The Treasure in The Forest Summary

In the story, two Britons: Evans and Hooker head towards a desert island rowing in a canoe. They have rowed the canoe for the whole night from the mainland to reach the island and they have reached the island during the daytime only. They study the old map, which they might have stolen from a Chinaman-Chang-hi after murdering him and confirm that the place is the same which they were looking for. This gets confirmed when in the later part of the story, Evans feels sleepy and dreams of how they overheard about the treasure from Chinamen and pulled Chang-hi from his pigtail and struggled against him.

Evans and Hooker were seeking the treasures. The treasure was left behind by a stranded Spanish ship and later discovered and buried by a China man. Evan and Hooker though get puzzled with one of the things on the map, they finally spotted the spot where the treasure was hidden. They kept their canoe in the safe place at the shore and marched towards the spot where the treasure was hidden. They first struggled walking in the dense bushes near the shore and later their path was since the tropical forest was full of large trees forming the canopy and no or very few bushes on the ground. Evans and Hooker saw some strange types of flowers, climber plants and other vegetation on their way.

When they finally reached the spot where the treasures were buried, they saw a dead body of China man, probably one of Chang-hi’s associates who had been greedy to take the treasure for himself only. Hooker was a little baffled by the dead body. However, Evans collected the gold ingots in his jacket and draws Hooker’s attention towards the treasure. While picking up the gold ingots, Evans gets pricked by a thorn. When they picked up the treasure and started to return back; after moving about a hundred yards, Evans’ arms start to ache, he becomes sweaty and he begins to convulse and finally collapses. After Evans collapses, Hooker collected the ingots and while doing so, he too is pricked by a thorn. They, at last, realize that the thorns that pricked them were not ordinary thorns, in fact, they were poisonous thorns, similar to those of Dykas poison Dykas poison and use-in their blowing-tubes. The story ends with the fall of those two Britons: their bodies still quivering before their bound-to happen deaths.

Understanding the Text

Answer the following question.

a.Describe the expository scene of the story. 

Ans.: The story begins with a canoe approaching the land near a bay. There appears a reef where the little river ran out to the sea. At the distant hill slope, there appeared thick and green virgin forest and it came close to the beach. The mountains far beyond appeared dim and almost cloudlike in texture. There were hardly noticeable sea waves. The sky was bright due to the scorching sun.

b.What does the map look like and how do Evan and Hooker interpret it? 

Ans.: The map indeed looked like a rough paper. It was creased and worn to the pitch of separation by much folding. There were the discoloured fragments of the map and Evans and Hooker brought them together where they had parted. One could dimly make out, in almost obliterated pencil, the outline of the bay. Evans and Hooker interpreted the map with different symbols embedded in it. Evans ran his thumb-nail over the chart and showed the reef. The curved and twisting line symbolized a river and the star as the place they were looking after. The dotted line on the map represented the way to the place from the bay. However, Evans and Hooker being English could not understand the writing as they were in Chinese.

c.How did Evan and Hooker know about the treasure ? 

Ans.: Evans and Hooker had hit upon the Chinamen’s secret and they have overheard three Chinese men talking, and one of them was Chang-hi. However, their conversation about the treasure was partially inaudible and incomprehensible. Thus, Evans and Hooker knew about the treasure from the Chinamen.

d.Describe Evan’s dream. 

Ans.: Evan in his dream saw heaps and heaps of gold and when he was taking that gold, Chang-hi intervened with him. He took Chang-hi by the pig-tail and Changi-hi grew bigger and bigger in the dream. Then the bright heaps of gold turned to a roaring furnace, and a vast devil, surprisingly like Chang-hi, but with a huge black tail, began to feed him with coals. They burnt his mouth horribly. Another devil was shouting his name: “Evans, Evans, you sleepy fool!” But, the second devil was not the actual devil, he was his friend Hooker awakening him from his sleep.

e.What do the two treasure hunters see when they walk towards the island? 

