SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE. Apson and Mubanga whistled as they walked along the path through the bush one afternoon. It was the end of term at last and they were whistling because they were both happy to be going back to their village. They weren’t thinking about what tune they were whistling. They were thinking about what they were going to do when they reached home. They hadn’t seen their relations and friends since the beginning of term. There would be a lot to talk about. SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE

SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE. Suddenly, Apson stopped whistling. He interrupted Mubanga’s tune. “Hey! I’ve just had a good idea,” he said. “I’m bored with going along this same path through the bush every time we return from school. Let’s go and have a look at that old mine near here. We’ve never been there before. We’ve only heard stories about it. “But it’s private property,” replied Mubanga. “Everyone is forbidden to go and walk on private property. We’ll get into trouble with the police.” “I know it’s private,” said Apson. “But nobody ever goes there now. Nobody has been there for years. Let’s go. It might be exciting. “All right, I suppose we can take the risk. But it will be your fault if we get caught,” threatened Mubanga.

SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE. Everybody knew about the old mine, but nobody ever went there. A strange old miner had been looking for copper in the area nearly eighty years ago. When he thought he had found it, he started the mine and worked alone there for about twenty years. Then he died mysteriously. SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE.

SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE. Some people said he was murdered, others said he had died of a strange disease. But anyway, he didn’t seem to have been a very successful miner. He was called Old Billy and he went about dressed only in rags. He yelled at anybody who ever came on to his private property and so, when he died, nobody went to the old mine. Everybody thought that he was just a silly old man, and nobody really cared about him. After a long walk, Apson and Mubanga reached the mine. It looked like a cave in the hillside. There were piles of rocks outside, and pieces of rusty old machinery were lying all around the entrance. A sign nearby was broken but the words “PRIVATE – GO AWAY” were still written on it. Apson and Mubanga noticed the barbed wire fence that Old Billy had put around his property many years ago. Now it was rusty and broken and could no longer keep people or animals out. They looked inside the entrance of the mine. There were spiders’ webs everywhere. Some of the spiders’ webs looked as if they had been there for many years. There were so many spiders’ webs in one corner that they looked like thick, white wool. Other spiders’ webs hung from the roof of the mine and, as Mubanga touched one of the webs which was hanging across the entrance, a huge black spider ran away across the rock wall. “I don’t like this place,” said Mubanga net-Spider volubly. “All these webs hanging inside look like spirits. Let’s go home. “No. It took us a long time to get here. We must have a look inside now,” replied Apson, who was determined to stay. “I like looking around strange old find.”

places like this. You never know what you might Suddenly, Mubanga was almost knocked over by a huge owl which flew out of the mine. The owl had been woken up by their voices Web What was that? What was that?” shouted Mubanga, who was a frightened that he hadn’t seen exactly what had flown past him. He was shaking all It was only an owl,” said Apson. “Don’t be hurt you?” silly, Mubanga. Surely you didn’t think an owl could “N – no, of course not,” replied Mubanga, ashamed that he wasn’t as brave as his friend Owe But then something happened which made Mubanga even more frightened. As they entered the old mine, they saw that there were batá everywhere. The bats flow round and round their heads until the whole of the mine seemed to be full of flying black shapes. A few of the bats are still hung upside-down from the roof, but most of them were flying around madly.

Apson and Mubanga stood completely still as the bats flew round them. At first, oven Apson was a little frightened. But he was determined to stay in the mine and have a look He know that he had to Bata encourage his friend, so he said, in his bravest voice, “Bats are completely harmless, Mubanga. They’re just a nuisance, you know.”Mubanga was too frightened to reply. “We’ll just stand still and silent for a few minutes and then perhaps they’ll stop flying around,” continued Apson It seemed to be getting darker and darker as the boys waited for the bats to stop flying around them. Suddenly, they realized that it was almost sunset. The last orange-red rays of the sun were lighting up the entrance of the mine Mubanga pulled Apson’s sleeve. “Apson,” he whispered. “It’s getting dark. We must go home.” Apson was just going to reply when suddenly there was a terrible noise outside. It was the sound of an enormous body moving around outside the entrance and it was breathing heavily. The rumbling and gurgling continued. The boys weren’t sure whether the rumbling was outside or inside the mine. Mubanga was terrified “Spa-spa-spirits!” he said, at last. They looked at each other with enormous, terrified eyes. The rumbling noise continued. “It must be Old Billy’s spirit,” whispered Apson, who was just as terrified as Mubanga now. “Perhaps he’s angry with us for coming into his mine. “I told you we shouldn’t have come,” said Mubanga. “I knew there was something strange about this place. No wonder people never come here!” “But what are we going to do?” asked Apson. “We are here now, and it doesn’t help to talk like that.” The terrifying noise outside quietened a little. “We can’t get out of the mine if the spirit is just outside the entrance,” said Apson. “Perhaps if we stay inside and light our matches every now and then the spirit will leave us alone. “But that would mean we’d have to stay here all night,” said Mubanga in a terrified voice. “Well, would you rather go out and meet the spirit?” said Apson angrily Mubanga didn’t reply. His friend lit a match. The bats immediately started flying around again and then flew out of the mine and into the evening sky. As they did this, the rumbling stopped. But the quiet breathing continued. “We’ll have to stay here until dawn,” said Apson, looking worried. “We can’t go out.” And Mubanga, who was too terrified to go past the spirit outside, unhappily agreed.

