1. challenges
  2. character
  3. character education
  4. commitment
  5. compassion
  6. conflict resolution
  7. contentment
  8. cooperation
  9. courage
  10. decision-making
  11. encouragement
  12. filial piety
  13. goals
  14. gratitude
  15. healthy families
  16. healthy lifestyle
  17. integrity
  18. kindness
  19. leadership
  20. life goals
  21. loyalty
  22. marriage
  23. meaningful life
  24. moral education
  25. perseverance
  26. politeness
  27. relationship skills
  28. religion
  29. respect
  30. responsibility
  31. self-awareness
  32. self-improvement
  33. service
  34. sexuality
  35. social awareness
  36. sportsmanship
  37. teamwork
  38. tolerance
  39. trustworthiness


It was a bright, sunny day in the village. A dog walked by the butcher shop and smelled the meats in the window.

The jolly butcher stepped out of the shop door and smiled at the dog. He was a kind man, so he called the dog over to him. “Wait here!” he said. “I have something for a hungry dog like you.” He came back with a big bone that still had some meat on it and threw it to the dog.

The dog, very glad at his good fortune, grabbed the bone in his mouth, ran along the street, out of the village and down to the pond. He grasped the bone tightly in his jaws as he approached the pond. Because it was a clear sunny day, the dog could see his reflection in the water.

Do you know what a reflection is? It is what you see in the mirror! Sometimes water can be just like a mirror, and so it was for the dog.

The dog was not very smart, and he thought his own reflection in the pond was another dog with a bone in his mouth! This dog’s bone looked even bigger!

Instead of being thankful for the bone he already had, the dog decided to grab the other bone. As he reached out towards his own reflection in the pond, he fell into the water, dropping the bone.

“Oh, no! The water is deep!” he cried, as he swam desperately to get back on land. His bone sank to the bottom of the pond.

When he got back on shore, the dog walked away, hungry and sad.


Cognitive: Students will understand that it is important to be grateful for what we have. When we are greedy and try to grab what is not ours, we can get into trouble.
Affective: Students will feel sad for the dog, but will also laugh at the dog’s greediness and misfortune. They will feel grateful for what they already have.
Behavioral: Students will tell themselves to be grateful for what they have when they are tempted to be greedy.

Class Session 1

Read the story to the children. Then ask, “Who was kind in the beginning of the story?” Explain that the butcher didn’t have to give the dog the bone. He could have sold the bone instead. He was kind because he could see the dog was hungry, and he wanted to make the dog happy. Ask,
  • “Was the dog happy to get the bone?
  • What was he going to do with it?
  • What happened to change things?
  • What do you think the dog should have done when he saw what he thought was another dog with a bigger bone?”

Explain that the dog could have reminded himself that he already had a juicy bone! The dog should have been grateful for what he already had. Because he was greedy he lost his bone and got all wet!

Class Session 2

Materials Needed:
  • A mirror large enough to show the face
Have several students volunteer to act out the story, using the mirror as the pond. They might put something clean in their mouths to represent the bone. Pass the mirror around and let the students look at their reflections in the mirror. Explain that water doesn’t show a face as clearly as a mirror does.

Do they understand why the dog was confused? If available, a water surface can be used to show them reflections in the water. Ask students if they would like to be kind, like the butcher was. Ask, “Can we think of some people in our community who might need our kindness and help?”

This could lead to a brainstorming session by the children about a service project for those who are in need, such as lonely senior citizens, people who are sick, orphans, the homeless, etc. Discuss with students what these people might need. For example, students could make cards for senior citizens or entertain them with songs. They could collect canned goods for a local food distribution program. When they decide on a project, make a plan with them how to do it. Remind them that they are showing kindness.

Mention that the dog in the story was not grateful for what he had. Suggest, “Let’s draw a picture or write about the things and people in our lives for which we are grateful.” Have students trace their hands on paper and write one thing for which they are most grateful on each finger of the hand. Explain that whenever they look at or use their hand, they can remember to be grateful for these five things.

From: Discovering the Real Me, Book 1. For book orders, click here.


Animation of the Aesop Fable: The Dog and Its Reflection

Similar stories in various cultures

From the Wikipedia entry for links to this fable in other languages: A similar lesson about greed is taught in Buddhist scripture by the Kalayamutthi Jataka in which a monkey with a handful of peas drops one and, in trying to retrieve it, drops all the others too.[4] The lesson drawn there is that This is what fools of little wit are wont to do; they spend a pound to win a penny. A story closer to Aesop's is inserted into the Calladhanuggaha Jataka, where a jackal bearing a piece of flesh goes by a river bank and plunges in after the fish it sees swimming there. On returning from its unsuccessful hunt, the jackal finds a vulture has carried off its other prey.[5] A variation deriving from this is Bidpai's story of "The Fox and the Piece of Meat". There a fox is on its way home with the meat when it catches sight of some chickens and decides to hunt one of them down; it is a kite that flies off with the meat in this version.


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