A Greek fable tells of a man who possessed a goose that laid golden eggs. Impatient and avaricious by nature, he was not satisfied with one golden egg every day or so, but wanted all the eggs at once. So, he killed the goose, opened her up and – well, you can guess the rest of the story.
When we use this proverb we mean that anyone who claims more than he is already receiving is very likely to get nothing at all in the future.
Young Alan had a very generous uncle who gave him five shillings every time he came to tea. Alan wanted a bicycle, so the next time his uncle called he asked him for ten pounds instead of five shillings.
‘Ten pounds?’ exclaimed his uncle.
‘Well, you can afford it, can’t you? demanded Alan rudely.
This annoyed his uncle so much that Alan did not get his bicycle – or any more five-shillings tips. He had killed the goose that laid the golden eggs.