Originally posted Thursday, June 28, 2012

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“…and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing.”

Many wise aphorisms got their start, in Western culture, from the works of Aesop, the storyteller who lived 2700 years ago, mentioned by AristotleHerodotus, and Plutarch.  And with the “goose that laid the golden egg” — Aesop anticipated and distilled in very few words the precise outcome of having replaced the classical gold standard with centrally planned fiduciary currency:  nothing.

The Goose With the Golden Eggs – Joseph Jacobs’ translation (1894)

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.