Mrs. Simms was delighted when Jack again visited the library. But then, she was delighted when anybody visited the library.
“Jack! You must tell me — how did the treasure hunt go?”
“It was… okay. Not quite what I was expecting to find.”
“No ancient ruins? No clay tablets?”
“Nothing like that, no,” Jack said.
“Oh,” she said, Jack’s melancholy tone muting her own excitement about the find.
“Maybe you can help me find this guy,” Jack said. “I’ve asked all the teachers this morning, and nobody seems to know who he is.”
“Well, I’ll certainly do my best, Jack. This isn’t for a history report, is it?”
“No. I have to find him. I need his help.”
“Something related to that treasure hunt? It only pointed to a clue to a bigger treasure, didn’t it?”
“I know where the treasure is. I just can’t reach it,” Jack murmured.
Mrs. Simms leaned forward. “Well, what is this person’s name?”
“Sam. Maybe short for ‘Samuel,’ or, heck, it could even be ‘Samantha’ for all I know.”
“Hain,” Jack said.
The bell rang.
“Come back after school, Jack, and I’ll let you know what I find,”
“Thanks Mrs. Simms!” Jack called, already on his way out the door.
* * * * *
Jack skidded through the library’s double-doors.
“Well,” he gasped. “Did you find him?”
Mrs. Simms pushed her glasses up her nose. “No. I didn’t find any references to anybody by the name of Sam Hain.”
Jack’s shoulders slumped. His only clue turned up a dead end.
Jack looked up. Mrs. Simms was smiling.
“‘Samhain’ is an old Celtic holiday.”
“Not a ‘who’ but a ‘what,’” Jack breathed. “No wonder nobody knew who this guy was! So… what does it celebrate?”
“It is several things, really, sort of all rolled into one. It is the end of summer festival, marking the beginning of the so-called ‘dark half’ of the year, the beginning of winter.”
“That sounds… kinda sad.”
“Oh, far from it. Its is also their harvest festival, with feasting and bonfires.”
Jack turned those ideas over in his mind. How the heck were those supposed to help?
“Well, thanks for the help,” he said, turning to go. “I’m going to miss the bus if I stay too much longer.”
“One last thing, Jack— Samhain is also seen as the Celtic festival of the dead. In fact, it’s quite interesting that theirs should coincide so closely with that of Mexico, and the Dia de los Muertos, as well as the Western world’s All Saints Day. ‘All Saints Day’ used to be known as ‘All Hallow’s Day.’ And the night before that —”
“All Hallow’s Eve,” Jack said, fitting the pieces together.
“Thats right! Oh, isn’t this exciting? I do love a good puzzle. Jack, I haven’t had this much fun in years.”
Jack tried to smile, but wasn’t sure he could muster one.
“Thanks again,” he said. “I really have to run!”
He barely made it to the bus in time.