The Brass Bell — Chapter 6
The Brass Bell
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Chapter Six: The End of the Journey
“While it would seem to many that Coronado’s expedition was a failure, he actually discovered many new areas of the southwest United States, and claimed ownership of them for Spain. While they never found gold, their treasures were the amazing places they visited, including the Grand Canyon.”
– Coronado and the Golden Cities
Karol, Felix and Hector stood on the sidewalk looking up at a sign that read TREASURE ROOM. There was a big golden crown under the words. Instantly, they knew they had been fooled.
“Is this supposed to be some kind of a joke?” Felix yelled.
“Yeah, Hector,” Karol also was angry. “This isn’t funny!”
“I had no idea that this was the treasure,” Hector said, apologetically. “You’ve got to believe me!
“When I was little, my dad gave me this,” Hector said, pulling a gold coin from his pocket. “He told me that it came from Gallinas. I tried to get him to tell me more, but he wouldn’t. He would only say, ‘Just remember, the treasure is in the journey.’ ”
Hector held out the hand with the gold coin. It had the same crown as the sign and a few symbols, but no words. “Honestly, I had no idea that the coin came from here. I would never have made you two go through everything we did, for a dumb old game token!”
The dejected explorers all sat on the edge of the curb. It was hard for Karol and Felix to stay mad at Hector, because he looked just as disappointed as they felt. And Felix still remembered how he felt just a few days ago, when his soccer friends all shunned him.
“It’s OK, amigo,” Felix told his friend.
“Thanks, but now we still have to get back home and we’re all out of food!” Hector sniffed.
“Hey, we’re three pretty smart explorers. We’ll figure something out!” Felix gave Hector a friendly punch in the arm.
“What’s wrong?” Demetri yelled from his rolled-down window. They hadn’t noticed his taxi pull up, and his loud voice startled them.
“Well, there wasn’t a treasure after all,” Karol told Demetri.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Demetri said. “Would you kids like to meet my travel partner?”
The friends leaned into the taxi and received a shock. Sitting in the front seat, wearing a wool-beaded vest and buckled into a safety belt, was a small brown goat.
“I’ve got an idea,” Felix said, untying the string from around his neck. “This is for Misha!” He hooked the old brass bell onto the goat’s collar.
When he stepped back, Felix could see that Demetri had tears in his eyes.
“When I left Russia for a new life here in America, I had to leave behind many things,” he began. “And one of them was a small bell that would hang from the doorway of our home. I will forever keep this bell on Misha, and it will bring me good luck. Thank you!”
Felix felt like he had removed a heavy weight from around his neck. “You’re welcome,” he said softly.
“Well, I don’t know where you three are heading,” Demetri offered, “but I’m on my way to Corona, if you want a ride.”
As soon as they heard him say “Corona,” they were climbing into the back of his taxi.
“Buckle up, you three, and we’ll be on our way!” he directed.
They all did as he asked, then took turns telling Demetri tales of their overnight adventure.
“So … ‘the treasure is in the journey.’ What do you think it means?” Demetri pretended to wonder.
“Well, I know I’ve made a couple of really great friends,” Karol said. And suddenly it all made sense.
“Thanks, Demetri,” Felix said. “I think you helped us find our treasure!”
“It was nice meeting you all. Here’s your stop!” Demetri announced.
The taxi pulled up in front of the Corona School. The explorers grabbed their backpacks and thanked Demetri for the ride.
“Hold on a minute, chicos,” he said, walking to the back of the car. He opened the trunk and pulled out a well-used, blue and green, very familiar-looking soccer ball. He tossed it to Felix and climbed back into the driver’s seat without another word.
“I think my luck is starting to change already. Adios, see you at school tomorrow!” Felix said to his friends. He was eager to tell his grandma about his adventure. And as he walked home, he wondered if the curse had finally been lifted.
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Written by Cathy Sewell and illustrated by Blaise Sewell of The Curriculum Closet