Ans.: When the treasure hunters walked towards the island, they saw the close tangle of reeds, broad fronds, and young trees and they moved forward by pushing through them. After difficult walking for some time, they saw the trees becoming larger and the ground beneath them opened out. The hot scorching sunlight was replaced by a cool shadow. The trees became at last vast pillars that rose up to a canopy of greenery far overhead. Dim white flowers hung from their stems, and ropy creepers swung from tree to tree. They saw blotched fungi and a red-brown incrustation on the ground. Presently they saw, far ahead, a gap in the sombre darkness where white shafts of hot sunlight smote into the forest. There also was brilliant green undergrowth and coloured flowers. Then they heard the rush of water, which was a river. And, there was thick vegetation in the river bank. Great plants, grew among the roots of the big trees and spread rosettes of huge green fans towards the strip of sky. Many flowers and a creeper with shiny foliage clung to the exposed stems. On the water of the broad, quiet pool which the treasure-seekers now overlooked there floated big oval leaves and a waxen, pinkish-white flower not unlike a water-lily.

f.In what condition did the treasure hunters find the dead man ? 

Ans.: When the treasure hunters find the dead man, the Chinaman was lying on his face. The dead body lay in a clear space among the trees. There was a spade after the Chinese pattern nearby, and further off lay a scattered heap of stones, close to a freshly dug hole. Upon close analysis, the neck of the dead body was puffed and purple, and the hands and ankles were swollen.

g.How did the treasure hunters try to carry gold ingots to the canoe? 

Ans.: Evans and Hooker had eventually found the gold and they had to take the gold with them at any condition. But, they didn’t have any sacks, bags or luggage with them. Therefore, they thought of taking gold ingots in Evan’s coat. Hooker took the ends of the collar of the coat in his hands, and Evans took the opposite corners, and they lifted the gold onto the coat. Thus, the treasure hunters tried to carry gold ingots to the canoe with the help of Evan’s coat.

h.How were Evan and Hooker poisoned? 

Ans.: When Evans was taking out the gold ingots from the freshly dug ground, something like thorn pricked him. After collecting gold and advancing forward, Evan’s arms start to ache, he became sweaty and began to convulse. And, when Evans was not able to carry the gold anymore, Hooker tried to carry the gold, and he too was pricked by a thorn, which was near two inches. Later, he too felt the same as Evans did. In fact, the gold was protected by Chang-hi with thorns “similar to those Dyaks poison and use-in their blowing-tubes. Thus, Evans and Hooker were poisoned with the thorns that kept protecting the gold ingots.

Reference to the context

a.How do you know the story is set on a tropical island? 

Ans.: The story Treasure in the Forest’ begins with a canoe approaching the land near a bay. There appears a reef where the little river ran out to the sea. At the distant hill slope, there appeared thick and green virgin forest and it came close to the beach. The mountains far beyond appeared dim and almost cloudlike in texture. There were hardly noticeable sea waves. There is also the sky was bright due to the scorching sun. The author states that Evans and Hooker rowed the canoe all night in order to approach the place. This shows that the sea disconnects the place from all other land areas. This proves that the place is an island – a land area surrounded by water from all sides..

In addition to this, the author also describes the vegetation of the place. The island can be approached after encountering the bushes for a short distance and soon it is followed by different tall trees following the canopy. The trees, bushes, creepers, flowers and other vegetation presented in the story reflect the tropical climate. This shows that the story is set on a tropical island.

b.Why do you think Evan and Hooker took such a risk of finding the buried treasure in a desert island? 

Ans.: The story itself is entitled ‘The Treasure in the Forest’. Evan and Hooker got the secret information from one of the Chinamen – Changi-hi. In fact, Evan and Hooker along with Chinamen were searching for the treasure that had been lost by a Spanish ship. Evan and Hooker had overheard about the treasure from the Chinamen and since the conversation they heard was partially inaudible and partially incomprehensible, they could only get the blurred information of the treasure and the place where it was hidden. As a result, Evans and Hooker could not get the very important information regarding the protection of the treasure. In fact, the treasures were protected by the thorns similar to those Dykas poisons and use-in their blowing tubes. This shows that Evans and Hooker were deprived of the very vital information regarding the protection of the treasures which took their deaths.

However, the most important thing was the achievement of the treasures – Had Evans and Hooker got this treasure without any harm to their bodies, the treasures would definitely change their lives. Hence, being allured by the treasures, i.c. gold ingots, Evan and Hooker took such a risk of finding the buried treasure in a desert island.

c.Do you think the narrator of the story is racist? If yes, what made him feel superior to other races? 

