Days before Chaim Bialik's death, the papers were rife with speculation that he would win the Nobel Prize for literature. When the prize was awarded to another writer, Bialik was asked for his reaction.

"I'm very glad I didn't win the prize," he declared. "Now everybody's my friend and feels sorry for me. My, my how angry they are on my behalf! 'Now isn't that a scandal,' they say. 'Imagine such a thing -- Bialik, the great poet Bialik, doesn't get the Nobel Prize! And -- tsk! tsk! -- just look who they gave it to! To X, that so-and-so. Why, he can't even hold a candle to Bialik!

"On the other hand, what if I had been awarded the Nobel Prize? Then, I'm sure some of the very same people who are now so indignant on my account would have said, 'What's so wonderful about getting the Nobel Prize? Why, even that poet Bialik got one!'"

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