Mon-Ton : The Old Man and His Treasure
Bowdean recently turned eighteen, and for some reason, he can’t get the Old Man out of his head. He’s expected to become a man now and he’s confused. He finds himself drawn to the Old Man (whom no one really knows). In fact, he remembers the day the Old Man spoke to him. His mother was taken aback. The Old Man rarely spoke. Bowdean decides to follow his instincts and attempts to discover more about this strange man.
Bowdean started to speak, but the Old Man raised his hand to silence him. “First, my name is Haigan. Second, I knew you were coming because it was time for you to come.” The Old Man smiled and continued. “I come from a land very far from here, that was over three hundred years ago. Yes, I did start visiting the village when the first produce stand opened, but I was living here long before the village was started. As a matter of fact, I started the water flowing into the valley, so people would stop here.”
At this point Bowdean stood up and started for the door.
The Old Man said, “Stop!”
At this Bowdean turned around and said, “I don’t like to be made fun of, by anyone.” He again started for the door.
The Old Man moved quickly, placing himself between Bowdean and the door.
“Wait” Haigan said with his hand leaning against the opening. “Please, sit back down and let me continue. When I have finished if you still wish to leave, I will not try to stop you.”
Bowdean laughed at this. “You think you could stop me from leaving?”
The Old Man simply waved his hand and moved back to the table. “No, but I don’t think you are really ready to leave.”
Haigan, the Old Man, informs Bowdean that it is his destiny to go on a quest. He trains Bowdean on the tasks that he must complete and informs him of the many scrolls written in the old language that are crucial to the completion of the quest. The quest forces Bowdean to become a man as he is challenged physically and mentally. As the Old Man says, “For some people, using their brain can be harder than using their body.”
This is a story of adventure and magic. A fantasy book for both the young and old readers alike. This is a story greatly enjoyed by 3rd and 4th graders. The Old Man from Mon-Ton had visited the village for as long as anyone could remember. However, none gave him more than a passing thought. That is until one day, a young man, Bowdean, could not stop thinking about the old man and where he lived. He followed him to his home, built into the heart of the Great Mountain, Mon-Ton. Bowdean was told that it was his “Destiny” to go on a quest. The old man showed Bowdean how to cross the desert, capture an Elf to gain his help in getting past big lizards, face a Troll, cross a long valley, and find the key, a large ruby, to gain access to another scroll. Using this scroll, Bowdean continued the quest, and found a Unicorn in a small valley. The Unicorn turned into a Pegasus and flew Bowdean over the mountains into a grand canyon, right into a battle with many Dragons.
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The Old Man and His Treasure
The Old Man and His Treasure
Copyright ©2007 Vance Bell
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Without the support and assistance of the following, this would have never happened.
My wife Lola, who not only had to listen to the story, over the years, but played a major role in getting it in print.
Both of my daughters and their husbands, Shelly, Greg, Tally, and Chris who not only encouraged this to happen, but also assisted in all phases of the project.
A special thanks to Tally and Chris for editing.
To my granddaughter, Trinity, who was most likely the biggest reason for this story to be put into written form. There is no push like the push of a small loved one.
You have my greatest appreciation and thanks.
The Old Man walked into the village. Most people had seen the Old Man for many years, but only a few had ever spoken to him. His visits were rare, mostly to buy food. His walk and appearance were what people noticed. A long stride for an Old Man who, when stopped, stood with his shoulders slumped and eyes always looking down.
On this visit there seemed to be something different. The Old Man seemed to be looking for something or someone. His head was raised higher and his eyes seemed more alert. When he stopped by the store looking up and down the street, if one was to notice, his stance was straighter. The old man looked almost magical. His gray hair was wisping from under his old hat, his coat looked more like a robe, even the dust, which covered everything, seemed to lay with special purpose. Perhaps magical is not the correct word, but majestic in the sense that when the villagers looked upon him, it was like looking upon a completely different person.
The village was located under the shadow of a tall mountain called Mon-Ton. The small village was filled with people who were content with their lives. So content, that although many of them had seen the Old Man over the years, no one knew his name. The villagers simply called him the Old Man from Mon-Ton. All knew he always entered the village from the mountain, but none knew where his camp or home was located. Being a simple people, none had ever given it more than a quickly passing thought. That is, until today. Today the Old Man was being watched.
From around a corner of the old stable a young man, Bowdean, was paying very close attention to the Old Man. Bowdean had seen the Old Man coming to town for years. Nevertheless, today an interest in the Old Man was nagging at him. Questions were racing through his mind. Questions, he needed to have the answers to. Who was the Old Man from Mon-Ton? Where did the Old Man come from? Why did years ago, the Old Man stop and pat him on the head as he had walked by a group of children who were playing in the street? Where did the Old Man live? And the biggest question of all, Why am I even thinking of the Old Man?
For the last week, even though he could not remember when he had seen the Old Man last, questions about him had started jumping into to his head. The questions seemed to have started right after his 18th birthday. The day it was proclaimed that he was now a man and needed to start planning his future.
Bowdean had been born in the small village, which rested in the shadows of Mon-Ton. Years ago, a small group of families, going west, had stopped here after seeing the long desert on the other side of Mon-Ton. The valley was pleasant and cool being protected by the mountain. It had been the perfect spot to build a new village. The people quickly learned to live off the land. Building homes and farms the village soon took shape of a prosperous, if small, community. Bowdean had never been far from the village. A few miles to the east was about as far as most had been in years. The village had almost everything a person could use. Of course, a few traveling peddlers had starting coming by on a regular basis.
