One Tin Soldier

Once upon a time, in a far off land long ago, there was a mighty kingdom upon an even mightier mountain, with a village at the mountain’s base. On the mountain was rumored to be the greatest treasure that any man could fight for, and the greedy people of the valley swore to get it for their own. Every day the villager’s lived in envy of the mountain kingdom, they would sit and talk of all they could do with the gold that the treasure was sure to contain. Every day and every night the villagers tried to conjure up a plan to get the treasure, and finally someone came up with an idea.

The man’s idea was simple: demand the treasure by messenger and if the demand was not met within the month, the villagers would revolt against the castle and steal the treasure by any means possible. Everyone in the village was excited now, since they could all see that their years of wishful envy would soon be justified. Their jealous envies would be replaced with joy and happiness for many years to come. They all thought of jewels and crowns, gold and riches, but none could fathom just how priceless the treasure really was.

A message was sent up the hill demanding the treasure, but no reply returned with the messenger. The villagers waited for a reply, but it was two weeks before one came. The message was brought by one of the castle’s messengers, who read it aloud to the villagers. The messenger spoke quickly but sweetly while sitting atop his elegant horse. He called out the message to the people, who listened intently.

“The mountain kingdom has received your message and acknowledges your demands and this is their reply. ‘With our brothers we will share all of this mountain’s treasures, all of the secrets buried here.’”

The town went into an uproar. They slaughtered the messenger and placed his head upon a pike. The villagers took up their arms and stormed the castle. By nightfall they had turned the castle court into a pool of blood. The once beautiful marble walls of the castle were now covered in drying blood. Bodies were strewn everywhere, but most were piled outside the castle gates. The night was dark, for the moon had hidden itself from the horrid sights of the massacre below.

The castle was searched from top to bottom for a map to the buried treasure, but none was found. The only chamber left to search was the king’s quarters. Upon searching the villagers plundered every possible gem they could find from the man’s room, but the most prized article they found was the map they had been seeking, which had been buried beneath a pile of other documents. One of the documents was the peace treaty between the mountain castle and village, which the villagers had broken for their own foolish greed. The treaty was burned with the king’s body, and the smell of burning flesh filled the air. The funeral pyre soon reached the clouds as the villagers threw all the castle tenants onto it.

By the light of lanterns the villagers set out to find the treasure they had fought for. Men carried shovels and picks, while the women carried lanterns to light the way. They stumble upon the place where the treasure was supposed to be buried by the time the sun had cracked the horizon. The lanterns were extinguished and all watched intently as the men dug for hours, throwing the stone they turned onto a pile. The pile grew and grew, and the hole got deeper and deeper, but the treasure still hadn’t been revealed. Just as the villagers were losing hope one man called out. He had hit wood and thought it sounded slightly hollow. The villagers watched intently as the remaining stone was turned away and the chest was revealed. Two of the village’s strongest men lifted the chest from the hole and laid it before the feet of the rest. Everyone stared intently at the box, all with their own expectations of what was waiting inside. One man stepped foreword and unlatched the chest and flung the top back.

Peace on Earth was all it said…