The Miserable Miser
There was once a nobleman living in Scotland who was very rich. But his covetousness, or love of money, was very great. Whenever he received any money, he turned it into gold and silver, and stowed it away in a great chest which he kept in a strong vault, that had been built for this purpose down in the cellar.
One day a farmer, who was one of his tenants, came in to pay his rent. But when he had counted out the money, he found that it was just one farthing short; yet this rich lord was such a miser that he refused the farmer a receipt for the money, until the other farthing was paid. His home was five miles distant. He went there, and came back with the farthing. He settled his bill, and got his receipt.
Then he said, “My lord, I’ll give you a shilling, if you’ll let me go down into your vault, and look at your money.”
His lordship consented, thinking that was an easy way to make a shilling. So he led the farmer down into the cellar and opened his big chest, and showed him the great piles of gold and silver that were there. The farmer gazed at them for awhile, and then said: “Now, my lord, I am as well off as you are.”
“How can that be?” asked his lordship.
“Why, sir,” said the farmer, “you never use any of this money. All that you do with it, is to look at it. I have looked at it too, and so I’m just as rich as you are.”
That was true. The love of that selfish lord for his money, made him think of it day and night, and the fear lest some robber should steal it, took away all his comfort and happiness, and made him perfectly miserable.