The three of them stood at the base of the mountain. At the head of the group stood their leader, the shortest of the three, a young woman in a purple gown and a flowered headband. She stooped now, steady and confident in the swirling snow, and examined a magazine. “This says there is a treasure!” She said excitedly, “It’s hidden in a glacier that is shaped like a house.”

“Oh yes!” Said the second girl, looking over her shoulder. “A glacier shaped like a house. I know where that is. I can lead the way!” This was their native guide. A young woman that chose to go by the name “Waterdrop”. She pushed her way past the others and charged up the mountain.

In the rear was a tall silent man, a caretaker of the one in purple, sent only to observe and document the journey. He silently made a note in his journal before he was grabbed by the hand and pulled up the mountain behind the young women. The adventure had begun.

The expedition was long and hard. They camped on the mountain several nights, resting in various tents along the way. They lay on their backs and stared up at the stars together and asked each other what they thought the treasure might be. How great and how beautiful. Their eyes sparkled in the starlight.

After the second night they were joined by a fourth companion. A small bear cub that tumbled after the crew with juvenile growls and squealing. The native guide routinely picking him up and carrying him so he could join in the adventure. He nibbled on sticks, and sat back on his bottom to laugh at the others.

At one stop the group realized they were out of food in their packs, so the native guide left in search of dinner for the evening. She returned holding what she claimed was a tasty mole. But the item hanging upside down in her hand looked an awful lot like a small baby doll. She tossed the limp figure on the camp fire and then offered some to the older gentleman. Suddenly he was not hungry anymore and politely refused with a lifting of his hand. “None for me, thank you. I ate a mole this morning.”

The following day they arrived at the peak of the great mountain. They struggled to the top, careful carrying the bear cub on their shoulder, reaching hands back to help lift each other up to the pinnacle of their journey. Together, nestled in a tight line amongst the clouds, they gazed over the edge. For a moment all that could be heard from the four were gasps of awe and reverent silence. Stretched out before them was a lush valley illuminated by moonlight, the length of which on both sides was lined by glaciers shaped like houses.

After the silence the quiet man cleared his throat and spoke softly to the group. “This is the end of our journey,” He motioned toward the valley, “because it is here that we have found the treasure for which we seek. Not a simple treasure that can be held in the hands and that crumbles with age, but an endless sea of treasure. True treasure, right here on the top of this mountain, overlooking this valley.” The companions smiled and glanced to one another in turn. “The treasure of friendship. The treasure of accomplishment. The treasure of memories to be held in your pocket where you can secretly reach in and hold them no matter what may happen in life, and you can smile knowing you are loved.” And with this he smiled down at each of them.

They stared back at the man for a moment longer. Then the younger one rolled off the couch and stomped out of the room, “I wanted the treasure to be candy!” The older child suddenly realizing what was going on angrily placed her little brother on the floor and charged after her sister. “Dad! Why did you have to ruin our game!”

“Wait!” I called after them. “Wait, that’s the real treasure, I’m not even kidding!” I chased them into the hallway. “You can have some Skittles too, if you would like, but I’m serious about the love and friendship thing!”