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"To own a book is to want a shelf..."
May 22, 2014 8:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find any record of a saying I once heard attributed to St. Francis of Assisi; it goes something like, "To own a book is to want a shelf to put it on; to own a shelf is to want a room to put the shelf in; to own a room is to want a house; to own a house"...etc., my memory is very vague after this point. Anyone heard something like this before?
posted by daisystomper to Religion & Philosophy (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
This probably isn't what you have in mind, but if you give a mouse a cookie...
posted by dekathelon at 10:14 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Found this on Google Books: "If a man has a book, said Francis, then he'll want a shelf, then a library, and finally someone to bring him his books from his library." This line appears on p. 7 of James J. Martin's "Lourdes Diary."
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:19 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Following up on what MonkeyToes found, I found this:

I love the story of Brother Bernardo, who went to Francis of Assisi and asked if he could
purchase a particular book. Francis smiled and said, "―No." Bernardo protested. What harm
would a book do? Francis said, "… if you want a book, next you would want a shelf."

Searching for Bernardo and Francis stories might get you closer to the original source.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:52 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I think Bernardo mentioned there is almost certainly Bernard of Quintavalle.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:08 AM on May 23


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