Great Aunt Lizzie tells the story of Lokesh and the Adventure of the Astragali. In Greece, Lokesh meets a pie maker who tells him what you can make from leftover bones.
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Here they come.
My 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 Lokesh.
-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 astragali.
-We call them jacks.
The Ancient Greeks made them out of old bones and called them astragali.
Do you roll them like dice?
Well, let me see, I think I have some here.
No. Only these.
But why don't I tell you the story of Lokesh
-and the adventure of the astragali instead?
It all began long ago in a world of thinkers and scholars,
where even thousands of years ago, they had libraries and schools
and some of the first theatres the world had ever seen.
It was spring in the greatest Greek city of all - Athens.
The city was barely awake when Lokesh happened upon
a man called Jason, the pie maker.
All ready to make a mountain of pies.
Ah, pies, pies.
Who needs theatre?
Except the flies had found him first.
What is the best thing the Greeks ever gave to the world?
Democracy? Who needs the government? No.
I vote for the best Greek invention of all time - pies.
Pies, pies, pies. Pies for everybody!
And while he looked like the happiest pie maker in all of Greece,
Lokesh thought he'd be even happier if he had some help with the flies.
My pies are meat pies, not fly pies!
Excuse me, I could waft them away from you and let you
concentrate on making the pies if you like.
Well, if that is an offer, then I accept.
Jason filled the pies by the dozen...
..until there was neither a scrap of meat nor pastry left.
Nothing, in fact, but a mighty pile of bones.
What will you do with all of these?
Oh, the rag and bone woman will come and take them
-before they start to smell.
-The rag and bone woman?
She takes all the stuff that people don't want.
Worn out old clothes, old bones, that sort of thing.
She takes them to her workshop in Piraeus first thing in the morning,
it keeps the city smelling beautiful. Lovely lady. Very nice.
But why would she want bones?
Well, old bones make good handles, but not many people know this,
the rag and bone lady of Athens is also the games maker of Piraeus.
She makes games? From bones?
Yes, she polishes these bones into astragali or jacks.
I've never really played that game.
The best of what's Greek, right here.
Food, fun and friendship, all in this little bone.
But, I must get these fellows into the oven before she gets here.
Now, come back in an hour and a half and I'll give you some pies.
And so, thinking about all the new things he'd discovered,
Lokesh strode off deeper into the wakening city of Athens.
And in the vast open space of an empty theatre, he stumbled across
a sister and brother called Ila and Cadmus.
When do we get the tickets?
Cadmus, how long?
-We're three days early?
-I thought the tickets might sell out.
-They're not even on sale yet.
Why am I cursed with such an annoying little brother?
Oh, I don't know if I can last three days sitting here with just
you for company and I'm starving. Where's the bread?
-I didn't bring any.
-So I'm going to be bored and hungry?
No fun, no friendship and no food either?
Excuse me, I know where you can get fresh pies. He's not far that way,
and when I left him, he was just putting some in the oven.
They'll be ready soon. If you tell him I sent you, he'll give you some.
Will you go? At least that will stop you being bored for a while.
It's not going to take me three days to buy a pie.
Which was when Lokesh remembered about the little astragali bones.
Maybe if you played a game.
Games are good when you're bored and there's a game maker in Piraeus.
BOTH: Games? THEY LAUGH
I really think we've grown out of all that.
Right, you stay right here, I'm going to get pies. Do not move.
-I'm not going anywhere.
-What was Lokesh to do?
He was sure playing games would be better then being bored and arguing.
It wasn't even past breakfast, so how had it got so complicated?
Bad luck, I win.
I hope I don't stop playing when I grow up.
I doubt that'll happen, Lokesh.
You're too good. You love playing.
Only when you let me win.
What kind of game would it be if I let you win?
You don't think you're too old to play games.
Well, nobody's ever too old.
Perhaps Ila and Cadmus have just forgotten how much fun it is.
-But they'll never remember until they play again.
You couldn't go back without seeing the games maker first, could you?
Off went Lokesh in his hat, bag and boots...
..through poppies and almond groves...
and up to the pine-covered crags.
Until, when he was almost out of breath...
..the path ran out!
Lokesh took a deep breath.
Set against the shining Aegean Sea
was the old port of Piraeus.
But as dazzling as it was, Lokesh had to find Penelope,
the games maker.
In a dark, narrow alley, where the sun split the shadows,
there was a cart stacked with rags, and a wrinkly pile of bones.
My name is Lokesh, and I'm looking for Penelope,
the games maker.
Well, you've found her.
What can I do for you, young man?
Well, I was helping Jason, the pie maker,
and he said you made astragali out of bones.
The fly wafter.
He told me about you this morning.
Come on in, Mr Lokesh.
The back of the shop was dark as night,
except for a single ray that cut through the hole
in the ceiling and lit the table so bright it was like a fire.
Well, pick them up. Let's see what you can do.
I'm not sure I remember quite how.
Well, let's see. Twosies. See if you can do twosies.
I throw one in the air, pick two up, and catch the first before it lands.
The little piece of bone was so much lighter than he expected.
Playing astragali was going to be tricky.
Throw one in the air, pick two up, and catch it before it lands.
Did he say anything about me, by any chance?
-Mr Jason, the pie maker?
-He said you make the city smell beautiful,
-and you're a lovely lady.
-He did, did he?
I'll tell you what, if you can do foursies first time off,
I'll give you all of these free of charge.
-Bone from the pies you made this morning.
Lokesh picked one up and concentrated hard.
Yes! I don't think I could do that again!
Beginner's luck, eh?
-It has been a pleasure to meet you, Mr Lokesh.
-And me you.
-You made my day.
-Thank you. Bye!
Back came Lokesh,
in his hat, bag and boots...
..to the theatre, where Ila and Cadmus had just finished dinner.
Look what I've got!
Lokesh never expected them to be grateful,
but he had gone an awfully long way.
He pressed on.
-Did you always hate playing games?
-Of course not.
-We used to love playing games.
-It's just, we're grown-up now.
-We go to the theatre for entertainment, these days.
-Oh, twosies - is that the best you can do?
Honestly. You're supposed to be showing our friend how to play.
-Give them to me.
-Uh-uh. Best out of three.
-Ohh! Unlucky. My shot, my shot.
And so it turned out that Cadmus and Isla had never really
grown out of playing games, after all.
And that was that. Game, set and match to Lokesh and the astragali.
I thought if Lokesh couldn't play well, it wouldn't convince them.
That wasn't important, it was just for the fun of it.
Winning doesn't matter?
If you want to know how good you are, you have to play to win.
If it wasn't so late, we could play another game. Come on.
Time to get you going.
Now, how did those get there?
Home time now, Lokesh.
-Thanks, Great Aunt Lizzie!
Great Aunt Lizzie tells the story of Lokesh and the Adventure of the Astragali. When Lokesh arrives in ancient Greece he meets a pie maker who tells him all the fascinating things you can make from leftover bones! It looks like the perfect answer for a brother and sister who are stuck with nothing to do. Lokesh sets off to find the Games Maker of Piraeus in the hope she might help him find a solution.