When the invaders came, they stole the gold from the library. They carried away the furnishings, stripped it from the shelves, tore it from the very books.
We watched undismayed, and whispered that they had left the true treasure.
They came again, and prised the mosaics from the floors, the carved panels from the walls. After much labour they even managed to chip away the frescoes on the ceilings.
We hid our smiles behind our hands, and marvelled to each other at their foolishness.
They returned and bore away the very bookshelves, elegant and ancient in their dark woodstain, leaving their contents where they fell.
We laughed aloud, calling them blind and ignorant, openly mocking them.
At last they came to us, demanding that we reveal the secret. The tales said our library held a treasure beyond price, but they had stripped the building to bare bones and found nothing. Where had we hidden it?
We did not answer. How could we explain the true treasure of a library, to those who sought only wealth?