If you’re hiking through the Barton Creek Greenbelt and spot a wicked cool treasure chest just off the trail that looks like something out of The Legend of Zelda, then you can thank Ezekiel Buchheit for the adventure. “Ez” (pronounced “easy”) is a local software designer turned self-taught street artist and doggy daycare owner who has recently started an art project with which he hopes to infuse Austin with some of the fun and magic found in the Zelda video game epics.

The premise of “Hyrule in Austin” is simple: Ez creates handmade Zelda artifacts, such as potted piranha plants, crocheted bomb bags, perler bead sprite swords, and fairy bottles, and hides them around town without telling anyone. After that, there are no rules. If you’re lucky enough to find a treasure or even a whole chest full of booty, you’re governed by your own personal honor code. We figure you can do one of three things at that point: (1) take the whole thing and go, (2) replace an object or two with treasure of your own, or (3) walk away with a smile.

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Zelda items treasures spoils lon lon milk bottle jug triforce necklace stained glass sword keychain Buchheit includes all sorts of handmade Zelda treasures in each chest, such as stained glass triforce necklaces, sword keychains, and Lon Lon bottles. Photo: Rebecca L. Bennett

“It’s the death of the artist at that point,” Buchheit told Austin.com. “I just thought it would be a little fun and surreal if you were out hiking and, holy shit, there’s a treasure chest off the road… If you don’t know what Zelda is and you find it, it’s still cool. If you do know what Zelda is, then it’s bonus cool.”

Like all great adventures, “Hyrule in Austin” started with those pesky pirahna plants. Buchheit would make ’em and plant ’em in community garden plots around Lady Bird Lake, hoping to brighten gardeners’ days. Next, he began affixing his creations to walls under bridges. One particular installment featured an assortment of perler bead swords accompanied by that classic quest-launching phrase from the original 1986 Nintendo game: “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.”

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