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The Dog and His Shadow

Published February 24, 2016
Countries: Greece
Age Levels: 4-5 and up

ONCE upon a time a large dog was walking along the streets. He was feeling very contented. A butcher had just given him a juicy marrow-filled bone.

The dig held his head high. His ears were up, and his tail stood high in the air.   Little town-dogs ran behind him. They were barking and saying: "Please let us smell of your bone." But the big dog hurried on. He wanted nothing to do with the hungry little town-dogs. The bone was his. He would not share it with anyone.

The big dog could not think of sitting down to enjoy his bone. Friends might come by, and he would have to share his bone with them. He did not want to share with anyone.

"I will bury my bone," thought the dog, "a long way from here, where no one can find it. 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 stream with a board laid across it for a bridge. He held his bone tightly in his teeth and started across the bridge. But no sooner had he set foot on the bridge than he saw another dog with another bone in his mouth running across the water below him.

He stopped and looked at the other dog. The dog in the water stopped at him. When he started on, the other dog started, too. When he turned his head, the dog in the water turned his head also.  He opened his eyes wide and growled at the other dog. The other dog opened his eyes wide and appeared to growl back.

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

The big dog leaned away over the edge of the wooden bridge. He held his head close to the water. He opened his mouth wide to grab the other dog's bone. But—there was no dog in the water at all. He had only seen his own shadow. Splash! Down went the bone into the water. Off it went, pushed by the force of the running water where he could not reach it.

In the end, the big dog had no bone at all just because he was selfish.