Ans.: “The life of a Chinaman is scarcely sacred like a European’s.” This is the sentence presented here as it was originally quoted in the text. This single sentence provides adequate evidence that the narrator was racist.

There is another sentence too presented in the text which has been again directly quoted from the text, “He took Chang-hi by the pig-tail-how big the yellow brute was, and how he struggled and grinned! He kept growing bigger, too. Then the bright heaps of gold turned to a roaring furnace, and a vast devil, surprisingly like Chang-hi, but with a huge black tail, began to feed him with coals.” The words ‘yellow brute’ to refer to Chinese people also show that the narrator is a racist. In addition to this, the act of mocking with the hair kept by Chinese termed as pigtail too is influenced by racist ideas. The term ‘pigtail’ itself is a racist word. Labelling the symbol of other people’s tradition with the hair too is a racist idea. Not only this, transforming Chang-hi, a Chinese with a pigtail into a vast devil with a huge black tail is also associated with the idea of racism even if the idea was portrayed as a part of Evans dream. Even the word ‘pigtail’ itself is the product of Europeans racism towards Asians, who labelled the symbol of Chinese tradition to the tail of a pig. Hence, in every way, the narrator in the story seems to be racist.

d.What do you think is the moral of the story ? 

Ans.: In the story, the major characters Evans and Hooker went hunting the treasures, i.e. gold ingots in a desert island just on the basis of overhearing some Chinese people talking about the treasure. And, even the overheard talking was not clear and precise as it was half audible and half incomprehensible. This shows that Evans and Hooker were just dragged by the greed of achieving the treasure and completely ignored the risks involved during the task. They even hadn’t kept a proper bag with themselves to keep the ingots as in the story, it was presented that they kept the gold ingots in Evans jacket. In addition to this, they were not prepared for the things that were kept for the protection of gold ingots, i.e. the thorns with poisons just like Dykas poison that ultimately took their lives. Hence, from this analysis, we can develop the moral of the story as “Don’t take the risk when you are not prepared.”

Reference beyond the text

a.Interpret the story as a mystery story. 

Ans.: A mystery story is a story that generally involves the crime (often murder) in suspense or in unexpected ways. In fact, the mystery story is a strange story in which mysterious or strange things take place and the readers do not get clear ideas about the story or its conclusion itself until the end of the story.

In the story too, two Britons: Evans and Hooker set out for treasure hunting on the deserted island. They row for the whole night in their canoe and finally reach the island at the next midday. They have very little knowledge about the island since they have adventured here when they overheard the Chinese men talking among themselves about the treasure. When they pass

through strange vegetation and environment, they finally reach the place where the treasure was buried. And, there they too see the dead body lying near the treasure. However, when they try to bring the treasures which are in the form of gold ingots, they are pricked by poisonous thorns that had been kept for the safety of the gold and die when they were returning back. Hence, these all scenarios in the story interpret the story itself as a mystery story.

f.Treasure hunting is a favorable subject of children’s story. Remember a treasure hunting story you read in your childhood and compare and contrast it with “The Treasure in the Forest.’ 

Ans.: One of the treasure hunting child story that I have read recently is Tom’s Treasure Hunt. The story is written by a French litterateur Flore Tanor and translated into English by Wendy Cross.

Tom’s Treasure Hunt

They must have been walking for a good two hours. The lights of the town are far behind them. The houses disappeared long ago. Now they are walking through the forest and night is falling. Tom is getting prickled by the spiky bushes and his legs are aching. “Is it much further, Tom? I’m thirsty!

Why had he told his little sister to come with him? Milly is eight, and she can’t walk fast. She is frightened of the dark and of the noises in the forest. They have already stopped several times. Milly had heard snakes. Then wild boar and even monsters! In fact the last one was Fox, their dog, who had followed them. Now they are glad that Fox is with them. Tom gets a flashlight out of his bag. With his finger he traces the route on the map. According to the clues, they can’t be very far from their mysterious destination. He looks around him and sees a red cross on the trunk of a big tree. That’s the sign he was looking for! At last!

“From here, we have to go right and count thirty steps,” Tom says out loud.

Tom and Milly count their steps, with great care.

“Now we have to look for a white cross on a tree trunk,” continues Tom.

They spend some time looking at each tree. It’s not easy because it’s nearly dark. Milly is starting to lose heart. She feels like crying, but she doesn’t want her brother to see.

