Henry David Thoreau, Journals, January 25, 1856 (Locked-up Chest)

A closed [pitch] pine cone gathered Jan 22nd opened last night in my chamber. If you would be convinced how differently armed the squirrel is naturally for dealing with [pitch] pine cones, just try to get one off with your teeth. He who extracts the seeds from a single closed cone with the aid of a knife will be constrained to confess that the squirrel earns his dinner. It is a rugged customer, and will make your fingers bleed. But the squirrel has the key to this conical and spiny chest of many apartments. He sits on a post, vibrating his tail, and twirls it as a plaything.

But so is a man commonly a locked-up chest to us, to open whom, unless we have the key of sympathy, will make our hearts bleed.

Full text: http://thoreau.library.ucsb.edu/writings_journals_pdfs/J10f3-f4.pdf


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