In the south of Poland, close to the large city of Krakow, Adam resided in a little town. Dinnertime was Adam’s favorite time of the day.
Not because his mother made the best meal in the world, but rather because the entire family would gather in front of the television during dinner to watch the news.
The news stories Adam saw featured exotic-looking people from various cultures, natural disasters in nations he had never been to, and details on the coolest celebrities and their fascinating lifestyles.
No school lesson could compare to these stories. Such a tale was the one that permanently altered Adam’s life.
Just before harvest, the family was gathered around a piping-hot bowl of homemade macaroni and chicken soup one evening.
The top news item was a puzzling heist at Krakow’s adjacent Wawel Castle. Thieves had entered Smok’s den throughout the night and taken the loot!
The legend of Smok the Dragon, who dwelt in Wawel Castle many centuries ago, is well known across Poland. Smok used to consume the King’s cattle while residing in the caves beneath the castle.
The King promised the man who could destroy the powerful dragon his daughter’s hand in marriage. The great dragon was finally slain by a straightforward cobbler, despite numerous valiant knights and noblemen trying and failing to do so.
Dragons lie on a bed of gold wealth, as every schoolboy and girl is aware. The King left the bed of gold in Smok’s lair after the dragon was killed because he wanted other dragons to believe that Smok still resided in Wawel Castle. The King had cried, “That way, I will never again be plagued by dragons!”
Because each successive monarch thought the money brought luck to his people, the gold coins remained in the dragon’s cave for hundreds of years.
Adam initially learned of the robbery while eating dinner in front of the television. The gold coins had remained in the lair for all of that time before they were taken.
At Wawel Castle was the reporter. She was speaking with a large police officer. The policeman declared, “We think the burglars entered the castle during the day while posing as tourists.”
They must have remained concealed in a dim area of Smok’s cave until the castle’s daytime closing. They then crammed as much gold into two big suitcases as they could. This is all that’s left of the priceless gold coins,” he stated, pointing to a spot on the castle floor.
A few gold coins that were lying around on the floor caught the attention of the camera.
A very desolate castle curator was standing next to the police officer. He was rubbing his head and muttering something about the castle and the city of Krakow having particularly bad luck.
Adam’s dad exclaimed in shock, “All that treasure gone!”
What if a different dragon appears and notices that all the gold has vanished? queried Adam. They will be aware that Smok is no longer present. After all these years, the castle might be invaded, and we would have a new dragon!
The King should go to the bank and get some more gold coins out before it is too late, Basia, Adam’s older sister, said while chuckling to herself.
After sharing a smile, the family went back to enjoying their excellent chicken soup. Adam thought it appeared that no one believed in dragons any longer, so perhaps there was no need to be concerned.
The following morning, Adam and the rest of his family got up unusually early. To bring in the harvest, his dad, older brothers, and sister were all heading out to the fields.
They would be gone all day long. They had to leave extremely early because the fields were distant from the farmhouse. Everyone would have to work hard.
Every harvest, several family members took turns staying at home to take care of the farm animals and prepare the barn to store the crops. They also had to make a feast to feed the starving family when they got home. Adam’s turn was this year.
Adam gathered the meal scraps for the farm animals and made his way to the stables to feed the horses their hay as his family departed in the tractor. After milking the cows, he led them outside to graze in the pasture.
Cleaning out the barn was the next task.
Adam entered through the big doors. As soon as he was inside, Adam noticed a weird, golden light shimmering from the barn’s backside shadows. He wondered, “I wonder what that may be,” and he went to look.
He was shocked to discover gold on the barn floor as he drew near the shimmering light. When a suitcase broke open, gold was inside! Additionally, there was another case nearby that was still open. Adam was awestruck. This was the gold from Smok’s hideout, he was certain.
He reasoned that the cases must have been stashed here while the thieves were fleeing and trying to avoid being discovered by the authorities.
To tell his family what he had seen, Adam sprinted back to his home. When Adam got to the house, he realised his family wasn’t there.
He hurried to the phone, picked it up, and then halted once again. He had someone in mind to call. He was missing the castle’s phone number.
He considered calling the police, but he knew they wouldn’t take him seriously. He put down the phone and gave it some thought.
