- For other uses, see Horseradish (disambiguation).
Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid is a book of quotes by Lemony Snicket. Some of the quotes are from A Series of Unfortunate Events while others were previously unpublished. It also includes a short story introduction unrelated to the ASOUE series.
A woman lives in a grass hut with her husband in a remote village surrounded by a field of horseradish. The woman begins to wonder about things and her husband tells her that her mother mentioned "a wise man who lives on top of a mountain someplace." The woman goes to ask her mother, who sends her to Miss Matmos, the woman's third-grade teacher. Miss Matmos tells her that the mountain is very far away and the climb is very difficult and dull.
The woman walks hundreds of miles to the mountain and climbs it, all the while wondering. At the top, she finds a man and she asks him about all the things she has been wondering about. The man shakes his head and tells her, "I'm not a wise man–I'm a wide man." So the woman walks home without answers.
She makes it back to the village, quite tired and extremely hungry. She finds her mother, but instead of welcoming her home, her mother declares she has a "new daughter". Her new daughter is Miss Matmos who is about to marry the woman's husband. The husband explains, "You just got up in the middle of dinner and left for many months, so now I'm getting myself a new wife, who asks fewer questions than you do."
The mother, husband, and Miss Matmos leave for the wedding, leaving the woman alone in the horseradish field. Still extremely hungry, the woman takes a horseradish root and begins to gnaw on the bitter root. Miss Matmos turns around to call out to the woman, "By the way, I was going over my old grade books, and it turns out you flunked third grade." The moral of the story is "that there are bitter truths you cannot avoid in the world".
The quotes and saying are sorted into thirteen chapters. A short example from each chapter is given below:
- "There are some people who believe that home is where one hangs one's hat, but these people tend to live in closets and on little pegs."
- "Siblings who claim to get along all the time are most definitely hiding something."
- "Most schools have a system of loud bells, which startle the students and teachers at regular intervals and remind them that time is passing even more slowly than it seems."
- "Members of your family might say they are working hard all day long, while you are off at school or clarinet lessons, but the only way to know this for sure is to follow them at a discreet distance."
- "One of the world's most popular entertainments is a deck of cards, which contains thirteen each of four suits, highlighted by kings, queens, and jacks, who are possibly the queen's younger, more attractive boyfriends."
- "A library is like an island in the middle of a vast sea of ignorance, particularly if the library is very tall and the surrounding area has been flooded."
- "Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them."
- Emotional Health
- "In an emergency, one often learns that one's companions can be of even less help in extraordinary circumstances than they are during an average evening."
- Affairs of the Heart
- "Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby—awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess."
- A Life of Mystery
- "Announcing your death should be like announcing that you are a lunar moth: It must be done quietly or it will not be believed."
- The Mystery of Life
- "One cannot spend forever sitting and solving the mysteries of one's history."
- An Overall Feeling of Doom that One Cannot Ever Escape No Matter What One Does
- "There are some who go through life with a shadow hanging over them, particularly if they live in a building which has long, wide awnings."
- "Never look a gift lion in the mouth."
- Horseradish follows the A Series of Unfortunate Events tradition of having thirteen chapters.