The Five Laws of Gold You Must Know
“A bag heavy with gold or a clay tablet carved with words of wisdom; if thou hadst thy choice, which
wouldst thou choose?”
By the flickering light from the fire of desert shrubs, the sun-tanned faces of
the listeners gleamed with interest.
“The gold, the gold,” chorused the twenty-seven.
Old Kalabab smiled knowingly. “Hark,” he resumed, raising his hand.
“Hear the wild dogs out there in the night. They howl and wail because they
are lean with hunger. Yet feed them, and what do they? Fight and strut.
Then fight and strut some more, giving no thought to the morrow that will
“Just so it is with the sons of men. Give them a choice of gold and wisdom
—what do they do?
Ignore the wisdom and waste the gold. On the morrow they wail because
they have no more gold.
“Gold is reserved for those who know its laws and abide by them.”
Kalabab drew his white robe close about his lean legs, for a cool night wind
“Because thou hast served me faithfully upon our long journey, because
thou cared well for my camels, because thou toiled uncomplainingly across
the hot sands of the desert, because thou fought bravely the robbers that
sought to despoil my merchandise, I will tell thee this night the tale of the
five laws of gold, such a tale as thou never hast heard before.
“Hark ye, with deep attention to the words I speak, for if you grasp their
meaning and heed them, in the days that come thou shalt have much gold.”
He paused impressively. Above in a canopy of blue, the stars shone brightly
in the crystal clear skies of Babylonia. Behind the group loomed their faded
tents tightly staked against possible desert storms. Beside the tents were
neatly stacked bales of merchandise covered with skins. Nearby the camel
herd sprawled in the sand, some chewing their cuds contentedly, others
snoring in hoarse discord.
“Thou hast told us many good tales, Kalabab,” spoke up the chief packer.
“We look to thy wisdom to guide us upon the morrow when our service
with thee shall be at an end.”
“I have but told thee of my adventures in strange and distant lands, but this
night I shall tell thee of the wisdom of Arkad, the wise rich man.”
“Much have we heard of him,” acknowledged the chief packer, “for he was
the richest man that ever lived in Babylon.”
“The richest man he was, and that because be was wise in the ways of gold,
even as no man had
ever been before him. This night shall I tell you of his great wisdom as it
was told to me by Nomasir, his son, many years ago in Nineveh, when I
was but a lad.
“My master and myself had tarried long into the night in the palace of
Nomasir. I had helped my master bring great bundles of fine rugs, each one
to be tried by Nomasir until his choice of colors was satisfied. At last he
was well pleased and commanded us to sit with him and to drink a rare
vintage odorous to the nostrils and most warming to my stomach, which
was unaccustomed to such a drink.
“Then, did he tell us this tale of the great wisdom of Arkad, his father, even
as I shall tell it to you.
“In Babylon it is the custom, as you know, that the sons of wealthy fathers
live with their parents in expectation of inheriting the estate. Arkad did not
approve of this custom. Therefore, when Nomasir reached man’s estate, he
sent for the young man and addressed him:
” ‘My son, it is my desire that thou succeed to my estate. Thou must,
however, first prove that thou art capable of wisely handling it. Therefore, I
wish that thou go out into the world and show thy ability both to acquire
gold and to make thyself respected among men.
” ‘To start thee well, I will give thee two things of which I, myself, was
denied when I started as a poor youth to build up a fortune.
” ‘First, I give thee this bag of gold. If thou use it wisely, it will be the basis
of thy future success.
” ‘Second, I give thee this clay tablet upon which is carved the five laws of
gold. If thou dost but interpret them in thy own acts, they shall bring thee
competence and security.
” ‘Ten years from this day come thou back to the house of thy father and
give account of thyself. If thou prove worthy, I will then make thee the heir
to my estate. Otherwise, I will give it to the priests that they may barter for
my soul the land consideration of the gods.’
“So Nomasir went forth to make his own way, taking his bag of gold, the
clay tablet carefully wrapped in silken cloth, his slave and the horses upon
which they rode.
“The ten years passed, and Nomasir, as he had agreed, returned to the house
of his father who provided a great feast in his honor, to which he invited
many friends and relatives. After the feast was over, the father and mother
mounted their throne-like seats at one side of the great hall, and Nomasir
stood before them to give an account of himself as he had promised his
It was evening. The room was hazy with smoke from the wicks of the oil
lamps that but dimly lighted it. Slaves in white woven jackets and tunics
fanned the humid air rhythmically with longstemmed palm leaves. A stately
dignity colored the scene. The wife of Nomasir and his two young sons,
with friends and other members of the family, sat upon rugs behind him,
” ‘My father,’ he began deferentially, I bow before thy wisdom. Ten years
ago when I stood at the gates of manhood, thou bade me go forth and
become a man among men, instead of remaining a vassal to thy fortune.
” ‘Thou gave me liberally of thy gold. Thou gave me liberally of thy
wisdom. Of the gold, alas!
I must admit of a disastrous handling. It fled, indeed, from my
inexperienced hands even as a wild hare flees at the first opportunity from
the youth who captures it.’
“The father smiled indulgently. ‘Continue, my son, thy tale interests me in
all its details.’
” ‘I decided to go to Nineveh, as it was a growing city, believing that I
might find there opportunities. I joined a caravan and among its members
made numerous friends. Two well-spoken men who had a most beautiful
white horse as fleet as the wind were among these.
” ‘As we journeyed, they told me in confidence that in Nineveh was a
wealthy man who owned a horse so swift that it had never been beaten. Its
owner believed that no horse living could run with greater speed. Therefore,
would he wager any sum however large that his horse could outspeed any
horse in all Babylonia. Compared to their horse, so my friends said, it was
but a lumbering ass that could be beaten with ease.
