to flay your fur.’
With that he plunged, meanly, keenly, greedily he lunged
At the empty dream. Snap! an open mouth, a silly scheme; the meat he had was gone.
He believed his eyes and lost the prize he’d set his hopes upon.
Moral: Grasp at the shadow and lose the substance.
Text: Peter Gordon Diamond (1986).
Selected parallels: Babrius 79. Phaedrus 1/4. Caxton, Romulus 1/5. La Fontaine 6/17. L’Estrange 6. Chambry 185. Perry 133. TMI J1791.4.