Termites Find Man’s Buried Treasure
If you suddenly found yourself with a large bundle of cash, where would you put it for safekeeping? Most people would choose to put their money in a bank, but others would prefer to keep their fortunes a secret. Who knows? Maybe the IRS would come after you if a million dollars were to suddenly show up in your checking account. Where you live in the world is also a factor, as some governments are more intrusive on the lives of citizens than others. Authoritarian governments are notorious for deciding how much money they want to take from certain people. These are countries where citizens have every reason to hide their income. In China for instance, one farmer named Qi Shengli decided to bury twenty thousand yuan, or three thousand dollars, beneath the ground. This may sound like a good idea at first, but what if the buried money were to be discovered? Unfortunately, this is just what happened in Shengli’s case, but his stash of cash was not discovered by another person; instead termites eventually found his buried money.
As you probably know, many termite species are subterranean, which means they dwell beneath the surface of soil. In the country of China, termites are particularly numerous and troublesome for the economy. You would think that any person living in China would consider termites before burying money. However, not everyone is aware that termites seek out cellulose, and not just wood. Perhaps Shengli was not aware that paper money contains cellulose. Shengli must have thought that his idea was a good one because he left his money underground for at least a year. His living conditions allowed him to bury the money in a corner of his bedroom, which is a clear indication that he needed the money. Shengli then went to the bank, but the bank was only able to piece together a mere six hundred yuan of his original twenty thousand yuan stash. Luckily, for Shengli an artist from Beijing offered to pay him the original twenty thousand yuan in exchange for the remains of the banknotes. The generous man from Beijing will use the termite tattered bank notes to create a piece of art that will be displayed to the public. The planned art piece is meant to convince the nation’s elderly population that keeping money stashed at home is a bad idea. Apparently memories of communist dictatorship have made the elderly in China more protective of their money.
Do you think that termites would have been able to access the money even if it had been covered with plastic material?