This page last updated on 2016-12-28
Coin Name : Dwarven Treasure
Edition Name: Holly King
Finish: 24 Karat Gold
2013 – 50 coins
2014 – 50 coins
The Dwarven Treasure coins are 2 inches in diameter and have their own custom icon. This edition features red and green sparkle enamel on 24 karat gold.
*** Narrative ***
They say that Dwarves understand gold better than humans and I am inclined to agree. Years ago, Aaben the Dwarf and I were still new with our building business. We had won customers easily and were rapidly taking on more workers and increasing the size of our buildings, when suddenly the money ran out. We had been hearing rumors of crop failures, but it didn’t make sense to us that this could make people stop putting up new houses and stables. Aaben said he would look into it and made his way into town, he returned several days later and explained to me that the king had minted too many silver and copper coins to build his new road and now people had begun to see the coins as worthless. Worthless coins are bad, but coupled with bad crops, it was devastating to our building business.
As autumn progressed, it became apparent that we would not be able to pay our workers the money that we had promised them. We had always treated our men well, so they agreed to continue working even with the money being so scarce, but the misery continued. The snow began to fall and it became difficult to find enough firewood or grain.
Aaben sat down next to me one day not too long before the shortest day of the year and said, “the hair clip that you bought Eva last year is beautiful. I found a buyer and if you sell it, we will get a good price.” I was shocked that he was thinking about selling gifts that I had given to my wife, so I replied with more than a hint of irritation, “it is not for sale and it never will be.” He tried again, “those fast horses in the stable also could find buyers, we have much better draft horses to do our work, so we really won’t miss them.” I loved those horses. I loved to ride through town like lightning on them and make everyone stare. They were my babies. He didn’t need to hear my response because my face said everything so he tried a new approach.
“Tell me, what is valuable to you?”
I started with the new house that I and Eva and the baby loved so much. I then started listing the beautiful things in it.
He let me go on for a bit and he said, “what about Eva? what about your son, or your health? Would you mind if you lost those things?”
I thought that he was being unfair, because I hadn’t realized that he was asking that sort of question.
“Of course those are valuable”.
He unkindly snapped at me “If you are not careful, you could lose the things that are important to you.”
Now I was getting really angry at him. “I don’t think that I am in danger of losing those things at this time.”
He quickly shot back, “You could lose your house next year and if that happens, you might start losing the other things.”
My jaw dropped and I figured that some sort of Dwarven insanity had taken over his mind.
“I have no debts and the house is sound, how could we lose it?”
He leaned closer and said, “the king has run out of money and his people are hungry, he wants to raise taxes and his eyes have turned our way. He sees us as rich.”
I was suddenly very afraid. The king was a good man, but the crops had failed and the people were blaming him for all of their ills. He would demand gold from anyone he thought could give it.
I whispered to Aaben, “I have been blind, tell me where we stand”.
He said, you have your family, you have your health, and there is a Dwarf standing next to you who enjoys building with you, so you do have a lot, but you are about to lose something very valuable.”
I almost cried to him, “are they going to take my house?”
Aaben laughed hard and punched me much harder on my shoulder, “By The Maker you are stupid!”
I knew Aaben well enough to see that he was being friendly, so I tried my best to laugh.
“You are stupid because you can’t see that your house is nice, but it is not what you should fear losing. Did your hands build that house?”
I immediately knew what he meant and I suddenly felt so sick that I thought I might lose my last meal. I had put up a few beams of that house, but many other hands had done everything else. It had been our friends who had done the majority of the work, it had been the men who called Aaben and I their employers and we had cut their pay months ago.
Aaben gew very serious and said, “there is talk of work in the south and our men are afraid that they will not have enough food to last the winter. If you lose your house, the men will build you another one; if we lose the men, we will truly have lost our friends and the business that we built. Who will do the work that brings in money, who will build your new house if the king takes it away?
Aaben and I spent the rest of the evening and most of the next day collecting the things that we would sell. Eva’s hair clip and the horses fetched a good price.
About a week later we held a giant dinner and invited every worker and their families. There were meat pies, sweet fruit pies, and several casks of ale. It was glorious. Aaben had insisted on hanging holly everywhere. He said that it gives its fruit in the cold of winter when everything else is gone. He said, “It is green and abundant with red berries when life is the most difficult”.
Aaben had disappeared near the end of the meal and as the plates were being collected and washed he entered the room. He was dressed in a red velvet suit with pointed shoes that ended in little bells. He had explained to me that these were the clothes worn by Dwarf nobility and priests. He dressed this way to honor the men.
He strode to the front of the room and the men burst into laughter. They did not see a nobleman or a wise man, they saw a silly Dwarf in a ridiculous outfit. For the briefest moment, I saw anger in his eyes, but I think that everyone else missed that. Then his eyes became merry and he laughed and said “among the Dwarves we have a tradition to give gifts on the shortest days of the year. Since all of you have been so kind to me, I want to give to you a tradition of the Dwarves. I am the Holly King and my branches are green and there are red berries everywhere.”
I had never seen Aaben dance before, so I was especially surprised to see him cue up some fiddle music and begin to do a fast dance to each table. He also sang a strange song with words I can’t remember except that he kept repeating between verses, “I am the Holly King and these are the gifts that I bring”. To each man and family, he gave a bag of candy. In other times, the bags would have been a small gift, but with food being so scarce, it seemed very large indeed. When he had finished visiting each table, he went to the front of the room and lifted a sheet that had covered several sacks. Everyone recognized them as a sack of oats, a sack of barley, and a sack of wheat. There was also a large wheel of cheese. “My good friends”, he said, “please accept the gifts of The Holly King. If you go away without gifts, I will be sad and the days are too cold and dark for more sadness.
Aaben and several other men, loaded three sacks of grain and a wheel of cheese on each family’s cart before they left that evening. I also saw him give some other gifts to a few of the men, which made me realize that there was much I did not know about them. To one man he gave some crutches that appeared to be sized for a six year old, I suddenly felt the need to visit the men more often at their houses and learn more about them.
The winter ended and the following year business picked back up. The men and I had liked the Holly King so much that he returned every year after that, but it was that first year, when we were not sure that we would make it through, that he was loved the most. Somehow, even though it was so hard, I remember it as a very good year.
I have heard many times after that winter that Dwarves know gold very well. Often the people who are saying it do not mean it kindly. I always respond, “The Dwarves do know much about gold, but they know even more about what makes us truly wealthy”.