Treasure in the CavesBorn 1961, M, from Brighton, United Kingdom
Treasure in the Caves
By Alan Finch
‘I dreamt about Patches last night’ Nancy said to her older brother Kurt as they clambered over the rocks to join their younger brother and sister, who were having a sandcastle building competition.
‘Don’t worry, Patches will be fine in London. It’s a pity we couldn’t bring him with us to Cornwall but you know Grandpa and Grandma said they would have us but not the dog’.
Nancy and Kurt reached Lynne and Dave just in time to see Dave jumping on Lynne’s beautifully built sandcastle to which Lynne then jumped on Dave’s one.
‘Ok you two - it’s time we went back to HH for tea, we don’t want Grandma to get angry again. Also we need to plan what we’re going to do tomorrow.
The four children climbed up the steep path to the back door of the large well built house that overlooked the entire beach.
They quietly said hello to their grandparents, who were busy in the kitchen and went to sit down in the large dining room.
Grandma bought in their plates of sandwiches and cake and jugs of fruit juice followed by Grandpa.
Dave was just about to dig in when his Grandpa cleared his throat loudly ‘Prayers first’ he said gruffly.
The meal was eaten in stone silence with just the sound of the grandfather clock ticking in the corner.
‘We’ll do the washing-up Grandma’ said Nancy and the children carried all the dishes into the kitchen.
Grandpa followed them and lifted the large cast iron kettle from the range to fill the sink with boiling water then, warning them not to burn themselves, shut the door and left the children in the kitchen.
Once they had finished the washing up they all went to Kurt’s bedroom and shut the door. Nancy and Lynne perched themselves on the bed while the boys sprawled on the floor.
‘If the weather is OK tomorrow I say we start to explore the caves down on the far side of the beach’ said Kurt ‘We need to get up early because we don’t know what we might find’
Nancy agreed ‘Why don’t we pack ourselves a picnic then we don’t have to come back for lunch?’
‘Ok good idea’ said Kurt ‘Lets all be ready to leave at 8am so lets have an early night. Sleep well’
At 7am the alarm clocks went off and the children began to get ready for the day ahead, full of excitement.
They sat at the table, filling themselves up with breakfast, each one thinking to themselves about what the day would bring.
After clearing away breakfast and making up their picnic lunches, they went to Nancy’s room and made the decision not to tell their grandparents where they were really going but to tell them they were going to the beach instead. As they knew that if they admitted they were going to explore the caves, their grandparents would forbid them to go.
As the weather looked rather cloudy the children packed light jackets too, then sauntered off out of the house, after saying goodbye to their grandparents.
They raced down the hill to see who would be the first one to reach the sand.
Once they got there Kurt reached into his pocket and got out a card. They perched onto some rocks and Kurt said ‘Right then gang, now we’re here we’re going into the caves to look for some treasure.’ He looked at the card again and showed the others what was on the other side - it was a drawing of a map.
‘Where did you get that from?’ asked Lynne.
Kurt smiled ‘ It was hidden in the pages of that book I found in my bedroom here - Dead Man’s Gold’
Dave and Lynne clutched each other looking worried and said ‘We don’t want to go in there if there’s dead men’
‘All the dead men have gone now, hopefully there’s only treasure!’
The group marched on into the cave taking care on the slippery rocks looking around them at the size of the inside of the cave. All of a sudden, it went really cold and they started shivering. Over to their left a vision appeared of the two youngsters, their hands and feet tied up, surrounded by a group of menacing pirates. As quickly as it appeared so it disappeared again.
Nancy looked at Kurt ‘What was that all about?’
Kurt just shrugged his shoulders unable to give an answer.
Dave and Lynne looked at their older brother and sister and started to cry. ‘We want to go home - we don’t want to carry on’ they sobbed.
Nancy and Kurt talked in a huddle together then turned around and said to the two youngsters, ‘If we go back now we might see those pirates again but if we go on together, chances are we’ll avoid them’.
Dave and Lynne each gave one last sniff, dried their eyes and clasped Nancy and Kurt’s hands firmly.
The group moved on further into the cave grateful for the torch lighting the way.
They turned a corner and all of a sudden, the cave widened out and they saw it was lit up by lots and lots of fires and a large group of pirates huddled around a tall huge man with a black beard, a wooden left leg and a parrot perched on his shoulder.
The children stopped in their tracks and dived behind a large rock apart from Lynne, who just stared in wonder at the sight before her and didn’t realise that the others had hidden themselves.
