Short Stories For Children
Sam could not believe his eyes. This was the first time his searches had ever come to anything. At last after years and years of looking he had finally found what he’d been looking for, it was marvellous but he knew he must be wary and very careful how he handled his find, he needed help, expert help and this time they wouldn’t laugh at his find like they had in the past. He was going to get in touch with his local museum as soon as he could and stake his claim.
From a very early age Sam had shown a tendency to explore, forever digging up pieces of stone or broken crockery. The family garden would at times resemble a bomb sight when his enthusiasm got the better of him. He would dig for hours if he thought there might be something in the ground waiting for him to find it.
His bedroom was full of all kinds of bits and pieces, each one catalogued with a number, the date it was found and the exact location of the find, under the apple tree, behind the shed, pond sight excavation was one very fruitful area, lots of clay pot pieces and old bottles, it mattered not that some might be the remains of old plant pots. Sam dreamed of his minor treasures, believing some of them to be from early stone or Bronze Age, he once turned up a lot of blue and white pottery bits, and imagined them to be Ming Dynasty. What dreams they created, a new Jensen DB 9 always seemed to end his dreams parked on the drive in front of their house with a nice pair of soft leather driving gloves in his hands waiting for a drive in the open countryside.
He tried to recruit his brother Thomas who didn’t seem at all interest, too much like hard work when there were computer games to be played with contestants across the globe, he wanted to win no matter what, he was a dedicated player and well respected in his field, his quiet manner hid a very creative mind, devious and resourceful 007 would have found him very useful if ‘M’ was not available. What he couldn’t create on a computer he thought wasn’t worth creating.
Anyway back to our intrepid explorer/excavating technician Sam. On days when he felt the need for help, when the job at hand was more than one pair of hands could handle. He would look for possibilities he knew none of the family really wanted to dig even though they did show interest in his finds. So he looked to his pal Spike who came with royal approval. His last letter from the Queen (a close personal friend) said how pleased she was to hear how well he was doing, and how kind it was of Sam to keep her informed.
Spike liked digging and Sam tried to keep him interested in the areas he was working on, but Spike had a mind of his own and nice juicy carrots were far more appealing than bits of pots. You may have guessed by know that Spike is a Rabbit, not any old rabbit but a huge rabbit with a super shiny black coat, large ears and sparkling eyes. He was strong and a fast digger but attention was a problem, so Sam devised a plan. He would pull a fresh carrot from the veg patch. Chop it into pieces and bury it in and around the area he wanted Spike to dig, this worked quite well for a time and did lead to one or two minor finds, but after a while Sam thought the return for his effort was not worthwhile, plus the fact he was being suspected for the loss of a number of carrots from the veg patch, and his alibi’s were to say the least a little bit weak.
Sam returned to his one man band operation, he took pictures of his finds and would spend time in his local museum comparing his finds to others in the display cases, if he came across a member of staff they were pounced upon and given a barrage of questions about his finds, some were at first helpful and tried to encourage him in his endeavours, but after a while he realised they were just humouring him, they weren’t really interested and he turned towards his own devices. The internet it had a wealth of information on all manner of things, his recently acquired Apple I PAD was about to be used for research purposes.
After a while having looked at all his current finds and finding very little, he began looking into local ancient sites of archaeological interest. He found a vast amount of information surrounding his home and its location in relation to Ermine Street, an old roman road much used in roman times, there were hundreds of tales relating to finds all along the road. His dreams changed he wanted to look further afield, the back garden still held a little but not enough.
Technology was changing and it wouldn’t be long before all of the roman road would have had a geo-fis survey, sound waves could now show pictures of what lay hidden underground, the old explorer was about to become obsolete. Sam got a map and drew a number of circles around the area of road near his home. He made a grid of small squares within the circle until he ended up with fifty five areas of about twenty three square yards each. This was to be his search area and he was determined to look at every inch until he either found something or was able to cross another none productive square off his map. Thomas found out about Sam’s plan and renamed him Indiana Sam; Sam didn’t care because this was his dream.
His bike was modified slightly allowing him to carry his collapsible spade, small pick axe, trowel, his rucksack for carrying drinks, snacks, torches, batteries, map, pencils and labels etc. etc. For his birthday he asked for a set of pannier bags and a carrier, these would come in handy for carrying back any finds he might make on his travels. Summer holidays from school were about to begin and so was Sam’s plan.
