As Indiana Jones once, rather astutely pointed out, when it comes to treasure "X never, ever marks the spot". Well, it does if you're a pirate, which basically means that as a pirate you have a statistically much higher chance of finding treasure than any archaeologist ever would. I find this a bit unfortunate and if someone had presented me with this hard and fast evidence I would have ticked the pirate box and not the archaeologist box on my careers worksheet at school. Instead, I have to make do with reading Treasure Island and fantasising about my ideal bespoke treasure island (emeralds growing on trees- I know this is an arboreal unlikelihood but it's my fantasy so back off; lagoons filled with sapphires, gold dubloons in huge heapy piles at the foot of azure blue waterfalls and knuckle sized diamonds to be chipped off the walls of underground caverns).
Stevenson's Treasure Island is much less of a Disney-esque fantasy and Jim Hawkins, narrator and salty sea dog in the making, is forced to pit his wits against the wiliest of all pirates, Long John Silver in a race to retrieve the booty. After finding an oil-skin map in a dead mans chest (nice Robert, very nice) Jim sets off to find some trustworthy (or gullible) adults. Jim must be in possession of some serious powers of persuasion because within minutes the good squire and his associates are rustling up a ship (no mean feat when a schooner could set you back £6000 and your chance of surviving the voyage was slim), tightening their buckanneering belts and getting ready to hit the high seas. It turns out the ships cook is more than he seems though and not to be underestimated (I wonder if JF Lawton, the writer of Under Siege was a Treasure Island fan, after all he served up Casey Rybeck, the most underestimated ships cook of all time).
Caribbean capers ensue as Long John Silver serves up a melting pot of mendacity in an attempt to get his hand on Captain Flint's treasure. Jim Hawkins proves he's tougher than a soused herring that's been at the bottom of a barrel for a year and successfully repels the Island siege before hoisting the main sail, jibing -ho and heading for Britain. The other pirates are left marooned as a punishment and their skeletons will be unearthed 250 years from the time of telling during the construction of a Sandals adult holiday resort. Personally I think I'd rather be marooned than go to Sandals.
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