The Goose With The Golden Eggs

A man owned a goose that laid golden eggs and decided to kill it to obtain the source of gold. There wasn’t one. Too bad.

Greed often overreaches itself.

Eliot-JacobsEliot/Jacobs Version

One day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played upon him. But he took it home on second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing.

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children (The Goose and The Golden Egg)

Goose Golden Egg

Milo Winter (1919)

There was once a Countryman who possessed the most wonderful Goose you can imagine, for every day when he visited the nest, the Goose had laid a beautiful, glittering, golden egg.

The Countryman took the eggs to market and soon began to get rich. But it was not long before he grew impatient with the Goose because she gave him only a single golden egg a day. He was not getting rich fast enough.

Then one day, after he had finished counting his money, the idea came to him that he could get all the golden eggs at once by killing the Goose and cutting it open. But when the deed was done, not a single golden egg did he find, and his precious Goose was dead.


Those who have plenty want more and so lose all they have.

JonesV.S. Vernon Jones Version

A Man and his Wife had the good fortune to possess a Goose which laid a Golden Egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it in order to secure the whole store of precious metal at once. But when they cut it open they found it was just like any other goose. Thus, they neither got rich all at once, as they had hoped, nor enjoyed any longer the daily addition to their wealth.


Much wants more and loses all.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection (A Man and His Goose)

Man With Golden Goose

Ernest Griset (1874)

A certain Man had a Goose that laid him a golden egg every day. Being of a covetous turn, he thought if he killed his Goose he should come at once at the source of his treasure. So he killed her, and cut her open, and great was his dismay to find that her inside was in no way different to that of any other Goose.

Townsend VersionTownsend version (Hen instead of a Goose)

A cottager and his wife had a Hen that laid a golden egg every day. They supposed that the Hen must contain a great lump of gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they killed it. Having done so, they found to their surprise that the Hen differed in no respect from their other hens. The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived themselves of the gain of which they were assured day by day.

Crane Poetry VisualCrane Poetry Visual


Goose Golden Eggs

A Golden egg, one every day,
That simpleton’s Goose used to lay.
So he killed the poor thing,
Swifter fortune to bring,
And dined off his fortune that day.

Greed overeaches [sic] itself.

1001Anser et Ova Aurea

Anus quaedam anserem alebat, quae illi quotidie ovum aureum excludebat. Anus avarissima, existimans anserem habuisse in visceribus fodinam auream, cupiditate commota, anserem confestim interfecit et, cum viscera perscrutabatur et unicum tantum ovum deprehenderat, spe sublactata inani, exclamabat, “O me infelicem, tantae crudelitatis consciam, quae, non modico contenta lucro, iam omnia perdiderim.”

Perry #087