The Treasure Hunt©

It was a late October afternoon and the Thompson children, Mike, Millie, and Moe, had just returned from another school day. Their mother was waiting with a big surprise. Mr. Willis, their next-door neighbor, was having a treasure hunt for the children in the neighborhood.

“Gee,” said Millie, “Mr. Willis is quite old. Why would he put together a treasure hunt?”

“You’ll soon see,” said Mrs. Thompson. “Ever since his wife died, he’s been lonely and tries to keep busy. Besides, you know how much he loves children.”

“Well, let’s get over there,” shouted Mike, the oldest. “That old house of his is sort of spooky, but it’s the perfect place for a treasure hunt.”

The three children hurried outside and up the front steps of the old house. But another surprise was there waiting for them. A warning sign was hanging on the door. It read, “Be Careful—Treasure Hunt Inside.”

“Oh, no!” cried Moe, the youngest. “I’m not going in. Mr. Willis might have something in there to scare us.”

Mike laughed. “Don’t be scared, Moe. He’s our friend. I don’t think he would do anything to frighten us.”

“That’s true,” said Millie. “Let’s go in.”

They slowly opened the old squeaky door and entered a dim hallway with a staircase.

“Hello, Mr. Willis, are you here?” Mike called. But no one answered.

“We’d better go back home,” mumbled Moe.

“Not yet,” replied Mike. “Look, here’s another sign.”

The sign was taped on a big mirror. It said, “He who cares, goes up the stairs.”

They looked at each other and wondered, Should we?

“Let’s,” said Millie. Nodding to one another, they slowly started up the staircase.

At the top was a dark hallway and another sign on the wall. It said, “For the treasure you’re hopin’, find a door that will open.”

“Wow!” said Millie. “There are so many doors up here. Let’s try one at a time.”

So they went down the hall trying each one. None opened. That is, until they reached the end of the hall and the last door.

“This must be it,” said Millie.

“You’re right,” whispered Mike, “but look what is written on the floor.”

There, written in chalk, was the sentence “If you come in and can’t get out, two secret words you’ll have to shout.”

“What secret words?” asked Millie.

“I don’t know,” responded Mike.

“Well, I’m not going to be the first to go in,” said Millie.

“Me either,” whispered Moe.

“Okay,” said Mike, “you both wait here.” He walked through slowly. Then the door squeaked loudly and slammed behind him!

He didn’t come out. After a while, Millie became worried and went in. She didn’t come out either. Moe was worried. He decided that he should go in. He walked through the squeaking door and it closed behind him. His eyes opened wide. There, seated in a big chair was old Mr. Willis. He was smiling. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “You have found the treasure room. I have something for you.” He handed Moe a baseball glove. Moe took the gift and looked around. There was Mike with a new basketball, and Millie with a camera. They were both smiling.

“Now,” said Mr. Willis, “since you came in, I can’t let you out—till two secret words I hear you shout.” And all three children shouted, “THANK YOU!”

The old man chuckled and said, “You’re right, and you may go. But, before you do, I want you to know—you’ve made my day, and I’m your friend. Come someday soon, we’ll play again.”

When gifts of kindness come your way,
“Thank you” is all you need to say.

Mr. Willis Mr. Willis