Return to The Dog in the Manger (thing)

The Dog in the Manger is an historical morality tale, sometimes claimed for Aesop, of a dog who (naturally, being a carnivorous canine type of beastie) is able to take no enjoyment from eating grain. But the dog of this story naetheless sits in a manger full of grain -- and threatens off other animals (oxen, in most retellings, horses in some, sheep or goats in a few). The term for some time was in vogue as an idiom used to refer to somebody who wished to prevent others from enjoying something while having no interest in self-enjoyment of that thing either.

Though the phrase is most analogous to defense against the use of an existing finite resource -- for example the ardent bicyclist who would ban the burning of fossil fuels -- it may be used as well for inexhaustable metaphorical concepts -- for example the ardent prude who has no interest in pornography, but would wish to ban those who have such an interest from viewing such materials.