Edgar Allan Poe The
Golden Beetle The
descendants of the old aristocratic family, William Legrand, pursue failure, he loses all his wealth and falls into poverty. To avoid ridicule and humiliation, Legrand leaves New Orleans, the city of his ancestors, and settles on a desert island near the Atlantic coast. In the thickets of the myrtle grove, Legran constructs a hut where he lives with the old Negro servant Jupiter and the huge Newfoundland. William’s reclusiveness brightens books and walks along the seashore, during which he satisfies his entomologist’s passion: his collection of insects would be envied by more than one naturalist.
The narrator often visits his friend in his modest home. In one of these parishes, Legrand and the Negro vied with each other about the last booty – the gold beetle, which they managed to catch the other day. Asking about the details, the Narrator remarks that Legran sees this find as a happy omen – he is not abandoned
by the thought of sudden and soon riches. Jupiter worries about whether the owner was ill: according to him, Legran always thinks something and disappears from the house for a long time.
After some time, the Storyteller receives a note from Legrand asking him to visit him on an important matter. The feverish tone of the note makes the Storyteller hurry, and he finds himself on the same day. Legran expects him with visible impatience and tightly squeezes the hand of his friend, announces that the recently caught beetle was out of pure gold. The narrator is perplexed: the beetle is really good – it is an unknown specimen of science, but what does gold have to do with it? Legrand suggests everyone immediately go on a journey – to the mainland, to the mountains – at the end of the expedition they will understand what he means. The campaign will not take much time, Legrand assures: by sunset they will return.
About four hours the company goes on a journey. Jupiter carries a braid and a shovel, Legrand – a beetle tied to the end of the cord. The narrator, seeing in this a clear proof
of the friend’s madness, struggles to keep from crying. After reaching the promontory, they sit down in the yalik and head to the mainland; there, climbing the high bank, they walk about two hours along a deserted, overgrown plateau with a blackberry, until in the distance a tulip tree of extraordinary height is shown. Jupiter mows the path to the tree, and then climbs on it, taking with him on the orders of Legrand the beetle. Needless to say, both to a servant and a friend this order seems like a delirium crazy.
From above comes the frightened cry of the Negro: he saw a skull hacked to the bitch. This news leads Legrand to an incomprehensible delight, and he gives one more, no less strange order – to pass the beetle through the left eye socket of the skull. Jupiter, not wanting to contradict the lost master mind, does this too. Having killed the peg exactly where the beetle dropped, Legrang begins to dig in this place; a friend joins him, thinking that Legrand caught the common mania in the South of the treasure trove. He, however, decides to continue not to contradict the madman and take part in the search for treasure to visually convince the visionary of the baselessness of his plan.
They have been working for an hour and a half, when they are interrupted by the desperate barking of Newfoundland. The dog tears into the pit, and jumping off there, instantly tears off two human skeletons. Two strokes with a shovel – and the companions see several gold coins and an iron ring sticking out of the ground. The work after that goes faster, and soon it becomes clear that the ring is attached to the lid of a perfectly preserved wooden trunk. In the chest, which trembling hands are opened by treasure hunters, there is a real treasure – piles of gold and precious stones.
The return trip with the heavy trunk was not easy. When friends are already at home carefully examining and sorting treasures, then by the most modest estimate, the contents of the chest draw on a half million dollars. Finally, seeing that the Friend is consumed with curiosity, Legrand takes to the story…
When Legrand caught a bug, he bit him. Nearby, a piece of paper sticks out of the sand, and Jupiter, picking it up, passes it on to the owner, who wraps the beetle in it. At home, Legrand draws attention to the fact that the paper found is parchment, and when the image of the skull appears under the influence of heat on it, it warms it up further. Soon, next to the skull, there is an image of a kid. After that, Legrand no longer doubts that the treasure was buried by the famous pirate Kidd (“kid” – “goat” in English). He often heard stories about the treasures buried by Kidd and his accomplices on the Atlantic coast. Legran continues to heat the parchment until the numbers appear on it – a pirated cipher, which after a long mental work, Legrand manages to unravel. The final text remains mysterious: “
Having questioned the local old-timers, Legrand finds out that the “Bishop’s Inn” and the “Bloody Stool” are the names of certain rocks and cliffs. “Good glass” – of course binoculars. Observing the locality in the indicated direction, Legrand sees a tulip tree and does not doubt that having climbed it. Jupiter will find there a skull. “Why did you have to omit the beetle?” – Narrator Narrator. “Your hints that I’m not myself, angered me, and I decided to repay you with a little hoax,” – answers Legrand.