Long, long ago, in the land of dwarves, an amazing treasure was forged. One part was a helmet that let the wearer see through stone, wood and water. The second and last part was shoes of gold that made the wearer silent and invisible. For generations, the king of dwarves held these treasures until the great battle of Stone Circle, where the dwarves were defeated by humans. The dwarf king was fatally wounded, and the humans took the treasure, never realizing what they possessed. The treasures were child-sized to humans. Many more generations passed, and the treasures became forgotten by time and memory, until Simon visited Castle Archer and Castle Thunder on his summer vacation. Although Simon missed his family during his travels to see his school friends, he didn’t miss his archenemy, his neighbor Tristan.
Simon liked to play hide-and-seek, hunt the treasure and capture the castle. One day he played a new game combining all the other games with his friend Sir Alec of Castle Archer. The boys called the new game hide-and-hunt. They made an old dirty helmet the treasure, and asked Sir Alec’s father to hide it. Simon ran from hiding place to hiding place, found the treasure and captured the castle by hiding the treasure in his suitcase without being seen. Sir Alec’s father let him take the dusty old helmet as a prize for winning.
Next Simon visited Joe Brown who was visiting his twin cousins Henry and Arthur in Castle Thunder. Joe, Henry, Arthur and Simon played pirate the first day, space explorers the second day, alien marauder the third day, and the last day of the visit, Simon introduced his new friends to hide-and-hunt. Arthur produced a grubby pair of old-fashioned gilt high-heeled shoes that no one could get onto their big feet. Simon shrugged, and agreed to let Henry and Arthur’s nanny hide them. She thought the shoes were cute, which made the boys all roll their eyes, but they were too small for her feet, too. Simon had a genius for hide-and-hunt, and before long, he had spotted the shiny shoes up on a high shelf behind a picture of the twins as nearly naked babies.
Simon climbed up on the piano and quickly had them in hand, but he had to hide for five long minutes behind a curtain while Henry searched the room. After agonizing minutes dodging Arthur in the long hall, he reached his suitcase and was declared the winner. When Henry and Arthur’s parents came home, they gave Simon the shoes as a prize for winning and for being a great friend to Joe and their twins.
After getting home, Simon threw the treasures into the back of his closet. One rainy day, he was looking around for something to do, and he pulled out his prizes. He smiled as he remembered his victories in hunt-and-hide. He decided to put on the helmet for the first time. He looked over, and he could see his mother typing on her computer, through two walls and the floor. He took the helmet off in surprise, and could no longer see his mother. Then he put on the shoes in front of the mirror, and completely disappeared. He couldn’t even hear himself breathe. He snuck downstairs, and his mother never saw him sneak brownies off the plate at her elbow.
He sat munching brownies, and thinking things out. He would never lose a game of hide-and-hunt with these! He remembered his last defeat at the hands of his archenemy, Tristan. Tristan had won Simon’s mask and snorkel in a game of poker over Winter Break. Simon had told his mother he’d lost them, and she was still mad about it. Simon later heard Tristan admitting he had cheated to his friends and laughing. Simon wanted them back.
He challenged Tristan to play his new game. “Why do you bother to ask me to play games, I always win.” Tristan bragged with a bored tone, not untruthfully.
“I want the flippers.” Tristan imagined himself wearing them with the mask and snorkel at the beach. He rubbed his hands together. “If you make them the prize, I’ll play.”
“Okay, we can make the flippers the prize,” Simon said casually. “But if I win, I keep the flippers, and I get back my mask and snorkel. We have to get them into the hall bench without being seen.”
“Deal.” Tristan agreed quickly. “My friend Nick gets to hide the prize.”
“That’s not fair!” Simon made a show of protesting. He knew Tristan planned to cheat. “Nick has to hide them in the yard, and we both have to stay inside while he does. I’m going to stay in my closet. You stay in my sister’s closet. They don’t have windows.” Tristan called Nick, and he agreed to come hide the flippers. When Simon and Tristan hid separately, Simon slid on the helmet. He could see Tristan crouched in among the pink and purple dresses. He could also see Nick hiding the flippers in the grill out back. Nick then went and hid behind the beech tree.
Simon hustled down the back stairs with the shoes on, and managed to get the flippers while Nick was looking over his shoulder. Simon quickly moved the flippers under the rhododendron bush. He hid and waited. He saw Tristan come out the front door and head directly for Nick behind the beech. He couldn’t hear what they were saying, but Tristan headed straight for the grill.
“Hey, they aren’t here! Are you lying to me?” He immediately accused Nick, and they started screaming at each other behind the beech. Simon left the helmet and shoes under the bush, and used the distraction to whisk the flippers into the hall bench.
“I win, I win!” He called really loudly, as happy as could be at vanquishing his enemy. His mother came out, and she heard the whole story of the poker game and the new game of hide-and-hunt, all except for the helmet and shoes. After all, mothers don’t really believe in secret treasure. She sent Tristan for the mask and snorkel right away. Then she forbid Simon to play with Tristan. She also forbade any more cheating. Simon decided to decided to listen to his mother, and he left the treasures where they were. And there they sit to this very day unless the dwarves have come and taken them back.
Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham