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Pygmies

(2 syl.). A nation of dwarfs on the banks of the Upper Nile. Every spring the cranes made war upon them and devoured them. They cut down every corn-ear with an axe. When Hercules went to the country they climbed up his goblet by ladders to drink from it; and while he was asleep two whole armies of them fell upon his right hand, and two upon his left; but Hercules rolled them all in his lion's skin. It is easy to see how Swift has availed himself of this Grecian legend in his Gulliver's Travels. Stanley met with a race of Pygmies in his search for Emin Pasha.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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