In week one he managed to cover over fifteen squares on his map, this was quite easy because it was all woodland with nothing more to find than trees. Week two took slightly longer and he covered nine more squares without once taking out a pick or spade, most of these squares had housing estates built on them and he didn’t think the local council would think much to him digging up their tarmac.
Undeterred he entered week three and found a huge area of more than twenty squares, ten of which were covered by rivers, he had minor success when water levels were low, when he came across four old codswallop bottles still with their marbles in their necks and with the names of local breweries on them, they had got caught in a hole under a rock obviously washed there by the river once the air had left them, and there they must have lay for more than a hundred years until young Sam found them.
At the end of week three his finds had grown slightly, like the day when he walked along the edge of the Roman road, he began trailing his spade in the ditches and came across more bottles and even half of an old terracotta flagon, these must have been thrown out as rubbish by travellers along the road, his finds were now growing too big for his bedroom so he took over a space in the garden shed to keep them in, everything was catalogued, recorded and stored away as neat as he could.
Only eleven squares left thought Sam as he entered week four, but all of these squares were open land, fairly flat land at that with a public footpath running right through the middle of it. He looked at his map and decided to start at the point nearest home, and walk the length of the footpath which covered the squares on his map on day one; he wanted to take a thorough look at anything unusual or interesting. It took him all morning to walk one way to the end of the squares finding nothing, so he decided to sit down on some nearby rocks and have a break. He sat on the highest and flattest rock and took out his jam sandwiches, Oreos and a bottle of ginger beer.
As he sat there fighting off the midges and wasps who wanted to eat either him or his jam sandwiches he took a look at the map. It appeared that where he was sitting was a place called Morgan’s Mound. The map didn’t say anymore than that, so he thought no more about it, although he did notice there were quite a few more sandstones strewn about around him which he maybe wouldn’t have noticed had he not climbed upon the larger rock to have his snack.
Break over and bitten by the many insects who found him rather tasty Sam set off for home. He scanned the other side of the footpath, there he saw a sizable pond about twenty yards away to his left, other than that there was nothing out of the ordinary, all pretty flat and boring nothing found today but then again it was intended as recognisance only. So home for dinner and boy was he hungry, this exploring lark certainly gives you an appetite he thought.
After dinner and the normal ribbing from his brother Sam settled down with his I PAD to do a little research. Tapping in Morgan’s Mound, it came up with all sorts of garbage totally unrelated to his interest, so he refined his search to Morgan’s Mound, Ermine Street, Lincolnshire, and it came up with just four leads, two turned out to be something in America about a book written by someone called Morgan Ermine. The first of the remaining two referred to Morgan the sword maker, a Welsh craftsman who had moved to Lincolnshire during the Roman occupation to make and sell weapons and armour to who ever paid the going rate, he was a highly regarded sword maker and he worked from a forge very close to Ermine Street
The last lead showed an ancient map with a cross marking Morgan’s Mound on the left as you looked at it, to the right of the mound there was a pond, Sam thought um that looks familiar. Under the map were just five words “site of Morgan’s Mound/forge”, he quickly printed a copy and compared it to his own map. Yes there was a similarity even though the map was smaller, it didn’t show the footpath because that wouldn’t have been there at the time, but the pond was there and in the right place. Well fancy that he thought as he munched the last Oreo in the box, it looked as though he had stumbled upon something that has so far had little investigation, an early night was in order he thought because tomorrow could be a busy day, so off to bed he went without a word to anyone.
The following morning right after breakfast he was off, but not before adding a rope and a crowbar to his pannier toolkit for why he didn’t know but he felt he needed to be a little better prepared.
When he reached the footpath there were a number of early morning dog-walker’s with their charges using the pathway, there was no way he was going to draw attention to himself so he slowly walked up the footpath stopping every so often for a drink or to tie his already fastened shoelaces. He didn’t want to reach the Mound whilst there was anyone else about. It was fine by the time he’d got halfway there the walkers had gone and he was once again alone. This made him walk a little quicker and he was soon sat once more on the large sandstone block he had sat on the day before.
