TREASUR9 8' Detective and the treasure map

While vacationing in southern Florida, Michaela and her
grandfather went to an antique auction.

"Lot number ONE ONE FOUR," said the auctioneer, "An exquisite
hand-made jewelry box has beautiful ivory and ebony wood inlays
on the lid and on the drawer. This beautiful work of art has
been authenticated by our antiquities expert to have been
made in the year 1789. And the artisan himself placed his own
signature on the back of the box near the hinge. The artisan's
name is Jedidiah Adams."

"Papa! Did you hear that?!" exclaimed Michaela in a whisper, "Do
you think that jewelry box was made by Blue Beard the pirate?"

Papa replied, "The date seems to be about right."

"Let's bid on it!" exclaimed Michaela.

The bidding lasted less than a minute. Noone else in the crowd
seemed to recognized the name Jedidiah Adams. So, Papa won the
bidding with a $35 bid.

When they brought the jewelry box back to the hotel and examined
it, Papa seemed a little dismayed, saying, "This is odd!"

"Did you find a clue?!" asked Michaela.

"Not yet." replied Papa, "But the way Jedidiah Adams built this
box doesn't seem right."

"What do you mean?" asked Michaela.

Papa pointed and explained, "See here, how the top is so
symmetrical and so smooth and so shiny?"

"Yes." replied Michaela.

Papa then turned the box upside down and pointed at the bottom
saying, "Now look here at the bottom of the box. It looks like a
child covered the bottom with popcycle sticks. The sticks are
not smooth, they're not well made, they don't fit together side
by side well and they don't even seem to be glued in. They're
all loose! I wonder if someone dropped this box and broke the
bottom piece and just fixed it with these sticks."

Michaela thought for a while, then smiled, "Or maybe those
sticks are a clue to another buried treasure!"

"Could be!" exclaimed Papa, "Let's look. Do you see any writing
on these sticks?"

"No," replied Michaela, "But some of them have scratches across

"You're right!" replied Papa, "About half of them have scratches
on them. Let's take the sticks out and see if there are
scratches on the other side too."

Fortunately, the sticks were loosely held in place. After Papa
pried out one stick, the other sticks almost fell out by
themselves. And sure enough, the sticks that didn't have
scratches on the bottom side had scratches on the top side.

"I think this is like a jigsaw puzzle!" exclaimed Michaela, "If
we rearrange all the sticks to line up the scratches, we'll have
a map."

Sure enough, after about five minutes of moving and turning
sticks, all the sticks lined up to show the outlines of what
looked like one large island and one small island with a small
amount of water between them. Papa immediately pulled out his
maps of the Florida Keys and compared the shapes of the islands
with the shapes on the stick puzzle.

"Bingo!" exclaimed Papa, "We have a match. But I don't see an
"X" on the map. Where's the treasure buried?"

Michaela pulled out her magnifying glass and examined the stick
puzzle for a few seconds saying, "Well, since the puzzle shows
us TWO islands instead of one, I'll bet the treasure isn't
buried, but it's on the bottom of the ocean somewhere between
the two islands... Aha!"

"You found it?!" exclaimed Papa, "X marks the spot?!"

Michaela replied, "I found a mark but it's not an "X". There's a
tiny hole drilled into the wood. Have a look."

"Bluebeard the pirate usually uses an X to mark the spot," said
Papa as he examined the wood puzzle, "but I think you're right.
I think that for some reason this time he marked the spot by
drilling a small hole. Grab your swim suit and your snorkel
everybody, we're going diving for treasure!"

Two hours later, the whole family arrived at the big island on
the map and walked to the area closest to the smaller island.
With so many family members to explore the area, it took only
about ten minutes to finish the search of the ocean bottom
between the islands.

Papa exclaimed, "No remains of a sunken ship! No treasure chest!
Nothing! I thought sure it would be here!"

Several family members speculated:

"Maybe a hurricane had blown the wreckage of the sunken ship out
to sea."

"Maybe there WAS a treasure chest down there, but another diver
already found it and took it."

Michaela, the world's greatest detective, thought for a moment,
then replied, "What if we're not looking for a sunken ship or a
treasure chest?"

Papa asked, "Well then what are we supposed to look for?"

Michaela suggested, "Since the mark on the stick puzzle was a
hole instead of an "X", maybe we should be looking for a hole in
the sea bottom or a cave in the rocks."

So, the family went diving again, this time looking for a hole.
Sure enough, on the underside of a huge overhanging rock ledge
was the hidden underwater entrance to a cave.

When they all swam up into the cave and climbed out of the
water, Papa smiled as his flashlight shined on a small treasure
chest, only a bit larger than the jewelry box. The whole family
jumped for joy.

"Well," said Papa as he reached to pick up the box, "let's hope
that big things come in small packages.

"Wait!" shouted Michaela.

"What's the matter?!" asked Papa as he pulled his hands away.

Michaela pointed to the corner of the cave behind the treasure
chest saying, "I think that chain is part of a dead drop."

"What's a dead drop?" asked Papa.

Michaela pointed up to the ceiling, "If that drops on your head,
you're dead."

Papa's flashlight followed the chain up the wall of the cave to
the ceiling, then across the ceiling to directly over his own
head, where the chain was attached to one of five logs.

Michaela explained, "I think there's some big rocks above
those logs. If you lifted up the treasure chest, that chain
would have pulled down the logs and the rocks would have crushed

Michaela's Mom backed away saying, "Let's just leave it!"

Michaela smiled, "We have to leave the treasure chest, but we
can take the treasure."

"How?" asked Papa.

Michaela explained, "There's no lock on the treasure chest.
See if you can open the lid with the tip of your knife."

Papa stepped out from under the dead drop, then pried up the lid
of the treasure chest with the tip of his knife,then smiled as
he shined his light inside, exclaiming, "Wow! It looks like the
crown jewels of a king and queen! There's crowns and necklaces,
rings, earrings, diamonds and rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
All these jewels will be worth twice as much as our previous

Michaela's mom asked, "But how do we get them out of here
without getting a pile of rocks on our heads."

Michaela explained, "The weight of the box and the treasure are
holding down the chain. We just need to hold down the box while
we empty the treasure."

"How do we do that?" asked Papa.

(Can you guess how they emptied the box without getting killed?)

Here's how they did it:

Papa calculated that Michaela weighed more than the treasure
inside the box. So, Michaela stood up on the two opposite
corners of the box while her family members emptied the gold and
jewels from the box. They swam up to the surface and put the
items in the car, then swam back down to the cave with
enough rocks to fill the treasure chest. Once the chest was
filled with enough rocks to hold the chain in place, Michaela
could safely step down off the box.

Michaela, the world's greatest detective, and her family walked
away with the crown jewels!

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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