Brick Mould Teacup Travels


Brick Mould

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Here they come, my two intrepid explorers -

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Charlotte and Elliot.

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I'm their Great Aunt Lizzie, you see,

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and I wonder which one is coming to see me today.

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Ah, so it's Charlotte's turn.

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Here she comes,

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racing to hear another tale from an epic adventurer.

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And what wonderful adventures they were, so long ago and so far away.

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I collected a few souvenirs along the way.

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But my most precious possession of all

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is my extraordinary collection of teacups.

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You've still got your coat on, Charlotte. Come on.

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No time to count the clouds. We've got stories to tell.

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Now...

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Let's have a lovely cup of tea.

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-But first we need...

-The teacup.

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But which one?

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That one.

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Oh...

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The wooden mould.

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What a choice, Charlotte.

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I do really love that story.

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This will be just perfect to drink now.

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So are you ready?

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Ready.

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Then let me tell you the story of Great Aunt Lizzie

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and the adventure of the wooden mould.

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Ahem.

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Oh, yes, of course.

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Let me tell you the story of Charlotte

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and the adventure of the wooden mould.

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It all began long, long ago

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in ancient Egypt where towering pyramids

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and gigantic limestone statues graced the golden sand dunes.

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In the heart of the desert beneath a cluster of palms,

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a mud-brick village sheltered from the Saharan sun.

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All was quiet when Charlotte first set foot on its dusty streets.

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There was no-one to be seen but a man carrying a bucket of water,

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which he set on a table by the door of a little house.

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Neith. There should be enough water

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to last you and the baby until I get back. I'd better go.

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Thank you, Shu.

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Just don't forget your work things or your lunch.

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They're where you left them.

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SHU LAUGHS

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-Bye, Neith.

-Bye, Shu.

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The sound of singing drew her towards the little house.

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# Hmm, hmm...baby, sleep

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# Hmm, hmm, hmm. #

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-Hello.

-Hello. That's a lovely tune you're singing.

-Thank you.

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Our baby likes it, too.

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-It always sends her off to sleep.

-Are you a dressmaker?

-Yes.

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I make them and swap them for food.

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Does your friend make clothes, too?

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My friend... Shu?

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No, he's my husband. He's a builder.

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-What does he build?

-But before Neith could reply,

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she spotted a wooden frame hidden behind the bucket.

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Oh, he's forgotten it.

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He won't be able to finish his work without it.

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-BABY CRIES

-Now my baby needs a feed.

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I can't be everywhere at once.

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That was when Charlotte had one of her brilliant ideas.

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-I could take it to Shu, if you want.

-Please. That would be so kind.

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-He's working at the temple at the top of

-Main Street. OK.

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Please be careful with it. It's made of wood.

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-Wood is very rare and expensive here.

-I will.

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Always keen to help,

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Charlotte set off for the temple.

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It was by no means the biggest temple she'd seen in Egypt

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but it was still magnificent.

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As she came nearer, she could see Shu, who was ever so busy.

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There was more to this than making mud pies.

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Sand from the desert, mud from the river, little stones,

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but most important of all - straw.

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After mulching it up in a tub with a big stick, Shu stopped

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and began to look around as if something was missing.

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This, thought Charlotte, was probably a good time to interrupt.

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Excuse me, your wife Neith asked me to bring you this.

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Oh, my djobe mould. Ha-ha. I was wondering where it got to.

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The Pharaoh's architect is coming. It's no day to leave tools at home.

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-I dread what would happen if I couldn't make bricks today.

-Ah.

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-So a djobe mould is for making bricks?

-Yes, mud bricks.

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We call them djobes. I'll show you how we make them.

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Actually I could do with a rest. Why don't you show me?

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Always keen to have a go, Charlotte rolled up her sleeves,

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ready for action.

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Now, scoop a portion of the mixture into the mould.

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It reminded Charlotte of making sandcastles at the beach.

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Once it's full,

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you have to jiggle it a little to free the mud brick from the sides.

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Ta-da!

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That's nice.

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All it needs now is to bake rock-hard in the sun -

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like these.

