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The Alchemist’s Daughter

My father used to say that although, as scientists, we are loathe to admit it, deep down all of us hope that we shall be the one to find the secret. What secret? How to turn base metals into gold. That’s gold, isn’t it? Oh no my love! With a laugh. That is only bronze, and it tarnishes. It was a paper weight, in the shape of a crown and he had other things resulting from throwing the melted stuff into cold water. And what wonderful shapes emerged. My father was an Engineer. A Marine Engineer who had also studied Chemical Engineering before The War, sent by the state to do so in preparation for the feared Chemical warfare ahead. He was an Officer in the Navy at the time. He never did find the secret of turning base metals into gold literally. Or if he did, he never let on. But he had the rare knack in life of turning everything around him into gold. A rare gift. Something that came so naturally to him. Like breathing. I never really realized till the end of his life. When I also realized that had one been able to find the secret of turning base metals into gold, then gold would have lost its value, whereas the gift of symbolically turning life around you into gold could never lead to the debasement of the results.

3 Comments

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