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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 Elliot's turn.
Here he comes!
Racing to hear another tale from an epic adventurer.
CLINK, CLINK, CLINK!
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, Elliot. Come on!
No time to count the clouds. We've got stories to tell!
Now, let's have a lovely cup of tea.
-But first, we need...
But which one?
What a choice, Elliot.
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 Amazing Abacus.
Oh, yes, of course!
Let me tell you the story of Elliot
And The Adventure Of The Amazing Abacus.
It all started long, long ago in the magnificent Empire of China,
with its towering Himalayan mountains,
lush scented fields and thick green forests...
MAGICAL ADVENTURE MUSIC
Having walked for days over misty mountains and marshes,
in among the cherry trees and pagodas,
Elliot came one bright morning to a village.
Streets of neat little houses
butted against each other, vying for space.
On a corner was a woman.
She was holding a wooden frame with beads
and trying to attract the attention of anyone who came past.
Ladies! Gentlemen! Roll up!
Roll up! Ladies! Gentlemen!
Let me work for you. Me and my amazing abacus!
When along came a farmer, carrying some rice to market...
Sir, please give me a job. My abacus and I can count for you.
We can count your farm animals, your sacks of rice, anything!
Oh, I can count my own sack of rice, thank you.
One! There we are.
Counted it! Urgh, and it's heavy! I need to get on.
-No-one wants to give me a chance.
But Elliot had a pretty good idea as to how the young woman
could find someone to give her a chance.
Hello. I have an idea.
-What you could do is...
You could show other people how to use the abacus.
-What's the point in that? Everyone knows how an abacus works.
Really? OK. The lower deck has five beads on each rod.
One, two, three, four, five.
When I get to five, I move this one here and I put those back.
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
I move one of these here and I put these back.
You can add one or take one away.
All in a blink of an eye! You try.
So, it was Elliot's turn. And he snapped the beads
up and down the rails that filled the dark wooden frame.
They were enjoying themselves so much that they never noticed
they were being watched by a man called Mr Pang.
One, two, three, four, five, six...
-Seven! Seven is the answer!
So, if I begin with 167 coins
and sell a parcel of silk for 125,
you can tell me how much I have now?
-Hmm! My name's Mr Pang. Do you want to work for me?
Mr Pang, the silk merchant? But I know nothing about silk.
I need someone to count up and keep track of my money
and my rolls of silk.
-Then I'm your woman. Bo-Shun's the name.
-Good. You're hired, Bo-Shun.
-I'll leave you to it. Bye!
While Mr Pang told Bo-Shun about her brand-new job,
Elliot headed off to explore and enjoy the peace of the village.
-That was until he was disturbed...
..by what can only be described as a wee spot of bother.
-Hello, Mrs Jing.
-Oh, hello, Jiang.
You sold your sack of rice. Well done!
Here are the four coins you lent me
plus another 20 I want you to look after.
Thank you, Mrs Jing. I'll see you tomorrow.
-Oh, dear, dear...
Elliot could see that the old lady could do with a bit of help.
-Excuse me, can I help you?
-Oh, please. You're very kind!
-That looks very awkward.
-This is how I keep everybody's money.
And you have to carry it around all day?
How else would I keep track of what belongs to who?
Jiang there, this is his string and this is my string.
-It's quite simple.
-Couldn't you write it all down?
I tried that, but when I got home, I couldn't add all the money.
I kept getting it in a muddle.
And that was when Elliot had one of his brilliant ideas.
-You need an abacus.
-What's an abacus?
It's for doing number things without the muddle.
So you can write down what people give you and add it up at home.
You mean I wouldn't have to carry all this weight around ever again?
-Where can I get one?
-I think my friend, Bo-Shun, will know.
Mrs Jing looked as if the greatest weight in the world
-had been lifted from her shoulders.
-I'll be right back.
Now, Elliot thought getting an abacus for the old woman would be
as easy as 1-2-3.
But of course, it was never going to be as easy as that.
He hurried back to where Bo-Shun had been working.
But the only person there was the silk merchant, Mr Pang.
Excuse me. Do you know we're Bo-Shun is?
Yes. She works for me now. She's gone to my office in Beijing.
Beijing? That was miles and miles away!
It wasn't long past breakfast
and already things were getting complicated.
-He had learnt from Bo-Shun how to use the abacus.
He had helped Mrs Jing as she struggled with strings of coins.
-You're very kind!
-He'd had the brilliant idea of
using an abacus to add up at the end of the day.
And he had thought that getting an abacus would be a doddle.
He couldn't go back to Mrs Jing without the abacus, could he?
There was nothing else for it but to get his skates on -
to Beijing, to the silk merchant's office.
So, off went Elliot in his old, battered boots.
He scrambled up the misty mountain paths until,
when he was almost out of breath,
-the path ran out!
-BIRD CRY ECHOES
-There was only one way
to get to the other side...
Elliot took a deep breath.
Safely across, Elliot set off once more
and soon emerged from the forest to see the magnificent city of Beijing.
But there was no time to stand and stare.
Elliot had to get that abacus.
In a narrow street of ornate buildings,
Elliot arrived at the silk merchant's office.
-Hello, Elliot. What brings you all this way?
-I need a favour.
There's an old lady who needs an abacus
and you're the only person who'd know where to get one.
But I don't! There must be an abacus maker in Beijing
but I don't know where.
OK, thanks. I'd better go and find somebody who does. Bye.
Hang on a minute. You've travelled such a long way.
I wouldn't even have this job if you hadn't helped me. Have mine.
-I'll buy a new one.
-But you said you didn't know where to get one.
No, but in a job like this, I need to find out. Take it!
It's the one you learnt on, so you'll be able to show the old lady
-how to use it.
-The minute I get a new one, I'll give it back to you.
-You can keep it. It's the least I can do.
I'm going to treat myself to a brand-new one.
Back came Elliot in his old, battered boots,
over the open fields and down the mountainside.
And before he knew it, there he was, back in the village
where it all started.
I've got it!
Oh, my! Thank you!
And you can teach me how to use it?
One, two, three, four, five...
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
You can start using the abacus any time you want.
-Why don't we sit down first and have a cup of tea?
And that was that. The whole kit and caboodle.
Elliot And The Adventure Of The Amazing Abacus.
-Bo-Shun is very clever with her abacus.
-What about you?
You were clever to realise how she could show it off best.
-Moving the beads is a great way to count.
In parts of Asia and Africa, they still count by using an abacus
and they do their sums quicker on an abacus
-than we could on a calculator.
Well, I'll be blowed. Is that the time already? Come on.
Your mum will be here in a minute.
Now, how did that get there?
Home time now, Elliot.
-Thanks, Great Aunt Lizzie!
Great Aunt Lizzie tells the story of Elliot and the Adventure of the Amazing Abacus. An old woman in Imperial China needs a better way to keep count of the villagers' savings. Elliot goes on an epic quest to the majestic city of Beijing to find an abacus.