Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hide and Seek (08/07/08)
TITLE: Sophie's Treasure
By Judy Burford
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Sophie had planned for this time. Snatching the beloved object, she thrust it into the ornate metal box her father had made, wrapped it in oilskin, and dropped it into a bucket.
Scurrying into the woods behind her house, she went straight to the huge rock outcropping, and stopped beneath the distinctive overhang sculpted by wind and water. She laid her package on the ground, scraped aside the leaves, and scooped dirt into her bucket. Cradling her treasure momentarily she snuggled it into the hole, covered it with earth from the bucket, tamped it down, then scattered leaves on top.
The intruders came. Their time in the village was worse than anyone imagined. Houses were torched, men killed, and women, including Sophie, were ravished. Barely able to stand, she slipped into her home and grabbed the bag of clothing she had packed. Nestled in the clothing was a small ceramic dog.
Sixty years later, another Sophie examined the chipped ceramic dog. Even though the dog was the only thing left of her grandmother’s belongings, Sophie couldn’t understand why anyone would deem such an ugly item valuable.
“Mom, do I really need to pack this dog?” she called.
“Yes, dear. Grandma Sophie treasured it.”
Disgusted, Sophie plopped the object on the nearest table, not noticing that it teetered near the edge. Brushing by on her quest for other items to pack, the dog toppled over and crashed to the floor. Her mom came running and stood with her hands covering her mouth.
Aghast, Sophie spun around. The treasured dog was shattered beyond repair.
“Oh, Mom! I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
“It can’t be helped, Sophie. Clean it up and we’ll finish our packing.”
Scooping up the fragments, Sophie noticed a tiny folded paper among the ruins. Smoothing it on the table, she saw that it was a map, written in minute Russian script.
“Mom, have you packed your magnifying glass yet?”
“No, Sophie. It’s here beside my chair. What do you need it for?”
Sophie entered the room where her mom was working, sat in the easy chair, and turned on the powerful magnifier her mom used for quilting.
“There was a map inside the ceramic dog. It’s so tiny; I can’t decipher it without help. It’s written in Russian. Hope I’ve learned enough in my college classes to be able to know what it says.”
Sophie studied the map. As she figured out what one part said, she wrote it in English, and copied that portion of the map on a larger piece of paper.
“Mom, according to this map, Grandma Sophie buried a lot of valuable things. We’ve talked about taking a trip to where she once lived. Why don’t we go and see what we can find?”
Two months later they arrived in her grandmother’s hometown in Russia.
The only village landmark they could find matching the map’s description was an iron fountain in the town square. When they stepped off the paces to where Grandma Sophie’s house should be, a tall apartment building stood in its place.
“Well, whatever treasures were hidden under the house have been found or covered up. Guess we made the trip in vain,” Sophie’s mom said.
“There’s one more hiding place, Mom. It’s somewhere behind this building beside a huge rock.”
Circling the apartment building they entered a park. Following a path, they came to the rock outcrop. Beneath the overhang, they dug into the mellow earth, uncovered a wrapped package, and carefully drew it from the hole.
The oilskin crackled and shattered, revealing the beautiful box beneath. Sophie and her mom examined the box delightedly. Undoing the clasp, Sophie lifted the lid and peered inside. She was awestruck. It was a Bible. Her grandmother had risked her life to hide a Bible!
“Mom, why would Grandma consider this a treasure?”
“I’m not sure, Sophie. I was so young when she died.”
There was a note, tucked into the black book. It read: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34 NIV)
“Mom, I think we have some more seeking to do – inside this book. Maybe we can discover why Grandma Sophie thought it was such a treasure. Do you mind if I read some now?”
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