"The Big Dig"

The Big Dig

The Big Dig Title Card

Season/Series: 5
Number in season: 9b
Original Airdate: Flag of the United States November 20, 2000[1][2]
Flag of Canada January 11, 2001[3]
Written by: Kathy Waugh
Storyboard by: Elie Klimos
Angus Bungay
Guylaine Seguin
Eric St. Gelais
Zhigang Wang
"Just Desserts"
"Arthur's Family Feud"
Read transcript
"The Big Dig" is the second half of the ninth episode in the fifth season of Arthur.


After Grandpa Dave shows them a secret map, Arthur and D.W. hunt for buried treasure and learn some family history.


Grandpa Dave is sleeping, and Arthur and D.W. are getting upset that they aren't having fun.

One day, when Dave wakes up and notices that D.W. had won a game of checkers, he smiled proudly at her and told her she won. When a folded piece of paper falls out of his pocket, Arthur asks Grandpa Dave what it is; he initially says it's “nothing for little children to worry about,” but Arthur says he's not little; he's eight. Then Grandpa Dave replies it's for grown-up children to worry about. D.W. says, “I’m a grownup in spirit. Mom says so” in reply and smiles. Finally, Dave says that maybe it is time for D.W. and Arthur to hear the story about their “Great-great-great-great-great-great... great... whew... Uncle Blacktooth.”

In Dave's story, Blacktooth, who was shown to be a pirate with bad breath, was the most fierce pirate to sail the seven seas, but Arthur (who is the cabin boy in the story) steps in and says “Actually, there are eleven seas, sir.” Blacktooth turns to him and breathes into his face, which causes Arthur to fall overboard.

Arthur takes the map while Grandpa Dave is asleep and convinces D.W. to take an oath, which she refuses. They discover that the treasure should be buried by the tree house, but they can't find it. Grandpa Dave shows up, and tells them there was no treasure, and that it was just a story. The kids are sad about this, and Grandpa Dave follows them home.

At home, the kids are still disappointed. Grandpa Dave is still feeling bad, and tells the kids the truth. The two forgive Grandpa, and he tells them the story about their Great Great Great-Uncle Matthew after giving them a gold compass with a chain attached (which Grandpa Dave calls a real treasure). According to Grandpa, Matthew and his crew were caught in the “storm of ’88, the worst of the century,” and ended up drifting for days in a tiny lifeboat; all they had was water, the gold compass and a checkerboard. When Arthur asked if this story was true, Grandpa said that it was, and then remarked that “Matthew was a fiend for checkers, just like me.”

The episode finishes on a good note.





Episode connections

Clarissa Big Dig

The scene in which Arthur finds the doll head

Production notes

  • This episode was originally titled "Grandpa Dave's Great Big Fib".[5]
  • As of June 2014, this episode holds the record for most storyboarders for a single episode, with 5.

Home Video



Storyboards and Concept Art



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