Adam now realised what he had to do. He hurried back to the barn, gathered the gold coins, and closed the suitcase with a zipper.
Then, after much huffing and puffing, he was able to fit both cases inside the wheelbarrow after retrieving it from the stable.
He was not very excited about the following step of his plan. He would have to travel to Krakow by bus and return the gold on his own.
Adam had never taken a bus in his life, and he had also never visited Krakow, a large city with a lot of people, heavy traffic, and tall buildings.
Adam was terrified by the idea, but he was resolved to be brave and bring the gold back to Smok’s den regardless of what happened. After all, someone had to defend the castle from dragons, he reasoned.
Adam remembered to take his coat from the rack behind the door and took the jar containing his pocket money from beneath his bed.
He shut the farmhouse’s front door after that and went to get the wheelbarrow from the barn. He started moving in the direction of the bus stop at the edge of the hamlet after he had mastered the wheelbarrow, which was extremely heavy indeed.
Adam didn’t know when the following bus would arrive. He was already getting anxious about the trip and whether the driver would let him board with his wheelbarrow, so he hoped he wouldn’t have to wait too long. The bus then abruptly came to a stop in front of him after rounding a corner in the road.
When the doors opened, the driver first looked at the boy before turning to look at the wheelbarrow. Adam was at a loss for what to do. Are you getting on or not, the bus driver said after a brief pause.
Am I allowed to carry my wheelbarrow? queried Adam.
The driver took a little break. Someone from one of the villages had previously asked him whether they might carry a wheelbarrow onboard his bus.
Adam was fortunate that the bus wasn’t already loaded down with hay, live chicks, or even a sheep that the driver had once permitted an elderly woman to put on board in exchange for two tickets.
“Fine,” the driver replied. Just move quickly.
Adam finally succeeded in squeezing the wheelbarrow onto the bus after much more huffing and puffing, and he soon settled into a seat in the rear.
Don’t you think you forgot something? The bus’s driver yelled something from the front.
Adam studied the bus driver as he tried to figure out what he might be trying to say.
You haven’t paid, I say.
Of course! He had a ticket to buy. Adam leaped out of his seat and sprinted toward the autopilot. He surrendered his money jar and requested to be escorted to Wawel Castle.
The driver grabbed the cash needed for a single journey to Krakow out of the jar. He pulled a ticket from the machine and gave Adam the ticket as well as the jar containing the remaining change from his pocket. Adam got up from his chair and headed back to the wheelbarrow.
Adam focused on the cases in the cart as the bus departed the village. He didn’t enjoy the idea of leaving the hamlet and travelling alone, so he was frightened to look out the window.
Adam was familiar with everyone in the town, but he wouldn’t know a soul in a large metropolis like Krakow, where he may find it easy to get lost.
The bus made brief stops every few minutes to pick up additional passengers while moving quite slowly.
This is going to take forever, Adam thought.
He eventually got tired of gazing at the baggage and made the daring decision to stare out the window. He had lost track of where he was and was concerned that he would be unable to get home.
The environment had altered. It was neither green nor roomy. He was used to wide open spaces, but here there were only tall, drab buildings.
All he could see now, in place of the herds of cattle, were hundreds of people strolling along vast miles of pavement.
Adam was overpowered. He questioned, “Where could all these people possibly have come from?”
The bus abruptly stopped, and the driver yelled back to Adam that this was his stop. Castle Wawel! He had at last arrived!
The soldiers were stationed on either side of the enormous gates, and Adam pushed the wheelbarrow up to them. Adam could make out the majestic castle beyond the gates. It was enormous and quite frightful.
One of the guards asked wryly, “Going on vacation?”
No, Adam answered. So that you won’t get any more dragons, I have something that belongs to the castle and I’m here to return it.
The soldiers turned their attention back to Adam after glancing down at the bags. Adam was going to be instructed to continue running when the curator suddenly appeared at the gates.
Adam instantly recognised him from the news. The small youngster took advantage of the situation by opening one of the suitcases and removing a solitary gold coin. I believe this belongs to you, he declared as he triumphantly held up the coin to the curator.
