Once upon a time, in a small village by the sea lived a young girl who was mostly content with her life. She went to school and learned wisdom, played with her sisters and brothers and learned to love, and milked the cows, fed the chickens and swept the fire’s hearth and learned about hard work.
She was happy with her life until she heard tell the tale of a fantastic treasure long ago buried beneath the earth not far from her village (or so the story goes.) The more she thought about the treasure, the less content she was with her life, and so one day, she left her home and hearth and set out in search of treasure – the riches that she knew were buried deep in the earth for her or some lucky soul to find.
She left her village and traveled the dusty roads that led her far from all she had known. Coming to the edge of a great wood, she met a wise old woman who lived in a tiny house along the forest’s edge. “Where are you going?” the woman asked. “I am looking for treasure that I have heard is buried deep in the earth” the young girl said.
“Ah yes, the treasure you seek is on the other side of the forest” the woman answered, and off the young girl went, through the dark woods and out the other side. There she met a tall and powerful-looking man with a knapsack who was headed toward the mountains. “I seek a buried treasure” said the young girl, “and I was told it is on this side of the forest.” “Indeed it is, said the man “but it is also on that side of the mountain!” and he pointed to a far-off range of mountains, blue-green in the distance.
Off she set to find and climb the far-off mountain. After many days and nights travel, she came to the base of the mountain where a long and steep trail led upward into the clouds. Up and up she climbed until she reached the very top – then down and down she climbed right to the very bottom, where she met a child walking with her donkey along the mountain path.
“I seek buried treasure!” she said, “Do you know where it is?” The child paused, scratching the donkey behind the ear, and pointed into the distance. “My grandfather has told me of this treasure” she said, “But he said that the way to it is through the desert beyond. It is too far for me to go – even with my donkey!”
The young girl set out once again and crossed miles and miles of desert, walking until her feel blistered and her eyes and mouth were full of sand. After many days the desert ended and she came to the edge of a great sea. A sailing ship was moored in the harbour and ready to set forth when she called out to the Captain. “I seek buried treasure!” she said “Do you know where to find it?” “Indeed I do” he said; “The treasure you seek is on the other side of the sea. You are welcome to come with us to find it.”
She jumped on board the ship and set off over many days and nights sailing, through rough seas and fine until the ship took shelter in a harbour near a small fishing village. Springing ashore, she asked one person after another if they knew where to find the treasure, and each time, she went a little further; into this village, to that neighborhood, and finally to a house where chickens clucked in the yard and three cows chewed their cud contentedly outside.
At the entrance to the house, an old man with a long white beard stopped her.
“Are you looking for buried treasure?” he asked. “Indeed I am!” said the young girl. “Look no further” said the old man “it is buried in a hollow under the fire’s hearth inside this house.”
The young girl was so excited that she barely glanced around her as she ran into the house and began digging into the soft earth under the fire’s hearth. She didn’t notice that the room had filled with people who were smiling, laughing and crying at the sight of the bedraggled young girl who now dragged the uncovered chest from the hearth onto the floor and opened it. Inside was a small note saying only
“Now look around you and within.
The treasure was always yours to win.”
Suddenly the young girl realized that she was in her own home, at her own hearth, with her parents and her brothers and sisters rejoicing around her at her safe return. She kissed and hugged them over and over again and lived the rest of her life content and happy in the riches of the buried treasure she had found.