The image should've come from Borges. Or Julian Barnes. But in fact, it was in Tim Nott's column in PCW, where (in describing his collection of software) he tosses at us the wonderful image of "like the story of the old lady who died, and in her house they found a box labelled 'bits of string too short to keep'"...
Other pages on this site (Very short bits of string)
I didn't write the bits of string myself, and the intellectual property in them rests with their original authors.