Suddenly from behind came two great pairs of arms, which grabbed Lynne around the middle and carried her off towards the group of pirates.
Kurt and Nancy looked at each other in astonishment, neither could believe what had happened. Dave looked at them both, whispered Lynne’s name and burst into tears again. Nancy gave him a cuddle, all she could do at the time and whispered ‘Don’t worry, we’ll save her’
Kurt said ‘We must think up a plan to rescue her and quickly’
As he looked around behind him, his eyes were drawn to a pile of rubbish on which he saw some canvas material, burnt pieces of wood and lengths of rope.
Kurt had a brainwave!
‘We need to take all this stuff back out of the cave’ he whispered to the others. ‘but we must be really quiet so they don’t hear us - we’ll go one at a time’
He gave Nancy the bigger pieces of wood to take out and waited for her to make her way back to the fresh air. After a few minutes, he gave Dave some of the material and pointed him in the right direction. ‘Off you go out to Nancy but be quiet’ he warned ‘Ok’ said Dave his eyes shining brightly.
However as he made his way along the cave, a longer piece of material dropped down and tangled around the youngster’s legs. Unable to keep his balance, Dave fell heavily against the rocks, the noise echoing around. The pirates fell silent and looked in the boys direction. Kurt held his breath, worried that the pirates would come to investigate but they carried on tying up the hands of the brave little girl.
Dave picked himself up, gathered up the material safely and headed out to join Nancy at the mouth of the cave. Once he knew that Dave was outside, Kurt picked up the remaining pieces he needed and edged quietly outside, upset at having to leave Lynne alone with the pirates, ‘I’ll be back to get you’ he whispered to her.
Out in the daylight, Nancy turned to Kurt and said ‘Well Kurt now we’ve got this far, please tell us what you intend to do’
‘We’re going to make a dragon’ Kurt replied with a grin.
Very quietly they started putting the pieces of wood together, tied with the lengths of rope and covered it with the material to make a model of a dragon.
When it was finished, the three of them stepped back, looked at it, looked at each other and let out a very satisfied ‘Wow’
‘Well done’ said Kurt ‘that deserves a pat on the back - its brilliant’
‘Now we have to work out exactly how we can free Lynne’ said Nancy.
Kurt looked at his watch and said ‘ It’s almost tea-time, we ought to go back so Grandma and Grandpa don’t worry about us. Then when its dark we can come back down and rescue Lynne’.
‘But what shall we say to them about Lynne not being there’ said Dave.
‘We’ll tell them, she’s gone straight to bed with a tummy ache’ replied Nancy. ‘But first we need to hide the dragon’
The children looked around them and decided to cover the dragon with lots of grass, leaves and shrubs, which covered the land behind the cave.
Kurt picked up the two large wooden logs which were on the beach and made a cross to show them where the dragon was hidden ‘ There we go X marks the spot’ he laughed.
When the three of them returned home their grandparents barely noticed that Lynne was missing. They met in Kurt’s room to decide what time to go back to the cave. ‘Half past eight’ said Kurt ‘and make sure we have plenty of torches so we can find our way’
Dead on half past eight Kurt rounded up the group and very quietly they left the house and made their way down the track to the beach, glad of the bit of moonlight that there was.
‘So Kurt, what exactly is the plan?’ asked Nancy.
Kurt replied ‘We’ll uncover the dragon and climb underneath it and make our way into the caves. Hopefully scaring away the pirates and bringing Lynne back out. But we must be very observant and watch out for all the pirates, we don’t want to be captured ourselves.’
‘Oh, is that all then!’ replied Nancy with a grin.
So the three of them set about removing all the leaves and shrubs from the dragon and soon it was ready for them to climb in.
‘Dave, it’ll be best if you go in the middle’ said Kurt ’and I’ll lead the way with Nancy behind you then she can grab Lynne’
Dave nodded excitedly, this was a real adventure!
They climbed inside the dragon. ’All ok?’ asked Kurt. The two replied ’Yes’
‘Ok lets go’
They lifted the dragon and started to march into the cave starting slowly to get used to the darkness. After a few yards, they stopped by a small fire.
‘I’ve got another idea’ said Kurt and he grabbed a couple of wooden torches and thrust them into the fire. Once alight he held them up by the dragons head.
‘Now we look like a proper dragon’
As they turned the corner, they came across two pirates, who were on guard duty but judging by the empty bottles at their feet were also pretty drunk.
