Thursday, February 07, 2008

Aesop’s Foibles #4 The Dog In the Manger

There was once a dog who lived in a farm. He shared the place with other farm creatures. Amidst the clucking and crowing of the roosters and the hens, the incessant lowing of the cows and the oxen and the bleating ewes and rams the dog couldn’t find a place where he could have a restful nap. The farm was like a regular Tower of Babel wherein all sorts of animal talk clash and try to outshout each other.

As he walked about looking for a corner in the farm that would have some peace and quiet he chanced upon a manger filled with newly baled hay. All the bovine residents were out in pasture and he was left by his lone some in the barn. He couldn’t resist the beckoning of the warm soft hay in the manger and so he laid himself gently on the hay and fell into a deep sleep.

When the cows and the oxen returned to the barn they grunted angrily upon seeing someone sleeping atop their meal. The dog woke up with a start and began snarling and barking at the cattle who roused him from his sleep. His ferocity kept the hulking creatures at bay. He seemed to have protected the hay from being eaten even though he himself could not eat it. This led to the ox muttering the moral of this fable… “People often begrudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves”

The fable concludes unfairly for the dog. It’s quite clear that the motive behind the dog’s belligerence was not to begrudge the cattle their fodder. It could have been the rude rousing from his rest, in which case the moral should have been… “biruin mo na ang lasing wag lang ang bagong gising”. It is either that or it is just a basic instinct for territorial imperative that all animals are heir to.

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