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But then calamity struck.

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Charlotte could see the damage right away.

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-Oh, no.

-The bricks had shattered the precious djobe mould.

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How could I be so clumsy?

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-TRUMPETS PLAY

-Those trumpets are for the

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Pharaoh's architect coming to inspect my work.

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I can't leave now, but without a new djobe mould

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-I won't be able to finish my work.

-If you deal with him,

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I'll quickly get you a new mould.

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Now, Charlotte thought getting a new mould would be a piece of cake.

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Surely she could get someone in the village to make a new one.

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But it was never going to be as easy as that.

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-She hadn't gone far when Shu caught her up.

-Wait.

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There isn't a carpenter in the village.

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The nearest one is across the other side of the hills.

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But it's a tough journey on this hot afternoon.

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He was right.

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The hills were like a wall across the desert.

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It was miles to the top and probably miles down the other side.

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It wasn't even lunchtime

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and already she'd got herself into such a tangle.

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She'd taken the djobe mould to the temple when Shu had forgotten it.

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She'd watched him mix up the mud and gravel

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until it was a good time to interrupt.

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-It was true that she'd enjoyed making the brick.

-Ta-da!

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But then there'd been a disaster

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when Shu had dropped some bricks on the djobe mould and broken it.

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She couldn't go back without it, could she?

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There was nothing for it but to high-tail it over those

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distant arid hills and find the carpenter.

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So off went Charlotte in her old, battered boots.

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She crossed the desert peaks until,

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when she was almost out of breath

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the path ran out.

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There was only one way to get to the other side.

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Charlotte took a deep breath.

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WOOD CREAKS

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Safely across, Charlotte set off once more until there before her,

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surrounded by the heat and the dust, was a little town.

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But there was no time to waste -

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Charlotte had to get the djobe mould.

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Hello? Is anybody home?

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We're closed.

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-Don't you know it's a feast day today?

-But you can't be closed.

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I need a brick mould. It's very important.

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A brick mould? Do you have anything to trade?

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In all the rush, Charlotte hadn't thought

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-what she might possibly trade for a mould.

-Quickly. I'm busy.

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Oh...

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I give up.

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Charlotte looked at the woman and her hopeless bundle of sticks,

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and then it came - a moment of inspiration.

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-I want to trade.

-Trade?

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This ball of string for that brick mould.

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It's good and strong.

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All right, you have a deal.

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With the brick mould safely tucked in her backpack

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she was soon heading for the hills for the second time in a day.

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Back came Charlotte in her old, battered boots.

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Over the desert peaks and down the mountainside.

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What a journey she'd had. But before she knew it,

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Charlotte was back at the temple,

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just in time to give Shu the new mould.

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It's perfect, Charlotte. Thank you. I can't believe you did it.

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-Did what?

-Charlotte and Shu spun around to see

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the stern face of the Pharaoh's architect staring back at them.

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Well, who are you?

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What are you doing here?

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Th-this, this, my lord architect, is my friend Charlotte.

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-She's travelled far to learn of the work we do here.

-Really?

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So tell me, what do you think of our builder's work on the temple?

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I think it's amazing.

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Wise words. I'm sure the Pharaoh would agree.

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Thank you, Charlotte. I'll never forget your kindness.

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-Shall we have a break, then?

-Yes, let's.

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And that was that - the whole kit and caboodle.

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Charlotte and the adventure of the wooden mould.

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I don't know how Shu worked in that heat all day long.

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Without heat to bake mud bricks, he'd have had nothing to build with.

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Sloshing about in mud must have helped him keep cool.

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As any hippo would agree. Who would have thought making

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mud bricks would be so much fun?

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Or that wood to make a simple mould would be so rare and so valuable?

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-I think I prefer making sandcastles to mud bricks.

-Me too.

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Blow me down with a feather - is that the time already? Come on.

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Your mum'll be here in a minute.

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Your coat.

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Now, how did that get there?

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Home time now, Charlotte.

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Thanks, Great Aunt Lizzie.

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Cheery-bye, Charlotte.

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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.


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