After a few years he informed his master that he had succeeded. The apothecary and his friends went into the laboratory and watched the apprentice. The young man dropped a piece of copper into the crucible, and, with a few dexterous motions, added to the mixing and the boiling, took out a piece of gold. The same thing is done nowadays, only instead of copper and gold the conjurer uses a silk hat and a rabbit.
Despite the fact that there was no telephone or telegraph in those days, the news spread quickly, and people rushed into Berlin to see the "gold cook." Everybody was interested in gold. Even the King was curious about the matter, and concluded that if he could control this young man and lock him up in a fortress he could have all the gold he wanted and be a King among Kings.
That was energy on the King's part.
Bottger heard of the King's intention and disappeared. A reward was offered for him. But by losing no time the young man arrived safely in Saxony, and put himself under the protection of the Elector, Friedrich August.
Now it happened that Friedrich August was in need of money. He sent Bottger to Dres den, and then began to press him for the secret by letter, from Poland, of which country the Elector was King.
&Sager sent the King a small' bottle con taining a reddish liquid, with directions. The King put on an old suit and a leather apron, locked himself up in a room and went to work.
The first experiment failed.
Then the King read the directions again. This time he observed one item that he had overlooked in his anxiety to begin. It was this : This liquid must be used in great purity of heart.
His royal highness took thought as to his recent conduct, purified his heart and began again.
No gold appeared, and the King promised to hang Bottger if he failed to make gold. But he did not carry out his threat, probably for fear that he would also hang the secret.
Then a man in Dresden said to Bottger one day: "If you can't make gold, why don't you try porcelain? There is money in that." This was the man who had quietly studied the Mager behind the mask.
Being a man of energy, B6ttger dropped his "gold cook" work and turned his attention to red clay.
He succeeded in making a beautiful red porcelain, but he knew that before he could claim success he must discover how to make dishes of pure white. His wig rested heavy on his head that morning. Calling his valet, he asked : "Hans, what makes my wig so heavy ?" "Sir, it is the white powder which I have sprinkled on it." "Hans, bring me a box of the powder, and be quick about it." When he had analyzed the powder he found that it was made of a white clay, called kaolin. With this kaolin he began to work on the red clay and when he was twenty-two years of age he produced his first successful piece of white porcelain.
This was the beginning of the famous Dres den china, an industry that has been worth far more than a real gold mine.
Bottger died at thirty-five. He had been virtually a prisoner of the King for years. As a final tribute to the slavery in which he was kept the King ordered that he be buried at night.
It was a rare day for him when his friend mentioned porcelain, for it turned a skillful and abundant energy from a negative operation to one which has enriched Dresden and delighted the hearts of those who love fine chinaware.