The Finances of the Gods

(notes edited by John McGivering and John Radcliffe)


First published in Life’s Handicap in 1891.

The story

This affectionate little fragment is told by an old priest to a little child who is snuggling under his cloak against the evening chill. An old beggar had worshipped Shiv faithfully for forty years, but remained poor. Shiv resolves to reward him, and declares that he will soon be granted a vast fortune. A grasping money-lender, hearing this, persuades the beggar – who does not know that he is soon to be enriched – to give him his future takings in exchange for a mass of silver. But the silver the money-lender pays is the very fortune that the gods had promised. The beggar is enriched and the money-lender confounded.

Critical comments

Lionel Johnson in his examination of this volume in R L Green (The Critical Heritage, p. 93) regards this as one of the eight stories which: ‘with certain limitations, are excellent’. [This somewhat faint praise is the only comment on this story that we have found in the twenty-four authorities consulted; Ed.]

[J H McG/J.R.]

©John McGivering and John Radcliffe 2006 All rights reserved