The curator was ecstatic. When Adam described how he had found the abandoned cases in his family’s barn, the man could not believe what he was hearing.
Adam also explained to the curator how he had acquired the wheelbarrow and his pocket money, as well as how he had never before taken a bus all the way to Krakow. A sizable audience had gathered to hear Adam’s tale, and everyone was in awe of the youngster.
Following the curator through the castle to Smok’s den, the guards picked up the cases and Adam joined them.
Adam had never previously entered a genuine castle. Even outside of a real castle, he had never gone before.
He watched in awe as he was taken through expansive chambers decorated with pricey silks and antiquated paintings. The size and sophistication of each area appeared to increase.
When the group finally arrived to Smok’s entrance, they carefully climbed the stairs. They continued until the winding stairs opened out into the lair itself, despite the fact that it got darker and colder the deeper they went.
Adam muttered, “It looks exactly as it did on the television yesterday.”
Adam and the curator both grabbed large handfuls of the bright gold pieces when the guards opened the suitcases and started hurling them across the floor in pure delight.
The curator was giggling aloud while also feeling happy and relieved. Adam was giggling because he was so pleased with himself for having completed his task to return the treasure and secure the castle.
“Stop making dragons!” He considered.
Adam started to say farewell after returning all of the money to their proper places because he still had a long voyage to go on. However, the curator was not about to permit the youngster to leave in that way.
The curator remarked, “You are truly the bravest boy in the entire city.” “You should remain a bit so that we may properly thank you,”
Even though Adam really wanted to stay, he couldn’t help but think of his family, home, and the upcoming lengthy bus ride.
I’d like to remain, but I haven’t set up the barn for the harvest or the evening meal, he added. My family will be worried about me and upset that I haven’t finished all of my responsibilities.
Don’t be alarmed, the curator said. “You did a great thing for the city.” We are now going to take care of you. Come with me!
The curator then escorted Adam through the castle’s main hall and up a pitch-black stairs. The old man gave directions to the guards along the way, and they subsequently yelled orders into their radios. The castle appeared to suddenly be bustling with activity.
When Adam and the curator arrived at the castle gates, a gleaming black limousine and a sizable truck were waiting for them.
Castle guards were loading the truck’s rear with a variety of big and small boxes while wearing their royal crimson and gold uniforms. Adam entered the vehicle after the very well-dressed chauffeur opened the door and tipped his hat.
Even without using any of his pocket money, the trip back to Adam’s hamlet was significantly quicker than his initial bus ride into the city.
They quickly arrived in the village and soon made their way off the main road to Adam’s house.
Adam could see his family in the yard as the limousine climbed the gravel driveway to the home. When they saw the limousine, the truck, and the guards in their red and gold uniforms, they all appeared very anxious and perplexed.
The entire family rushed towards Adam when the convoy halted, making it difficult for him to comprehend them and even more challenging for him to respond to their queries because they were all speaking at once.
The curator entered just as Adam was explaining why he hadn’t finished his responsibilities and how he had brought the missing riches back to the palace.
The curator greeted the family and stated, “A really brave youngster you have here.” “Everyone at the castle is just tremendously appreciative,”
By the time the curator had done telling the daring actions of their son, Adam’s parents were beaming with pride.
The curator then remarked, “I realise that there are a few tasks around the farm that still need to be completed. Don’t worry about a thing, please. He then turned to face the guards and nodded.
The guards separated into three groups right away. While one group started unloading the gathered crops from the trailer, the first sprinted to the barn to make room for them.
The third party hurried to the house and moved the dining table outside into the farmyard, setting it with a magnificent cloth, fancy silverware from the castle, plates, and glasses.
Huge platters of mouthwatering meals were brought out of the truck’s back and set on the table.
Adam’s family took a seat at the table, and the curator then suggested raising a glass in his honour. As a guard of honour surrounded them, Adam mused, “This is what it must be like to be royalty.”
Adam informed the family about the castle, the masses of people, the great buildings in Krakow, and the limousine trip as they all laughed and ate together.
It had been a truly amazing day. Adam assured himself that he would never forget his journey as he savoured the delectable meal. But he was also quite happy that his brother would be staying home the following year when Adam went to work with his family in the fields for the harvest.