The two great empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu waged a destructive war against each other, exhausted their treasures, and decimated their subjects on their different views of interpreting this vital direction contained in the 54th chapter of the Blun-decral (Koran): “All true believers break their eggs at the convenient end.” The godfather of Calin Deffar Plane, the reigning emperor of Lilliput, happened to cut his finger while breaking his egg at the big end, and very royally published a decree commanding all his liege and faithful subjects, on pains and penalties of great severity, to break their eggs in future at the small end. The orthodox Blefuscudians deemed it their duty to resent this innovation, and declared a war of extermination against the heretical Lilliputians. Many hundreds of large treatises were published on both sides, but those of a contrary opinion were put in the Index expurgatorius of the opposite empire. (Gulliver's Travels Voyage to Lilliput, iv.)
“The quarrel between the Little-endians and the Big-endians broke out on Thursday, like the after-fire of a more serious conflagration.” —The Times.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894