For Hailey, A Tale of Treasure

He felt humble as he began to write using the same words which so often before had been completely foreign to him. Yet, today they flowed onto the paper like honey, sweet and rich. He ran his hands through his whitening hair and touched the short beard on his chin. “I think it’s going to work this time. I tried putting it off, but Wonder won’t leave me alone about it.  It’s time I told it.” :

*~ *~ * ~*

The Treasure and Me

The Treasure wanted itself known. It was pressing on the man. It wanted him to tell others about it. Many others. So he began to describe how the Treasure had made itself known to him . . .

He had finally sought it after years of denying its existence. But during many of those years, he had vehemently and sarcastically mocked those who claimed to have found it themselves. Some of them tried to tell him about it, tried to explain, but they spouted gibberish! Those weirdos spoke a different language – an alien language! In addition, they made the Treasure sound almost alive, like some sort of entity with some kind of life of its own. All he could picture was a large wooden chest bound with iron, and overflowing with gemstones, pearls, gold jewelry, and silver.

He had tried to read their book and their maps when they gave him copies, but that was the same. What little he could make of them sounded like fairy tales, like superstition, like antiquated, irrelevant, make-believe. “Chances are this thing does not exist. Does it? No. Hogwash. Impossible. It’s not logical. It’s not scientific. A huge waste of time.” he would say to himself, and anyone nearby.

Out on the western frontier, he became associated with people who also denied the Treasure. They hated it. They made crude jokes about it, and also about the people who proclaimed they had found it. The man went along with them; joined them in their vicious mocking and their stone throwing. After a time, he realized the weirdos weren’t all that bad. They were at least peace-loving and kind, for the most part. Some were not, but who could judge? Could it be that some were not true to their beliefs? Every belief system had its posers. Rumors went around that very bad things had been done to some of them. That bothered him. To his great shame, he remembered the memory he’d repressed, that his own dear mother had loved the Treasure and had tried to lead him to it. Perhaps his friends were a bit too extreme. Perhaps they were the more delusional ones in their persecution of the Treasure People. He realized they may not have been the best kind of so-called friends.

He went his own way. He just didn’t know what he thought about the mysterious Treasure. He became quiet about the matter. It went beyond skepticism, he just didn’t think, worry, or care about it any longer. Still something was missing. In the desert of his life there were holes in the sand that needed filling. The things he filled them with brought no satisfaction. He was always thirsty. There were obstacles, too many boulders in his way. He traveled through dark valleys “on foot” and alone. If there were companions, they didn’t last long. They added very little. Then there was the hunger – always the hunger for something, something . . . more.

But what could it be?

His life became unstable; fishing a lake on an aspen-forested mountain one day, and stuck in a pool of mud in a canyon of brambles the next. Cycle and repeat. On the happy trails through the mountain tops, there was no thought of anything but the blinding distraction of his own pleasure, but in the mud pits, the thorny mazes, and the fearsome, predator-infested valleys, the subtle Treasure called to him with a whisper, like breeze through the pines, or the far-off echo of a voice. The voice spoke survival and rescue. It resonated.

Occasionally, the man encountered more Treasure People. One or two at a time, they hinted that the Treasure would be the answer to his problems, would change his life for the better, and would save him from his self-indulgent ways, which were indeed becoming a problem. One of them gave him a map with a dotted line and a big red “X”, but he still couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t read it. Another showed him in their book where it said how to find it. And still others told him what it was and even what it looked like. They still maintained that it had mysterious properties, and possessed a life of its own. His inner, stubborn skeptic raged silently. “The words they use are too different. Not cipherable! Fairy tales made of gibberish and childish nonsense! Superstition!    It. Does. Not. Exist!”

Time passed. The hunger remained in the pit of his being. He slid downhill into worse predator-infested briar-valleys. The fishing lakes all dried up. He endured endless searching in endless nightmares where he ran in slow motion, unable to escape monstrous wolven evils snapping at his back. Waking in a cold sweat, he shuddered, “Maybe there is something to this Treasure business . . .  something. I’ve tried everything else.” Maybe I could use me some Treasure right now, but how . . . ?