Bowdean could remember the first time he had seen the Old Man. He had been playing in the dirt, in front of the store, while his mother had been speaking with a friend of hers. The Old Man had walked down the street and paused to look down at him and to say good day to his mother and her friend. As the Old Man moved along, he also remembered hearing his mother say, “That is the first time I have ever heard the Old Man speak.” Bowdean did not remember the conversation any further as he went back to playing. Now he seemed to remember even more stories about the Old Man. It seems that the Old Man had starting coming to the village right after the first produce stand had been opened, but that surely could not be true as that was a good hundred years ago.
Bowdean wondered about all the things he had heard about the Old Man, but he could not come up with the answers to his questions. He seemed to be daydreaming, because when he looked again, the Old Man was gone. He looked up and down the street but there was no trace of him.
Bowdean wandered up the street looking into all the shops. Suddenly, the Old Man emerged from the general store with a very large pack on his back. He looked straight at Bowdean, who quickly stepped into the alley. For a couple of moments, Bowdean waited with his back to the side of a building, breathing hard, just like a kid caught doing something he should not have been doing. “What is wrong with me?”, Bowdean said to himself. It took him several moments to gain the strength to look out from the alley. When he did, all he saw was the back of the Old Man leaving town. Not today, he thought. I am going to see where you go.
Bowdean stepped into the store and bought a couple of apples, in case this took him past supper. When he stepped out of the store, he turned to look after the Old Man, before he started following him. The Old Man was nowhere in sight. He started to run down the street. The Old Man could not have gone far with the large pack on his back, but he was gone. Bowdean stopped and looked around as far has he could see. The brush was tall on this side of town, but not as tall as a man. He felt himself starting to sweat although the sun was not even that high in the sky yet. Things did not feel right. He slowly thought, I can do this, and I must do this. He began by looking at the ground… tracks! There were tracks in the road, but they turned into the brush on the right. OK, now I have you.
The trail was faint, but not so faint that Bowdean had any doubts he could follow it. It wound around some of the taller brush and cut through some of the shorter brush. Bowdean kept looking for the Old Man to no avail. After several hours of tracking the Old Man, Bowdean found he was starting to believe he would not find the Old Man’s camp. He had moved over half way up the mountain now, and the sun was starting to set. He was not ready to give up, though he would have to find a place to sleep tonight, as the shadows were making it impossible to find the tracks. After carefully marking the spot where he had found the last tracks, he started looking for a clear, if not flat, spot to spend the night. He finally found a small place to lie down. For a long time he listened to the night sounds and wondered why he was out here trying to find this old man. Finally, he drifted off to a restless night.
Bowdean woke up several times, hearing only the sounds of the night. There was no moon, but the stars lit up the sky like jewels scattered across a black velvet blanket. At last, he awoke to the point where he could not sleep anymore. A false dawn started to light the sky and the night sounds began to die away. Bowdean waited until the sun finally started to lighten the day enough for him to be able to hunt for the tracks. As he moved to the spot he had marked, he found a new trail. He made a large circle and found several more trails. All the trails seemed to have been used about the same amount. He stopped to think about the situation. He could go back to the first trail, or choose another one. At least the trails all seemed to be going the same direction. He finally made his choice.
His stomach started calling to him, as he had eaten the last apple before he had gone to sleep. His tongue also let him know that he would need some water soon. Bowdean made up his mind that he could only continue this search until noon. If he did not find the Old Man’s camp by then, he would have to go back to the village.
Bowdean followed the trail until it seemed to suddenly stop. He stood facing a thick, tall tree. The tree looked like it was growing out of the side of the hill. As he stood looking at the end of the path, he started thinking the old man must be a magician. Looking closer, he found a faint mark on the ground under the tree. Pushing against the side of the hill and bending the limbs of the tree, he moved forward. After a few very tight rubs, he stepped into a clearing. He found himself on a ledge that was completely hidden from view. Bowdean looked out onto a picturesque view of the side of the mountain. He could see all the way down to the trail that lead into the desert. He could also see the village far below. He slowly turned to look for the trail. There were footprints in the fine dust, which seemed to cover the ledge. His eyes followed the tracks; he was suddenly looking at a sheer cliff. He stood there for sometime, trying to see just where the tracks went. Looking around he saw what appeared to be a rock in the middle of the ledge. Walking over to the rock, he found that it was a table with benches. The color so matched the color of the earth and the cliff, that until he was right up to it, it was just a rock. He tried to wipe off what he thought was dust, but it was clean. He sat down on one of the benches to collect his thoughts.
While trying to decide his next move, his eyes caught movement. Looking straight at the cliff, he saw nothing, but looking out of the corner of his eye, he saw what appeared to be a window. He arose and walked to the cliff face. Feeling the wall, his hands soon felt an opening. As he stood there, a sound came from his right. Turning slowly, he stood facing the thing that he sought. The Old Man stood there, a big smile on his face.
“I have been waiting on you,” the Old Man said. “I was looking for you to get here last night.” The voice of the Old Man sounded younger than his looks.
The Old Man looked older than anyone Bowdean could remember seeing. Slumped over, standing there, the Old Man only came up to Bowdean’s shoulder. Bowdean only being 5’9”was tall for the village, but the Old Man seemed to be only 5’ tall. Bowdean just stood there staring.