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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Stories - Treasure Hunt

"Look at the squirrels buying the acorns," Ian snickered. "We know theyíll never remember where they put them."

Mac looked down and saw a squirrel busily digging with his front paws and then it ran off.

"Do you know what? Iím going to go down there and dig that acorn up. Iíll be right back," Ian said. He climbed to the ground. "Now, where did that squirrel bury the acorns?" He looked around, moving decaying leaves and parting the tall grass.

Mac smiled curiously from the top of the tall tree.

"Here we go." Ian began digging with his sharp claws. A few minutes later he climbed up the tree.

"Did you find the acorn?" Mac asked, seeing no acorn in Ianís paws.

"No, but I did find this," He said, pulling a dirty, old shortbread tin from behind his back. It had a red tartan design with a man in a kilt standing among some heather.

"An old tin?" Toss it away!" Mac laughed.

Ian shook it. "Thereís something inside." He brushed the dirt off. After shaking it a few more times, he lifted the lid.

"Is it full of moldy shortbread?" Mac asked. Ian lifted out a piece of yellowing paper and showed it to Mac. "What does it say?"

"It says," Ian began, "To find the hidden treasure, go to the old oak tree down by Athol burn. Stand on the largest root and then walk ten big steps."

"Treasure? What kind of treasure?" Mac wondered.

"Letís find out. Letís go to the old oak tree and see what happens," Ian smiled.

Mac agreed and they headed for Athol burn. "Ian, now what? There are two old oak trees here!"

"You go to that one and Iíll stand on this one. The treasure will be at one or the other of these trees," Ian said.

Mac walked over to the tree, searched for the biggest root, climbed on top of it and shouted, "How many steps do I take?"

Ian called back, "Ten!"

Mac started walking, counting, "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Iím here." He saw Ian, who was already on his hands and knees digging. Mac used his claws and after a long time he hit something. "Iíve got it!"

Ian came running over. "Youíve found the treasure? Great!"

Mac pulled a box out of the hole and brushed the dirt off. "Itís another shortbread tin. It looks exactly like the other."

"Open it. Itís probably got another note inside," Ian said, excitedly.

Mac lifted the lid and pulled out a piece of paper. It was torn and smudged with dirt. He read, "Youíve completed step one. Now go to the top of McNaught Hill. Buried two feet down is another tin. Good luck."

"Another tin?" Ian sighed.

"If we want to find the treasure, weíll have to do whatever the note says," Mac urged.

The two raccoons ran as fast as they could to McNaught Hill. "Weíll have to dig again. My claws are getting sore with all this digging. I donít know if Iíll ever get the dirt out," Ian complained.

"Start digging," Mac ordered. "Weíll take turns. You go first and then Iíll take over." He stood watching Ian digging the hole. After a while, he said, "All right, Ian. Itís my turn now."

Ian gladly let Mac dig. Mac dug and dug and dug and soon hit something hard. "Iíve found it. It is another tin and it looks like the other two. Here, take it," Mac said. The hole was so deep that all he could do was hand Ian the tin and then climb out.

Ian opened the lid. "Och, thereís another note. How many times will this happen until we find the real treasure?" he whined.

"What does it say this time?" Mac asked, struggling to get out of the deep hole.

"It says we have to go down to Melville Cove. Thereís a cave there and the note is buried under a big rock. We have to lift the rock and grab the tin and we have to do it before the tide comes in," Ian explained.

"Not more digging! Och, this tin was only supposed to be two feet down. It was more like six feet. I wonder how big the rock is going to be that we have to move?" Mac feared.

"Come on, Mac. Letís head for Melville Cove and find out," Ian said.

The raccoons rushed down McNaught Hill and headed for the beach. They could hear the waves crashing against the sand. Seagulls flew overhead, searching for a stray crab that might be dashing across the sand. "It smells nice and fresh here. Say, before we start our next job, letís have a snack. I see some mussels lying on the sand. Iíll gather them. Why donít you look for a crab? See if you can beat the seagull!" Mac said. He started gathering mussels and Ian ran off to find a crab.

"Iíve got one," Ian shouted, holding it up by its claw. "Ouch! It just nipped me!" He dropped it in the sand and it scurried away.

"Och, Ian. You lost the crab. Find us another," Mac sighed.

