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Here they come, my two intrepid explorers -
Charlotte and Elliot.
I'm their Great Aunt Lizzie, you see,
and I wonder which one is coming to see me today.
Ah, so it's Charlotte's turn.
Here she comes,
racing to hear another tale from an epic adventurer.
And what wonderful adventures they were, so long ago and so far away.
I collected a few souvenirs along the way.
But my most precious possession of all
is my extraordinary collection of teacups.
You've still got your coat on, Charlotte. Come on.
No time to count the clouds. We've got stories to tell.
Let's have a lovely cup of tea.
-But first we need...
But which one?
The wooden mould.
What a choice, Charlotte.
I do really love that story.
This will be just perfect to drink now.
So are you ready?
Then let me tell you the story of Great Aunt Lizzie
and the adventure of the wooden mould.
Oh, yes, of course.
Let me tell you the story of Charlotte
and the adventure of the wooden mould.
It all began long, long ago
in ancient Egypt where towering pyramids
and gigantic limestone statues graced the golden sand dunes.
In the heart of the desert beneath a cluster of palms,
a mud-brick village sheltered from the Saharan sun.
All was quiet when Charlotte first set foot on its dusty streets.
There was no-one to be seen but a man carrying a bucket of water,
which he set on a table by the door of a little house.
Neith. There should be enough water
to last you and the baby until I get back. I'd better go.
Thank you, Shu.
Just don't forget your work things or your lunch.
They're where you left them.
The sound of singing drew her towards the little house.
# Hmm, hmm...baby, sleep
# Hmm, hmm, hmm. #
-Hello. That's a lovely tune you're singing.
Our baby likes it, too.
-It always sends her off to sleep.
-Are you a dressmaker?
I make them and swap them for food.
Does your friend make clothes, too?
My friend... Shu?
No, he's my husband. He's a builder.
-What does he build?
-But before Neith could reply,
she spotted a wooden frame hidden behind the bucket.
Oh, he's forgotten it.
He won't be able to finish his work without it.
-Now my baby needs a feed.
I can't be everywhere at once.
That was when Charlotte had one of her brilliant ideas.
-I could take it to Shu, if you want.
-Please. That would be so kind.
-He's working at the temple at the top of
-Main Street. OK.
Please be careful with it. It's made of wood.
-Wood is very rare and expensive here.
Always keen to help,
Charlotte set off for the temple.
It was by no means the biggest temple she'd seen in Egypt
but it was still magnificent.
As she came nearer, she could see Shu, who was ever so busy.
There was more to this than making mud pies.
Sand from the desert, mud from the river, little stones,
but most important of all - straw.
After mulching it up in a tub with a big stick, Shu stopped
and began to look around as if something was missing.
This, thought Charlotte, was probably a good time to interrupt.
Excuse me, your wife Neith asked me to bring you this.
Oh, my djobe mould. Ha-ha. I was wondering where it got to.
The Pharaoh's architect is coming. It's no day to leave tools at home.
-I dread what would happen if I couldn't make bricks today.
-So a djobe mould is for making bricks?
-Yes, mud bricks.
We call them djobes. I'll show you how we make them.
Actually I could do with a rest. Why don't you show me?
Always keen to have a go, Charlotte rolled up her sleeves,
ready for action.
Now, scoop a portion of the mixture into the mould.
It reminded Charlotte of making sandcastles at the beach.
Once it's full,
you have to jiggle it a little to free the mud brick from the sides.
All it needs now is to bake rock-hard in the sun -
But then calamity struck.
Charlotte could see the damage right away.
-The bricks had shattered the precious djobe mould.
How could I be so clumsy?
-Those trumpets are for the
Pharaoh's architect coming to inspect my work.
I can't leave now, but without a new djobe mould
-I won't be able to finish my work.
-If you deal with him,
I'll quickly get you a new mould.
Now, Charlotte thought getting a new mould would be a piece of cake.
Surely she could get someone in the village to make a new one.
But it was never going to be as easy as that.
-She hadn't gone far when Shu caught her up.
There isn't a carpenter in the village.
The nearest one is across the other side of the hills.
But it's a tough journey on this hot afternoon.
He was right.
The hills were like a wall across the desert.
It was miles to the top and probably miles down the other side.
It wasn't even lunchtime
and already she'd got herself into such a tangle.
She'd taken the djobe mould to the temple when Shu had forgotten it.
She'd watched him mix up the mud and gravel
until it was a good time to interrupt.
-It was true that she'd enjoyed making the brick.
But then there'd been a disaster
when Shu had dropped some bricks on the djobe mould and broken it.
She couldn't go back without it, could she?
There was nothing for it but to high-tail it over those
distant arid hills and find the carpenter.
So off went Charlotte in her old, battered boots.
She crossed the desert peaks until,
when she was almost out of breath
the path ran out.
There was only one way to get to the other side.
Charlotte took a deep breath.
Safely across, Charlotte set off once more until there before her,
surrounded by the heat and the dust, was a little town.
But there was no time to waste -
Charlotte had to get the djobe mould.
Hello? Is anybody home?
-Don't you know it's a feast day today?
-But you can't be closed.
I need a brick mould. It's very important.
A brick mould? Do you have anything to trade?
In all the rush, Charlotte hadn't thought
-what she might possibly trade for a mould.
-Quickly. I'm busy.
I give up.
Charlotte looked at the woman and her hopeless bundle of sticks,
and then it came - a moment of inspiration.
-I want to trade.
This ball of string for that brick mould.
It's good and strong.
All right, you have a deal.
With the brick mould safely tucked in her backpack
she was soon heading for the hills for the second time in a day.
Back came Charlotte in her old, battered boots.
Over the desert peaks and down the mountainside.
What a journey she'd had. But before she knew it,
Charlotte was back at the temple,
just in time to give Shu the new mould.
It's perfect, Charlotte. Thank you. I can't believe you did it.
-Charlotte and Shu spun around to see
the stern face of the Pharaoh's architect staring back at them.
Well, who are you?
What are you doing here?
Th-this, this, my lord architect, is my friend Charlotte.
-She's travelled far to learn of the work we do here.
So tell me, what do you think of our builder's work on the temple?
I think it's amazing.
Wise words. I'm sure the Pharaoh would agree.
Thank you, Charlotte. I'll never forget your kindness.
-Shall we have a break, then?
And that was that - the whole kit and caboodle.
Charlotte and the adventure of the wooden mould.
I don't know how Shu worked in that heat all day long.
Without heat to bake mud bricks, he'd have had nothing to build with.
Sloshing about in mud must have helped him keep cool.
As any hippo would agree. Who would have thought making
mud bricks would be so much fun?
Or that wood to make a simple mould would be so rare and so valuable?
-I think I prefer making sandcastles to mud bricks.
Blow me down with a feather - is that the time already? Come on.
Your mum'll be here in a minute.
Now, how did that get there?
Home time now, Charlotte.
Thanks, Great Aunt Lizzie.
Great Aunt Lizzie tells the story of Charlotte and the Adventure of the Wooden Mould. A brickmaker in ancient Egypt needs a new mould before the pharaoh's architect notices. Charlotte goes on an epic quest to find a carpenter who drives a hard bargain.