The Legend of the Man with the Golden Brain (short story)
The Legend of the Man with the Golden Brain (French: La Légende de l'homme à la cervelle d'or) is a short story, written by Alphonse Daudet. The tale appeared first in Villemessant's newspaper L'Événement on September 29, 1866 and was published in book form in the collection Letters From My Windmill (1869). The Legend was inspired by Charles Barbara's tragic life.
As a child, he was unaware of the composition of his heavy brain; he learned the truth from his parents when he was only eighteen. He then decided to leave the family home, after having offered a large part of his brain to his parents, and then set about squandering his gold. Realizing the ravages his spending was having on his being, he became stingy and misanthropic.
But one day, the man with the golden brain fell in love. For two years, he satisfied all his wife's whims until he lost the rest of his inner wealth. His frivolous wife died for no reason, and the man used what gold he had left to pay for her burial, which led to his further demise. He died spending the last of the gold in his brain on a pair of boots for his deceased wife.
Translations into English
- "The Legend of the Man with the Golden Brain" (1900; translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley)
- "The Legend of the Man with the Golden Brain" (1909; translated by George Burnham Ives)