“Are you ready guys?” asked Tom. “Yes we are,” replied his friends. Tom and his friends were getting ready to go out into the jungle to look for a hidden treasure that the locals of his village were talking about. He had heard that the treasure belonged to an emperor who lived during the 10th century AD. When he was defeated by an enemy king, in order to protect the treasure, he hid it in the densest parts of the jungle (the jungle Tom was heading to find the chest). Early in the morning, Tom and his friends set out into the jungle. They took with them food, tent, blankets, bed sheets, pillows and plenty of water. They also took with them sickles in order to clear their path which were covered with dense growth of plants. One of Tom's friends, Jim cleared the path when Tom checked the map. “Are we heading in the right direction?”, his friends asked him. “Yeah, I think so”, Tom replied and continued, “As long as we have the map, we won't get lost”. His friends doubted him because he was lazy. But they trusted him this time and proceeded.

When it was lunch time, they settled down at a cool place and had their lunch. They rested for a while and continued their journey. It was getting late and they were far away from their destination. So they put up their tents, had dinner and went to sleep. Tom said that they would continue their journey early the next day and they did. They walked and walked, but they had still not reached the place. “Are we there yet?”, another of his companions asked. Tom had no reply. It seemed that the path stretched forever! Tom was worried. He was getting confused with the map. Tom said, “Guys, I don't think we will make it.” When his friends asked him why not, he replied saying, “Because this map is stretching forever and I am getting confused with it”. Everyone was sad. All their troubles were in vain. Jim looked at the map and said, “Let's go back home. Tom's right. This map is confusing. Tom, from where did you get it?” “Well, I got it from the locals. They told me that if I find the treasure and give it to them, I would get whatever I wished for,” answered Tom. “You wasted all this time just to give the treasure to them! We toil hard and they enjoy the fruits of our labour. Tom, you are a total moron!” Tom felt ashamed of himself.

They then started their journey back home. On the way they met a stranger. He asked them what they were doing out there. The boys explained their mission. “You believed that! There is no treasure out here in the jungle. See, I have been in this jungle for a long time and I have not heard about one. You have been tricked,” said the man. “However there is one big treasure: ‘time'. Once you lose it you'll never get it back. So go back home and don't waste any more time in these crazy things,” the stranger advised them. Tom and his friends thanked him and they went on their way happier and wiser.

Amal James, VIII A, Loyola School, Thiruvananthapuram