Within the box
The stones-and-bones box opens to reveal a bottle of aqua vitae and a colour cipher. Lighting the fluid produces a magenta flame, and the secret message reads: ‘Between a silver teapot and a diamond lavaliere.’
Treasure hunters from my family will recognize this as a reference to Piggins, a charming children’s book about a crime-solving butler who is a pig.
Within the book
Between the leaves of the book is a fill-in-the-blank puzzle. Treasure hunters use Bible knowledge to give answers, from which select letters are compiled into a secret message. The message reads: ‘depths of the stump northwest of the castle.’
Within the stump
Earlier this year, Dad cut down a tree on the property. Its stump is all that remains, and the middle of it has decomposed to pulp. Fishing around in that pulp, the treasure hunters find another bottle of aqua vitae and a colour cipher.
The fluid burns purple, and the message reads: ‘Decipher for glass of green, orange, and yellow.’
The jigsaw puzzle
The meaning of the purple message is that the colour cipher should be interpreted for all other possible colors as well: green, orange, and yellow. These three messages read as follows:
- Lift the hen that roosts in the galley.
- Peer beneath the stone that glows in the library.
- Beneath a fountain in the garden.
Each of these three locations contains a bag of jigsaw puzzle pieces, all part of the single puzzle. When all three caches are brought together, the puzzle is assembled and turned over to reveal a message written on the back:
‘Freya contrived a device that would discover the secret of the castle treasure. The apparatus was placed high in the pantry, but the secret to the box lay in Freya’s head alone.’
The explanation comes in the next post.