It didn’t take long, and in the most unlikely place, it began to happen. He had the good fortune to find a cheap old horse, and slowly rode west. Riding into a tiny town on the edge of nowhere, he tied up his horse, walked into the nondescript saloon, sat down at the bar, ordered bourbon, straight, swallowed it, and stared into the mirror behind the bottles. He hardly recognized himself, and didn’t at all recognize the nice-looking woman who was walking up behind him. She looked out of place here, more of a kindly stranger than a barfly. He turned around, but before he could say anything, she asked gently, “You’re looking for it, aren’t you?”

“What’s that?” he responded, caught off guard.
“You know.”
“How . . . what . . .” his face flushed, “Nope, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“The Treasure. You’re looking. I think it’s been calling to you.”
“How do you . . . sorry I’m forgetting my manners,” he said as he stood, removing his hat. “Would you like to have a seat here, or at a table?”
“Here is just fine,” she smiled.
“Would you like something to drink?” he asked her as they sat.”
“I don’t drink, but a cool glass of water would be good.”
“Barkeep, cancel that second bourbon and bring two cool aguas, please.” He was trying to be cool, himself.
“It’s been calling you, right?” She couldn’t be sidetracked.
He looked down at his hands and groped for a clever comeback. “Well, everybody on the frontier wants their pot of gold.”
“But I’ve found it. It’s not anything like what you think.”
“I . . . I tried. I don’t think . . . I don’t see how it could really exist . . .”
“Oh, it does! It’s very real. I have it, and it means everything to me! I’m not lying. Once you have it, it is very difficult to lie. I have it, my friend.”
“I’ll bet you are going to give me a cryptic, nonsensical map now, aren’t you, and read to me from a children’s book of gibberish fairy tales?”
“No sir, it’s much simpler than that. All I have with me is my own testament, my own first-hand story, and it is the pure truth.”
“Say, what is your name, Ma’am?” There was some kind of attraction, something “winning” about her.
“Names are not important right now,” she was not going to be deflected. “The genuine bond we are forging doesn’t require that. Are you feeling it? You will always remember our conversation in detail.”
“Yes, something is different this time. Okay then, so you know about this Treasure. Why not just tell me where it’s buried? I’ll ride out and dig it up today!”

“I’ll tell you this. First, you must turn and go the opposite direction. You can get it, but you have to go the other way. And it is essential that you believe in it. You are a hard case, Mister, but you are right on the edge. You need a convincing little bump. That’s why I’m here. The Treasure is nothing like your preconceived notions about it. It is not buried in the sand under a cactus, or in some cave in the hills. It is nothing like what anybody you know says it is like, unless you know some Treasure People. They know. Of course, I am one of them, as you must have guessed by now.”

“The other way? What does that even mean? But you’re right, the biggest part of me doesn’t believe it’s real, and the words that tell of it are alien to me. But I want to think that the Treasure is real. I am beginning to see the hope, and the joy, and the peace it gives you. It’s all over your face. You kind of . . . ‘light up’ . . . with it, and if it does that for you, maybe it will do it for me too. I really want to have what you have.”

“I know. It shows doesn’t it. Especially when your eyes begin to be able to see it.”

“But why would you want to give me the Treasure when it means so much to you? Before long, you won’t have any left.”

“It doesn’t work that way. Sharing it with others only increases its value. It is unlimited in that way. And everyone should share in its wealth. It is not only Treasure to share, but a personal Treasure at the same time.”

“I trust you, Ma’am. I feel like I can believe you. So how do I learn to read the words that tell how to find where my Treasure can be found, where it is buried . . . or, um, whatever?”

Taking a scrap of paper, she began writing on it with a pencil she had with her. As she wrote, she said, “Once you lay aside your unbelief in it, the Treasure will begin to reveal itself to you. Your eyes have been blinded to it by the evil of this world, but the Treasure will make them see! Watch for it. There will be signs!” And with that, she showed him what she had written in large cursive letters on the scrap of paper. There was a large “X” and some unintelligible words written beneath it.

“But, once again, I can’t read this . . . and, of course, here’s that “X”.” He looked at her, crestfallen.

