The seventh section of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is entitled, simply, “The Bean Field” and begins most promisingly:
“Meanwhile my beans, the length of whose rows, added together, was seven miles already planted, were impatient to be hoed, for the earliest had grown considerably before the latest were in the ground; indeed they were not easily to be put off. What was the meaning of this so steady and self-respecting, this small Herculean labor, I knew not. I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted. They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Antaeus.”
He ended up spending $14.725 on his bean field and earning $23.44 from his crops, netting him a handsome $8.715 after which he says simply, “This is the result of my experience in raising beans.”
It’s a chapter that revels in its own silliness and yet finds a real profound beauty in it all. A beauty which we then very happily took, shaved of all of its meaning and grandeur, and used to fill a half dozen comics or so with bean jokes. Yes, I am VERY proud of what we do.
– Count Dolby von Luckner