Short Story #131: Man With the Golden Brain by Alphonse Daudet
Title: Man With the Golden Brain
Author: Alphonse Daudet
SummaryThe story follows a man born with a golden brain. Initially, this knowledge is kept from him and others to prevent anyone from taking advantage of him, but his parents eventually tell him about his brain upon his 18th birthday in hopes of being compensated for the care they had provided him. The young man does so and then goes about living life rather luxuriously--regularly taking the gold of his brain to pay his costs. Eventually, he decides to stop wasting his golden brain and work hard while living a simple life. However, even this brings its woes with him as friends occasionally steal gold from his brain. Shortly thereafter, he falls in love with a woman who regularly desires things and he acquiesces to buy them with bits of his gold. She dies one day and the man spends much of his remaining gold for a lavish funeral for her. Lost in the aftermath of his wife's death, he wanders into a shoe shop to buy a pair of boots for his wife, forgetting that she is dead. When the shopkeeper comes to the front, she sees the man with books in one hand and scraps of gold and blood in the other.
ReflectionIt was told in the style of folktales and even includes a warning at the end. It's a rather dark tale about the efforts one puts one's brain through. That idea that our brains produce gold but we must spend it wisely is rather entertaining and holds a glimmer of truth to it. That we waste a good deal of it, often goes without saying.
Short Story #131 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 5/7/2014
Source: Great French Short Stories edited by M. E. Speare. The World Publishing Company, 1943. You can find this story and others in this anthology at this resource.
For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.
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