Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Autobiography Of A Dollar
by [?]

I was born in a beautiful city on the banks of a charming river, the capital of a great nation. Unlike humans, I can remember no childhood, though it is said that I had a formative period in the care of artists whose brains conceived the beauty of my face and whose hands realized the glory of their dreams. But to them I was only a pretty thing of paper with line and color upon it. They gave me nothing else, and I really began to live only when some one representing the Great Nation stamped a seal upon me. Though a bloodless thing, yet I felt a throb of being. I lived, and the joy of it went rioting through me.

I remember that at first I was confined in a prison, bound with others by an elastic band which I longed to break that I might escape to the welcoming hands of men who looked longingly at me through the bars. But soon one secured me and I went out into a great, wide and very beautiful world.

Of the first months of my life I can remember but very little, only that I was feverishly happy in seeing, and particularly in doing. I was petted and admired and sought after. I went everywhere and did everything. So great was my popularity that some even bartered their peace of mind to obtain me, and others, forced to see me go, shed tears at the parting. Some, unable to have me go to them otherwise, actually stole me. But all the time I cared nothing, for I was living and doing–making men smile and laugh when I was with them and weep when I went away. It was all the same to me whether they laughed or cried. I only loved the power that was in me to make them do it and I believed that the power was without limit.

I was not yet a year old when I began to lose my beauty. I noticed it first when I fell into the hands of a man with long hair and pointed beard, who frowned at me and said: “You poor, faded, dirty thing, to think that I made you!” But I did not care. He had not made me. It was the Great Nation. Anyhow I could still do things and make even him long for me. So I was happy.

I was one year and a half old when I formed my first great partnership with others of my kind, and it came about like this: I had been in the possession of a poor woman who had guarded me for a week in a most unpleasant smelling old purse, when I heard a sharp voice ask for me–nay, demand me, and couple the demand with a threat that my guardian should lose her home were the demand refused. I was given over, I hoped, to better quarters, but in this I was sadly disappointed, for my new owner confined me in a strong but ill-favored box where thousands like myself were growing mouldy and wrinkled, away from the light of day. Sometimes we were released at night to be carefully counted by candle-light, but that was all. Thus we who were imprisoned together formed a partnership, but even then we were not strong enough to free ourselves. One night the box was opened with a snap and I saw the thin, pale face of my master looking down at us. He selected me and ninety-nine of my companions and placed us outside the box.

“There’s the money,” he said, “as I told you. It’s all yours. Are you satisfied now?” I looked across the table at a young girl with a white, set face that was very, very beautiful. She did not answer.

“If you want it why don’t you take it?” he snarled at her. “I can tell you again that there is nothing else for you.”