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Buried Talent

( Originally Published 1902 )

SAMUEL McMICHAN, of Closeburn, Dumfriesshire, was ploughing recently in the field, and, resting his team for a moment, he looked back over the furrow and noticed a crooked place in it. He returned to find the cause of it, and he discovered that his plough had broken open an earthenware pot that had been buried there, and scattered hundreds of pieces of silver money in every direction. The coin was most of it silver pennies of the reigns of Edward I., who annexed Scotland, and Edward II., who lost it. Some of the coins were those of Alexander III., of Scotland, who ruled from 1249 to 1286. There were more than two thousand pieces of the money. About two hundred years before Columbus discovered America some man hid that money in the ground. What his name was, or what was his motive, no one can tell. Maybe he stole it, and was afraid to circulate it. Maybe he hid it to keep lawless bands from confiscating it ; possibly he could not find the place in the field where he had buried it ; more than likely it was some old miser who salted it down, infinitely happy at the thought that he had it, and, losing his senses or his life, never came to claim it. If those pennies could speak what a story they would tell, but as they are dumb, we will have to guess at their history. Whoever hid them there, or from whatever motive, the fact remains they were idle for nearly 600 years, doing no one any good. That money put out at interest would have amounted to a fabulous sum by this time, and would have done incalculable good.

Whoever he was, what a fool he was to do as he did. And yet he has his imitators to-day, many of them who pack their silver away in idleness, where it will not do them or anyone else any good. He has imitators, in the many who take the faculties the Divine Master has given them to employ in mental and spiritual commerce for their own benefit and that of others, and leave them unemployed, like the one in the parable, who digged in the earth and hid his lord's money.

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