Diggin’ It…..


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Ever since Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island in the 1880’s western cultures have associated peg legged pirates, foul speaking parrots and treasure maps displaying a big fat “x”  with buried treasure. Old west outlaws seem to have also buried their stolen treasure in deep holes.

Lackeys dug a grave-like rectangle in the sandy desert floor and into it went chests of gold, silver, cash, bank notes. All to be retrieved later after the local law lost interest in the hunt. The words “buried” and “treasure” are so commonly spoken together that many of us naturally assume that all treasure is buried. But of course its not.

In Forrest’s poem there is no indication that you’ll need a shovel to get at his treasure. In interviews he always carefully selects his words  and deliberately avoids the word “buried” when speaking about the treasure or the chest. Instead he uses the word “hidden”.

I bring this up because the most oft’ repeated statement that I hear falsely attributed to Forrest is that he said he “buried” the treasure. In fact, I have not seen printed or heard in interviews anywhere where Forrest ever said the treasure was buried. More importantly, I’ve heard him correct individuals who have attributed the word “buried” to his description of the chest. “I never said buried.”, He once told a reporter over lunch in Santa Fe.

Forrest’s vigorous denial of using the word “buried” suggests to me that it really is not buried. If it was buried he would not take such strong objection to the word. Of course this is all circumstantial evidence but I believe you won’t need a metal detector to locate it. He hid the chest but did not bury it and if you are in the right location you might have to look around…inside a hollow tree, under a rock, in a cave…who knows…but in my opinion it is not buried.


10 thoughts on “Diggin’ It…..

  1. So it’s not buried? LOL kidding…I don’t know how you always find interesting things to write Dal. Another good read.

  2. This sunny afternoon as I was raking hickory gold and maple silver I pondered some of the clues in Forrest’s poem—not that I have any intention of hunting for the treasure, but because it seems like such a good topic to write about. (More about that later.) One of the words I mentally dissected was “hidden.” I, too, came to the conclusion that the author chose the word deliberately, that it probably did not mean buried—just as those wolves you saw were at first hidden, but in no way buried. Lots to think about.

    • Rick-
      I don’t think that Forrest ever said that. But others will correct me if I am wrong. I think some people have determined that it is unlikely to be under water based on other things Forrest has said. Different folks have determined that it could be in water. I think it’s one of those points a person has to decide for her/himself based on what Forrest has told us about the location of the treasure and perhaps even broader information such as his goals for starting the chase…one would think the location of his hidey place would align with his goals.

  3. This is one of the ongoing mysteries of the Chase….Some say it’s in water…others refute that idea. Others are converts in either direction….but one thing for sure…There is only one person that knows without a doubt ! I also enjoy reading what Dal wrote about… buried or not…another unsolved mystery of the Chase….

  4. The Answers may be in another RLS poem-

    My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky;
    It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
    For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
    With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

    Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
    And my papa’s a banker and as rich as he can be;
    But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do,
    Oh Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

    For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
    And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
    And O! before you hurry by with ladder and with light,
    O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight!

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