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THE MILDENHALL TREASURE by Roald Dahl

THE MILDENHALL TREASURE

By Roald Dahl (Author) , Ralph Steadman (Illustrator)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-375-81035-8
Publisher: Knopf

Dahl (The Umbrella Man and Other Stories, 1998, etc.) weaves the story of the treasure and greed that unearthed the richest collection of Roman silver plate ever found in British soil. When Dahl was a young writer selling stories to magazines, he read a newspaper article about a find of Roman silver in a small town. The story so interested him that he traveled to the town and interviewed the ploughman who found it. This is a slightly edited republication of that story with new illustrations. On a cold, windy winter’s day, George Butcher, hired to plow a field, struck a hard object that turned out to be one of 36 encrusted pieces of Roman silver. Ignorant of their worth, Butcher allowed Ford, an amateur archaeologist, to keep them. Knowing that he should report the treasure to the government and that a reward for the find should go to Butcher, Ford polished and hid everything. Four years later, a visiting archaeologist noticed two silver spoons on the mantle and the story came out. Claiming that he thought the artifacts were pewter, not silver, which under British law belongs to the government, Ford relinquished the pieces. The government awarded both men 1,000 pounds. If Ford had told Butcher about the treasure’s worth immediately, Butcher’s reward would have been at least a half-million pounds, and Ford would have received nothing. Steadman’s dark, often grotesque and mysterious figures create a moody accompaniment to this strange tale with an ironic ending. A fascinating story. (Nonfiction. 12+ )