One bright, clear day in summer, two little girls met beside the lake. They were both very sad; their daddies had gone off to fight in the big war, and their mommies worked all day in a factory that made parachutes and uniforms. So they met every day by the lake, and played all sorts of games together, and became very best friends; and gradually, they forgot to be sad.
One day they found a splendid cave. It was a cool, dark hole set into the bank some distance from the lake. They used the cave for many games of pretend, but they especially loved to pretend that they were members of the French Underground (for in those days, even very little girls knew about the brave French Underground).
They looked for a place to hide their secret messages, and finally found a small indentation in the wall. They used it for many days before one finally said,
"Oh, if only we could move that huge rock at the back!"
They faced the challenge, and together--with a great deal of effort--they moved the rock.
Behind the rock, they found a box.
It was not big, but they could not open it. The lid was stuck or sealed in some way that they could not fathom. And upon the top, in lovely, vivid blue letters, was inscribed the name "Anisette."
"It is a treasure chest!" said one.
"It is filled with jewels!" said the other.
And both girls went home and told their mothers that they had found a treasure box. But those weary women said only, "I'm sure there's nothing but trash in it or it wouldn't have been left in a cave; and anyway, it belongs to someone else."
When the girls went back to their cave one day, they found bottles and footprints. Someone else had found their secret place!
"The box!" they both cried. They took it out and decided between themselves that they must bury it for safekeeping. But where? The ground was hard from the constant assault of the summer sun.
They moved closer toward the lake. In the sandy soil they dug out a shallow hiding place and buried their treasure. They marked the spot with a tiny branch.
A summer storm came up over the lake that night, and the waves were whipped into a frenzy by the angry wind. The next morning was soggy and misty. The two girls tripped down to the beach in the damp air.
"Oh no!" cried one.
"Oh dear!" cried the other.
The branch was nowhere in sight.
They dug frantically in the soft sand for almost an hour. At last they hugged each other with tear-streaked faces.
"Our treasure box!" they cried together.
For the fierce storm in the night had scoured away the top layer of sand, and the little box with the pretty blue lettering was gone.
NOTE: This excerpt was submitted solely as a sample for Jan's Master Class.
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