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Great Quotes, Volume 6: "Call Me Not 'Fool' Till Heaven Hath Sent Me Fortune."

By Motley Fool Staff - Updated Oct 16, 2017 at 7:07PM

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Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner is once again riffing on his favorite quotes, and he begins with the one from Shakespeare that gave the company its name.

In this segment of the Rule Breaker Investing podcast, David Gardner gets to the heart of matters with a reflection on what he calls "the single greatest scene in all of Shakespeare celebrating foolishness." It's from As You Like It, and it speaks to everything the Fool has in mind for you, and then some.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Aug. 16, 2017.

David Gardner: Let's kick it all off with really, well, the way that The Motley Fool, in a sense, got kicked off, because it's the quotation from As You Like It, William Shakespeare's comedy, back to Scene VII.

It's the quotation that has our name in it, and it was a book of quotations -- in fact, it was the Penguin book of quotations I was flipping through more than 20 years ago this summer, and I came upon a shorter version of this quote. I'm going to give a little bit longer form, I'm happy to say, and since this one is being videotaped, I can tell you you'll see I'm doing this from memory, because I try to memorize certain things that matter a lot to me and here's one of them. It goes like this.

Quotation No. 1:

"A fool, a fool, I met a fool i' th' forest,

A motley fool. A miserable world!

As I do live by food, I met a fool,

Who laid him down and basked him in the sun

And railed on Lady Fortune in good terms,

In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.

'Good morrow, fool,' quoth I. 'No, sir,' quoth he,

'Call me not 'fool' till heaven hath sent me fortune.'"

And we'll just leave that one right there, although it goes on and has some more great quotes. In fact the whole Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It -- I hope you've seen it in the theater. You may well have read it at some point in your schooling. It is probably the single greatest scene in all of Shakespeare celebrating foolishness.

In fact, what I just shared with you was pronounced by Jaques, who is a very foolish figure himself and arguably the most foolish fool in the play As You Like It, but he's actually reflecting on just having that touchstone who is the more formal court jester, the fool of the court. He's just seen touchstone in the Forest of Arden, and he's kind of reflecting on that and enviously talking about how awesome it must be to be a fool.

So I love that quote, of course, for obvious reasons. But what I want to highlight about that particular quotation, I just love that final line. We don't play -- we do play with language a lot, not just on this podcast but in Motley Fool writing. Whether it's our marketing or our stock write-ups, language means a lot to us. We have many writers -- contractors across the world who write for us every day -- so language really counts here, but I do kind of love that line, even though again we don't use it very often. "Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune."

Well, that's really what we're trying to do for you. We're trying -- with heaven's help, we hope -- to send you fortune and to let you call yourself a Fool. Now fortune can take many forms. Of course a lot of us might think about the next 50-bagger. I certainly think a lot about it. What will it be? Are you and I going to be on that train or not? So we think about big fortune, but it all starts with, for a lot of us, that first stock we ever pick, and usually that's not with a lot of money.

But maybe it does well for you, or maybe like for me and some of my first few stocks, maybe it doesn't do so well for you. Maybe you start to celebrate that first time you ever bought a stock and it doubled. And you held it all the way through and maybe, I hope, kept holding it if it was a fine company.

Fortune can take many forms. It's not always monetary. Just the fortune of you and I having found each other and spending this time together each week. But it is indeed a fortune for us to have people of like mind who we spend time with through our Motley Fool podcasts, our five every single week. "Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune. A fool, a fool, I met a fool i' th' forest, a motley fool."

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