The Miser and his Gold
The shovel cuts through the dirt like a knife through a breast plate. Repeatedly hacking at a rough patch of ground is a gaunt , gnarled fellow. The wispy strands of hair on his head are drenched as he savagely attacks a widening dirt hole at the base of a large tree. Sweat rolls between his close knit eyes and off his bulbous nose. Swearing, he raises his stringy-muscled arms and stabs the shovel downward, with great force, into the pit. The natural blood of the earth spills over the sides of the deep hole.
I must see it. I cant stop thinking about my precious treasure. His eyes light up at the first glimpse of his hidden prize. I cannot get through the long week without thinking of this moment , when I count my gold.
His lips curl into a leering smile that bares his teeth as he huddles over his hoard , fingering , grasping and clutching each piece of gold coin and muttering to himself. A few moments later , he whips his head around viciously, side to side , peering out into the dark night with suspicious eyes. He quickly re-buries the treasure , tamping down the loose earth , and covers the area with leaves and brush. No one will ever know about my treasure ! It is mine ….mine …. mine! He giggles maniacally as he scampers away.
A long, sweet release of breath , from a man who was crouching behind some bushes nearby. Why does he bury this so? Why would he hide this wonderful gift in a grave? He could buy a house , or feast like a king. If he is philanthropic , he could buy someone else a house or feed a family for years. He doesn’t deserve this money for he does not appreciate its value. He doesn’t realize that money is not an end in and of itself. It is a means to an end. I saw his thin , skeletal figure. He is starving himself in the midst of plenty ; I am hungry too , but without such potential means. This crazy man does not possess wealth , it possesses him. One so anxious , cannot be free. I can free him of his golden shackles.
Quickly , he runs over to the tree , removes the impeding brush , and franticly claws at the dirt until he reaches the gold. He fills his deep pockets with gold and runs off.
The next week , the crazy man returns to his golden hole , repeating his ceremony. When he finds the hole empty, he tears at his hair , gnashes his teeth and wails in misery. This commotion invites the townsfolk to gather around him in curiosity. He screams , ” Who stole my gold ! Who took my precious treasure !”
One of the townsfolk replies incredulously , “You buried your money ??” The crazy man screams ,”Yes, and it is all gone now , someone has stolen my reason to live , robbed me of my very life.” A townsman in the crowd yells , ” What were you going to do with the gold? Buy a house or other useful things ?” “No!” , wails the miserable man , “Nothing could bring me the same pleasure my gold.” A young boy of the town replies, “Why then , you could simply fill it with fools gold and it will all be the same.” “Yes , and your malignant and impotent greed can still be yours.”, exclaimed one of the increasingly agitated townsfolk. Still another shouts out , “What folly , to covet that which he renders purposeless.”
By now , the ugly man is in an absolute frenzy. He stomps the ground with great force , one leg , then the other , and then again the other , until he stomped right through the earth to his waist. In a rage , he grabs his other leg with his knotted hands and yanks so hard he wrenches himself in two.
At the funeral , there were a handful of folk and a preacher. The preacher, upon finishing a reading of Ecclesiastes 5:8-18 , addresses the small crowd and the simple casket. “No man is born a miser since no man is born with possessions. The desire to possess is a learned lesson , improperly taught by those that feel that money is the aim of ones life. This man died , twisted in these beliefs. The worth of a life cannot be measured by money. The two are not commensurate. Money has no value , except that which we give it, and only that with which it can be exchanged for. Life has a value , an intrinsic value, just by its existence
By Kevin Beary