On the issue of treasure, Biederman and Cooper have insightful analyses:

"The ones that play a major role in old tales of magic, spells, and adventure can be understood as "hoardes" or "troves" from earlier eras, buried or hidden at a time of danger but then never retrieved by those who had left them behind. It was believed that they offered a relatively easy way to get rich-- if one knew a few magic words and were willing to brave the curses attached to the treasures... Viewed rationally, the search for buried GOLD had little prospect of success; the basis for legendary quests may lie in symbolic traditions of late antiquity, like Gnostic doctrine, in which treasures stood for specific attainments sought on the path to knowledge. Guardians block access to these inner treasures and can be commanded only by those who possess secret passwords and geometrical symbols..." (Biederman, 350).

"The search for treasure has a twofold symbolism: either the search is for earthly treasure, such as gold or jewels, usually hidden in a CAVE or underground, the finding of which brings trials and tribulations and, where greed is the motive, leads to final disaster, or the search is for spiritual treasure, symbolizing esoteric knowledge or enlightenment, the search for the Center, for lost Paradise, the Grail etc... and the goal is guarded by monsters or DRAGONS; this represents man's quest for, and discovery of, his own true nature" (Cooper, 176).

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