Now he needed a drink and a good look around, he stood up as tall as he could on the highest rock, taking note of where the other rocks now lay. It seemed as though the bulk of them lay towards the left and the pond was away to his right. The pile he stood on was about three feet high and it looked as though the others had either been pushed over or fallen over at some time in the past. Logic came into play there was no point in chasing the fallen stone most of which were hidden in the tall grass and weeds anyway, so he started to look around the pile he had been stood on, most of this was covered in the tall grass which he pushed back as he walked round the Mound, getting a better look at the stones and the ground on which they stood.
The first thing he came across was a line of small stone partially covered by the earth and overgrown in weeds heading in the direction of the pond. Sam took out his trowel and followed the line, every few yards he would move a small amount of earth to make sure he was still going in the right direction; he took care not to uncover too much. His thoughts were correct the end of the line came out right in the pond about a foot below the surface hidden by pondweed. This was great he thought; it must have been an aqua duct taking water from the pond to the forge, what a find thought Sam this is a lot bigger than his normal finds.
Steps were retraced back to the mound, where he cleared a bit more of the aqua duct, it seemed to run around the outside of the main structure until it came to what he thought was a large round disk like stone about three foot across all covered in soil and weed here it stopped, after clearing a bit more soil away around the disc he found it was in two halves and was hinged with an old fashioned gate type hinge on each half. Someone was shouting in the distance, it was another dog-walker throwing sticks for their dogs to fetch. Sam thought now would be a good time to have another drink and a sandwich, and try not to look at all interested in his surroundings, this he did until the walker was well out of sight. He wanted to open the well top and see if it still held any water but safety first he thought, what would happen if he ended up trapped down the well with no one around to help him out. He shuddered at the thought.
What he wouldn’t give for a metal detector right now to help him search, if this was the old forge there must still be bits and pieces of metal about and he would give anything to find something from so long ago. A flash of inspiration, not quite a metal detector but a long piece of string and a strong magnet, both in his tool-bag and now needed. Tying the two together he wound the long piece of surplus string around his hand letting the magnet swing as close to the ground as it could, then he began to walk around the mound, the first thing the magnet found was the hinges on the well cover which it stuck to soundly, well at least it worked thought Sam and he carried on.
Two hours later after doing thirty some increasing circuits of the mound he had collected a bagful of finds, most were handmade nails, there must have been a couple of dozen, then two old horse shoes, a broken hammer head, and what looked like part of a buckle. Sam sat a while on the top stone swinging the magnet to and fro and daydreaming thinking about what he had found. The magnet fell between a crack in the rocks’ thankfully it was tied around his hand, it was still wanting to fall so Sam let out more of the string coiled round his hand. Suddenly it stopped and seemed stuck but it had attached itself to something metal and fairly heavy, thankfully the string was strong nylon and easily lifted the object towards the opening in the rocks.
How excited could a boy get thought Sam when he saw a glint of light shine back from within the Mound. Practice at the fairground hooking ducks was to become most useful as he slowly brought a bladed bejewelled dagger to the surface, he carefully widened the opening by moving a small stone allowing his prize to surface, he was shocked and looked about him to make sure no one had seen, he was alone and fished out another fourteen daggers of similar design, two narrow lightweight swords and a helmet from a suit of armour, there were many more pieces he see now his eyes had become accustomed to the light, but they could not lifted because the magnet was not strong enough. Everything got wrapped and loaded into his rucksack and the pannier bags on his bike, the rocks he had moved earlier were carefully replaced and he recovered the well head doors with the earth and weeds he had moved, then he walked along the narrow aqua-duct scuffing soil and weeds back over the stones he’d uncovered earlier.
All the way home his heart was fluttering, legs were wobbly and weak and there was a permanent grin on his face, then all of a sudden fear gripped him, what if someone came across the treasure before he had time to get back to it and stake his claim. He looked at his watch, there was just enough time to make it to the museum before they closed for the night, surely they would want to help him now.
When he got there he went straight in, bike and all, soon to be told he could not bring that contraption in their museum, but when he showed them what he had their opinions changed and they could not do enough for him. The police were called and instructed to protect the site and his claim to the treasure was made, the excavation process they told him would be long and it was, it took over a year and a half before all of Morgan’s hidden treasures were recovered and duly valued. The total hoard included over eight hundred swords, twelve hundred and forty daggers, two hundred and ten battle axes, thirty silver suits of armour and three solid gold suits, one alone was valued at ten million pounds.