Their eyes widened in fear at the sight of the dragon approaching them and the thought of being the next dragons meal made them run terrified past the monster out into the darkness, vowing never to drink again.
Kurt sniggered, turned back and winked at Nancy and Dave. ‘You see how good we look now!’
They carried on through the cave until the path split into two.
‘Do we go left or right?’ asked Nancy. ‘Mmm I’m not sure’ Kurt replied. He hung up the two burning torches and climbed out from underneath the model.
‘I’m just going to climb onto that large rock to see if I can discover which way to go’
‘Oh be careful’ said Nancy.
Kurt carefully clambered up the rock and laid on his tummy and pulled himself towards the edge to look over.
He saw the pirates all sitting around in groups, surrounded by lit torches. Up one end was a large table with ten pirates sitting at it, including the huge man with the parrot, who they had seen earlier, he was obviously in charge.
Kurt was disappointed that he could see no sign of his younger sister, that would make their job harder.
Suddenly the leader stood up and in a very loud deep voice which echoed all around, called them all to attention.
‘Right men’ he boomed ‘we’ve taken the prisoner down to the underground lake’
Kurt smiled to himself - now we know where she is.
‘There is bound to be a rescue attempt, we need to be vigilant and try to capture whoever comes to rescue her. But we still need to recover the treasure first. I know we haven’t been successful so far but its got to be around here somewhere. So we will split into four groups and each go in one direction and meet at the lake at midnight.
Kurt carefully climbed back down off the ledge and returned to the other two. He whispered to them all the things he had heard the pirate say, including where Lynne had been taken.
‘Oh so lets go straight to get Lynne’ said Dave. ‘yes but how do we know where the lake is’ asked Nancy.
There was a minutes silence then suddenly Kurt remembered what he had in his pocket - the card with the treasure map on it - ‘Hey, I’ve got a map don’t forget’ he grinned.
Holding the torch up close, they crowded over the card, which showed a rough drawing of the inside of the cave. It clearly marked where the path split into two and the large open area where the pirates had been sitting.
‘That’s where we are now’ he said. ‘Look the path to the right is blocked by a rock fall, the left is clear so that must be the way to go!’
So the three of them climbed back into the dragon model and went off down the path. They had only got a little way when they came across a skeleton propped against a rock wearing a pirate’s hat. ‘Oh no’ said Nancy. ‘Yes but look’ said Dave ‘see where the skeleton is pointing - I think it’s a clue’.
Nancy looked again, the bony finger of the skeleton was pointing back the way they had come, back to the rock fall.
Once they’d reached the rock fall they all climbed back out of the dragons model and stood staring up at the vast amount of rock in front of them.
‘We’ll never get past that, there’s no way through’ said Kurt.
Nancy, meanwhile, had wandered over to the left and gave out a little ‘whoop’.
‘Bring the gear over here, I’ve found a hidden path through the rock’ she exclaimed.
The group carried all the bits of the model with them, as they started to edge along the path, not knowing how deep or how far the path would take them. They carefully replaced any boulders that they had to move so they wouldn’t be discovered.
Slowly, they edged forwards, feeling along the path with their feet and along the walls with their hands, it was very rough and uneven in places and seemed to go on forever. Suddenly it got lighter and as they turned a corner, the path turned into a huge cavern and right in front of them was the lake.
‘Right then, where’s Lynne?’ whispered Nancy.
‘You two stay hidden behind this large rock’ said Kurt ‘ and I’ll just go and have a wander around to see if I can see where she is’.
So Kurt left the pair well hidden and edged around the side of the lake. Within five minutes he could see two pirates sitting around a small fire and as he looked again, he could make out the small figure of someone lying asleep behind them - it was Lynne! Like the other pirates he noticed a large number of empty bottles by the pirates side and smiled to himself.
Kurt turned around and made his way back to the others - ‘I found where she is - she’s asleep and I think the pirates are pretty drunk so I think we need to dress up and try to scare them like the others’
‘I hope we don’t scare Lynne too’ said Nancy.
‘She looked sound asleep’ said Kurt. ‘I think she’ll be okay. But we’d better hurry in case the others come back, after all it is nearly midnight’.
So they climbed back into the dragon and started to move towards their sleeping sister. The two pirates were in deep conversation, they suddenly stopped, looked at each other and turned towards the approaching dragon. Their eyes wide open, they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. They managed to get to their feet, staggering around due to the number of bottles they had drunk and made off for what they thought was the path away from the creature but was actually the path which led straight into the lake. They made a huge splash as they fell into the icy cold water, which immediately sobered them up and they began to swim like crazy across the lake to get away.
