Asterix and the Cauldron
|Asterix and the Cauldron
(Asterix et le Chaudron)
Date(s) of publication
|Preceded by||Asterix at the Olympic Games|
|Followed by||Asterix in Spain|
Asterix and the Cauldron is the thirteenth volume of the Asterix comic book series, by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations). It was first serialized in the magazine Pilote, issues 469-491, in 1968, and translated into English in 1976.
Whosemoralsarelastix, the chief of a neighboring Gaulish village, is a mean and greedy man who often does business with the Romans. When the Romans levy new taxes, Whosemoralsarelastix asks the people of Asterix's village to guard a cauldron full of money, his village's treasures, claiming that he is trying to keep the money away from the imminent visit of the Roman tax collectors.
Asterix is left in charge of the cauldron full of sestertii, which is promptly stolen during the night. The strict laws of the Gauls demand that Asterix be banished until he has atoned for his negligence. Obelix immediately “banishes” himself to stay with his friend. In order to regain his honor, Asterix, with Obelix's help, must find money to refill the cauldron and repay Whosemoralsarelastix.
Asterix and Obelix engage in many futile attempts to earn back the money. This includes questioning the Romans at Compendium (only to trigger a riot when the Romans know nothing about the theft and assume that the Gauls are there to get them to pay for being in the legions), trashing the pirates in the belief that they stole the money (although the pirates were for once trying to engage in an honest profession by turning their ship into a restaurant), selling boars (only to sell them at a ridiculously low price), prize fighting (only to win worthless statuettes), acting (Obelix insults the audience and ruins the company), gambling (only to lose their money when the tip doesn't pay off) and even trying to rob a bank (which is empty of money due to the recent tax increases by the Romans).
With little else to gain or lose they take the cauldron back to Whosemoralsarelastix's village, Asterix hoping that he will be able to save the village's honour by clarifying that he alone is responsible for the loss. As they approach the village's area, they stumble upon and rob a Roman tax collector at the last minute. They beat up his escort and Asterix steals the money the taxman has obtained. But as they set off to take the money to Whosemoralsarelastix, Asterix catches a suspicious smell on the coins. The cauldron had previously been used for cooking onion soup — and the coins, fresh from the collector's coffers, smell of onion soup as well.
Asterix and Obelix go to Whosemoralsarelastix's village, which lies on a high cliff at the coast. Asterix confronts Whosemoralsarelastix with the onion soup-smelling money, having correctly guessed that Whosemoralsarelastix stole back his own money and paid his taxes to the Romans to retain their favor, knowing that Asterix would go to any lengths necessary to get the money back and make up for his debt; essentially, Asterix was to pay Whosemoralsarelastix's taxes for him. A fight between Obelix and the villagers — although Obelix fails to fully understand why they are fighting — and Asterix versus the treacherous chief ensues. Asterix and Whosemoralsarelastix duel with their swords due to Asterix having exhausted his potion, but Whosemoralsarelastix is the better swordsman. Just as he is about to strike Asterix down, however, a section of the cliff suddenly gives way, the cauldron of money falling towards the sea while Whosemoralsarelastix barely manages to hold on to the side. Asterix rescues the treacherous chief and he and Obelix return to their own village while Whosemoralsarelastix cries his heart out over the loss of his money.
The money itself, however, falls right into the ship and the lap of the pirates, who for once conclude an adventure on a happy note for themselves. Back at Asterix's village a celebration is held for the return of the two heroes and the recovery of their honour, though Obelix, still a little confused over matters, asks why the cauldron was used to contain money instead of onion soup in the first place.
- When Obelix suggests they get paid by telling people their adventures, Asterix rejects the idea as unlikely to raise any money. The joke is that, by this time, the series had made Goscinny and Uderzo two very wealthy men.
- Goscinny and Uderzo themselves appear in the story. When the Roman dignitaries assemble at the theatre at the beginning of the show, Uderzo is shown talking to the Prefect, while Goscinny, on the right, amuses his neighbours with jokes.
- The tax collector in the book appears to be a caricature of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the French minister of finance at that time. He later became President.
- This is the first — and so far only — volume in which the pirates actually enjoy a happy ending. This is also the first of the few rare stories where their ship is not sunk (though they have already taken a beating earlier in this episode).
- The arc of the story is Whosemoralsarelastix's plot, and it's only by Asterix's intelligence that the plot is finally unravelled — while Obelix cannot understand what the double-cross was all about.
- The fight at the end of the story is one of the rare times Asterix is seen using his sword, although he always carries it with him. Asterix and Caesar's Gift contains another instance, in which Asterix outclasses the former legionary Tremensdelirious in swordplay.
- Asterix unraveling of the plot is reference to the roman proverb Pecunia non olet (money does not stink).
In other languages
- Arabic: أستريكس و القدر المعدنية
- Catalan: Astèrix i el calderó
- Czech: Asterix a kotlík
- Dutch: Asterix en de koperen ketel
- Finnish: Asterix ja rahapata ("Asterix and the Cauldron of Money")
- German: Asterix und der Kupferkessel
- Greek: Ο Αστερίξ και η χύτρα
- Hebrew: אסטריקס והקלחת
- Icelandic: Ástríkur og grautarpotturinn
- Italian: Asterix e il Paiolo
- Norwegian: Asterix på skattejakt ("Asterix on a Treasure Hunt")
- Polish: Asteriks i kociołek
- Portuguese: Astérix e o Caldeirão
- Serbian: Котлић с благом
- Slovenian: Asterix in kotliček
- Spanish: Astérix y el caldero
- Swedish: Asterix och skatten ("Asterix and the Treasure" or "Asterix and the Tax", skatt meaning both tresure and tax)
- Turkish: Asteriks ve Kazan