Jade Flute Teacup Travels


Jade Flute

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Here they come, my two intrepid explorers -

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Charlotte and Elliott.

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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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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

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is my extraordinary collection of tea cups.

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You've still got your coat on, Charlotte!

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Come on, no time to count the clouds.

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We've stories to tell!

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

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But first, we need...

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A teacup!

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Which one?

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That one.

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Hmmm.

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The jade flute.

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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 jade flute.

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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 jade flute!

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It all started long, long ago,

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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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As the sun burned away the morning mist, Charlotte crossed a wide,

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flat valley and the sound of music came floating by.

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She followed the tune to a rather grand house,

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where a young man called Shing and an old man called Gao

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sat playing on a pair of bamboo flutes.

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They played almost as one, until Shing's mother arrived.

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Ah, what beautiful music.

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Gao just taught it to me, I love it.

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-Shing, I have a present for you.

-A present?

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A jade flute! It's beautiful.

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It's the best money can buy.

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It sounds like the wind in the cherry blossoms.

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They are beautiful, Master Shing,

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but playing a jade flute is not the same as a bamboo one.

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Nonsense.

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Perhaps you should get back to work now.

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But, Mother, Gao was teaching me!

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The plums on those trees need picking,

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the branches on that buddleia need pruning,

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-and afterwards, feed the fish.

-Yes, mistress.

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Shing, I have told you before,

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I don't like you playing your flute with the gardener!

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-Gao's my music teacher.

-No, he's not. He's the gardener.

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Show me, son, how beautiful the Jade flute sounds.

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TOOT!

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Oh, well.

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Keep practising.

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I'm sure you'll get the hang of it soon.

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Hello. That's a beautiful flute.

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But not if you can't play it, and your teacher

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has to spend all his days picking plums and pruning bushes.

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Maybe if you practice in the garden,

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-your friend could teach you while he works.

-That's a good idea!

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TOOT-GROAN-WHISTLE

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-It's really difficult.

-Keep going, Shing.

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Blow more like this.

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GENTLE TOOTING

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Nearly.

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It's very different from the bamboo flute. I can't get it right.

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-Can you show me?

-Do you think that's a good idea?

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-Um, I'm not sure that your mum...

-It'll be fine.

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If you hold it like this, breathe slowly, and...

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PLAYS MELODY

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I told you to work, not play the flute!

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I've had quite enough.

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I want you to leave the house, right now!

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Charlotte felt awful.

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It was her idea to play the Jade flute in the garden, after all.

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Gao bowed and left the house in silence.

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With Gao gone, Shing had lost the instruction of his master.

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The house fell as quiet as the night.

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How different it was to when Charlotte

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had first come to a house full of music.

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You haven't slept for days!

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Why don't you play the nice flute I bought for you?

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It's horrible.

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It's too difficult. I think I'll stick to the bamboo one.

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No, Shin. Try, try, try again!

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I'll go and pick some delicious, fresh plums -

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they'll cheer you up.

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-SHE SIGHS

-Oh, dear.

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Is there anything I can do to help?

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Not unless you can teach my son to make the jade flute

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sound like the wind in the cherry blossoms.

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-I think only Gao can do that.

-That Gao?

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Why couldn't he just do what he was told?

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Perhaps he's a better music teacher than a gardener.

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-But we need a gardener.

-I think you need a music teacher, too.

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You could get a new one, who loves to garden!

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-That is an excellent idea.

-You mean it? I'll go and get him at once!

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You can't go now. You haven't eaten properly for days.

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'Never one to miss the opportunity to help, Charlotte stepped forward.'

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I could go and get him for you.

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That would be wonderful. Thank you.

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-Could you give him this, please?

-The jade flute?

-Yes, mother.

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Please tell him to come back and play this.

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When I can hear the jade flute being played,

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-I will know my friend is back.

-Charlotte wasn't sure what to do.

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She held the cool, heavy flute, and waited with bated breath.

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Very well. Take the jade flute to Gao, wherever he is.

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Charlotte put the flute carefully in her bag,

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sure that finding Gao would be as easy as falling off a log.

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

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I think I know where he'll be.

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There's a new estate, on the other side the mountain,

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looking for a new gardener.

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It wasn't even tea-time and already it was all out of tune.

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Charlotte had listened to Shing and Gao

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as they have played their flutes.

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She had suggested that Shing play near the plum trees

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and managed to persuade Ji to ask Gao to come back

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-as a music teacher.

-That is an excellent idea!

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And she had thought finding Gao would be a doddle.

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But she couldn't just leave Shing without a teacher, could she?

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There was nothing for it,

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but to set off over the mountain to find Gao.

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So, off went Charlotte in her old, battered boots.

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She scrambled up the misty mountain paths until,

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when she was almost out of breath, the path ran out!

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RUSHING WATER

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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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Safely across, Charlotte set off once more, and soon

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came to a valley full of pink cherry blossoms and swirling mist.

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But there was no time to be awestruck.

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Charlotte had to find Gao.

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-Hello. I've come from Shing's house.

-How is he?

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-He wants you to come back.

-But I have a new job here, now.

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He asked me to give you this.

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His jade flute!

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-And his mother?

-She wants you to come back, too,

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-to be a music teacher for Shing.

-A teacher?

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I'll teach him to play like the wind in the cherry blossoms.

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But...the people have been very kind to me, here -

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I can't just leave them.

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Oh, I see.

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I'll wait until they return to explain.

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You go ahead and thank Shing for the flute, and tell him

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he'll hear his jade flute playing near the plum trees very soon.

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Bye, then. See you soon!

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Back came Charlotte in her old battered boots,

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over the open fields and down the mountainside.

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When Charlotte made it back to the grand house in the Valley,

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Shing was waiting in the garden for news.

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-Did you give him the jade flute?

-Yes.

-And he's coming back?

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He should be here soon.

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Thank you. I'll play my bamboo flute while I wait.

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That would be lovely.

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MELODIC MUSIC

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FLUTE PLAYS IN DISTANCE

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Listen! It's Gao with the jade flute. It sounds so beautiful.

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Welcome back, Gao.

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If you make a happy home, absent friends will return.

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Shall we play our flutes?

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While you play the flutes, Charlotte and I will have

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some lovely, fresh plums!

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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 jade flute.

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Do you think Shin liked playing the jade flute by the end?

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Especially when he heard his old servant playing it.

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-It was a very pretty little green flute.

-It was.

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So delicate and green - the colour of moss.

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Well, I'll be blowed! 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 Jade Flute. A prince in imperial China gives up playing the flute after his best friend is sent far away. Charlotte goes on epic quest to convince the prince's friend to return.


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