Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Gold nugget or dog head gold was a Chinese term for some naturally occurring deposits of impure gold that usually consisted of a combination of pure gold, quartz, and other minerals.
It was said that the shape of such gold deposits was similar to the head of a dog, hence the name, but in foreign countries, it was sometimes called horseshoe gold, because foreigners thought it looked like a horseshoe in its primal state.
Whatever one called it, such natural gold deposits were extremely rare and precious in every age and country.
Li Du stopped his motorcycle and went to the puddle to think about how to dig it out. Of course, the water in the hole was frozen into ice and had not melted yet.
The gold happened to be right under the pool. To dig it up, he had to break the ice.
Li Du took out the pistol he was carrying and tried it. He tapped the ice with the handle of the gun. The ice made a dull sound. Obviously, it would be difficult to break the ice.
He could not find help, nor could he explain how he had found the hidden object.
He was distressed when Ah Ow and the others ran over. The three little ones lined up beside him, looking at the ice in the pool as he did.
After a while, Ah Meng huffed and puffed to catch up. The poor honey badger was not good at long-distance running. The motorcycle was not fast, but it was still difficult for a honey badger to follow.
Li Du thought it had gone back to the camp, but it turned out Ah Meng had kept on running after him. This tenacity was typical of the honey badger.
Ah Meng lay down flat when it got near the puddle, then gave out a relieved sigh as if it was saying, Ah, this was so tiring, I can finally rest.
Li Du looked at it and smiled. Ah Meng accidentally looked up and saw this smile, and immediately looked wary. It had a bad premonition, recalling that every time its father smiled there was something he was planning.
Li Du reached out his hand and touched the small flathead. He laughed. “Are you tired? Ah Meng, are you tired of chasing after me all the way?”
Ah Meng didn’t know what Li Du was mumbling about, but its little black eyes looked panicked.
Li Du continued serenely, “Rest first. Don’t worry. After rest, you’ll do some work. Help daddy to dig up something.”
That was his plan. He was going to follow a curved path and get Ah Meng to dig from the ground next to the puddle, all the way down to the bottom, and retrieve the gold nugget.
After a rest, Ah Meng managed to breathe a little more freely. Li Du pulled it up and began to teach it to dig holes along the route.
The frozen hole was not big. Its diameter was only three or four meters, and Li Du soon found the nearest route to the gold nugget. Ah Meng only needed to dig two to three meters deep.
He found a good position, and Ah Meng soon dug in with his two front claws.
The ground was thawing, and the soil was firm, but not frozen solid. Honey badgers had sharp claws and were extremely good at digging deep holes.
Since Ah Meng was working, the others could not just stand by and watch. Li Du looked at Ah Meow and Ah Ow and said, “What are you looking at? Let’s make the hole bigger.”
Except for Ali who escaped from the hole digging job because it was not good at digging, the other three had to pitch in.
The three little ones worked while Li Du pondered where the gold nugget might have come from.
As for the source of this precious metal, there were generally two theories in the scientific world. One was that such gold nuggets with impurities were formed from the fall of a meteor rich in gold, composed of a gold-rich ore formed during the geological period of golden rain.
The second theory said that the first theory was nonsense, because such gold nuggets were usually found near gold mines, not in a random pattern that would be expected if their source was in meteorites.
It was generally believed that the gold nuggets were formed by streams of groundwater and geological activity under suitable conditions.
There were stones and impurities in the gold nuggets, and the surface was mostly uneven. Most research said that the geological environment they were produced in consisted of sandy soil rich in groundwater. Therefore, the sand grains also formed a mosaic on the surface of the nugget. Upon contact and friction, the sand left holes on the surface of the gold deposit.
The dog head gold found by Li Du could hardly be explained by these two theories. There were not supposed to be gold deposits around, and the craters on the gold nugget’s surface, which were similar to the melting pits on meteorites, did seem to come from that source.
In addition, he had just learned that rangers occasionally found bits of gold dust and small nuggets of gold or silver ore scattered over a wide area as if they had been sourced in meteorites.
After hard work from the three little ones and digging for more than forty minutes, Ah Meng finally reached the gold nugget.
Li Du used a stick to show it the way. If Ah Meng dug in the wrong direction, he would put a stick in the hole and kept the honey badger on track.
Eventually, Ah Meng reached the dog head gold and pulled it out.
Li Du first swept the dirt off Ah Meng’s body, rewarded him with a dollop of honey, and then picked up the gold piece.
This chunk of gold was not very big, but because of its high density, its weight was considerable. Li Du estimated it was at least twenty kilograms.
At this weight and this volume, the dog head gold was worth much more than pure gold of the same weight.
Li Du estimated that twenty kilograms of gold would be worth more than eight million dollars and that this piece of dog head gold would, therefore, be worth at least ten million dollars.
He happily stashed the gold in the black hole space. He gained quite a lot in this expedition.
The space-time bug launched a careful search around. Li Du wanted to see if there were any more gold nuggets or meteorite traces.
Unfortunately, his luck ran out and there were no other discoveries around except for this piece of gold.
With the elation of his precious find, Li Du had a large lunch when he got back.
In the afternoon, he was ready to set off. Ah Bai climbed onto the motorcycle in advance and swung on its tail. Ah Meow went to scratch it. However, because it was swinging from the motorcycle, Ah Meow could not pull it down.
Li Du held Ah Bai down and said, “Why don’t you stay back? You stay at home with Mom Sophie.”
Ah Bai didn’t like it. It grabbed his clothes and squeaked.
Ah Ow was lazily basking in the sun, trying to scratch the itch behind her neck. Ah Bai, seeing this, rolled its eyes and suddenly ran to scratch Ah Ow.
At first, Ah Ow was startled. She stared at Ah Bai with a wary look, but slowly she relaxed and began to enjoy herself.
Monkeys were good at scratching, picking out fleas and grooming, which was a way for them to bond with each other and to please the stronger members of the group.
Ah Bai scratched for a while and Ah Ow felt quite nice. Later, she stood up and shook her back. Then she took a stretch, squinting her eyes comfortably and almost groaned in pleasure.
Seeing this, Ah Bai suddenly jumped on Ah Ow’s back.