“Tom, look!” shouts Milly.

She is pointing at a tree. Tom runs up to his sister and sees a beautiful white cross on the tree trunk. He is so happy that he gives her a big kiss on the cheek.

Quickly, they get the little spade and the small pickaxe out of the backpack. Tom takes the spade, and Milly the pickaxe. Fortunately, the ground in the forest is soft and it’s easy to dig with their kid tools. If the map is right, the famous treasure of Hermione is here, right under their feet! Carefully stashed away by the captain, the magnificent collection of pieces of gold and precious jewels has been hidden right here for at least three centuries. Tom found this map amongst old books in the attic of their new house. Their Mom had gotten a new job, and so they had to move. The new house is big and they have lots of boxes to unpack. Dad put the things to be sorted later in the attic.

Tom loves the attic and he spends a lot of time there. Next to his parents’ boxes, he found two big crates. In the first one, he discovered some nails, string and dried-up glue for wood. In the second crate, there were very old books covered in dust and this intriguing map. It was so old that the paper had yellowed from the sun and the corners were all tattered!

He soon realized that there was a secret hidden in the map. He didn’t tell anybody about it. Certainly not his parents. Nor his friends at school. He knew very well that they would not believe him. And he preferred to find the hidden treasure on his own. He has spent weeks now preparing his plan. The backpack, the garden tools, everything was ready.

At the last minute, Milly guessed that something was going on. She asked him loads of tell her his secret. And, of course, she wanted to come with him. So, they decided that questions. In the end, he was afraid she might say something to their parents, so he had to today would be the Great Day! They set off right when they got home from school. “I’m tired, Tom!”

Milly is exhausted, she is tired of digging and has sat down on the moss. Once again she feels like crying. Maybe Tom has been telling her lies, and there is no treasure. Perhaps he was teasing her? She puts her arms round Fox’s neck and he licks her cheek. Tom is tired too but he doesn’t want to show it. He keeps digging in the soft earth. The earth he has dug is piling up higher and higher. Suddenly, he hears a metallic noise. Tom’s spade has just touched something hard! Milly leaps up and takes up her pickaxe again. They start digging as hard as they can. Even Fox helps them.

“Come on, Milly, we’re nearly there!” Tom encourages her.

Part of the chest is clearly visible, now they have to get it out of the ground… They pull on the handle on the side, just a little more effort and they’ll have it. That’s it, the chest is there before their eyes, at last! Unfortunately, it is locked by a heavy chain and even though the chain is old and rusty, it won’t budge… They obviously don’t have the key to open it, but phew! Tom has got Dad’s screwdriver in his bag.

Despite everything, Tom is a bit surprised. This chest is weird. Not at all like he had imagined it. He had pictured a chest like the ones in books about pirates: an old wooden chest, with metal corners and rusty nails, smelling a bit musty. This one does not look at all like a treasure chest. It’s more like a kind of… sarcophagus?!

“Tom, are you dreaming? Can you repeat what I have just said? In what year were the Egyptian pyramids finished?”

Mrs. Roberts is standing in front of him with a strict look on her face. She doesn’t seem to be joking and she’s waiting for him to answer. The rest of the class is staring at Tom. He struggles to understand what’s going on. Tom rubs his eyes. Yes, he is indeed at school. “You can copy out today’s lesson ten times to help you wake up, Tom. Don’t look so shocked, you look as if you’ve seen a ghost!”

Mrs. Roberts went back to the board.

How had he managed to fall asleep in a history lesson? Then he remembered reading in bed late last night. An old book he’d found in the attic. An incredible story about a treasure hunt, much more exciting that Mrs. Roberts’ lesson!

While comparing two stories, The Treasure in the Forest and Tom’s Treasure Hunt, we can find some similarities and differences as well. The similarities are that the core subject of both of these stories is oriented in hunting the treasure and in both the stories, the characters are not able to achieve and utilize the treasure they are looking after. And, speaking of the differences, the major characters that are hunting for the treasure are the self-centered adults whereas in the second story, the major characters are two innocent children. The treasure hunting act appears to be real in the first story whereas the ending of the second story reveals the treasure hunt to be a dream of the major character Tom while he is asleep attending the boring classroom. In addition to this, the first story has a tragic end but not the second one.