The Gold Bug
JARMILA JELENA SOBOTA, 2013
THE GOLD BUG
By Edgar Allan Poe
A Miniature design binding.
Designed, published and completed by Jarmila Jelena Sobota in Loket, Czech Republic, 2013.
Limited edition of 13 signed and numbered books.
Price: $ 360.-
“Bradel” binding structure covered with dark green goatskin. Onlay of leather-parchment laser cut “skull” is on the top cover. Inside the “skull” eye is a gold tooled picture of a “Gold Bug”.
Goatskin and hand decorated paper cover binder’s board. The “Gold Bug” can crawl over top of the box utilizing magnets.
William Legrand becomes obsessed with searching for treasure after being bitten by a scarab-like bug thought to be made of pure gold. He notifies his closest friend, the narrator, telling him to immediately come visit him at his home on Sullivan's Island in South Carolina. Upon the narrator's arrival, Legrand informs him that they are embarking upon a search for lost treasure along with his African-American servant Jupiter. The narrator has intense doubt and questions if Legrand, who has recently lost his fortune, has gone insane.
Legrand captured the bug but let someone else borrow it; so now he draws a picture of the bug instead. The narrator says that the image looks like a skull. Legrand is insulted and inspects his own drawing before stuffing it into a drawer which he locks, to the narrator's confusion. Uncomfortable, the narrator leaves Legrand and returns home to Charleston.
A month later, Jupiter visits the narrator and asks him to return to Sullivan's Island on behalf of his master. Legrand, he says, has been acting strangely. When he arrives, Legrand tells the narrator they must go on an expedition along with the gold-bug tied to a string. Deep in the wilderness of the island, they find a tree, which Legrand orders Jupiter to climb with the gold-bug in tow. There, he finds a skull and Legrand tells him to drop the bug through one of the eye sockets. From where it falls, he determines the spot where they dig. They find treasure buried by the infamous pirate "Captain Kidd", estimated by the narrator to be worth about fourteen million dollars. Once the treasure is safely secured, the man goes into an elaborate explanation of how he knew about the treasure's location, based on a set of occurrences that happened after the discovery of the gold bug.
The story involves cryptography with a detailed description of a method for solving a simple substitution cipher using letter frequencies. The cryptogram is as follows:
The decoded message is:
A good glass in the bishop's hostel in the devil's seat
forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes northeast and by north
main branch seventh limb east side shoot from the left eye of the death's-head
a bee line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out.