Once upon a time in Zandam, which is by the Zuider Zee, there lived a wicked man named Nicholas Snyders. He was mean and hard and cruel, and loved but one thing in the world, and that was gold. And even that t for its own sake. He loved the power gold gave him-the power to tyrannize and to oppress, the power to cause suffering at his will. They said he had soul, but there they were wrong.