Meanwhile the noise awoke Lynne who sat up and stared at the dragon, her eyes filled with tears and she scrambled to her feet, ready to run away. ‘Lynne - its us’ shouted Kurt. Lynne stopped, looked again in disbelief and then began to smile as Kurt climbed out of the model. ‘Oh my goodness, it’s you. I would never have recognised you’ she said. ‘How did you make that?’
‘We will explain it all later’ said Nancy. ‘Just climb in next to me because we need to find the treasure and the pirates will be here any minute.’
As they were getting back in the dragon, they heard a fluttering noise above them and the brightly coloured parrot, which had been sitting on the pirates shoulder, flew down next to Dave.
‘Back to the skeleton’ it squawked ‘Back to the skeleton’
‘It’s giving us a clue’ said Nancy.
So the group made their way back to where the skeleton was still pointing.
‘Where should we look now?’ Kurt said. The parrot screeched again ‘Look at the hidden hand - look at the hidden hand!’
So instead of looking at the pointing finger that showed them the way last time, the group looked instead at the other hand that was hidden by the abdominal bones of the skeleton and which was pointing towards the rock on the left hand side.
‘Let’s go and check over there’ said Lynne excited now that she was freed from the pirates.
It was a dark and gloomy part of the caves and it took some time walking up and down with their torches but still they had no sign of any treasure.
‘I’m hungry’ moaned Dave, leaning back against the cave wall.
As he leant back there was a loud creaking sound behind him. As Dave leapt forward looking scared, some of the rocks fell to the floor leaving a gap in the wall. It was a secret entrance!
They all gathered around, peering into the dark space beyond. ‘I’ll go through’ said Kurt ‘Oh please be careful Kurt’ said Nancy ‘We don’t know what’s in there’
‘It’ll be fine’ replied Kurt. ‘I’ll take the parrot with me’ Off he climbed through the gaping hole. Despite his torch, his eyes took a long time to get used to the darkness but eventually he saw that he was faced with two paths, one to the left and one to the right.
‘Ok then’ he muttered ‘which one?’
In the end, the decision was made for him as the parrot flew off his shoulder and down the path to the right.
Kurt carefully edged his way along the path then stopped, calling the parrot back to him.
Meanwhile the others, who were waiting outside the secret entrance were getting worried, Kurt seemed to have been gone a long time.
A few minutes later they heard the sound of Kurt scrambling back through the hole.
‘It’s ok’ he said ‘I think I’ve found the way that will lead to the treasure, the parrot has shown me where to go’
‘Why do you think the parrot is helping us?‘ asked Nancy ‘I’m not sure’ said Kurt.
Then the parrot squawked ‘ he hurts me - he starves me’
‘Well there you go - that’s the reason.’
‘We’ll have to leave the dragon model here’ said Kurt ‘the path is too narrow to walk along with it’
So Kurt and Nancy camouflaged the model against the rocks and stones, so it couldn’t be seen and then the group squeezed through the secret entrance with the parrot still on Kurt’s shoulder.
When they reached the two paths, they took the right hand one as the parrot had indicated and walked for what seemed like miles along the dimly lit route, listening out for the sound of the pirates coming after them.
Suddenly the path widened and they had a choice of four routes to take.
‘Oh no’ said Nancy ‘what do we do now?’
‘Lets have a rest here for a bit’ said Kurt. So they all sat down in a circle on the dusty floor and within minutes the two youngest had fallen asleep.
‘Lets all have a little nap’ said Nancy.
‘Yes’ said Kurt ‘I’ll keep watch with the parrot’
So as the others slept, Kurt sat up listening out for the pirates with the parrot on his shoulder. Suddenly the parrot flew up and went down the first tunnel, after about five minutes he returned, much to Kurt’s surprise and then did exactly the same with the other three tunnels. He then flew back to the second one, as though telling Kurt that that was the tunnel to take.
‘You clever thing’ said Kurt when the parrot flew back onto his shoulder, giving it a stroke and tickle under it’s chin. ‘You’ve discovered where to go haven’t you?’
By this time the others were stirring. Nancy sat up and stretched ‘Do you want a sleep now Kurt?’ she asked. ‘No I’m fine thanks’ he said ‘I think we’re close to the treasure, I’m too excited to sleep!’
‘We need to go down the second tunnel’ said Kurt.
