“This is our treasure…We will hide it today. Next Sunday, at this time, we will begin our treasure hunt.”
The wide smile of satisfaction painted across Samantha’s face could not hide the excitement of the six-year old. Every Sunday evening was their playtime and inquisitive little Samantha who had been greatly been inspired by a pirate movie, initiated their maiden treasure hunt.
Samantha and Jane quickly searched their homes and each brought a little object they considered worthy enough to be called ‘treasure’: a broken but beautiful teardrop-shaped translucent earring found in mom’s drawer, and a tiny red bean from the kitchen.
As they both laid the perceived valuable items on the coffee table in her garden, Samantha quizzically eyed both pieces. Though she never uttered a word of her opinions, she strongly believed that only her friend’s earring looked like real treasure. She secretly wished that it were hers, instead of the simple beans that portrayed insignificance.
Each child hid the other’s piece so that they could search for their own the following week. Samantha hid the earring that she much envied, and buried it in the corner of her favorite flower pot. Jane, on the other hand, planted the bean on the freshly mown lawn, right at the centre of the garden. She forced a green pebble onto the ground to mark the spot.
The girls bid good-bye to each other as soon as they completed their mission, and counted the days to their next rendezvous – the much awaited treasure hunt.
“The hunt begins now!”Samantha declared and they both scrambled to their feet with energy bursting from within.
Samantha was searching for the translucent earring when she remembered that her treasure was but a simple bean, dashing her dreams of uncovering sparkling hidden treasure. Almost simultaneously, her friend exclaimed, “I’ve found my earring! I’ve found my treasure!”Samantha had unwittingly given away the little treasure trove by searching near her favorite pot, leaving her more miserable than ever.
Her pride getting ahead of misery, Samantha was determined to uncover her treasure just to avoid being the loser. The whole idea of the hunt was hers, after all.
A couple more minutes elapsed, and Samantha felt like a lamb without direction.
“This is not fun anymore! Where is my treasure!!!?”
Tears rolled down Samantha’s rosy cheeks as she lunged out her frustration; first for not having a dazzling piece of treasure and second, for failing to find her own.
Jane, still beaming with the happiness of finding her jewel, wanted her best friend to share it. “Don’t cry, Sam…It should be just here” she said, as she led her by the hand to the middle of the garden and began digging around the green pebble. They both endeavored for a couple of minutes but the beans eluded them.
Jane’s face twitched in perplexity, unable to find the beans that she herself had hidden and marked. Seeing Samantha’s tears streaming down, Jane held out her own newly-found treasure, and with all the sincerity of her heart, said “You can have mine, Sam...Here, take it.”
Samantha could not take it anymore. She ignored Jane and ran to hug her mother who was sipping tea at the coffee table. She cried profusely onto her mother’s bosom. Her mother, who had been observing the whole episodes that transpired, simply smiled and put her cup down.
“Come with me…” She gently led Sam back to the spot of her futile efforts. Beside the green pebble sprouted a teeny-weeny stem and fresh green leaves. “That is your bean, darling” said her mother, explaining how seeds grew into plants.
For the first time after what seemed like eternity, Samantha’s eyes opened wide with surprise. She had never imagined that her bean could transform into a bean sprout...It was alive, just as she was!
“There is nothing more valuable than life itself, darling” encouraged her mother. “Look around you…Jane was willing to offer you her treasure when you couldn’t find yours…That is friendship…love, my dear…It’s all part of life.”
Samantha felt her eyes well up with tears once again, as she took Jane’s hand…This time, not with disappointment, but with regret of ever envying, and the joy of discovering her true treasure.
It was not the material objects that were truly of worth in the end. It was love...It was life.
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