Abacus Teacup Travels


Abacus

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Transcript


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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 Elliot's turn.

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Here he comes!

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Racing to hear another tale from an epic adventurer.

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CLINK, CLINK, CLINK!

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And what wonderful adventures they were!

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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 is my extraordinary

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collection of teacups.

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You've still got your coat on, Elliot. Come on!

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

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Now, let's have a lovely cup of tea.

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-But first, we need...

-A teacup!

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But which one?

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That one!

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Mmm...

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The Abacus.

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What a choice, Elliot.

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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 Amazing Abacus.

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Ahem, ahem!

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Oh, yes, of course!

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Let me tell you the story of Elliot

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And The Adventure Of The Amazing Abacus.

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It all started long, long ago in the magnificent Empire of China,

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with its towering Himalayan mountains,

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lush scented fields and thick green forests...

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MAGICAL ADVENTURE MUSIC

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Having walked for days over misty mountains and marshes,

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in among the cherry trees and pagodas,

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Elliot came one bright morning to a village.

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Streets of neat little houses

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butted against each other, vying for space.

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On a corner was a woman.

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She was holding a wooden frame with beads

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and trying to attract the attention of anyone who came past.

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Ladies! Gentlemen! Roll up!

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Roll up! Ladies! Gentlemen!

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Let me work for you. Me and my amazing abacus!

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When along came a farmer, carrying some rice to market...

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Sir, please give me a job. My abacus and I can count for you.

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We can count your farm animals, your sacks of rice, anything!

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Oh, I can count my own sack of rice, thank you.

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One! There we are.

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Counted it! Urgh, and it's heavy! I need to get on.

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-SHE SIGHS

-No-one wants to give me a chance.

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But Elliot had a pretty good idea as to how the young woman

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could find someone to give her a chance.

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Hello. I have an idea.

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-What you could do is...

-Give up...

-No.

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You could show other people how to use the abacus.

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-What's the point in that? Everyone knows how an abacus works.

-I don't.

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Really? OK. The lower deck has five beads on each rod.

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One, two, three, four, five.

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When I get to five, I move this one here and I put those back.

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Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

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I move one of these here and I put these back.

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You can add one or take one away.

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All in a blink of an eye! You try.

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So, it was Elliot's turn. And he snapped the beads

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up and down the rails that filled the dark wooden frame.

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They were enjoying themselves so much that they never noticed

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they were being watched by a man called Mr Pang.

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One, two, three, four, five, six...

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-Seven! Seven is the answer!

-Right again!

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So, if I begin with 167 coins

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and sell a parcel of silk for 125,

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you can tell me how much I have now?

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BEADS SNAP

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-292.

-Hmm! My name's Mr Pang. Do you want to work for me?

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Mr Pang, the silk merchant? But I know nothing about silk.

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I need someone to count up and keep track of my money

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and my rolls of silk.

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-Then I'm your woman. Bo-Shun's the name.

-Good. You're hired, Bo-Shun.

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-I'll leave you to it. Bye!

-Bye!

-Bye-bye.

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While Mr Pang told Bo-Shun about her brand-new job,

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Elliot headed off to explore and enjoy the peace of the village.

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-That was until he was disturbed...

-CRASHING

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..by what can only be described as a wee spot of bother.

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-Hello, Mrs Jing.

-Oh, hello, Jiang.

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You sold your sack of rice. Well done!

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Here are the four coins you lent me

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plus another 20 I want you to look after.

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OK, certainly.

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Thank you, Mrs Jing. I'll see you tomorrow.

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-COINS SCATTER

-Oh, dear, dear...

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Elliot could see that the old lady could do with a bit of help.

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-Excuse me, can I help you?

-Oh, please. You're very kind!

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-That looks very awkward.

-This is how I keep everybody's money.

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And you have to carry it around all day?

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How else would I keep track of what belongs to who?

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Jiang there, this is his string and this is my string.