“You might not understand me saying this right now because the Treasure transcends complete understanding, but just know that I do love your soul. One can’t help loving every soul when one knows the Treasure, but the Treasure does have a life of its own, far beyond what you know as “life”, and it loves you far more than I can – infinitely more! You can find it here . . .  With that, she smiled, stood, and gently pressed the message she had written to his chest, and said, “It is right here – it was all the time – you will find it here. We will meet again, one day.”

He put his hand over the note. He looked into her eyes. One eye twinkled and the other sparkled, and she gazed straight into his. She seemed to possess a sort of glow as she said, “The Treasure is True Life, all else is death. It’s yours! Never let it go!” With that she backed out of the saloon through the swinging doors.

He stared, immobile, as the doors swung, and finally stood and exclaimed, “Hey, wait!    Loves me?    Come back!    In seeming slow motion, he went to the doors, looked up and down the dusty street, and sighed. Only his horse was there swishing its tail. She was gone. He went back inside and paid the bartender, who unexpectedly said, “Yore a lucky man. She was sure sumthin’.”

“Sure was!” He folded the note, put it in his shirt pocket, went to his horse, and rode out of town thinking he might follow her dust and catch up. There were no tracks he could find, and there was no dust, so he found a place to camp for the night and decided to cook some beans and hardtack. Getting the supplies from his saddle bags, he found the book. “It must have been her. She must have left me this!” He laid it on the log while he cooked, then read it as he ate. There was a notation on the inside cover.

“Sorry to have left you so suddenly, but I wanted you to concentrate on the message, not on me. I am merely your messenger. True, I do have a special skill-set. I knew just how to speak to you because we have a lot in common. Others planted seeds in you, but those could not flourish until I gave them special care. I speak your language. I knew it once, long ago. I imparted a better one into you. Now you will be able to read the book. Every word of it will point you to the Treasure. One more thing, my friend, don’t forget to read the note in your pocket.”
“With love,
Ma’am.”

Incredulous, he fumbled the book. Full of questions, he fished the scrap of paper out of his pocket. All was silent as he unfolded the paper. The “X” was there and the letters were clear – he could read them this time.

Χ
Π ÂΜ hεrε .
I ÂΜ γσυrš  αη∂  γôû  ârê  Μîηξ.
Π ωîιι  αιωαγš  βε ωîτh  γôû !
Hανε fαîτh îη Μξ .
ιôνê ,
Τ

Then, he understood. Not everything, but enough. Life? Death? Treasure! None of it was like he had thought it to be. In the morning, he turned and went the opposite way . . .

~ ~ ~

Years later, after following all the signs, and experiencing continuous peace, and joy, and the companionship of other Treasure People, and the incomparable love of his Treasure, (which he named Wonderful – “Wonder”, for short) and after thoroughly reading the book he hadn’t been able to read, he found that his messenger had been right about everything. Every time he read from it, something new was revealed about Wonder. He came to know Wonder better every day, and relished the constant presence of Wonder in his life.

On reflection, the man came to the realization that his messenger had not only spoken his language, but it was in a female voice. A voice very similar to that of his dear mother. Just whom he had needed, she was indeed Treasure-sent! Ma’am was also right about wanting to share the message. He was compelled to tell others of his Wonder. He told all kinds of people, most of whom had heard something of the Treasure, but could not fathom the words, nor the concept of its reality, therefore many of them refused to listen, or they were sarcastic, or they made light of it. Sometimes, they even showed him their hate and anger. He was often cast out, reviled, and laughed at, but he was undaunted. He remembered, and put himself in their places. He kept sharing the Wonder, planting the seeds of it, having faith that they would someday grow. And he found things in common with the people. He found he could often speak their language, their language of love. Some of those who recognized the language wanted to learn it, and learned to read it. They have their Wonder and the Wonder has them, and we all stand here on the X beneath the waterfall of Treasure together. We all went the opposite way to the ultimate Life, and will never turn back.

~ ~ ~

Miss Hailey,
Thank you for reading this allegory. You inspired it! If you don’t remember me and my friend and what we discussed briefly at the “diner”, that’s alright, I’m certain that you’ve figured out the hidden meaning of this piece. It was woven together just for you. I may be your first messenger, or your final one, but I hope you take this to heart.  Whether to pursue the Treasure is the most important decision that you will ever make.
Best wishes, lots of encouragement, and unconditional love to you.
Gloryteller

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