So they all gathered at the entrance, ready to see what they would discover.
They set off in single file, Kurt leading the way with Nancy bringing up the rear.
They continued along the narrow winding tunnel, the roof sometimes so low they had to crawl and then so high it was like walking into a church.
As they turned the next sharp corner, Kurt suddenly stopped abruptly, he let out a tremendous ‘Wow’ which echoed around and around. As the others saw the sight in front of them, they too couldn’t hide their amazement. ’Wow’ - ‘That’s incredible!’
Before their eyes, as far as they could see were gems, jewels gold and silver sparkling and glittering in the torch light.
‘We’ve found it - it’s the treasure’ cried Lynne. Even the parrot seemed excited flying around and around above their heads squawking loudly.
‘There’s too much here for us to carry’ said Kurt ‘ but lets stuff our pockets and bags as full as we can. Then we can return later with something to carry it in’
So they all set about cramming the gems into all of their pockets, weighing themselves down. The two girls loved trying on all the necklaces and bracelets.
Suddenly they heard deep voices echoing around the cavern getting nearer.
‘Oh no it’s the pirates’ said Lynne, her eyes wide with alarm. ’What shall we do?’
We can’t go back the way we came’ said Kurt ‘so if we can’t find another way out, we’ll have to hide ourselves away.
‘Let’s go to the back of the cavern’ said Nancy ‘where its darker’
They all made their way to the back of the cave, where it was so dark, they could barely see anything.
They turned back around and saw the tall dark bearded pirate leader entering the cavern with a group of pirates. They stood very still hardly daring to breathe but then the parrot flew off of Kurt’s shoulder straight to the pirate leader and began flying around his head, squawking loudly and dive bombing him over and over. The pirate kept trying to get rid of the parrot but he kept on going, getting nosier and nosier and more aggressive.
‘This is our chance’ said Kurt ‘we need to get away’
The children spread out and Dave bent over to pick up a length of rope on the floor. As he pulled it, it worked a switch which opened up a hole on the floor and they could see a flight of steps going down into the darkness.
‘We have no choice, we have to go down there’ said Nancy.
The parrot was doing a brilliant job of distracting the pirates, so it gave them all a chance to get down the steps safely.
As they gathered at the bottom, they found themselves in a tunnel with only one way to go. But they could all feel breezes of fresh air on their faces so they knew they were heading in the right direction.
Then Kurt who was at the back of the group, heard the flapping of wings and the parrot flew back onto his shoulder.
They moved on down the tunnel in single file until the walls widened out and it suddenly became very much lighter.
‘I think we’re nearly there’ said Nancy.
But then the deep gruff voice of the pirate leader called out ‘Don’t think you’re going to get away’ and it sounded as if the pirates were right behind them.
‘Quickly’ said Kurt ‘we must hurry. Look there’s a ladder here, we have to climb up as fast as we can’
‘Nancy, you go first, it looks rather overgrown at the top and I’ll help the others up and then follow you.’
‘Ok’ said Nancy as she climbed up the ladder ‘be careful, it’s very rickety’
When she reached the top, there were lots of brambles and shrubs which she had to push her way through, getting quite scratched in the process but eventually she pulled herself out and called down to the others.
Kurt helped Lynne on to the ladder ‘Climb as fast as you can but be careful’ he said. Then he helped Dave up too.
Kurt could hear the footsteps of the pirates coming down the tunnel and knew there was no time to lose. He followed Dave straight up the ladder to join Nancy and Lynne at the top.
Although it was the middle of the night a brilliant full moon was shining so they could see around them.
‘We need to cover the hole with something’ said Kurt ‘lets look around’
‘Over there’ said Lynne. Lying on the grass was the top of an old picnic table, the legs all broken.
‘Perfect’ said Kurt. So they all lifted the table top and put it over the hole and then weighed it down with lots of bricks and stones.
The pirates found the exit blocked but knew another way out. Kurt got the children together and said ‘let’s hurry home’ before the pirates catch us.
They were nearly home when a voice boomed out behind them. ‘You’ve got the treasure, we’ve lost this one, we’re off but this isn’t the end.
As they reached the lodge they saw Grandma and Grandpa amongst the villagers, who all seemed to be waiting for something. ‘Oh we have been so worried children’, said Grandma, ‘we were getting a search party together to look for you’.
Kurt stood proudly before them as he told them about the treasure, saying that there would be enough for everyone.
Grandma and Grandpa burst into tears of joy as they all hugged each other.