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The Buried Treasure
Bat-El and her cousins Adi, Talia and Chen were sitting in Bat-El's room giggling and enjoying each others company. The cousins had come from the Negev with their parents and other siblings to the Kibbutz in Gush Etzion, where Bat-El and her family lived. It was so much fun to visit the kibbutz. This kibbutz was high on a mountain top and the scenery was beautiful.
The girls were trying to decide what to do. Adi wanted to play a board game. Talia wanted Bat-El to read her a story. Chen wanted to go to the barn and see the cows. Bat-El suggested that they go on a scavenger hunt.
"Great idea!" they all shouted. "What should we look for?" asked Adi. Bat-El asked her older brother for help. Yoni knew all the good hiding places in the kibbutz. He made a list of ten things to find and a map with good clues.
The cousins were very excited and wanted to get started right away. Talia suggested that they hunt in pairs. Bat-El's mother gave the girls some instructions. She said that they should each take a bottle of water, a flashlight, a whistle in case they get separated or lost, a plastic bag for their treasures and be home before dark.
"If we have to be home before dark," said Adi to her aunt, "why do we need flashlights?" Auntie Naomi just chuckled and said "you'll see. Have fun girls." Devorah, the mother of the cousins told her daughters that Bat-El is the oldest and knows the kibbutz the best. Stay together and listen to Bat-El. "Don't worry Auntie Devorah, I'll take good care of everyone" Bat-El replied.
Talia and Chen buddied up and Bat-El and Adi buddied up. "Let's get started so that we will be home before dark" suggested Bat-El. Adi wanted to look after the map. "See you!" they said to their mothers, as they went off find the treasures. "I hope that we don't see any snakes," said Chen with a shiver down her back. Chen was really afraid of snakes and she knew that the kibbutz had lots of snakes.
In the meantime in Yoni's room, there was a little meeting going on. Yoni told his brothers, Michael, Itamar and Dvir and their cousin Gilad that he thought it would be fun to scare the girls.
"The girls are on a scavenger hunt," said Yoni. "I made a map with clues for them to find their 'treasures'. One of places that I marked is the orchard where the cherry trees are. Let's hide a 'big scary treasure' for them to find in the orchard. Any suggestions guys."
Gilad suggested hiding in the orchard and when the girls show up shout boo. Itamar thought it would be fun to dress up like a scary scarecrow. Michael said that he had the best idea. You know how scared Chen is of snakes. Let's take the black garden hose and make it look like a snake. I'll put my snake finger puppet on one end of the hose. We can hide the 'snake' in the first row of the orchard. When the girls come running home screaming for help, we can shout got ya! All the boys thought Michael's idea was the best. Dvir said, "I'll get the hose and meet you at the orchard."
The girls were following the map very closely and were able to find all the treasures Yoni marked on their list. The barn was the second to last stop. They had to go down a steep and winding road to get to the barn. In the barn, they had to find an old baby bottle used to feed the newborn calves. "We're finally here!" said Bat-El. "That was a long walk," replied Adi. "Let's stop and drink our water, before we continue," said Chen joining into the conversation. It was dark in the barn and the girls were very happy to have flashlights. "Okay", said Bat-El, "time to look for our treasure." They looked in every corner, under and behind the cages where the calves lived and in cupboards. Talia excitedly called her cousins. "I found a box in the cupboard and it is full of old bottles. Do you think anyone would mind if we take just one bottle?"
Bat-El told her cousins, "On the way back to my house, we can go and tell the barn manager that we took a bottle and we will return later." Talia put the baby bottle in the bag.
The cousins were having so much fun laughing and telling jokes, that they almost missed their last stop, the cherry tree orchard.
Bat-El told the girls that the orchard is very big and that they have to be careful not to break any cherry buds. In the orchard they had to find a water bucket. "Let's go up and down the rows." Said Bat-El. "We have to hunt quickly because it is almost dark and it is not safe to be in the orchard at night time." Adi, Talia and Chen timidly looked at each other.
Using their flashlights, the girls looked up and down the first row. Suddenly, Chen who had wondered ahead let out a loud scream and stood frozen in her spot. "A snake," she screamed "a big, long, black snake and it is coming towards me." Adi, Talia and Bat-El went running to help Chen. When the girls saw the snake they also thought it was real. Bat-El started to laugh. "That's not a snake, it's our garden hose and I bet I know who tried to scare us. Bat-El picked up the 'snake' and put it in the plastic bag.
On the way back to Bat-El's house the girls decided not to say anything about the snake. While the girls were telling their mothers' how much fun they had, Bat-El quietly placed the 'snake' in Michael's bed with a note that said enjoy the snake. Love Bat-El, Adi, Talia & Chen.
It was time for the visitors to go home. They had a two hour drive back to the Negev. The cousins thanked Bat-El for a fun day. Adi said, "when you come and visit us, we will take to the forest where Avraham Avinu lived. It's a great place for a scavenger hunt."
The Buried Treasure by Miriam Goodman
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