Moon Fan Teacup Travels


Moon Fan

Great Aunt Lizzie tells the story of Elliot and the Adventure of the Chinese Moon Fan. A trader in China has trouble selling her moon fans until she makes a new friend.


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Transcript


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Here they come, like 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. Racing to hear another tale from an epic adventure.

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TAP! TAP! TAP!

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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.

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Come on, 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...

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The teacup!

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But which one?

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-That one!

-Ooh!

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The Chinese Moon Fan.

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What a choice, Elliot. I do love that story.

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This will be just perfect to drink now.

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-So... Are you ready?

-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 Chinese Moon Fan.

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CLEARS THROAT

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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 Chinese Moon Fan.

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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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Between the mountaintops, among the rice fields, little towns

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drew traders from the countryside in hope of selling their wares.

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It was on the road to one such town,

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with the scented jasmine blowing softly on the breeze,

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that Elliot came across Mrs Bao making silk fans outside her home.

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There we go now.

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Best be off.

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A young man approached. He'd travelled far and was thirsty.

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-Excuse me. May I trouble you for a drink of water?

-Of course.

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Help yourself.

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Such kindness.

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-Thank you. Your moon fans are beautiful.

-Thank you.

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But nobody wants them these days.

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They want fancy feathery things to flap as they strut

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around the city like a lot of the Emperor's pampered friends.

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Oh, my. Master, I apologise.

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I didn't know it was you.

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Please, there is no need.

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But I insulted the Emperor's friend -

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his favourite artist drinks from my cup.

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-Those people are fools, if you ask me.

-Such an honour.

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Madam, the honour is all mine.

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If ever I can repay you for your kindness, I will.

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Now, I must be on my way.

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Thank you for the water.

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Yan Jiang Jing by my house.

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What an honour!

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Oh... I'm late. Best be off.

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Oh!

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More haste less speed.

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Elliot wondered if he could help.

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-Excuse me?

-Oh, it's all go today.

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If it's water you want, just help yourself.

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I really need to go. I'm late.

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-Maybe I could help you.

-Oh! Help?

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That's just wonderful.

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Everything takes so long these days.

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What are you late for?

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Well, selling these fans. Oh!

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It's market day today

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and my granddaughter is waiting for me at the city gates.

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I could take them for you.

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It really is my lucky day.

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First, great Yan Jiang Jing comes to visit my house.

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And then you appear and help me out of a muddle.

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It's just down the road at the bottom of the hill.

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But my old bones make it feel like 100 miles.

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I'll be as quick as I can.

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Elliot set off and before long he came to a bridge

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where the old lady's granddaughter had run into a spot of trouble

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with a town guard.

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I'm not supposed to let people hang around the bridge.

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But my grandmother will be here soon with moon fans.

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We need to come in to sell them.

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Here they are.

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That's great. Thanks.

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There. See? I told you I had moon fans to sell.

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Yes, you did.

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You also said they were good quality.

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-These are rubbish.

-No, they're not!

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They're beautiful. And they're...

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What would the Emperor think if I let you in to sell dull,

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boring fans like these?

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Maybe we could brighten them up with a small splash of ink.

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That's a nice idea, but we don't have any ink.

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Now, Elliot thought getting ink would be easy peasy lemon squeezy.

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

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You need the ink makers.

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Aren't they in the city?

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I'm afraid not.

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See the smoke in the hills?

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You'll find them there.

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How had Elliot ended up in this pickle?

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He'd helped Ms Bao pick up the moon fans she'd dropped...

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That's just wonderful.

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-He delivered them to Mrs Bao's granddaughter...

-That's great.

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He'd suggested painting the fans to make them brighter,

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but they didn't have anything to paint with.

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And he thought getting the ink would be a doddle.

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He couldn't allow Mrs Bao's fans to be left unsold, could he?

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There was nothing else for it

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but to set off up the mountain to the ink makers in the woods.

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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 we 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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Elliot took a deep breath.

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Safely across, Elliot set off once more.

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And suddenly amongst the clouds was a clump of gnarled,

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twisted trees.

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But there was no time to stop and admire the view.

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Elliot had to get that ink!

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But when he got there the clearing was deserted.

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The ink makers are all gone. If that's who you're looking for.

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It was Yan Jiang Jing

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The young man who'd quenched his thirst at Mrs Bao's house.

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-Gone where?

-They're always on the move.

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Oh, no.

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I promised my friend that I'd get some ink for her grandma.

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Kind old lady? The fan maker?

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We tried to sell them in town, but the guard wouldn't let us in.

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-He said they were too plain.

-Show me.

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All good things begin with kindness.

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I think I can do better than give you ink.

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The young poet was happy to help.

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His brush pen, dipped in a small pool of ink,

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swam across the face of the moon fans.

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Chinese script covering them all in what felt like a moment.

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For your friend.

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It is a beautiful old poem about the mountains

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and a bridge that waits for someone to cross it.

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Do you think they will be fancy enough for the guards?

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He worries a lot about what the Emperor will think.

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Give the old lady this.

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It's my gift for her.

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When the guard sees it he'll let her in.

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It was the most beautiful fan Elliot had ever seen.

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Is that a picture of the poem?

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It's amazing.

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Elliot packed the precious fan with the others in his bag.

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-Thank you. Bye.

-Bye.

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Back went Elliot in his old, battered boots.

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Over the open fields and down the mountainside.

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And back to the town where the grumpy soldier

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still stood guard by the bridge.

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You should be ashamed, treating my grandmother like that.

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We have rules. And her fan's not good enough.

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There. They must be good enough now.

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Your friend has decorated them.

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Black and white? Not very fancy.

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Yan Jiang Jing wrote poetry on my grandmother's fans?

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Yan Jiang Jing?!

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The Emperor's favourite?

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He painted these?

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And he gave me this to give to you as a present to repay your kindness.

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The painted fan shone in the evening sunlight.

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Mrs Bao beamed

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and the grumpy guard's mouth fell open in astonishment.

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It's true.

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It can't be.

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He spoke to you and painted all the moon fans?

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The famous poem about the mountains and the bridge that no-one crossed.

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So, does this mean Mrs Bao

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and her granddaughter can cross into the town

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-to sell their fans?

-Of course.

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In fact, you must come in.

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People will be queueing around this city to buy your fans.

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Well, that's marvellous.

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But it's getting a bit late.

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I think I'll go for my supper.

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We shall sell moon fans in the morning.

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Any time, Mrs Bao.

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Any time at all.

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Shall we go and have something to eat?

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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 Chinese moon fan.

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-That guard was so grumpy.

-Yes, he was.

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But he still told you what you wanted to know.

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If it wasn't for him

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you'd never have gone to the top of the mountain.

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-It was worth it to find Yan Jiang Jing.

-Yes, it was.

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He'd always liked to write his poems on moon fans.

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And eventually they became so popular that everybody wanted one.

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Those bright feathered fans became yesterday's waft.

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Mrs Bao and her granddaughter must have been happy about that.

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I'm sure they were.

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Well, I'll be blowed! Is that the time already?

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Come on. 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-Auntie Lizzie.

-Cheery-bye, Elliot.

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Great Aunt Lizzie tells the story of Elliot and the Adventure of the Chinese Moon Fan. A trader in imperial China has trouble selling her moon fans until she befriends the emperor's favourite artist. Elliot goes on an epic quest for fresh calligraphy ink.


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