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The Belly and the Members

Fables

Aesop

In former days, when the Belly and the other parts of the body enjoyed the faculty of speech, and had separate views and designs of their own; each part, it seems, in particular, for himself, and in the name of the whole, took exception at the conduct of the Belly, and were resolved to grant him supplies no longer.

They said they thought it very hard that he should lead an idle, good-for-nothing life, spending and squandering away upon his own vile appetites all the fruits of their labour; and that, in short, they were resolved for the future to strike off his allowance, and let him shift for himself as well as he could.

The hands protested they would not lift a finger to keep him from starving; and the mouth wished he might never speak again if he took in the least bit of nourishment for him as long as he lived; and the teeth said, "May we be rotten if ever we chew a morsel for him for the future!" This solemn league and covenant was kept so long, until each of the rebel members pined away to the skin and bone, and could hold out no longer. Then they found there was no doing without the Belly, and that, as idle and insignificant as he seemed, he contributed as much to the maintenance and welfare of all the other parts as they did to his.

MORAL.

Men are dependent upon their fellow-creatures, and it is foolish to expect we can do without the help of others.

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