On a dark night a thief groped his way past a sleeping dragon’s claws and by feel he stole from the dragon’s hoard a single coin. In the light of the morning he hid in a secret place and took the coin out. He was dazzled. It gleamed with the richness of its gold. It had an image of a pope on one side and of crossed keys on the other, and he was altogether enchanted with the beautiful thing.

So much so that he denied that any other coin existed in the world. His coin was the only coin, he said.

From time to time, by great effort he might be brought to agree that other coins did exist and even seem to gleam, but he maintained that they derived their existence from his coin, and that their gleams were actually just reflections.

That there could be a hoard, a shining pile of hundreds and thousands of coins, all heaped up beyond wonder, he absolutely refused to admit.

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