Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
263. THE DOG, THE MEAT AND THE REFLECTION
Perry 133 (Syntipas
A dog seized some meat from the butcher shop and ran away with it until
he came to a river. When the dog was crossing the river, he saw the reflection
of the meat in the water, and it seemed much larger than the meat he was
carrying. He dropped his own piece of meat in order to try to snatch at
the reflection. When the reflection disappeared, the dog went to grab
the meat he had dropped but he was not able to find it anywhere, since
a passing raven had immediately snatched the meat and gobbled it up. The
dog lamented his sorry condition and said, 'Woe is me! I foolishly abandoned
what I had in order to grab at a phantom, and thus I ended up losing both
that phantom and what I had to begin with.'
This fable is about greedy people who grasp at more than they need.
Note: There is a similar story in the Buddhist Calladhanuggaha-jataka
in which a jackal is crossing a stream carrying a piece of meat in his
mouth: when he puts down the meat to try to catch some fish, a vulture
steals the meat and the jackal ends up with nothing.
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.