On a small island called Nuru, there lived a small boy named Troy. He had always wanted to be a pirate. Every day he would put on his pirate hat and swing his wooden toy sword around, pretending to fight off other pirates and seek out buried treasure. His friend, Nathaniel, thought it would be pretty cool to be a pirate also, but he was not as serious as Troy.
Troy’s mother did not like the idea of Troy becoming a pirate. “Pirates are evil,” she would tell him. “You are a good boy, Troy. The pirate life doesn’t suit you.”
Troy did not listen to his mother. He believed he could be anything he wanted to be.
Then one day, there was a rumor going around Nuru that there was buried treasure hidden in a cave far west of their island. A group of townspeople were going to board a ship and search for it. Troy wanted to join the group, but his mother said, “absolutely not!”
It didn’t matter to Troy. He was going to do what he wanted to do. The simple life of a kid on Nuru Island just wasn’t the life he wanted. He needed excitement, and here was his opportunity.
Troy constructed a boat from old wood he found around the island. After assembling a sail out of his bed sheet, he decided it was time to set sail. Before he pushed it into the water, Nathaniel ran down the hill after him.
“Troy! Troy!” He yelled. “Don’t go! It’s not safe!”
“I’m not happy here, Nathaniel,” Troy told him. “I was born for adventure! I was meant to be a pirate!”
“Your family is here,” Nathaniel argued. “Your mother loves you, and your friends love you.”
“No matter where I go,” Troy said, “I’ll always have you in my heart.”
Troy pushed the boat into the water and then jump on. When the boat was further out, he turned and waved goodbye to his friend. Seeing his friend standing on the beach, the beach where they played countless times, he had a small urge to stop and turn back. He fought back that urge and continued onward, toward the cave far west of Nuru.
Troy clung onto the pole in the center of the boat. The wind had picked up, causing the waves to get bigger. The white clouds then started to turn black, and Troy realized a storm was brewing. He hoped he would see the cave before the storm arrived.
The wind grew stronger and there was a flash of lightning off in the distance, followed by a roar of thunder. Troy closed his eyes and thought of his mother. He thought of her tucking him in at bedtime and reading his favorite story to him. The boat rocked violently. Troy hung onto the pole as tight as he could, but he could feel his grip slipping away. He started thinking of a song his mother loved to sing to him. It always made him feel better.
Just then the boat started to spin. It spun and spun until Troy felt his legs go up into the air. He opened his eyes to find that the boat was caught in a huge typhoon! The wind and water smacked into him. Desperately he struggled to hang on, but the wind and water were too powerful. Eventually, he lost his grip but managed to catch the sides of the boat. He closed his eyes and hung on until he felt the boat start to fall. It crashed into the water, and all Troy could see was blackness.
He woke up with his head hurting. His vision was blurry, but he managed to see that he was on shore. He looked out into the water for a sign of his boat, but he couldn’t find it. Troy was alone on a strange island. He checked his side to make sure he had his sword. He did.
Troy stood up and checked his surroundings. In front of him was the giant mouth of a cave. It looked like it could swallow him up. Troy thought for a moment, and realized it could be the cave that had the buried treasure inside! His legs were shaking because he was scared to go inside, but a true pirate would never turn away from buried treasure. He took a deep breath and moved his shaky legs inside the cave.
It was pitch black inside. The only sounds were that of his footsteps crunching on the dirt floor. He wished he had a torch to light his way. The further he proceeded, the darker it was becoming. He started humming his mother’s song. He wished she was there with him.
Stop thinking like that! He scolded himself. Real pirates don’t need their mommies. You have to be brave. Show everyone what you’re made of!
Troy continued through the darkness. Suddenly he heard a rustling sound. It sounded like something scurrying across the cave floor. He froze, his heart pounding against his chest. Terrifying thoughts came across his mind. What if it was a rat, or an alligator, or a real monster?
Don’t get scared, he scolded himself again. Real pirates don’t get scared. If you want the treasure you will fight off anything that gets in your way!
He continued on through the darkness and past the scurrying sounds. He turned a corner of the cave, and he saw some light in an opening further into the cave. He walked faster, hoping to see something exciting.
It was a room, and the light in the room was sunlight shining down through a hole in the ceiling of the cave. Troy looked closer into the room and saw that the sunlight was shining down on an object sitting on a small stone pillar.
