My little story will explain
An olden maxim, which expresses
How Avarice, in search of gain,
May lose the hoard that it possesses.
The fable tells us that a Hen
Laid golden eggs, each egg a treasure;
Its owner—stupidest of men—
Was miserly beyond all measure.
He thought a mine of wealth to find
Within the Hen, and so he slew it:
He found a bird of common kind—
And lost a pretty fortune through it.
For money-worms, who now and then
Grow poor through trying to be wealthy,
I tell my fable of the Hen;
My tale is good, my moral healthy.