Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth

towering tree

There was a man... who lived in a hollow tree. His manners were truly regal.

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board. The hospitality was as cold as the ices. I thought that there was no need of ice to freeze them. They talked to me of the age of the wine and the fame of the vintage; but I thought of an older, a newer, and purer wine, of a more glorious vintage, which they had not got, and could not buy. The style, the house and grounds and “entertainment,” pass for nothing with me. I called on the king, but he made me wait in his hall, and conducted like a man incapacitated for hospitality. There was a man in my neighborhood who lived in a hollow tree. His manners were truly regal. I should have done better had I called on him.


by Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862)
from Walden, 1854
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One Response to “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth”

  1. Wealth, Dishonesty, and Legal Intimidation « Comins v. VanVoorhis Says:

    […] me a loser if you will, but I still prefer the Henry David Thoreau quote, later expanded on by Christopher McCandless, and then re-popularized by Emile Hirsch’s […]

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