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Fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss—answering a fan’s question “why all the charity work?”—shared his thoughts on the topic via the brilliant blog post “Concerning Cake, Bilbo Baggins and Charity” this weekend. 

At Heifer, we love to hear why donors give, and Rothfuss’ response was a powerful and simple one if you have basic knowledge of J.R.R. Tolkien characters and the moral dilemmas of eating too much cake.

An excerpt from Rothfuss' blog:

“It’s like this: if you have one piece of cake, and you eat it, that’s fine. If you have two pieces of cake, you should probably share some with a friend. But maybe not. Occasionally we could all use two pieces of cake. But if you have a whole cake, and you eat *all* of it, that’s not very cool. It’s not just selfish, it’s kinda sick and unhealthy. …

“Some people don’t even have dinner, let alone dessert. That’s why I run Worldbuilders. Because some people out there have no cake at all. There are kids out there that are hungry all the time. There are kids out there with no books at all to read. There are kids out there with no beds to sleep in. No homes to come home to. No safe places. No sweet dreams. That’s why I do all the charity work. Because the world isn’t as good as I want it to be. …

“When you’re confronted with that fact, you can either crawl into a hole and quit, or you can get out there, take off your shoes, and Bilbo it up. …

“The truth is, you don’t have to be a billionaire to change the world. You don’t have to build a library. The truth is, if you donate 30 bucks to Worldbuilders, it will change someone’s life. Forever.”

In the next 10 days, Worldbuilders is digging deep to make its $433,420 goal through its Team Heifer page. Help Worldbuilders make their goal here.

Read more about Rothfuss’ generosity, and his recent experience milking goats, in World Ark magazine.


Donna Stokes

Donna Stokes is the managing editor of World Ark magazine. She has worked for Heifer International since September 2008 when she leaped over to the nonprofit world from a two-decade career in newspaper journalism.