When Morgan’s Mound was built over the old forge after Morgan’s death, no one knew he had huge underground store beneath his anvil, a store where he kept all his best pieces, each piece a work of art created by this master craftsman for his own pleasure from the payments wealthy clients had bestowed upon him for his services. Those who knew him thought he spent as he went and anything else went back to his family in Wales. Being a master craftsman he was a very wealthy man in great demand and wanted for nothing, his belief was that his wealth was within the items he made and because he had made them with his own fair hands they should stay with him forever.
He asked to be cremated when he died and that his ashes where to be scattered around his anvil in the forge and that no one was ever to disturb it. Money was left for the mound to be built following his cremation and the land he owned was donated to the nation never to be resold but with access to all. Forever and always
When the anvil was finally recovered they found an inscription etched into one side of it by the sword-smith and it read:-
By the efforts of a single man
Wealth made from two strong hands
This anvil will forever stay
Wherein the place it stands
On the other side in larger lettering which shocked everyone who saw or heard, it said:-
Property of SAM
Obviously the weight of the anvil had weakened the floor over the years finally causing it to collapse, and fortunately for Sam no one ever looked for the treasure because they didn’t believe there was any treasure to look for. Sam’s hoard as it became known was eventually valued at more than thirty five billion pounds and was bought by the British National Museum for the figure stated.
Sam became a Billionaire overnight and formed Sam’s industries. Becoming a very successful venture capitalist, He built his own office block in London’s financial sector with seventy seven floors, a helipad, ten exterior and twenty interior elevators, a gym on every floor and on the ground floor he had his own stock exchange and bank of SAM.
In the executive car park stands seven Jensen DB 9s all in different metallic colours one for each day of the week, and a chauffeur who had nothing more to do but maintain and polish Sam’s motors and keep them ready for whenever they were needed twenty four hours a day.
Sam bought out Bill gates and gave Micro Soft to his brother, he is now heavily involved in rocket and missile guidance systems that can be launched by a single thought from anywhere in the world ( his order book is already full ) and he is on his way to becoming a multi billionaire in his own right.
The rest of his family live on a group of islands in the south pacific each with a private airfield so Sam can call round in his private Lear jet whenever he can.
Every year on the anniversary of his find Sam Returns to Morgan’s Mound in secret, dressed as a jogger with his rucksack on his back. He sits on the large stone as he had done in the past with his jam sandwiches, bottle of ginger beer and pack of Oreo’s and he has his snack. He tries to think of Morgan and what he stood for, he always believed that he wanted to save for the future and he saved the things that were precious to him, and things he felt would be precious to others in the future.
Each time before leaving Sam takes from his rucksack a large bag of gold sovereign’s and pours them through the tiny opening between the stones, and says thank you to Morgan for helping him amass his own fortune. The gold he felt would be like paying a partner for his investment, and could at some point in the future be found by another intrepid explorer, searching for something and knowing not what, and hopefully they would do the same.
Historians and researchers began studying the background of Morgan the Sword-smith after the find. His reputation for excellence in his craft was well documented, the only thing that puzzled them was why just prior to his death he had bought a mould to make a new anvil, the anvil must have been the same one they found in the mound and it could explain why it appeared to have been freshly painted black, a little eccentric but why not have a smart monument to leave when you’re gone.
When the black paint was applied it filled in some of the small lettering below the word SAM making it unnoticeable, everyone thought it was an omen and it was meant to be for Sam. What it actually said if it could have been read was (Sword-maker And Master-craftsman) SAM.
The final twist in this tale of Morgan’s Mound relates to the way Morgan cast his anvil and unbeknown to Sam he was slowly unfurling the mystery. For every year when he drops his large bag of sovereigns through the hole they land on the anvil causing it to chip the black paint, and slowly it is changing the colour from jet black to bright shiny 22ct gold.
The mystery of
Morgan’s Mound lives on. Awaiting the next intrepid explorer to discover its secrets, and the treasure will keep growing thanks to Sam and Morgan.