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'Here they come, like two intrepid explorers.
'Charlotte, and Lokesh.
'I'm their Great Aunt Lizzie, you see,
'and I wonder which one is coming to see me today.'
'Ah - so, it's Charlotte.'
-Hello, Great Aunt Lizzie.
'Once upon a time,
'I travelled the world, discovering treasures from long ago
'and far away, and no end of stories to remind me.
'But my most precious possession of all
'is my extraordinary collection of teacups.'
Here we are.
No time to count the clouds -
let's have a nice cup of tea and a story.
But first we need the teacup.
But which one?
Ah. The Wise Dragon.
That's a very clever choice, Charlotte.
An excellent selection.
This story reminds me that many things are not what they seem.
What do you mean, Great Aunt Lizzie?
Well...we're about to find out.
So -, are you ready?
Then let me tell you the story
of Charlotte And The Adventure Of The Wise Dragon.
This story begins in Japan,
a land of snowcapped mountains and glittering rice fields,
dotted with Shinto temples
and little villages full of pointy-roofed houses.
It was at the edge of one of these villages that Charlotte arrived
one beautiful, misty morning.
Amongst the houses and delicate trees
was what looked like a workshop.
Charlotte wasn't sure what was being made there,
but it looked intriguing.
If I can just get hold of the underside of the tail...
You are such a wriggly dragon.
Reo, the armourer's apprentice,
wrestled with the strange creature.
He was trying to attach something to the end of its tail.
But he was still learning, and was really struggling.
Excuse me. Can I help?
If you could hold my dragon
while I attach these, that would be great.
Can you show me how?
You just hold it on your lap like this and take the weight,
then I'll attach the last of these scales using the silk.
Charlotte was amazed how heavy the little iron dragon was,
how detailed and delicate it was, with its large pointy horns,
long elaborate whiskers,
all the way down to the fierce-looking claws on its feet.
-It's very beautiful.
Did you make him?
Yes. I made him from old samurai armour, like that.
So you recycled the armour, and made this dragon?
If "recycled" means I made something new from old, then yes, I did.
Thankfully, I make a lot of dragons in these days of peace.
He doesn't LOOK peaceful.
He looks terrifying.
Look at his claws.
He may look it, but dragons aren't scary.
Dragons are very, very wise and bring good luck.
That's why on vases and pictures
they are always chasing the sacred pearl of wisdom.
So he's a good luck dragon?
I've run out of silk.
Well, if you've nearly finished, maybe you could use something else.
It has to be silk.
Silk is one of the strongest threads and the most fine.
I need to get some more
before the samurai gets here to see his new dragon.
I promised him I'd finish it today.
I'd better run fast.
I could go for you.
Would you? Thank you.
The merchant's isn't far, it's just in the village.
I'll be as quick as I can.
Charlotte hurried through the little village,
until she found what looked like the merchant's shop.
Excuse me. I wonder if you could help me.
I'm helping make a dragon.
-A beautiful metal one made from some old samurai armour.
I know lots of tales about sea dragons.
It's those magnificent creatures that caused the Tatsumaki.
What's a Tatsumaki?
It's a tornado.
"Tatsu" means dragon, "maki" means roar.
They say that the howls of the sea dragons
are transformed into tornadoes
that blow in from the ocean.
Tornadoes must be scary.
They are. But the wise dragon knows
tornadoes bring the rain too to make the rice grow.
But I'm sure you haven't come here to talk about dragons.
Did you want to buy something?
I wanted to buy some silk.
Ah. I haven't got any.
I ordered some ages ago from the silk winder
on the other side of the mountain.
He has the best silk in the whole of Japan,
but it hasn't come yet.
Perhaps you could use something else.
I have a very good quality cotton.
It was only late morning, and already it had got so complicated.
Was it better to take the cotton back
for Reo to finish his dragon now,
or should she press on in search of silk?
Could you thread this needle and cotton for me, please, Charlotte?
Eyes of needles seem to be getting smaller and smaller.
So what do you think Charlotte decided, Aunt Lizzie?
The silk, or the cotton?
Well, I find cotton works well for most things.
And she had the cotton in her hand.
The silk was miles and miles away.
