Fool’s  Lure


A poem by Daniel Kolos

Priceville, June 23, 2003

Commissioned for the Eugenia Gold Rush Days Festival 150th year celebrations

Recited at the Festival on July 12, 2003




Raucous rumor and ribald humor

stirred the hearts of sturdy farts

(rough old farts with tough old hearts):


“There’s gold in them there waterfalls!”

They hacked out a path and feared no one’s wrath,

they left their wives and daughters for the Sparkling Waters.


Although danger lurked, them men never shirked.

hey scraped and sand and crushed the stone,

they broke off boulders, you could hear them groan.


Ignoring the local hex, they collected the golden flecks.

and dreamed of fame, women and riches

until winter set in and they froze in their britches.


With the allure of gold the men ignored the cold

they stacked their pans, their picks and shovels

in simple, dirty, makeshift hovels.


As soon as the frozen river melted

the men their winter pelts unbelted

and sated their lust with bags of gold dust.


The summer was hot and so were the women

who spoke the language of this precious metal

at whose sight they wilted like a flower petal.


One clever woman, richly sacheted,

asked her man, “Had the dust been assayed?”

With a worried frown they sent the dust to town.


                             *     *     *


Strumming their lyres around camp fires

one bright young man from France,

told stories how his Queen could dance:


“She is alluring, though she wears a ring

and every Spring it is not by chance

she charms her lovers out of their pants!”

”Who’s this woman of strife,” the gold diggers asked,

and the he answered, “Wife to Napoleon the Third!

Her name is Eugenie and she’s an uncaged bird!”


The Frenchman continued, “She would like you men!

In one night my Queen could take the first ten

and the rest would be preserved for dessert!


“To be quite frank, she’s in Egypt having a tryst,

a guest of Ismail Pasha for a twist:

she finds it banal to open the Suez Canal.”


Said one prospector, “I more than respect her!

With your Queen I am mightily smitten!

Show me, pray tell, how is her name written?”



“Eugenia!” they cried as the letters they spied

and the young Frenchman, over dinner,

decided to name the town after her.


                             *     *     *


The other men now turned rather bold

and promised the Queen a share of their gold

as the campsite matron and the town’s patron.


They slept well that night but at dawn’s first light

a man from town said, “Listen, I say!

And hear the result of the latest assay.”


The men gathered, thinking of cash

but in a moment their faces were like ash:

He said: “Think what you might, your dust is Pyrite!”


Their head hung low, their walk rather slow,

the men felt like fools, wrapped up their tools;

burned by gold lust, they dumped the fool’s dust.


Only one managed something fulfilling,

he sold a sack of Pyrite for a few shilling!

I can sell you some, if you are willing?


My story is true, embellishments are few

and my compliments to you are now due:

You’ve done well to endure the tale of the fools’ lure!



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check out the Eugenia Gold Rush Days website at:

and the history of the Gold Rush at