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From The Wit and Humor of America, edited by Marshall P. Wilder, Volume III, New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls and Company, 1911; p. 565.




Once on a Time there were Two Young Men of Promising Capabilities.

One pursued no Especial Branch of Education, but Contented himself with a Smattering of many different Arts and Sciences, exhibiting a Moderate Proficiently in Each. When he Came to Make a Choice of some means of Earning a Livelihood, he found he was Unsuccessful, for he had no Specialty, and Every Employer seemed to Require an Expert in his Line.

The Other, from his Earliest Youth, bent all his Energies toward Learning to play the Piano. He studied at Home and Abroad with Greatest Masters, and he Achieved Wonderful Success. But as he was about to Begin his Triumphant and Profitable Career, he had the Misfortune to lose both Thumbs in a Railway Accident.

Thus he was Deprived of his Intended Means of Earning a Living, and as he had no other Accomplishment he was Forced to Subsist on Charity.


This Fable teaches that a Jack of all Trades is Master of None, and that It is Not Well to put All our Eggs in One Basket.

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