'The Vicious Dog', an illustration by John Vernon Lord
in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 75The Text:
The Vicious Dog with a Bell hung round his Neck
A CERTAIN man had a Dog, who was so fierce and full of mischief, that he was forced to put a heavy bell round his neck, to keep him running after people, and biting them as they passed by the yard. The sulky cur took this for a badge of honour; and as he was as proud as he was spiteful, he would not take the least civil notice of any other dog that came his way.
But one day an honest old Mastiff, who knew how the whole affair stood, went up to him boldly, and told him that which he did not like to hear. “Bow, wow, wow!” said he, “Mr Ball: what, you are grown so proud, since you have had that bell dangling about. Poor dog as I am I may scarcely speak to you: but you need not be so vain I can tell you; for this clumsy bell was tied to your neck, not to do you any honour, but only to put a stop to your spiteful tricks, and teach you better manners.”
Moral: It is not easy to tame the habits of those who are naturally vain and pompous.
Text: adapted from Mrs Trimmer (2/30, 15th edition, 1837).
Selected Parallels: Babrius 104. Avianus 7. Caxton, Avianus 6. L’Estrange 226. Chambry 186. Perry 332.. TMI J953.1.