The Greedy Neighbor of the Honest Woodcutter: Original Patter for Wild Coin Magic

Updated: Jul 14, 2019

15 years ago, after studying the video tape series of David Roth’s Expert Coin Magic... Made Easy!, I came up with some original patter for Roth’s Wild Coin routine. I was probably inspired by Eugene Burger & other storytellers in the magic circle when my idea emerged. I've tested my patter in the routine with adults and they seemed to appreciate it. My suggestion is to use it for children as a fable to give them a moral lesson for the best result.


If you aren’t familiar with the routine, this is a demonstration by David Roth who came up with the sequence and handling.

In order to use my patter, you’ll need some silver coins and gold coins. Gold & gold plated Kennedy half dollars can be obtained on eBay to match your Kennedy half silver dollars.


Alternatively, you may get some shiny looking coins with silver and golden looks, instead of the real ones. If you have small hands, US Sacagawea dollars and English coins with approximately the same diameter are a good match.


Here’s how my story goes:

A young man heard about the encounter of a lake fairy of his neighbor, a woodcutter with integrity. The woodcutter had been rewarded of a gold axe for his honesty after telling the lake fairy the axe he accidentally dropped into the lake was, in fact, silver, not gold.


After learning this story, the young man went to the lake and deliberately dumped four silver coins into the lake and waited for the fairy to emerge. Soon after, the fairy emerged with one of his silver coins he had dumped.


“Did you drop this coin, young man?” The fairy asked.


“Nope! My coins are gold,” he replied.


The fairy gave the silver coin a rub and magically changed it into gold.


“There you go! Keep what you deserve to keep,” said the fairy.


The fairy disappeared into the lake and re-emerged with another silver coin.


“Is this one yours?” The fairy asked again.


“Yes, but shouldn’t it be gold, too?” The man requested.


As the fairy gave the coin a rub, the silver coin magically changed into gold.


“There you go! Keep what you deserve to keep,” said the fairy, before she disappeared into the lake.


Soon after, the fairy returned with the third silver coin.


“Please be honest with me. Is this or is this not what you have dropped?”


“I swear the coins that I have dropped are all gold. Please make this one gold again!”


Once again, the fairy gave the coin the slightest rub and it magically changed into a gold coin. But the young man was not satisfied. He told the fairy that he was looking for his last gold coin.


The fairy sank into the lake one last time. She returned with a silver coin. Without saying a word, she magically changed it into gold but this time, the gold coin flickered - back to silver, and to gold, then to silver.


“Keep this, with your other silver coins, as they are what you have dropped, greedy liar!” The fairy then disappeared into a spiral in the lake.


The young man gathered the other three coins from his pocket. To his surprise, all four gold coins were then back to silver.


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