Golden Geese

DEFINITION of 'Golden Geese'

A source of lots of money, such as shoppers who are expected to spend a lot or high-income earners who are expected to pay a lot in taxes. Golden geese could also refer to hot investments that are expected to yield a high return and into which investors might jump without thinking rationally.

BREAKING DOWN 'Golden Geese'

This term may trace its roots to one of two sources. The first is Aesop's fable of the goose that laid the golden egg, a cautionary tale against greed. Instead of being satisfied with the small but steady wealth offered by the goose, the couple who owned the goose killed it in an attempt to extract all its gold at once and ended up with nothing. The second is the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale, "The Golden Goose," in which a man is rewarded for his generosity with a goose whose feathers are made of gold. When other people try to pluck the bird's feathers, they are punished for their greed: the first becomes stuck to the goose, and the other people become stuck to each other.

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