Study Guide

Foundation Part IV, Chapter 4

By Isaac Asimov

Part IV, Chapter 4

  • Ponyets meets again with the Grand Master. This time, he has gold and something better: a machine that turns base metals into gold. Alchemy meet the future, future alchemy.
  • The Grand Master wants to test the transmutation machine. Makes sense. Would you believe it if someone offered such a device to you?
  • A solider provides his belt buckles and sure enough there be gold in dem der hills, erm, machinery.
  • Ponyets goes full-on salesman, asking anyone in the room to put the gold to the test.
  • A man named Pherl reminds the Grand Master that the gold comes from a poisonous source, i.e., nuclear technology.
  • Ponyets suggests that he's just offering the gold, not the technology. And gold is gold, regardless of where it comes from.
  • To sweeten the deal, Ponyets suggests the gold wouldn't be evil if it were used for good purposes and that the ancestors could not argue with such logic. To prove it, he offers himself as a hostage for thirty days. They will place the gold on a shrine, and if the ancestors don't show disapproval toward it in that time, then he and Gorov are free to go.
  • The trap is set, and the Grand Master gleefully walks right into it.