Sylvester & Tweety, Meet Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan besieges the Tangut Chinese city of Volohai in 1207, but can’t break through the city’s heavily-defended fortifications. From the Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes, attributed to Gabriel Ronay:

He offered to withdraw if he was given by way of tribute one thousand cats and one thousand swallows. The startled Tangut complied. But instead of withdrawing Genghis set them alight and released them in one great rush of living fire. The hapless cats and birds set the city on fire in hundreds of places and, while the garrison fought the flames, the Mongols breached the walls.

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