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I am the leader of merchants,
I am the only one of my kind,
Yet the smallest of eight.

Look up and you'll find me,
Or down in the earth.
I'll tell you when it's hot or cold.

I was once used to heal,
But now consume too much and you'll die.

What am I?

This is my first riddle so not sure if it's too easy/too hard/not clear enough, so I'll add hints later on if needed.

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    $\begingroup$ Excellent riddle! $\endgroup$ – Stig Hemmer Jun 1 '16 at 7:27
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    $\begingroup$ The Puzzling Stack Exchange is the hive; users are bees; the puzzles we make is our honey; the puzzles we answer are our flowers; the puzzles we solve in particular, is our pollen; and this is the Queen Bee :D $(+1)$ $\color{darkorange}{\bigstar}$ $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Aug 24 '18 at 9:21
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Mercury

Explanation in a minute..

I am the leader of merchants,

The Roman god Mercury was the god of commerce and financial gain.

I am the only one of my kind, Yet the smallest of eight.

not sure about the "only one" bit, but Mercury is the smallest of the 8 planets in our solar system.

Look up and you'll find me,

again reference to the planet

Or down in the earth.

Mercury is a naturally occurring metal

I'll tell you when it's hot or cold.

Mercury is often used (or maybe has been replaced (see below)) in thermometers.

I was once used to heal, But now consume too much and you'll die.

Mercury was some times used in medicinal applications before we knew that it was actually really harmful to humans.

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    $\begingroup$ Clearly far too easy lol, I'll wait for your explanation though. $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 1 '16 at 3:07
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    $\begingroup$ How does it relate to the title? $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 1 '16 at 3:10
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    $\begingroup$ The title is a reference to Freddie Mercury of the band Queen. $\endgroup$ – Josh Jun 1 '16 at 3:34
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    $\begingroup$ Only one of kind: Reference to being the only metal liquid at room temperature? $\endgroup$ – Baldrick Jun 1 '16 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ The "i'll tell you when it's hot or cold" for me at least, was the clue that made the riddle a lot easier than it would be without that clue. I'd recommend taking that out as it still is doable but just a bit more difficult (again, for me at least) $\endgroup$ – discodane Jun 1 '16 at 18:37
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I am the leader of merchants,

Not sure on this one, but the first four letters are a start. Meh.

One of a kind

I am the only metal that is liquid at room temperature

Yet smallest of eight

smallest planet, since pluto got demoted

Look up and you'll find me,

...but not without a really good telescope!

Or down in the earth,

...as an ore, most commonly cinnabar, Mercury Sulfide

I'll tell you when it's hot or cold,

...if I'm in a glass thermometer, thanks to Herr Fahrenheit.

I was once used to heal,

Elemental mercury still has medicinal properties, however

Consume too much and you'll die!

...or slowly go mad, as a hatter. Hatters used mercury to soften felt, and absorbed it through their skin. Over time, the mercury would cause loss of mental function, similar to lead poisoning, leading eventually to death.

I am

Mercury.

.

This is an edit.

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    $\begingroup$ This is an excellent riddle for a first 'attempt'. $\endgroup$ – HardScale Jun 1 '16 at 4:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Inazuma Gallium also is liquid at room temperature, or at least near room temperature. $\endgroup$ – Nzall Jun 1 '16 at 7:58
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    $\begingroup$ -1 for the answer being a duplicate. $\endgroup$ – manshu Jun 6 '16 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ @ericm301 I hope this clears things up. There are a few things I looked for when accepting the other answer: 1) Andethal was first, and although his/hers originally lacked explanation, this was cleared up quite soon after. 2) His answer was slightly 'simpler' (i.e. my line of thinking) - particularly on lines five, seven - eight. 3) What wasn't answered, was supplemented by in the comments. $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 10 '16 at 23:43
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    $\begingroup$ @manshu I disagree that this is a duplicate, hence the updates. Most of the justification in this answer is either worded differently, or a completely different approach (e.g. about the mad hatter). $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 10 '16 at 23:45

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