A poor woman discovers a strange Christmas ball at a flea market and decides to purchase it. However, when she puts it on the Christmas tree at home, it falls to the floor and cracks open, revealing a note inside.
Abbie was strolling slowly along rows of stalls, admiring the pretty Christmas decorations that adorned a flea market in Atlanta, Georgia. Her husband Nicholas had invited his brother's family to their home for Christmas Eve, but because their family was on a tight budget that month, Abbie had to go to the flea market for Christmas shopping.
As Abbie walked through a few stalls, her gaze was drawn to a strange Christmas ball at an isolated stall in the corner. It was old, but it was beautiful to look at, and within her price range, so she bought it before anyone else did.
Abbie bought Christmas decorations at a flea market | Photo: Shutterstock
Back home, Abbie was hanging the pretty ball on the Christmas tree when it fell and cracked open, revealing a note inside.
"Honey, can you please come here?" she called Nicholas, picking up the piece of paper and observing it carefully. It had an address with some coordinates and a short message, "Follow the coordinates, and you'll find the treasure."
"Yeah, what is it, honey?" Nicholas inquired as he returned from the living room, where he'd been arranging fairy lights and other decorations.
"I found this inside the Christmas ball I bought from the flea market today," Abbie explained, holding up the note with the address and the message. "Looks like some sort of treasure hunt game."
"It's a hidden treasure map, Abbie! Do you see these coordinates? We can find the exact location of the treasure using them. This could turn out to be a lottery for us. What if we discover gold and jewels?"
Abbie was hanging the ball on the tree when it fell on the floor and cracked open | Photo: Pexels
"But honey, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I don't want to rush anything."
"Listen, just imagine if we get the treasure. We won't have to worry about our bills. And we can seek treatment at a better hospital for you."
Abbie wasn't impressed with Nicholas' apparent excitement over finding the treasure. But then she remembered how they'd been struggling to make ends meet month after month.
Nicholas owned a small grocery store that was suffering, and she worked as a motel maid. They'd been trying for a child for almost two years, but the treatments were expensive, and they decided to put family planning on hold until their finances were in better shape.
Perhaps this was God's way of ending our difficulties, Abbie pondered. "All right, honey, let's go there. But I hope it's worth our while."
Abbie and Nicholas studied the city map to figure out the coordinates | Photo: Pexels
Abbie and Nicholas sat down that evening, brought out their city map, and studied it. After a few hours of plotting, they discovered that the coordinates were only a few miles away from the address they'd discovered inside the ball.
Abbie finished the Christmas eve preparations early the next day, and they left home by afternoon, expecting to be back before Nicholas' brother arrived. However, because of the traffic, the sun had already begun to set by the time they reached the place. It was getting dark, and due to the snow on the roads, they had to pull over a few kilometers before the address and walk there.
"That's the place," Nicholas pointed as they came to a halt in front of an old abandoned house.
"But what about the coordinates?" Abbie asked. "Are we still far?"
"It's not that far, honey. All we have to do is walk 20 steps from the house to the end of a lane where we'll find a park, which is exactly where the treasure should be as per the coordinates."
Abbie took a deep breath and followed Nicholas, hoping their search wouldn't be in vain.
Abbie and Nicholas came to a halt at an abandoned cottage | Photo: Pexels
About 10 minutes later, they reached an old oak tree in the center of the park. The whole area around was eerily quiet, and nobody seemed in close sight.
Thinking the treasure was buried somewhere around the tree, they started digging and discovered a set of toy soldiers inside the dug hole. "Is this it? Is this what we've traveled so far for?" Abbie sighed. "I should have stopped you, Nicholas! I had a feeling this wasn't a good idea."
"But honey…" Before Nicholas could say anything, a voice from behind interrupted him.
"I never imagined anyone would find it. But it appears that I was mistaken."
Nicholas and Abbie focused their attention in the direction of the voice and saw a frail woman emerge from one end of the park. "My name is Paisley Morgan," the woman introduced herself. "I am quite surprised how you found it."
"A treasure?! Sure, woman!" Nicholas frowned. "My wife is right. We shouldn't have followed that crappy address inside the Christmas ball. It's Christmas Eve, and look at the trash pile we just discovered!"
"Calm down, honey. That's impolite," Abbie spoke softly to Nicholas. "I apologize for my husband's behavior, ma'am. He didn't mean to hurt you."
"What are you apologizing for, Abbie? This lady is insane! She hid some stupid toy soldiers, believing it to be a treasure. It's nothing but TRASH."
The treasure was a set of toy soldiers | Photo: Pexels
Nicholas was furious. He grabbed Abbie's hand and prepared to leave, but the old woman said something that made them stop in their tracks.
"ONE MAN'S TRASH CAN BE ANOTHER MAN'S TREASURE! The toy soldiers you see were a Christmas gift for my grandson. Unfortunately, he could never receive them."
Nicholas and Abbie slowly turned around and discovered Paisley in tears.
"We're very sorry, ma'am," Abbie said. "We didn't mean to..."
"It's okay. I don't blame you, but don't judge something without knowing the whole story. Anyway, you should leave. It's Christmas Eve, and your family will be waiting for you."
Abbie apologized to Paisley once again and signaled to Nicholas that they should leave as it was getting late. But Nicholas stood firm in his place, tears running down his cheeks.
When Nicholas was a child, he spent most of his time with his grandmother because his parents had died in a car accident. He missed her terribly when she died. Seeing this woman longing for her grandson, all of his childhood memories flashed before his eyes.
Paisley's story left Abbie and Nicholas in tears | Photo: Pexels
He apologized to Paisley for his rude behavior and held her hand in his. "I'm truly sorry for what happened before. I had no idea they were your grandson's."
Paisley smiled faintly as she wiped the tears from her cheeks. "If Riley were here today, he'd be exactly like you. He loved troubling me..." the older woman said and she told them the whole story.
It turned out just one year ago, Riley's parents had planned a surprise for him and left him notes inside Christmas decorations for him to find his Christmas gift. The boy loved geography, so his parents had designed the whole treasure hunt for him, leaving small hints like the address of the abandoned cottage.
However, sadly, his parents were returning home from the market on Christmas eve when they were involved in an accident and died on the spot. Riley, who was only ten years old at the time, was placed in an orphanage because Paisley, who was living with Riley and his parents, was deemed unfit by the court to care for her grandson.
When they took Riley away, Paisley became really lonely. One day, when she was cleaning their house, she sold some of their old possessions, and that's how the Christmas ball with the note ended up in the flea market.
Paisley joined Nicholas and Abbie on Christmas Eve | Photo: Pexels
When Nicholas and Abbie heard Paisley's story, they both burst into tears. Nicholas asked Paisley for the address and name of the orphanage where Riley was staying and decided to adopt him. Abbie happily agreed with the decision, too, because she had always wanted to be a mother.
Later that evening, Paisley joined Nicholas and Abbie for dinner at their home. Nicholas' brother was also present, and they all had a good time talking about how they'd discovered a "treasure" through the Christmas ball Abbie had bought from the flea market.
The next day, Nicholas, Paisley, and Abbie went to Riley's orphanage and started the process for adoption. One month later, when the adoption was finalized, Riley and Paisley joined Nicholas and Abbie. What began as a treasure hunt led to a miracle that changed four people's lives.
What can we learn from this story?
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