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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 156 pages of information about Cobwebs from an Empty Skull.

When the bird had concluded, the man’s convictions were quite unaltered, but he was too weak to resume the discussion; and, although blood is thicker than water, the children were constrained to confess that the stranger had the best of it.

This fable teaches.

XLVII.

“I hate snakes who bestow their caresses with interested partiality or fastidious discrimination,” boasted a boa constrictor. “My affection is unbounded; it embraces all animated nature.  I am the universal shepherd; I gather all manner of living things into my folds.  Entertainment here for man and beast!”

“I should be glad of one of your caresses,” said a porcupine, meekly; “it has been some time since I got a loving embrace.”

So saying, he nestled snugly and confidingly against the large-hearted serpent—­who fled.

A comprehensive philanthropy may be devoid of prejudices, but it has its preferences all the same.

XLVIII.

During a distressing famine in China a starving man met a fat pig, who, seeing no chance of escape, walked confidently up to the superior animal, and said: 

“Awful famine! isn’t it?”

“Quite dreadful!” replied the man, eyeing him with an evident purpose:  “almost impossible to obtain meat.”

“Plenty of meat, such as it is, but no corn.  Do you know, I have been compelled to eat so many of your people, I don’t believe there is an ounce of pork in my composition.”

“And I so many that I have lost all taste for pork.”

“Terrible thing this cannibalism!”

“Depends upon which character you try it in; it is terrible to be eaten.”

“You are very brutal!”

“You are very fat.”

“You look as if you would take my life.”

“You look as if you would sustain mine.”

“Let us ‘pull sticks,’” said the now desperate animal, “to see which of us shall die.”

“Good!” assented the man:  “I’ll pull this one.”

So saying, he drew a hedge-stake from the ground, and stained it with the brain of that unhappy porker.

MORAL.—­An empty stomach has no ears.

XLIX.

A snake, a mile long, having drawn himself over a roc’s egg, complained that in its present form he could get no benefit from it, and modestly desired the roc to aid him in some way.

“Certainly,” assented the bird, “I think we can arrange it.”

Saying which, she snatched up one of the smaller Persian provinces, and poising herself a few leagues above the suffering reptile, let it drop upon him to smash the egg.

This fable exhibits the folly of asking for aid without specifying the kind and amount of aid you require.

L.

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