How to Turn Dirt Into Gold

Bedtime Stories for Kids | Dirt Into GoldHow to Turn Dirt Into Gold | Bedtime Stories for Kids

Illustrated By: Jacob Below

IF YOU EVER WANTED TO TURN DIRT INTO GOLD, you are not alone.  Years ago there were people who spent a their whole lives time trying to do exactly that, and they were called “alchemists.” None of them could pull it off - after all, who can really turn dirt into gold?  You may be surprised to learn there is a way.  Hear this story and find out.

Long ago in Asia, in a country called Burma, there once lived a young wife.  She loved her husband very much but one fear weighed heavily on her mind.

“Husband,” said the wife, “all day long you try to turn dirt into gold.  You do nothing else! Soon, I fear all of our money will be gone.”

“I do this for us!” said her husband.  “Someday we will both be rich.  You will thank me!”

“If we live that long!” said his wife in a quiet voice.  She knew she needed help, so she went to see her father.

"Daughter!" said he. "It's always a joy to see you.  But I can tell something is troubling you.  Tell me, what is it?"

“It's my husband,” said the daughter. “From morning to night he does nothing but try to turn dirt into gold.  Soon we will run out of money! I try to talk to him but he will not listen.  Please, will you talk to him?”

“Of course,” said the father.  

“Thank you!”  She felt better already.

The next day, the father went to see his son-in-law.

"It's good to see you!" said the young man. 

"And you, son," said the old man, looking at the potions and bowls.  “I see you must be trying to turning dirt into gold."

“It's more than trying," said the young man.  "I will do this. It just takes time.”

“I know, believe me,” said the father, and the young man looked up in surprise.  “Ah! There is something you do not know. When I was your age I, too, was an alchemist.  I devoted myself to turning dirt into gold." 

“You did?” said the young man, incredulous.

“Not only that,” the father went on, “but after many years I discovered the secret.”

“You know how?”

“I do,” said the old man.  “But by then I was too old and it was too hard for me to carry it out.  I didn't know anyone younger I could trust.” He looked at his son-in-law directly in the eye.  

“You can trust me!” cried the young man with joy, jumping up.

Then the older man told his son-in-law the secret.  There is a silver powder that only grows on the back of banana leaves.  To make the magic work, when the banana seeds are first planted a certain magic spell must be recited over them. After the plants have grown tall and the fruit has ripened, the silver powder on the back of the leaves can be carefully brushed off and saved.

“How much of this silver powder is needed?” said the young man.

“Two pounds,” said the father.  

“But that will take hundreds of banana plants!” cried the young man.

“Alas!” said the father. “That is why it was too much work for me to carry it out."

"I can do this!" said the son.  

"I know you can," said the father-in-law, smiling. 

Then a cloud passed over the young man's brow.  "But Sir, on what land can I grow these plants, and how can I even get seeds?"

"That is no problem," said the father-in-law.  "I am ready to lend you enough money to rent farmland and to buy seed.”

Smiling wide, the two of them shook hands. With the loan, the young man rented a large plot and cleared the land.  When he planted the seeds, he carefully recited the magic spell over them.  Each day, the young man walked the rows of young green plants, leaning over to check each one. He pulled each weed that tried to grow around the young banana plants, and he kept the pests away.

When the plants grew tall and the bananas finally ripened, indeed, a silver powder did appear on the back of the leaves.  The young man carefully brushed off this powder and saved it.  But only a pinch of powder could be saved from each plant. He had to buy more land and grow more bananas. It took a few years, but at last he had collected the two pounds.

 With great joy, he ran to his father-in-law’s house.

"I have enough of the silver powder now!" he cried, setting gently a tied bag onto the floor in front of his father-in-law.

"Wonderful!" said the old man. "Now I will show you how to turn dirt into gold! But first you must bring me a bucket of dirt from the banana farm.  And you must get my daughter - she is also needed."

The young man didn't understand why a bucket of dirt from the farm was needed, much less his wife, but he ran to the farm, digging up a bucket of dirt, raced home and collected his surprised wife, and the two of them rushed to the old man’s house.

The father asked his daughter, "After your husband saved the banana powder, what did you do with the bananas?"

"Why, I sold them," she said. "That is how we have been able to live."

"Did you save any money?" asked the father.

"Of course," she said.

"May I see it?" said the old man. The young woman and her husband gave each other a quick look – this was odd!  But she went home and came back with a large bag. The father saw that inside the bag were gold coins.

“Set it down,” he said.  Then he took the bucket of dirt and dumped it onto the floor.  He took the bag of coins and poured in a pile next to the dirt.

"You see," he said, turning to his son-in-law, "you have turned dirt into gold!"

"What?" said the young man.

"Oh, I get it!' said the daughter.  "My dear," she said, turning to her husband. "You farmed the dirt and we sold the bananas.  Now we have gold coins!"

"But that's not the kind of magic I had in mind," said the husband.

The daughter gave her husband a kiss on the cheek.  "We've been living well and happy together these last years, my love," she said.

"I suppose there's a kind of magic here, after all," he said with a smile.  

"Indeed," said the father.  And the couple walked home, hand in hand.




The see the Original Folktale: The Old Alchemist, Click Here! 

Discussion Questions: 

Question 1: What was the father trying to show his daughter's husband?

Question 2: What do you think about the way the father tried to teach his son-in-law?

Posted in Asia, Bedtime Stories, Laos, STORIES FOR KIDS, World Tales.


  1. 1. There is nothing magic that can make us rich. We have to do something to achieve what we want. Even is that’s hard, but the results are so satisfying.
    2. I think it’s so wonderful how the father taught him.

  2. HELLO??
    The story is awesome .

    Answers to the Questions :-

    1. What was the father trying to show his
    daughter’s husband?
    Answer :- The father was trying to show his
    daughter’s husband how to how to
    turn dirt into gold .

    2. What do you think about the way the father
    tried to teach his son-in-law?

    Answer :- He was nice and helpful this his son –
    in – law and his daughter. Also he was
    teaching them how to save money for
    there future .

  3. 1.The father showed him to think,and make.

    2.At first I thought it was crazy,but then I realised it was the thinking the man had to do.

  4. 1. He was trying to help him to be a productive person.

    2. He was being polite and helpful with his daughter and her husband, and he was teaching them how to save money for their future.

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