I was walking through the forest when I stumbled upon a treasure chest. It looked antique with a finishing of Baobab wood and Romanian gold, which is amongst one of the most precious kinds of gold on earth.

When I tried to open the chest, five wild coyotes chased me through the magnificent Congo forest in the heart of Africa, right up to the Congo canyon. It was 5000 feet deep, with the Congo River flowing on the canyon bed.

I could see was black smoke. When I looked down, I could see red flames engulfing the canyon. The coyotes jumped in the canyon and died. But I saw a gap between the rocks, just big enough for me to slide through.

After approximately nine hours a rainstorm cleared the fire but still the air wasn’t very breathable, so I wrapped a damp cloth around my face. Finally I climbed back up the canyon wall looking for the treasure chest. After a lot of searching, I finally stepped on something hard.

It was the chest. As it was very heavy to take back to the village, I tried to break the lock with a stone but it wouldn’t budge. Whatever I had to do, I had to be fast as it was starting to get dark quickly and wild animals would soon come out on their nightly prowl.

I tried to crack the lock using two sticks, but it didn’t help. Then I decided to take it to the village that we were staying at. As my mum was an archaeologist, she would know all about the chest. I made a cart out of bamboo sticks and small stones.

Then using some rope, I tied the chest to the cart. As I got near the village, I covered it with a cloth as the locals believed that even a penny taken from the forest is cursed and they wouldn’t let me take it to the village.

When I showed the chest to my mum, she angrily asked, “Where did you get this?”

When I told her that I had got it from the forest, she panicked and said, “This is cursed!”

I argued with her but she said, “Whoever opens it, their whole family will be cursed and nothing good will ever happen for 50 generations down. All the treasures in the forest are actually cursed, so never take anything from there.”

So we buried it in our backyard. But I am still proud of my making a discovery deep in the forest on my own.

Published in Dawn, Young World, December 21st, 2019