[PW] ? having a child, planting a tree and writing a book

S M Colowick januarye at gmail.com
Fri Jul 3 08:40:44 PDT 2009

> Hi all, I have a patron seeking the origin of a quotation: 'having a
> child, planting a tree and writing a book are the three goals the human
> being needs to achieve during his life', or something to that effect.
> It seems to be apocryphally attributed to the Talmud, the Chinese and José
> Martí. However, I can't seem to track down a definite reference.

Mostly more apocrypha here.

>From "Curiosities of Tree Planting" in volume 50 of Chambers's Journal
(1873) via Google Book Search:

"A proverb of North-west India declares that three things make a man
to be truly a man--to have a son born to him, to dig a well, and to
plant a tree."

Not surprisingly, many versions of this saying have "son" instead of "child".

Hemingway is said to have said that you must do four things to be a man:

    * Plant a tree
    * Fight a bull
    * Write a novel
    * Father a son

"Whether Hemingway actually said this is questionable. A source for
the statement has never been found." -

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