One of his admirers said in surprise, "Why so small a house, Socrates?"
Socrates said nothing in reply; he just kept on working.
"You are such a great man and renowned philosopher," the man insisted. "I don't understand why you do not build yourself a bigger house!"
"The house is small," Socrates finally said, "but I would be happy if I could manage to fill it with true friends. True friends are in short supply, but there is no shortage of flatterers and admirers."
Inspired by: Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists by Roger L'Estrange, 486.
Notes: This is Perry 500.
Here is an illustration from a 17th-century edition of the poems of Phaedrus: