There is a short story in which a self-centered old man dreams that he died and went to hell. In the midst of his anguish, he looks heavenward and cries out for a second chance. A voice from above asks him what he had done in his earthly life to merit a second chance. After much soul-searching, all the man can remember is that while walking in the woods one day, he saw a spider and did not kill it. At once, the thin, silvery thread of a spider web is lowered to within his reach. He eagerly grabs hold of the thread, and it begins to rise and lift him out of his misery. Whereupon, two of his fellow prisoners grab onto his feet, hoping to escape. Fearing that the thread will break, the man cries out, “Let go! Let go!” — whereupon the thread breaks, and all three fall back into hell. And the self-centered old man realizes that although the thread was…
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