Milking the Monster
A foul beast from the depths of the abyss terrorizes a small peasant village. It devours their livestock, it kidnaps their children, and the less said about what it does to their women, the better. A band of purehearted heroes hears of their plight and sets off to slay the monster. The town mayor meets them at the gates to greet them...and insist that they leave immediately.
"Kill the beast?" he laughs. "Why would we ever want to do that? Ever since he showed up, the king has paid us more in aid money than we'd ever get through farming! Now turn around and head home, before I have to send the mob after you with Torches and Pitchforks
Sometimes it happens: the monster makes money, and its purported "victims" — or a single shrewd (and often heartless) member of the public — will put up with it, or even harness it for the sake of the benefits it brings, despite the harm it causes.
Compare Monster Protection Racket
, in which the profiteer has a more active role in the matter, and Mainlining the Monster
, when the profit doesn't come from the monster's mere presence but from a substance generated from the monster.
- In the finale of Ernest Scared Stupid, Chuck and Bobby take photos of the rampaging trolls in the hope of making a fortune off the merchandise. Then a troll grabs the camera and eats the film.
- In the novel Star Surgeon by James White, the Monitor Corps goes to help a planet where disease runs rampant. Dr. Conway figures out that the reason the planet has so much disfiguring disease is that the Empire that controls it is using it to get aid donations from other planets and is pocketing the donations. The Empire is also introducing new disease to keep the cash coming in.
- In The Icewind Dale Trilogy, Drizzt goes to steal a magical mask from the lair of a banshee and is surprised when the local townsfolk ask him not to kill her. They explain that her presence provides some protection from orcs and other monsters, is good for tourism, and she mostly just wants to be left alone, only attacking people who invade her lair.
- One long-ago Choose Your Own Adventure book, The Dragon's Ransom, features young heroes' quest for treasure to offer as tribute to the local dragon. Nobody in their village is sure what would happen if they didn't present it with tribute - the arrangement has stood for so long that nobody remembers how it started, and the creature doesn't speak to the people who drop off its annual payoff - but they'd rather have the dragon there to scare off potential enemy armies and other monsters than risk snubbing it.
- Married... with Children: In the season 2 opener, the Bundys vacation to a Florida town with only two tourist attractions: an axe-murdering serial killer, and a man who met Andy Griffith.
- In Baldur's Gate, you are admonished to not kill more than five ankhegs in the area south of Baldur's Gate by a local, the reason being that ankheg tunnels areate the soil and improve crop yields by about 5%.
- A recurring event on Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. The Scooby Gang exists to solve mysteries; unfortunately, Crystal Cove's primary source of income is spooky tourism, and the mayor (Freddy's dad!) and the eternally ineffectual sheriff don't appreciate them exposing every Monster of the Week for the hoaxes they really are.
- A variant appears in the Adventure Time episode "Donny". The eponymous character is an obnoxious grass ogre who enjoys terrorizing a town of house-people: Finn and Jake manage to make him mend his ways, but it turns out that his noxious presence was the only thing keeping a ferocious pack of whywolves at bay. In the end, they have to convince Donny to go back to his old self, or else the whywolves will devour the entire town.