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recognize the authority of, the State which buys and sells men,
women, and children, like cattle, at the door of its senate-house. I
had gone down to the woods for other purposes. But, wherever a
man goes, men will pursue and paw him with their dirty institutions,
and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate odd-
fellow society. It is true, I might have resisted forcibly with more or
less effect, might have run "amok" against society; but I preferred
that society should run "amok" against me, it being the desperate
party. However, I was released the next day, obtained my mended
shoe, and returned to the woods in season to get my dinner of
huckleberries on Fair Haven Hill. I was never molested by any
person but those who represented the State. I had no lock nor bolt
but for the desk which held my papers, not even a nail to put over
my latch or windows. I never fastened my door night or day, though
I was to be absent several days; not even when the next fall I spent a
fortnight in the woods of Maine. And yet my house was more
respected than if it had been surrounded by a file of soldiers. The
tired rambler could rest and warm himself by my fire, the literary
amuse himself with the few books on my table, or the curious, by
opening my closet door, see what was left of my dinner, and what
prospect I had of a supper. Yet, though many people of every class
came this way to the pond, I suffered no serious inconvenience from
these sources, and I never missed anything but one small book, a
volume of Homer, which perhaps was improperly gilded, and this I
trust a soldier of our camp has found by this time. I am convinced,
that if all men were to live as simply as I then did, thieving and
robbery would be unknown. These take place only in communities
where some have got more than is sufficient while others have not
enough. The Pope’s Homers would soon get properly distributed.

"Nec bella fuerunt, Faginus astabat dum scyphus ante dapes." "Nor
wars did men molest, When only beechen bowls were in request."

"You who govern public affairs, what need have you to employ
punishments? Love virtue, and the people will be virtuous. The
virtues of a superior man are like the wind; the virtues of a common
man are like the grass-I the grass, when the wind passes over it,


SOMETIMES, having had a surfeit of human society and gossip,
and worn out all my village friends, I rambled still farther westward
than I habitually dwell, into yet more unfrequented parts of the town,
"to fresh woods and pastures new," or, while the sun was setting,
made my supper of huckleberries and blueberries on Fair Haven
Hill, and laid up a store for several days. The fruits do not yield their
true flavor to the purchaser of them, nor to him who raises them for
the market. There is but one way to obtain it, yet few take that way.
If you would know the flavor of huckleberries, ask the cowboy or
the partridge. It is a vulgar error to suppose that you have tasted
huckleberries who never plucked them. A huckleberry never reaches
Boston; they have not been known there since they grew on her three
hills. The ambrosial and essential part of the fruit is lost with the
bloom which is rubbed off in the market cart, and they become mere
provender. As long as Eternal justice reigns, not one innocent
huckleberry can be transported thither from the country’s hills.

Occasionally, after my hoeing was done for the day, I joined some
impatient companion who had been fishing on the pond since
morning, as silent and motionless as a duck or a floating leaf, and,
after practising various kinds of philosophy, had concluded
commonly, by the time I arrived, that he belonged to the ancient sect
of Coenobites. There was one older man, an excellent fisher and
skilled in all kinds of woodcraft, who was pleased to look upon my
house as a building erected for the convenience of fishermen; and I
was equally pleased when he sat in my doorway to arrange his lines.
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