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The Search for the Fruit of Life

by Sebastian

Samuel was in his room when he found an old book.
“Hey, Paulin, Kamarou, come check this out!”
“Yeah?” called Kamarou.
“It’s an old book – and come see what’s inside!” Sam called back. They came along and marvelled at the book. They opened it slowly, carefully, and saw the small black writing. Paulin read aloud: “Near Mont Sokbaro is a treasure, the Fruit of Life – “
“Woah… stop! Did it say, ‘treasure’?” interrupted Samuel.
“Yes,” answered Paulin.
“We’re explorers and treasure hunters, right?” Kamarou asked. The three men nodded in agreement.

Samuel looked out of the window of his small wooden hut in the ancient village of Ketou, with his two oldest friends side by side and said quietly, “Get ready my friends, this treasure will be ours…”

In no time, they were packing their bags and bidding their families goodbye. They packed enough food to last them two days, as they estimated the journey would be a day each way.
“We’ve never been to Mont Sokbaro before – it may be dangerous!” Paulin warned.
“Ugh, we’ll be fine…” laughed Samuel.
“Okay…” Paulin shrugged.

The three explorers set off and soon were in the jungles of Benin. They caught glimpses of animals like elephants, monkeys, lions, antelope and more, but never properly saw them. Half way through the jungle, Kamarou tripped on something.
“AARRGH!” he cried.
“Kamarou! Are you ok?” Paulin asked.
“Yes, yes… but look!” he answered, pointing at a bottle.
Samuel opened it, and found a map!
“Woah!” he gasped.
“A map!” Paulin explained.
“What does it say?” Kamarou asked.
“It’s a map – it doesn’t say anything!” Paulin chuckled.

The map showed the entrance to a cave, and beyond that was a picture of a fruit halfway through the mountain.
“This is it guys. This is where the treasure is…” said Samuel. They looked at each other and smiled.

After finding the cave, they entered quietly and cautiously, and Paulin was the only one to bring a torch. After a while, something shiny caught Kamarou’s eye.
“Guys – “ he whispered.
“I saw it too,” Samuel said.
They went over and cleared away the dust, and saw a shiny gold box with the symbol of a mango on top and small writing engraved on the side.

Samuel bent over and started pulling the box out of the ground when… RUMBLE, CRACK… silence, and then CRASH, and the entrance to the cave collapsed!
“Aaahh!” they all cried. “We’re trapped!”. They all looked at each other, stunned and frightened.

Kamarou’s face lit up in realisation, “The Map!”, and yanked it out of his pocket. He studied it for a minute and announced, “There’s bad news and good news. The good news is, there is a way out if we follow the cave, but the bad news is, the journey takes four days.”
“But we only have one day’s food left,” said Paulin, alarmed.

While Kamarou was studying the map, Samuel had begun interpreting the engraved writing.

“The fruit within will never die
Eat from it to stay alive”

Samuel opened the box and found mangoes as fresh as the day they were picked. The three adventurers smiled at each other with sadness. They had found their treasure but knew that they would die if they wanted to keep it.

For four long and tiring days, Samuel, Paulin and Kamarou made their way through the dusty caves to the other side of Mont Sokbaro. When at last they saw daylight, the box was empty but the Fruit of Life was with them forever.