The Biggest Diamond in the World

diamondMy sister ran this bush school up in the north of South Africa. They took in groups from the big city and taught them about the wild and the kids took part in events and generally had a pretty good time. The orienteering course was a favourite because it was more of a scavenger hunt and it gave the kids a chance to explore the campsite, while the guides watched from the porch at the main hall.

There was this one group, not so long ago, that was mostly little boys and a few little girls and they were particularly excited about the orienteering because they had never used a map before, let alone a compass and the whole thing seemed to stir in them a sense of adventure. My sister likened the start of the orienteering to the start of a horse race, with the participants baying and rearing in at the starting line and then tearing off in a blur of noise and excitement.

The course had been going well, and apart from the occasional bruised knee or argument over which prized sweets belonged to which group, there were no real mishaps. It was getting close to lunch time though and one small group had not yet returned from their final task. My sister was worried and was about to go and look for them when she saw movement. They came over the hill, linked together and walking slowly. She immediately thought something had happened and she shouted to them and one of the children gave her a friendly wave. She took the binoculars from the porch table. They were carrying something together and it looked heavy.

“What on earth?” She said.

One of the other guides, who had very good eyes, lifted his hand to shield his eyes from the sun and said, “Why do those kids have a salt lick?”

The salt licks, which came in 20kg blocks, were left out for the giraffe and the antelope. The kids had a fresh one now and where walking slowly, each had a little hand on the salt block. They were sweating and they looked pretty beat up carrying it down the hill.

My sister and the guide walked over to them. They stopped when she came close and some of the kids fell to the ground panting. The unofficial leader of the group, a little girl with a snotty, muddy nose, looked up at my sister and smiled.

“Miss,” she said breathing heavily. “We found a diamond.”

My sister smiled and was about to tell them otherwise, when a little boy piped up from the back.

“It’s definitely the biggest in the world, so, well, you can’t have any of the money because we’ve already divided it up. Sorry, Miss.”

(photo courtesy of Boykung/