It was very hot inside the mine. Apson and Mubanga each had a little food with them and they ate it hungrily in the darkness. After they had eaten, they decided to look around inside the mine for a safe place, using their matches to give some light. They were too terrified to go to sleep while the spirit was outside. They had to be very careful as they moved around because there were wooden poles holding up the roof. Several times they bumped into the poles and hurt themselves. Many of the poles were completely rotten because they were so old. Apson wondered whether the roof was safe. It would be terrible if the roof collapsed on them when they bumped into the poles. They tested the strength of the poles as they walked on Poles.


They were just going to turn around and go back to the entrance, when Mubanga fell over something on the floor. Apson lit a new match immediately and saw that Mubanga had fallen over a metal box. There was a label tied on to the box. They both bent to look at the label, but it wasn’t easy to read it. The word on the label was almost rubbed away. Suddenly Apson yelled, “It’s ammunition! That label has the word ‘AMMUNITION’ written on it.” Mubanga was so frightened that his hand shook, and he immediately dropped the lighted match. “What a stupid thing to do!” shouted Apson AMMUNITION as he stamped on the match. “You must never put a lighted match near gunpowder or ammunition in case the ammunition explodes.” “I didn’t mean to,” replied Mubanga. Label Poor Mubanga. His heart had nearly stopped. He wished that they were back in the security of the village instead of being in this horrible place. “I wonder why this ammunition is here,” said Apson to himself. “The label looks as if it must have been here for years and years.” “Perhaps Old Billy kept it in case he needed to defend his property.” said Mubanga, trying hard not to be so nervous. “It doesn’t look as if he ever had much to defend here,” said Apson looking around him. “It’s just the work of a strange old man. I don’t believe he ever found any copper here. ‘They left the box of ammunition and tried to find somewhere to lie down. The floor of the mine was covered with bat manure. “It smells as if all the bats in the world have been living in this said Mubanga, holding his nose tightly and almost choking with the smell.

SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE. But, at last, they found a corner of the old mine which was cleaner than everywhere else. They lay down and, in spite of the strange noises outside, were so exhausted, that they went to sleep. When Apson woke up just before dawn, it was all quiet in the mine. He didn’t wake Mubanga in case he’d be nervous and frightened again Instead, he decided to look around the inside of the mine alone. He would wake Mubanga later. The first rays of dawn were starting to enter the mine bus Apson crawled into all the dark corners and lit matches where it was difficult to see. mine,” Everything this place is broken and rotten he thought the early fell over another wooden pole which was lying on the floor. He was just going to return to wake up Mubanga when he noticed something very strange He lit another match. Yes! In dark corner, there was part of the rock wall which looked different from the surrounding rock This small part of the wall looked as if it was artificial it was a different color from the natural rock around it. Apson looked at it more closely and felt it with his hands it was rough and dusty it looked as # there had been a shallow hole in the rock which somebody had carefully filled in.

SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE. Now, why would anybody want to do that?” he said to himself He touched the artificial part of the wall again. Then he hard into it with his fingers it was soft and powdery Suddenly his fingers broke through. There was a hole behind! He thought there might be something behind this strange substance which had become powdery during the years Then he felt something. It felt as if there were several small lumps of rock in the hole. He pulled out the lumps and tend to see what they were. But it was too dark. He thought they were probably lumps of ore Perhaps it was copper ore. But why would anybody bother to hide lumps of copper ore? Apson hurried back to Mubanga to show him what he had found “Mubanga, Mubanga” he yelled “Wake up” Mubanga rubbed his eyes, looked around him and suddenly remembered where he was. At first completely safe. Mubanga looked a little happier. he was terrified again, but Apson told him that it was dawn and he was opening his hand. “I think it is copper ore. “Mubanga, guess what I found, hidden in the rock wall,” he said. Mubanga’s eyes widened That’s not copper ore,” he said. “Look at the lines of metal in it That’s gold ore! The two friends could hardly believe it. Perhaps they were wrong They looked at each other “Let’s go back and see if there’s any more,” said Apson excitedly. They hurried back to the hiding place. Both had completely forgotten Old Bay spirit which had terrified them during the night.

SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE. Apton put his hand inside the hole in the rock again. This time. Apart from the soul, he felt some smaller, smoother lumps. They felt as if they were heavy buttons He pulled them out and opened his hand. The two friends’ eyes widened in surprise. They saw five small glittering lumps of gold. They ran to the entrance of the mine where the morning sunlight made the gold glitter even more. “So that was why Old Billy needed ammunition,” said Mubanga, looking at the gold. “If anybody had discovered his secret that this was a gold mine and not a copper mine they might have tried to murder him and steal the gold.” Suddenly, Mubanga remembered the spirit which had terrified them the previous night. It seemed silly now, in the daylight, that they had been frightened. He looked around them nervously. Then he noticed some marks just around the entrance to the mine. “Look, Apson,” he said suddenly, “Look at these footmarks. That wasn’t Old Billy’s spirit we heard last night. SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE. It must have been an injured elephant. The rumbling noise must have been from his stomach.” They looked at each other. Then they looked at the glittering gold in their hands and started to laugh. What an adventure it had been! SECRET OF THE OLD GOLD MINE.



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