Granddad’s treasure by ©Philip Catshill.

April 24, 2017 TellyTell 1 comment

 

            Nikki placed the small wooden box on the wooden coffee table, which Mike’s daughters had adopted as their seat. It took only seconds for them to sit either side. Mike struggled to place his stroke-weakened hand on the lid. “This is your great-great-granddad’s treasure chest. He found it in a cave so the story goes.”

          “A story,” enthused Rebecca and even Emma pleaded, “Tell us Daddy,” but added the insistent, “please.” Emma sat beside him and laid her hand in his. Mike, who since his illness, sometimes struggled to find the words, began the yarn which he called, “Granddad’s treasure.”

          “Once upon a time, when I was no older than you are now, even younger I would guess, my granddad took us in his car. My dad, your Granddad George, came with us, and he was laughing all the way. And it is a long, long way; all the way to the seaside, to Cornwall with its wild, windswept coast. We walked hand in hand along the sandy beach until Granddad found the cave. It was a huge cleft in the rock, so we didn’t need a torch to find our way.

          “Granddad carried the chest in under his arm and laid it on the floor. ‘Michael,’ he began, ‘my granddad brought me to this cave when I was not yet four. Pirates had told him that in this cave, I would find Granddad’s treasure, a treasure more precious than gold.’

          ‘Diamonds?’ I whispered because the walls glistened like jewels. ‘No, not diamonds,’ Granddad answered with a smile, ‘Not pearls, not sapphires nor gems of any kind but a treasure far more valuable than any of those. But you must promise me, Michael, if I show you what it is, you will never tell a living soul nor the ghosts of those departed.’

            “And Granddad George, well he laughed again and said, ‘One day Michael, you will have little ones of your own, and they’ll say to you, ‘Daddy, what’s in this box,’ just like you have done. Then it will be my turn, God willing, to bring my grandchildren to this cave. Here, I will show them granddad’s treasure, just as my granddad showed to me.’ You see girls, this box contains the secret of his treasure, the secret of Granddad’s treasure.”

            Emma placed her hand on top of the chest as if to capture it’s magic. “But daddy,” she whispered, “If it can only be opened in that cave, how will we ever find out what’s inside?”

Rebecca knew the answer, “We have to ask Granddad George. He has to take us to the cave.”

            With her eyes opening wider and a flush on her cheeks, Emma pleaded excitedly, “Can we do that, daddy?”

            Mike lifted the box onto his knees and stretched his arms to the daughters he adored. Both his princesses, as he called them, jumped from the table and snuggled close. “Granddad is bound to say yes, so we will go in the holidays for a day or two. When you are older, and your children say, ‘it’s time for us to see your treasure, granddad,’ I will take them to the cave, just as your Granddad will take you. When your Granddad opens this chest, you will discover your Granddad’s treasure, but after that, you must keep the secret and never tell a living soul what you see.”

 

            Nikki turned to Doris, Mike’s mother, as they waved their men and the children away. “I’ve booked them into a small hotel for a few nights. It will do them good to be away. It seems a long way to go though.”

            “Yes,” said Doris resignedly, “and rather a silly tradition to. It might be a long way there, Nikki, but they’ll be closer coming back.”

            “But why? What is in the cave? What is Granddad’s treasure?”

            “Oh, Nikki dear, haven’t you guessed? With Mike having been so ill, I pray every day that he will live long enough to see his own treasure. I’m not sworn to secrecy and nor must you be, so I can tell you what I know. Those children will always remember this time and know how much they are loved. They will go all that way and wander into that cave, expecting to find Granddad’s Treasure. Only to find when they raise the lid…”

            Doris hesitated, but Nikki understood, “They’ll see Granddad’s treasure! Oh, Doris,” and both women laughed, “all that way and all they’ll see, is their reflection in a mirror!”

***

©Philip Catshill.

 

 

 

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