March Dust

A bushel of March dust is worth a king's ransom. According to the Anglo-Saxon laws, the fine of murder was a sliding scale proportioned to the rank of the person killed. The lowest was 10, and the highest 60; the former was the ransom of a churl, and the latter of a king.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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