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-It's quite simple.

-Couldn't you write it all down?

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I tried that, but when I got home, I couldn't add all the money.

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I kept getting it in a muddle.

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And that was when Elliot had one of his brilliant ideas.

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-You need an abacus.

-What's an abacus?

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It's for doing number things without the muddle.

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So you can write down what people give you and add it up at home.

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You mean I wouldn't have to carry all this weight around ever again?

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-Where can I get one?

-I think my friend, Bo-Shun, will know.

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Mrs Jing looked as if the greatest weight in the world

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-had been lifted from her shoulders.

-I'll be right back.

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Now, Elliot thought getting an abacus for the old woman would be

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as easy as 1-2-3.

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But of course, it was never going to be as easy as that.

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He hurried back to where Bo-Shun had been working.

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But the only person there was the silk merchant, Mr Pang.

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Excuse me. Do you know we're Bo-Shun is?

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Yes. She works for me now. She's gone to my office in Beijing.

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Beijing? That was miles and miles away!

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It wasn't long past breakfast

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and already things were getting complicated.

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-He had learnt from Bo-Shun how to use the abacus.

-Right again!

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He had helped Mrs Jing as she struggled with strings of coins.

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-You're very kind!

-He'd had the brilliant idea of

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using an abacus to add up at the end of the day.

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And he had thought that getting an abacus would be a doddle.

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He couldn't go back to Mrs Jing without the abacus, could he?

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There was nothing else for it but to get his skates on -

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to Beijing, to the silk merchant's office.

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So, off went Elliot in his old, battered boots.

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He scrambled up the misty mountain paths until,

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when he was almost out of breath,

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-the path ran out!

-ROCKS TUMBLE

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-BIRD CRY ECHOES

-There was only one way

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to get to the other side...

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Elliot took a deep breath.

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DRAMATIC MUSIC

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Safely across, Elliot set off once more

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and soon emerged from the forest to see the magnificent city of Beijing.

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But there was no time to stand and stare.

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Elliot had to get that abacus.

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In a narrow street of ornate buildings,

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Elliot arrived at the silk merchant's office.

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-Hello, Elliot. What brings you all this way?

-I need a favour.

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There's an old lady who needs an abacus

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and you're the only person who'd know where to get one.

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But I don't! There must be an abacus maker in Beijing

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but I don't know where.

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OK, thanks. I'd better go and find somebody who does. Bye.

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Hang on a minute. You've travelled such a long way.

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I wouldn't even have this job if you hadn't helped me. Have mine.

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-I'll buy a new one.

-But you said you didn't know where to get one.

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No, but in a job like this, I need to find out. Take it!

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It's the one you learnt on, so you'll be able to show the old lady

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-how to use it.

-The minute I get a new one, I'll give it back to you.

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-You can keep it. It's the least I can do.

-Thank you!

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I'm going to treat myself to a brand-new one.

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-Bye!

-Good luck!

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Back came Elliot in his old, battered boots,

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over the open fields and down the mountainside.

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And before he knew it, there he was, back in the village

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where it all started.

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I've got it!

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Oh, my! Thank you!

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And you can teach me how to use it?

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It's wonderful!

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One, two, three, four, five...

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Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

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You can start using the abacus any time you want.

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-Why don't we sit down first and have a cup of tea?

-Yes, let's!

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And that was that. The whole kit and caboodle.

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Elliot And The Adventure Of The Amazing Abacus.

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-Bo-Shun is very clever with her abacus.

-What about you?

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You were clever to realise how she could show it off best.

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-Moving the beads is a great way to count.

-I know.

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In parts of Asia and Africa, they still count by using an abacus

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and they do their sums quicker on an abacus

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-than we could on a calculator.

-Really?

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Well, I'll be blowed. Is that the time already? Come on.

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Your mum will 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, Elliot.

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-Thanks, Great Aunt Lizzie!

-Cheery-bye, Elliot!

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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.


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