The Miser and His Gold

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.  Overheard in the crowd were exclamations of , “What folly ,  to covet that which herenders 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

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