“The Miser and His Gold” – Aesop’s Fables:
A Miser had buried his gold in a secret place in his garden. Every day he went to the spot, dug up the treasure and counted it piece by piece to make sure it was all there. He made so many trips that a Thief, who had been observing him, guessed what it was the Miser had hidden, and one night quietly dug up the treasure and made off with it.
When the Miser discovered his loss, he was overcome with grief and despair. He groaned and cried and tore his hair.
A passerby heard his cries and asked what had happened.
“My gold! O my gold!” cried the Miser, wildly, “someone has robbed me!”
“Your gold! There in that hole? Why did you put it there? Why did you not keep it in the house where you could easily get it when you had to buy things?”
“Buy!” screamed the Miser angrily. “Why, I never touched the gold. I couldn’t think of spending any of it.”
The stranger picked up a large stone and threw it into the hole.
“If that is the case,” he said, “cover up that stone. It is worth just as much to you as the treasure you lost!”
The moral: A possession is worth no more than the use we make of it.
On this beautiful ol’ Memorial day, don’t forget the purpose of all our saving and investing and millionaire-wanting ways: to achieve FREEDOM. Something our proud men and women in the armed forces continue to fight for so we can afford such a luxury.
Money is to be harnessed to set ourselves up with a life of our own choosing – not to be hoarded or obsessed over, or even grown just to see how much we can amass. At some point we’ll need to start shedding our wealth, so this is a good reminder that it’s all part of the process. Lest we want to end up like our bad bearded friend, the miser ;)
As Ayn Rand once noted,“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” A good thing to keep in mind, today!
PS: When I was searching for this fable, I came across a site that asked people to come up with their own morals after reading the passage. Most were pretty lame, but one in particular was pretty funny :) You can find it here if you want to look for it.
Illustration by Milo Winter – Aesop for Children, 1919