The Miser and His Gold

A miser tried to hide his gold but a thief saw where and took the gold. Too bad.

Wealth not used is wealth that does not exist.

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children (The Miser)


Milo Winter (1919)

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!”


A possession is worth no more than the use we make of it.

Eliot-JacobsEliot/Jacobs Version

There was a Miser who hid his gold at the foot of a tree in his garden. Every week he dug it up and gloated over his gains. A robber, who noticed this, dug up the gold and stole off with it. When the Miser next came to gloat over his treasures, he found nothing but the empty hole. He tore his hair, and raised such an outcry that all the neighbors came around him, and he told them how he used to come and visit his gold. “Did you ever take any of it out?” asked one of them. “No,” he said, “I only came to look at it.” “Then just look at the hole,” said a neighbor; “it will do you just as much good.”

JBR CollectionJBR Collection (The Covetous Man)

Covetous Man

Ernest Griset (1874)

A Miser once buried all his money in the earth, at the foot of a tree, and went every day to feast upon the sight of his treasure. A thievish fellow, who had watched him at this occupation, came one night and carried off the gold. The next day the Miser, finding his treasure gone, tore his clothes and filled the air with his lamentations. One of his neighbours told him that if he viewed the matter aright he had lost nothing. “Go every clay,” said he, “and fancy your money is there, and you will be as well off as ever.”

Townsend VersionTownsend version (The Miser)

A miser sold all that he had and bought a lump of gold, which he buried in a hole in the ground by the side of an old wall and went to look at daily. One of his workmen observed his frequent visits to the spot and decided to watch his movements. He soon discovered the secret of the hidden treasure, and digging down, came to the lump of gold, and stole it. The Miser, on his next visit, found the hole empty and began to tear his hair and to make loud lamentations. A neighbor, seeing him overcome with grief and learning the cause, said, “Pray do not grieve so; but go and take a stone, and place it in the hole, and fancy that the gold is still lying there. It will do you quite the same service; for when the gold was there, you had it not, as you did not make the slightest use of it.”

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version (A Miller Burying His Gold)

A certain covetous, rich churle sold his whole estate, and put it into mony, and then melted down that mony again into one mass, which he bury’d in the ground, with his very heart and soul in the pot for company. He gave it a visit every morning, which it seems was taken notice of, and somebody that observ’d him, found out his hoard one night, and carry’d it away. The next day he missed it, and ran allmost out of his wits for the loss of his gold. Well, (says a neighbour to him) and what’s all this rage for? Why you had no gold at all, and so you lost none. You did but fancy all this while that you had it, and you may e’en as well fancy again that you have it still. ‘Tis but laying a stone where you layd your mony, and fancying that stone to be your treasure, and there’s your gold again. You did not use it when you had it; and you do not want it so long as you resolve not to use it.


Better no estate at all, then the cares and vexations that attend the possession of it, without the use on’t.

Crane Poetry VisualCrane Poetry Visual


Miser and Gold

He buried his Gold in a hole.
One saw, and the treasure he stole.
Said another, “What matter?
Don’t raise such a clatter,
You can still go & sit by the hole.”

Use alone gives value.

1001Avarus et Fur

Avarus quidam, suis omnibus bonis divenditis, auri massam emit eamque iuxta domus parietem profunda in fovea depositam summa cura servabat, accedensque continuo revisebat. Operarius autem quidam, qui eodem in loco versabatur, cum ipsum eo frequenter ire atque redire animadvertisset, statim quid rei esset intellexit. Olim itaque, postquam inde avarus discessit, eam auri massam subripuit. Reversus ille ac locum vacuum conspicatus, flere protinus atque capillos sibi vellere coepit. Quem ita se discruciantem cum quidam vidisset, ubi rei causam agnovit, “Ne doleas,” inquit, “sed lapidem cape, eodem in loco reconde et aurum ibidem esse finge tibi; auro enim, nec tum cum aderat, utebaris.”

Perry #225