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The Story of San Michele from Axel Munthe

When children learn to understand the money value of their toys they are driven out of their paradise, they cease to be children.

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You give nothing to the people unless you give yourself up to them.

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The cruel wild beast is not behind the bars of the cage, he stands in front of it.

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His one superiority over me is that he can drop a swallow or a skylark with his revolver at fifty yards while I should probably miss an elephant at the same distance.

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I know that life is beautiful, but I also know that we often make a mess of it and turn it into a silly farce or a heart-rending tragedy, or both, so much so that one ends by not knowing whether to cry or to laugh. It is easier to cry, but far better to laugh, so long as one doesn't laugh aloud.

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The eye knew much more about architecture than did the books.

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All you give away on earth is saved for you in Heaven, all you keep is lost.

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All that is really useful to us can be bought for little money, it is only the superfluous that is put up for sale at a high price.

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We know that we are going to die, in fact it is the only thing we know of what is in store for us. All the rest is mere guesswork, and most of the time we guess wrong.

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Is it true that there is no greater suffering than to remember our past happiness in our misery? I for one do not think so. It is with joy and not with sorrow that my thoughts go back to San Michele, where I have lived the happiest years of my life.

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