He curved his shoulders as he spoke. ‘A King without gold is a snake with a broken back, and’—his nose sneered up and his eyebrows frowned down—‘It is a good deed to break a snake’s back. That was my work,’ he cried, triumphantly, to Puck. ‘Spirit of Earth, bear witness that that was my work!’ He shot up to his full towering height, and his words rang like a trumpet.
This is from “The Treasure and the Law”, in Puck of Pook’s Hill.
Kadmiel, a Jewish financier, describes how he threw a great treausre into the sea, so as not to let it fall into the hands of King John. The King, short of gold, was forced by the barons to sign the great Charter at Runnymede.