MLA Gold Award Site

Who said: "When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground."

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground."

This is an old African proverb. There are many others ranging from the profound to the frankly bizarre, including:

  • If you refuse the elder's advice you will walk the whole day. (Tanzania).
  • If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (Ghana).
  • Wherever the heart is, the feet don’t hesitate to go. (Togo).
  • When the monkey sees a nice fruit in the tree that can’t be grasped, then the monkey says the fruit is rotten. (Congo).
  • The ox doesn’t boast about its strength in front of the elephant.
  • When elephants fight, the grass always is the one that suffers. (Swahili).
  • Swim across the river before being rude to the crocodile.
  • If one had nothing to say, one had better keep silent.
  • It isn’t because it is hard that one doesn’t dare, but since one doesn’t dare it becomes hard.
  • Everything has an end, except a banana which has two of them. (Bambara/Mali).
  • He who swallows a coconut has confidence in his anus!

The country of origin is likely just one of the countries where a particular expression can be found - no doubt many of them are widely spread with multiple variations.

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
    by Kathleen Rooney

    "Effervescent with verve, wit, and heart" - Booklist, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Ruler of the Night
    Ruler of the Night
    by David Morrell
    Amateur sleuth Thomas De Quincey is back in a mystery set in Victorian England. This time, he and ...
  • Book Jacket: A List of Cages
    A List of Cages
    by Robin Roe
    Robin Roe has written one helluva young adult debut novel. Alternating first person narratives by a ...
  • Book Jacket: Homesick for Another World
    Homesick for Another World
    by Ottessa Moshfegh
    The frizzy, freaky, funky, and frazzled all pile on in this much anticipated short story collection ...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.