Jarrod Cook

English Block 1

The Foolís Gold Claim

Mrs. Rifenberick

October 23, 2002

 

††††††††††† On the west coast of the United States in the Sierra mountains there are many flowing rivers in which great fortunes can be found.California has just become popular due to all the gold that has been flowing through these beautiful rivers.People come from far and wide to get a piece of this gold for themselves.Some of them find millions and others are not so lucky.

††††††††††† Mr. John Willows was an average man born and raised in the great state of Virginia.He was single and had a good job - that is until he was fired.He began to fall into debt and was forced to give up his house and most of his possessions, that is when he heard about the gold rush.According to the Virginia times California was the spewing out millionaires like a geyser.John, having nowhere else to go, spent almost all of his remaining money on supplies, a wagon, and some oxen.He packed up his stuff and headed west to claim his fortune.It was a grueling trip for John, by the time he reached California he had exhausted his food supply and all but one of his oxen had drown or died of starvation.This did not matter to John he had made it to California and soon would be rich and could afford anything he desired.

††††††††††† John had arrived in Gold City, one of the first towns to spring up during the gold rush, and wasted no time in getting to work.The first order of business was to buy himself a land claim so that he could begin his search for riches.He took all the money he had left to the claims office and asked how much a claim cost.The man showed him all the claims he had but even the smallest ones were too expensive for John to afford.Just when John had about given up hope he noticed an extremely cheap claim that had as much land as the most expensive claims did.John asked the clerk about this claim but the man said that not one person wants that land because it is haunted.John, not being the type to believe in these silly superstitions and also left with no other choice, decided to buy this ďhauntedĒ claim.John paid for the claim and used his left over money to buy equipment and food.He packed up his wagon and headed toward his land to get right to work.

††††††††††† The land John had bought was very beautiful, filled with wildflowers, trees, and much wildlife.He immediately set up his tent and got his gold panning equipment prepared.He then headed down to the river and went to work; he worked all day and the next day.After the second day in his search for gold John went to exchange his gold for cash in the village.After Johnís two days of hard labor all he had to show for it was five dollars.John became extremely depressed by what had just happened.He just could not understand it everyone who came here was rich but why wasnít he?To relieve his depression John headed down to the local tavern.At the tavern he met a mysterious old man by the name of Thomas Smith.After learning that John had bought the haunted claim he began to reveal to John the legend that came with it.

††††††††††† Long ago before Gold City was here there was a group of five men that came to look for gold.Being the first people to pan for gold in this section of the river they were very successful and would all become very rich.Too much money is not always a good thing though; these men became greedy and paranoid.They got little sleep because they were always worried that one of their companions would steal all their gold.One night there was a great storm and the men were forced to take refuge in the cave located on Johnís claim.The men went into the cave that night and not one came out the next morning.Most people say that greed overcame the five men and they murdered each other.They say that the greed still infests these men even to this day and they devote their afterlife to guarding the gold within the cave.Each year on the night when the men disappeared if you listen closely you can hear the struggle that took place in the cave that night.

††††††††††† This story made Johnís spirit shoot through the roof.He was immediately overcome with greed and did not care what was said to be residing in that cave.He did not waste any time in getting that gold, he set off that very night to get the gold from the cave.He got a lantern and a pick ax and headed into the cave.He continued to go deeper and deeper into the cave when at last, was this it?Had he found it?There was a box on the floor in the cave he gradually grew closer to the box, greed and anxiety growing ever stronger inside of him.He reached down and began to open the box.Just as he lifted the lid his lantern went out.At that moment loud shouting and screaming was heard throughout the mountain range and John was never heard from again.

††††††††††† Some say that John was just careless and in his clumsiness started a cave-in burying himself inside.Others say he got the gold and ran off never to be seen again.Most people who heard the noise that night believe neither of these and think that when he tried to steal the gold of the five men he was killed by their spirits.What you choose to believe is up to you and if you wish to find out for yourself the cave still stands to this day, the gold still inside.