Ian moved a few small rocks but couldnít find any crabs. He rolled a log that had been washed in by the mighty waves. "Aha! I found one!"

"This time use caution," Mac reminded.

Ian headed for Mac, carrying the angry crab in his paws. Its sharp pincers were opening and shutting, hoping for a nip of Ianís fur, but he was being careful this time. "Should I bang it on the rock?" Ian asked.

"Aye, Ian. We canít eat it if itís alive, now, can we?" Mac said, shaking his head.

They feasted on crab legs and fresh mussels. It didnít take long before a large pile of shells lay on the sand next to them. "Iím feeling like having a wee nap now," Ian yawned.

"The treasure, Ian. Donít forget that!" Mac said.

"Yes, of course, letís get the treasure first and then we can nap," Ian yawned again.

They headed for Melville Cove. A large cave echoed with the sounds of waves rolling in. "How long until the tide comes in?" Mac asked, looking out to sea.

"Iíd say about an hour. Do you think we can move the rock before then?" Ian asked.

"Thereís only one way to find out," Mac said.

They crept inside the cave. "Thereís the rock. Och, itís a big one. Weíll have to push with all our might," Ian frowned.

They stood next to the large rock. "Letís push with our shoulders," Mac suggested. "One, two, three! Push!" They pushed with all their might. The rock moved a tiny bit.

"It moved!" Ian shouted.

"Just a wee bit. Letís push again," Mac said. "One, two, three. Push!" Again the rock moved a small distance.

"I see the tin, Mac. I see the corner of it. If we push ten more times, weíll have it in our hands," Ian giggled. He was excited, thinking of the treasure. They pushed and pushed and pushed and finally the shortbread tin was in view. Ian was just about to grab it and pull it out when a wave came crashing over the top of them. "Och no! The tideís coming in!" Ian gasped and choked as another wave sloshed over them.

"Weíll not be able to get out of this cave. Letís climb on top of the rock and hope that the tide doesnít come that high," Mac said. The two raccoons climbed up high. Water swirled all around them. They had no choice but to sit and watch. The sea crept higher and higher.

"Yikes!" Ian shouted. "The sea has taken our tin. Itís not there any more. It must have carried it out. How will we find our treasure now?" Ian cried. "This isnít any fun. We should have taken a nap and done this later. Now look at us."

Mac had to agree. They were in a dismal state. They were trapped on the rock for at least six hours. The sun would be going down soon and it would be dark. Their fur was soaking wet and the shortbread tin was gone. Ian and Mac sat in silence as the hours passed.

"Wake up, Ian! The tideís gone out. We can get out of this cave now," Mac said, shaking his friend. "Letís go home."

Ian yawned. His body ached as he climbed off the rock and landed in the wet sand. Several crabs went running past. He was too tired and too cold to care. They walked into the warm sun. "Some night that was," he moaned. "Iím not coming back to Melville Cove ever again." He rubbed his back and the two raccoons headed for home.

They walked down the beach, passing the spot where theyíd gathered mussels. "Whatís that?" Mac shouted, pointing at the red tin lying on the beach.

"Itís our tin. The waves washed it back on shore!" Ian laughed. "Iíll fetch it." He ran across the sand and brought it back. "Should I open it?"

"Go ahead. Letís see what it says this time," Mac said.

Ian lifted the lid and took the paper out. "It says, ĎGo to Noble Moor. The treasure is there. All you have to do is dig a trench three feet wide by twenty feet long, fill it with bog grass, and light a fire. The smoke will tell you the message.í"

Mac looked at Ian. Ian looked at Mac. "Give me the tin," Mac demanded. Ian handed it to him. Mac threw the tin as far as he could into the waves. "There! No treasure is worth that. All I want is my warm tree, a few nuts and berries and a wee nap. Agreed?"

"Agreed," Ian replied, "but Iím too tired. Letís lie down right over there, in the grass, and nap first and then go home."

"Good idea," Mac answered and they fell asleep.

"Wake up Ian. Look," Mac said, shaking the other raccoon. Two bears were walking along the beach. "Whatís this?" one of them said, picking up the tin. Och, itís got a note in it. Something about buried treasure up at Noble Moor. Iíll race you there."

Ian and Mac started laughing. "Theyíve no idea what theyíve got themselves into," Mac said. "Letís go home!"

They stood watching the bears running towards the moor, shook their heads, and then headed for the woods.

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