” ‘They offered, as a great favor, to permit me to join them in a wager. I was
quite carried away with the plan.
” ‘Our horse was badly beaten and I lost much of my gold.’ The father
laughed. ‘Later, I discovered that this was a deceitful plan of these men and
they constantly journeyed with caravans seeking victims. You see, the man
in Nineveh was their partner and shared with them the bets he won.
This shrewd deceit taught me my first lesson in looking out for myself.
” ‘I was soon to learn another, equally bitter. In the caravan was another
young man with whom I became quite friendly. He was the son of wealthy
parents and, like myself, journeying to Nineveh to find a suitable location.
Not long after our arrival, he told me that a merchant had died and his shop
with its rich merchandise and patronage could be secured at a paltry price.
Saying that we would be equal partners but first he must return to Babylon
to secure his gold, he prevailed upon me to purchase the stock with my
gold, agreeing that his would be used later to carry on our venture.
” ‘He long delayed the trip to Babylon, proving in the meantime to be an
unwise buyer and a foolish spender. I finally put him out, but not before the
business had deteriorated to where we had only unsalable goods and no
gold to buy other goods. I sacrificed what was left to an Israelite for a pitiful
” ‘Soon there followed, I tell you, my father, bitter days. I sought
employment and found it not, for I was without trade or training that would
enable me to earn. I sold my horses. I sold my slave. I sold my extra robes
that I might have food and a place to sleep, but each day grim want
” ‘But in those bitter days, I remembered thy confidence in me, my father.
Thou hadst sent me forth to become a man, and this I was determined to
accomplish.’ The mother buried her face and wept softly. ” ‘At this time, I
bethought me of the table thou had given to me upon which thou had carved
the five laws of gold. Thereupon, I read most carefully thy words of
wisdom, and realized that had I but sought wisdom first, my gold would not
have been lost to me.
I learned by heart each law and determined that, when once more the
goddess of good fortune smiled upon me, I would be guided by the wisdom
of age and not by the inexperience of youth.
” ‘For the benefit of you who are seated here this night, I will read the
wisdom of my father as engraved upon the clay tablet which he gave to me
ten years ago:
The First Law of Gold
Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by
not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and
that of his family.
“Any man who will put by one-tenth of his earnings consistently and invest
it wisely will surely create a valuable estate that will provide an income for
him in the future and further guarantee safety for his family in case the gods
call him to the world of darkness. This law always sayeth that gold cometh
gladly to such a man. I can truly certify this in my own life. The more gold I
accumulate, the more readily it comes to me and in increased quantities.
The gold which I save earns more, even as yours will, and its earnings earn
more, and this is the working out of the first law.”
The Second Law of Gold
Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it
profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.
“Gold, indeed, is a willing worker. It is ever eager to multiply when
opportunity presents itself.
To every man who hath a store of gold set by, opportunity comes for its
most profitable use. As the years pass, it multiplies itself in surprising
The Third Law of Gold
Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under
the advice of men wise in its handling.
“Gold, indeed, clingeth to the cautious owner, even as it flees the careless
owner. The man who seeks the advice of men wise in handling gold soon
learneth not to jeopardize his treasure, but to preserve in safety and to enjoy
in contentment its consistent increase.”
The Fourth Law of Gold
Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes
with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in
To the man who hath gold, yet is not skilled in its handling, many uses for it
appear most profitable. Too often these are fraught with danger of loss, and
if properly analyzed by wise men, show small possibility of profit.
Therefore, the inexperienced owner of gold who trusts to his own judgment
and invests it in business or purposes with which he is not familiar, too
often finds his judgment imperfect, and pays with his treasure for his
inexperience. Wise, indeed is he who investeth his treasures under the
advice of men skilled In the ways of gold.”
The Fifth Law of Gold
Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who
followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to
his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.
“Fanciful propositions that thrill like adventure tales always come to the
new owner of gold.
These appear to endow his treasure with magic powers that will enable it to
make impossible earnings.
Yet heed ye the wise men for verily they know the risks that lurk behind
every plan to make great wealth suddenly.
“Forget not the rich men of Nineveh who would take no chance of losing
their principal or tying it up in unprofitable investments. “This ends my tale
of the five laws of gold. In telling it to thee, I have told the secrets of my
“Yet, they are not secrets but truths which every man must first learn and
then follow who wishes to step out of the multitude that, like you wild dogs,
must worry each day for food to eat.
“Tomorrow, we enter Babylon. Look! See the fire that burns eternal above
the Temple of Bel! We are already in sight of the golden city.
Tomorrow, each of thee shall have gold, the gold thou has so well earned by
thy faithful services.
“Ten years from this night, what can you tell about this gold?
“If there be men among you, who, like Nomasir, will use a portion of their
gold to start for themselves an estate and be thenceforth wisely guided by
the wisdom of Arkad, ten years from now, ’tis a safe wager, like the son of
Arkad, they will be rich and respected among men.
“Our wise acts accompany us through life to please us and to help us. Just
as surely, our unwise acts follow us to plague and torment us. Alas, they
cannot be forgotten. In the front rank of the torments that do follow us are
the memories of the things we should have done, of the opportunities which
came to us and we took not.
“Rich are the treasures of Babylon, so rich no man can count their value in
pieces of gold. Each year, they grow richer and more valuable. Like the
treasures of every land, they are a reward, a rich reward awaiting those men
of purpose who determine to secure their just share.
“In the strength of thine own desires is a magic power. Guide this power
with thy knowledge of the five laws of gold and thou shall share the
treasures of Babylon.”