Treasures Beneath This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


"Yuck! Look at this," Renee Liggin screamed. She was holding an old raggedysock.

"It's a rat's nest! Throw it away!" her momcried.

Renee handed it to my mom, who dropped it in the trash. It made aclanking noise when it hit bottom, so we knew it was no rat's nest. But what wasit?

My family of six and the Liggins family would never have seen the"rat's nest" if we hadn't moved to Bratislava, Slovakia, a smallcountry in Europe. I was only five when we went there to try to start a church.We settled into a house we rented from Tibor Kovac that was large enough for theeleven of us to live comfortably. Tibor even gave us some of his old furniture.

After two and half years of heavy use, the chairs our landlord had givenus began to fall apart. It wasn't uncommon for pieces to fall off, which is howRenee found the sock. It had fallen out of the bottom of one of the old chairs.My dad pulled the sock from the trash and cautiously opened it. To everyone'ssurprise, two beautifully crafted, sparkling 18-carat gold pocket watches fellout onto the table. We couldn't believe our eyes. We just sat and stared. My dadand Mr. Liggin were the first to come to their senses. They reached under thechair to find a large hole that had been stitched closed but had come open. Iwatched as they pulled out more socks and some handkerchiefs. All of themcontained gold items. Then Mr. Liggin flipped the other chair over and it too hadbeen stitched up. He pulled out his knife and cut the stitches, revealing morehidden treasures.

After we had checked all the chairs, we had four goldpocket watches, eight gold wristwatches (all Swiss), gold earrings, a goldnecklace and other valuable jewelry. It was a very exciting day for ourfamilies.

The next day we invited Tibor Kovac and his father-in-law oversince it really was their treasure. My dad explained through a translator how wehad found these things. When Tibor's father-in-law saw the pieces he just stoodthere staring, refusing to touch them. Tears came to his eyes.

He told usthat one of the watches was his father's, and that he had thought it was lostforever. He had searched long and hard for his inheritance, but could never findit. He had literally torn his late mother's house apart looking in the walls. Henever thought to look in the chairs that were carried out just before the housewas wrecked. He still would not touch anything.

"Now what?" heasked. We told him to take it, it belonged to him. He couldn't understand why wewould just give it to him without asking for anything in return, but finally hetook back his valuables.

"You are good!" he said.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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