The Gold-Bug is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Set on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, the plot follows William Legrand, who was recently bitten by a gold-colored bug. His servant, Jupiter, fears Legrand is going insane and goes to Legrand’s friend, an unnamed narrator, who agrees to visit his old friend. Legrand pulls the other two into an adventure after deciphering a secret message that will lead to a buried treasure.
Poe submitted The Gold-Bug as an entry to a writing contest sponsored by the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. His story won the grand prize and was published in three installments, beginning in June 1843.
The Gold-Bug was an instant success and was the most popular and most widely read of Poe’s works during his lifetime. It also helped popularize cryptograms and secret writing.
The Gold Bug tells the adventure of Mr. William Legrand, a recluse and entomologist, who finds a gold bug which eventually leads him to a buried treasure of pirates.
He had hunted down and secured, with Jupiter’s assistance, a scarabaeus which he believed to be totally new, but in respect to which he wished to have my opinion on the morrow.
“And why not tonight?” I asked, rubbing my hands over the blaze, and wishing the whole tribe of scarabaei at the devil.
The narrator is very skeptical, and doesn’t believe in Legrand’s phantasmagoria. But worrying for him, he decides to help him in his quest and tries to save him from his own “madness”.
The blurb says it is a disturbing, partly horror tale: well, neither horror nor disturbing parts here. This story is about a treasure hunt and Legrand’s way of succeeding: a series of coincidences and deductions, deciphering clues and cryptanalysis.
With a great storyline and amusing narration, it is a highly entertaining story.