The buried treasure! Troy thought, only it wasn’t really buried, but close enough! He started jumping up and down excitedly. He braved the ocean and the cave and finally found the treasure. He was a real pirate after all!
Troy walked toward the treasure, but then something large and black fell down in front of him. Troy let out a scream and jumped backwards onto his bottom.
Hanging in front of him was a giant spider. The spider had one, the large yellow eye in the middle of his face, and surrounding it were seven smaller yellow eyes. Its mouth was dripping with drool. It stared at Troy hungrily.
Troy wanted to cry. He had never been so terrified in his life. He didn’t want to be a pirate anymore. All he wanted to do was run back home and never leave the island again. He had wished he had listened to his mother and Nathaniel. They wanted him to stay home but he didn’t listen, and now it looked like he was never going to see them again.
The spider hissed and screeched. It fell from its web and landed on all eight legs. It started crawling its way toward Troy, its teeth opening and closing, making loud clicking noises. Troy pushed his way back, trying to force back the tears that were filling his eyes. Now was not the time to cry, he thought to himself.
What else can I do? How can I beat the spider? I have no weapon that would kill it. Maybe I could make a run for it. If I do that it would surely catch me. Its got eight legs and I only have two. I can’t do anything.
Then a voice said, are you a pirate or not? Real pirates don’t get scared. They conquer their fears and get what they want!
“I’m only a boy,” Troy said to himself. “I can’t do anything.”
The spider got closer and closer. Troy was at the opening of the room now. If he tried to run for it the spider would catch him. If he was going to do something, he would have to do it quick.
He looked at his wooden sword. It wasn’t sharp enough to stab the spider, but perhaps he could use it some other way.
The spider let out a loud, excited screech. It lunged at Troy, and without thinking, Troy threw the wooden sword into the spider’s one giant eyeball.
The spider screeched in pain and shook his head. Troy ran to his sword and held it up in a fighting stance, ready to throw it again if he had to.
He didn’t have to. The spider lifted itself back up to the ceiling by its web. Troy waited for a moment to see if it would come back. It never did.
He stood there in a trance. He couldn’t believe he had defeated the giant spider. He truly was a real pirate after all. All it took was a little convincing and self-confidence.
With his heart pounding in his chest, Troy ran up to the treasure and opened the lid. His heart stopped in his chest when he realized there was nothing in it. He had got caught in a typhoon and battled a giant spider for nothing.
He looked at his wooden sword and threw it to the ground angrily. He grabbed his pirate hat and threw it to the ground also. He was done with being a pirate.
“What are you doing, Troy?” a voice said behind him.
Troy jumped with a start. He spun around to see a glowing white figure with wings like a butterfly’s. He was instantly terrified again.
“Don’t be scared, Troy,” the figure said. “I’m a spirit, freed from that chest. I want to say thank you.”
“Uh, you’re welcome,” Troy said.
“You’ve come a long way for being only a boy,” the spirit said. “Did you want to be a pirate?”
“Yes,” Troy answered. “How did you know that?”
“I know everything,” the spirit answered. “I know that you left behind a mother who is gravely worried about you. She didn’t want you to go off, and yet you did. You thought you could become a great pirate and find lots of treasure. However, you failed to understand that the real treasure was there along.”
“What was that?” Troy asked, confused.
“The love of your mother,” the spirit answered. “You have others that love you too, like Nathaniel. Love is the greatest treasure of them all.”
Troy didn’t understand at first. He thought deeply about it. There was no other person on the Nuru that loved him as much as his mother. He could only imagine how worried and scared she much be now.
“I’m a fool,” he said. “I can’t become a pirate. I wouldn’t want to leave my family behind.”
“It’s okay,” the spirit said. “You can still change all that.”
“My boat is gone,” Troy told her. “It was destroyed by a typhoon.”
“If you go back to the shore, I promise you will find it as it was.”
Troy’s eyes widened. He grabbed his hat and sword and raced out of the cave. There, floating in the water was his boat, exactly as it was when he departed. He got in and prepared to sail away. He saw the spirit floating at the mouth of the cave, and he waved her goodbye.
Troy set off for his home island of Nuru. He vowed to never again try to be something he wasn’t. He was only a boy. There would be plenty of time for other adventures. He took his pirate hat and wooden sword and tossed them out into the sea.