Reo did need the thread really quickly.
Hang on -
I remember he said something about the silk.
how he had to use silk to make the dragon,
because it was the strongest and the finest thread.
You're right, Charlotte. He did.
So that solves it. Cotton just isn't strong enough to make a dragon.
So Charlotte couldn't go back
without finding Reo his strong silk now, could she?
So off went Charlotte, in her hat, bag and boots.
Through the cherry trees...
Up the rocky mountains...
When she was almost out of breath...
the path ran out!
There was only one way to get to the other side.
Charlotte took a deep breath.
At last, she came to a little farm nestled by the sea,
surrounded by hundreds of mulberry trees.
There was no time to stop and stare,
Charlotte had to get that silk.
Time was ticking on when Charlotte arrived at the silk winder's.
He seemed so busy that Charlotte didn't want to disturb him.
If I can get this one done first,
then I've only got another 100 to go...
But Charlotte knew she had no choice.
Hello. I'm sorry to bother you,
but I need some silk.
-So does everyone.
-Oh, I see.
I've got lots of silk, and so many people waiting.
The trouble is, it all needs winding.
Charlotte looked at the piles of silk,
and knew there was nothing else for it
but to roll up her sleeves...
I think I need to help you.
Oh, that's really kind.
Thank you so much.
The best way to do it is...
take the end of the silk
and wind it onto the spool.
Charlotte set about helping the silk winder,
winding the silk round and round and round the spool.
And as they wound, they talked.
What exactly do you need the silk for, Charlotte?
I'm helping someone make a dragon.
-For an old samurai armourer.
There were many tales of dragons when I was young.
I remember one particularly fierce dragon
had eight heads, with red eyes,
and eight tails.
It was so big, it filled an entire valley.
That must have been really scary.
It needed to be,
to protect the village from the terrifying Basan.
The fire-breathing chicken!
That sounds even worse.
Yes. I think it was.
As they talked,
they wound the silk round and round the bobbins, until...
You've been a big help, Charlotte.
But I think you need to go back to your dragon.
Here. Would this be enough silk for you?
Thank you, I enjoyed the story.
Watch out for dragons.
I will. Thanks for the silk.
Back came Charlotte,
in her hat, bag and boots.
Down the rocky mountains and through the cherry trees.
The sun was setting as Charlotte
returned to the workshop - but there was no-one to be seen.
Just a strange eerie light
flickering through the workshop door.
As Charlotte came nearer, the shadow of a vast,
terrifying dragon rose up before her...
..all but ready to pounce!
What's wrong, Charlotte?
The dragon. There.
It is only a little dragon in front of the fire. See?
The flickering light of the flame made it LOOK like it was moving.
There's nothing to be frightened of.
It must have been all the scary stories
people told me about dragons today.
But I bet they were only scary to protect people,
or make good things happen.
You're right. They were.
One dragon protected a village, the other brought rain.
You see - dragons aren't really scary at all.
They're wise, and very lucky.
Look how lucky I am, to have made such a good friend today.
Oh - and I got the silk.
And you were so wise to get such good quality silk.
Now, we can finally finish the dragon - and then,
I'll tell you some more stories about wise, lucky dragons who,
they say, once swam the seas all around the islands of Japan.
So, that was that. The whole kit and caboodle.
Charlotte And The Adventure Of The Wise Dragon.
That shadow of the dragon on the wall was really scary.
Well, sometimes things seem frightening when they're not really.
-Like the dragons in the story?
Some people around the world think of dragons
as terrifying creatures who breathe fire.
But the Japanese think of them as lucky and wise.
I like the lucky and wise ones best.
Gracious me, is that the time? Come on, we have to get going.
Now, how did that get there?
Home time, Charlotte.
Thanks, Great Aunt Lizzie.
Great Aunt Lizzie tells the story of Charlotte and the Adventure of the Wise Dragon. Charlotte meets a Japanese armourer's apprentice who is maintaining his skills during peaceful times by recycling old samurai armour into wonderful sculptures. Just as he has almost finished his iron dragon, he runs out of silk! Charlotte goes on an epic quest to find more silk, and along the way she learns great tales about the mythical dragons of Japan.