A Messy Job
The forest was noisy with the echoing sound of a loud mechanical buzz.
Usually, they would have to slice through the bottom of the tree trunk and let it fall to the ground in one big piece. But one of the workers was slicing layers from the tree. He would then proceed to dig through the layers that were laying on the ground, excitement evident on his face. What was he doing?
An Okay Job
Being a lumberjack wasn’t the most exciting career in the world. But for Tony Markins, the job was still something to be grateful for.
He worked with a great team and the pay was decent. And, once in a blue moon, his fellow loggers would stumble on something mildly entertaining in the forest.
Tony was also the outdoorsy type. He couldn’t imagine spending his days trapped inside an office, staring at a screen.
He needed to be out in the fresh air indulging his senses and doing something physical. He knew his job came with its dangers but for him, it was just a part of the trade off. Little did he know how dangerous his job was about to get.
A Day Like Any Other
It was a cool, crisp Wednesday morning and work was already in full swing.
The air smelled like fresh pine mixed with pungent gasoline from their chainsaws. Even though he was wearing ear protection, he could still hear the constant hum of machinery that swarmed around the forest like a colony of bees. He had no idea that he was only a few trunks away from something extraordinary.
The chainsaws had sawdust flying everywhere. Particles stuck to his forehead that dripped with sweat from his brow. He turned off the saw and took a quick water break to recharge.
It was then that he spotted one tree that looked a little different than the others. It looked ominous. Its bark was darker than all the others. And it was tall too. It towered over Tony like Jack and the beanstalk.
Then he noticed something strange. The tree had several strange bumps on the surface. They protruded from the tree bark in a random pattern and were covered sporadically with moss.
Tony had never seen something like this before. He looked around, quickly, surveying the nearby trees. Usually, where there’s a tree with a deformity, there’ll be others. But this tree stood alone.
His first suspicion was the lumps were bark cankers – which is a disease that can affect many kinds of trees.
The infections didn’t affect his line of work. They were only important for farmers or people who were at risk of a rotten trunk falling on their car or home. He looked closer.
The strange lumps weren’t formed by any disease he had seen before. So, he put his gear back on and started up the chainsaw.
He had no idea what to expect but he knew the tree was hiding something interesting. Unbeknownst to him, the tree was hiding a lot more something ‘interesting’. What it held inside was simply beyond belief.
Tony held the strange object in his hand, turning it between his thumb and finger. He held it up to the sky, watching it glisten as it caught the reflection of the sun.
The buzzing chainsaw tore into the enormous tree with more ease than expected.It didn’t take long before Tony was yelling “Timber!” with all his might. The tree crashed into the open space away from the other workers. Finally, the moment of truth.
A high-pitched crack pierced through the air as the tree gave way to the pull of gravity. It hit the ground with a loud thump. Tony felt the vibration under his feet as the ground absorbed its weight. It was by far the most dangerous cut he’d done.
It seemed like the whole forest trembled with it’s impact. Once everything got still again, Tony turned his attention to the freshly cut trunk. It only took one look to see this was anything but normal..
A large gash ran through the center of the trunk.
The tree had formed a protective crust around the wound. Luckily, the rings were still clear enough to figure out how old the tree was. It was at least 30 to 35 years old. Just as Tony was about to shrug off the discovery as an odd deformity, he saw something more.
He noticed something silver embedded at the end of the gash. Tony’s heart dared to beat a little faster.
He quickly whipped out his knife and pried out the foreign object. It was a lump of metal, and his chainsaw had narrowly missed it, threatening to cut it in half. He studied it under the sunlight before shouting for his fellow lumberjacks to come over.
More Metal Objects
They began to make their way over, responding to his call for help. As they approached, Tony looked back at the tree trunk and realized there was more in there.
He took his knife to them again, eagerly yet carefully removing the curious objects. He pried out another three metal lumps! He held them in his hand completely dumbfounded.
Asking For Help
“Anyone know what this is?” he asked, trying to keep his mind firmly within reality – and not jump to wild ideas of hidden treasure.
One guy picked up one of the lumps and turned it around in his fingers. It seemed they were all as confused as Tony. It wasn’t until one of the older workers joined them, did he finally get an unexpected answer.
The grey, gruff worker bent down and chuckled.
Everyone stared at him, waiting eagerly for the truth. “Someone was bored,” he said with an amused grin. Bored? What was going on? How was 30-year-old metal connected to boredom. “Feel like clueing in the rest of us?” Tony asked.
An Amusing Truth
The old man scratched his beard and said, “Some guys come out here hunting. And if they don’t get anything, they get bored and fire at trees.”
The rest of the group took on the same grin as the old-timer. They were old rounds from a rifle. It might not have been the magical treasure he had hoped for, but the trunk wasn’t ready to call it a day yet. Neither was Tony.
Although he didn’t get his hopes too high, Tony couldn’t help but feel disappointed with the result. His quiet disappointment made him even more determined to make sure old bullets were all this tree hid.
Regardless, he was already in the spirit of discovery so he took up his chainsaw and continued to investigate. Good thing he did too or he would have never discovered the real treasure.
Finding Something Else
Layer by layer, he stripped away the wood.
In total, there were eight rounds lodged in the tree. Someone must have been bored indeed – or even really frustrated. But it wasn’t until he got to the very bottom that the real treasure finally revealed itself.
Tony was down to the very last wood layer of the tree stump. It was nearly touching the ground. He stacked up all the bullets in a pile beside him. He was going to take them out of the forest whether they were worth anything or not.
He didn’t like anything but nature being in the woods but his next find would tell you otherwise.
He was just about to cut the stump clean off when he spotted something lodged in the corner. It sparkled against the high sun just like the bullets. It was more metal.
Tony assumed it was another bullet. He moved the shrubs aside and reached for it. It was half covered in dirt. At first touch, it felt much bigger than the other bullets. But it wasn’t a bullet at all.
Tony wiped the dirt off the metal, still thinking it was another bullet. He grabbed the end of his shirt, wiping the dirt away. It wasn’t until he noticed the intricate carving details that he suddenly realized what he was holding.
Tony’s jaw hit the floor. What was something like this doing all the way out here in the middle of nowhere? He turned it around. Now this was definitely more valuable than old bullets.
Better Than Average
The metal casing told him it was not a run-of-the-mill purchase.
What was even better was the inside needle still worked! All in all, it was a nice piece of hunting or survival equipment. Can you guess what Tony found?
A Nice Find
It was a compass! And not just any compass. It was one of the most beautifully crafted compasses he’d seen.
It had been lodged in the roots of the tree – probably dropped by a hunter on one of their outings. The years of rain and snow must have buried it next to the old tree. Tony grinned, wondering how old and valuable it was.
A Neat Story
The compass looked pretty old and there was no way to find out who it belonged to. He checked every corner to check if it was dated or had initials – it didn’t.
Without making a fuss, he slipped it in his jacket pocket while the rest of the crew grinned and went back to work. He went home that night and arranged for an antique expert to date it.
He waited anxiously as the woman scoured over the compass with a magnifying glass and a notebook. She jotted down something every now and again. When she finished, she turned to Tony and grinned.
She told him that the compass was a beautiful and unique find that was over 100 years old. At the moment, it would sell for $200. Tony was delighted! However, he decided to hold onto it for now.