You Can’t Take It With You
A COUPLE OF FRIENDS OF mine in the war called upon one of our great Illinois farmers, to get him to give some money for the soldiers, and during their stay he took them up to the cupola of his house and told them to look over yonder, just as far as their eyes could reach, over that beautiful rolling prairie, and they said: “That is very nice.” Yes, and it was all his. Then he took them up to another cupola, and said: “Look at that farm, and that, and that:” these were farms stocked, improved, fenced; and they said, “Those are very nice;” and then he showed them horses, cattle, and sheep-yards, and said, “They are all mine.”
He showed them the town where he lived, which had been named after him, a great hall, and building lots, and those were all his; and, said he, “I came out West a poor boy, without a farthing, and I am worth all this;” but when he got through, my friend said, “How much have you got up yonder?” and the old man’s countenance fell, for he knew very well what that meant. “What have you got up there – in the other world?” “Well,” he says, “I have not got anything there.” “Why,” says my friend, “what a mistake! A man of your intelligence, and forethought, and judgment, to amass all this wealth; and now that you are drawing to your grave, you will have to leave it all.
“You cannot take a farthing with you, but you must die a beggar and a pauper,” and the tears rolled down his cheeks as he said, “It does look foolish.”
Only a few months after he died, as he had lived, and his property passed to others.