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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 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?
The owl skyphos.
What's an owl skyphos?
It's a type of drinking cup.
So, this is a picture of a cup on a cup?
What about the owl?
Well, in Ancient Greece, the owl represented the goddess Athena,
who was supposed to bring protection and good luck.
So, this owl skyphos, is it a tea cup?
No. The Ancient Greeks didn't drink tea.
They drank wine and water in their special owl cups.
So, are you ready?
Then shall I tell you the story of Charlotte And The Owl Skyphos?
The story began in ancient Greece.
Early one bright morning,
in a quaint little village surrounded by vineyards.
The sun was already beginning to warm the air
and make the pretty white houses dazzle.
Charlotte walked into the village.
She wandered along until she came to an open doorway.
As she looked through it, she saw a man who seemed very busy, indeed.
-Kimon, I need you.
There's always so much to do for the Festival Of Arrephoria.
Yes, mistress. I've swept the floor, prepared the table,
arranged their chairs and the food will be delivered soon.
I've still got to eat, have my bath, do my hair and face,
that's before I've thought about dressing!
So, I'm not nearly ready yet.
Oh, I just want everything to be perfect tonight.
-This party is very important.
Oh, no! The owl skyphos! We've forgotten the owl skyphos!
-I got it out earlier, mistress. It is here.
-But is it clean?
-Have you checked?
-I was just about to do that, mistress.
It needs to be pristine and perfect for me to take the first drink
to honour the goddess Athena.
-Please make sure it is.
As Kimon, the servant,
began to scrutinise every millimetre of the owl skyphos,
Charlotte came forward, curious.
Excuse me. What exactly are you looking for?
Well, this skyphos must be absolutely perfect
for my mistress, when she takes the first sip
to start the party in honour of Athena.
Then she passes it among her guests.
But there must be no blemishes or cracks.
-It's very beautiful.
-Yes, it is.
There is a crack in the glaze.
-Along the rim here. Look.
I must get some black paint to cover it.
Would you please hold this very carefully?
What an unusual cup it was.
With handles pointing in different directions,
and a wide-eyed owl on each side,
staring out between two olive branches.
But Charlotte still couldn't see the crack in the glaze, until...
Oh, I can see it.
This is a disaster!
I've completely run out of black paint.
And I've got so much to do before the party this evening!
-I could go get some for you.
-Would you? Oh, thank you!
And you must take the owl skyphos so you can match the paint.
-It must be exactly the same shade of black,
otherwise my mistress will notice.
Now, the merchant who sells the paint is in the next road,
not far from here.
I'll be as quick as I can.
She'd only just stepped in the door, when she heard...
-Oh, thank you.
I have the most terrible hay fever today.
I just can't seem to stop sneezing! Achoo!
Now, how can I help you?
I'm looking for some black paint, to match this.
-To mend a crack in the glaze.
-Oh, I've got the perfect colour. Achoo!
Oh! I'll just get it for you.
Charlotte was relieved. In no time at all,
she would be on her way back to Kimon with the black paint.
Here it is.
-I'm so sorry! Is really bad?
It's in pieces. I'll have to try and get a new one.
Oh. Well, the only people I know who have owl skyphoi
are the maidens of Athena, at the Parthenon in Athens.
Athens? That's miles away.
I tell you what, why don't I fix it for you?
I've mended lots before. Now, it's not exactly brand-new,
but when you're stuck...
Could Charlotte make it to the maidens of Athena and back in time
for the celebration? Or should she trust Dorian to mend the skyphos,
after Kimon had already complained about the tiniest scratch?
It was still mourning, and already the plan was in pieces.
Dust up here may well make you sneeze, Charlotte!
I was thinking, couldn't Charlotte just go back and explain
to Kimon about the broken owl skyphos?
-It was an accident, after all.
It was. And such very bad luck.
The trouble is, Kimon's mistress
might notice if Charlotte returned for the pot that Dorian has mended.
She'd certainly notice, and she might be cross.
That would be terrible.
But it's such a long way to the maidens of Athena.
Do you think Charlotte can get there and back before the party?
I think she'd have a jolly good try.
-So do I!
-One way or another, Charlotte couldn't go back to Kimon
without the owl skyphos, now could she?
Off went Charlotte in her hat, bag and boots.
Along twisting dirt tracks...
..and over the hills.
When she was almost out of breath...
..the path ran out!
There was only one way to get to other side.
Charlotte took a deep breath.
Stretching out before her rose the majestic city of Athens.
But there was no time to admire the view.
Charlotte had to get that owl skyphos.
Charlotte climbed up and up to the Parthenon.
At the top, she found a young woman fanning herself on the steps.
Excuse me? I'm looking for the maidens of Athena.
You've found a very hot and bothered one!
I need an owl skyphos as quickly as possible.
Join the queue! Don't you know, it's the Festival of Arrephoria?
-I did know, but...
-It seems everyone needs an owl skyphos today.
Someone told me the only place I could get one from
-is the maidens of Athena.
That's why, on this boiling hot day, I've been stoking the kiln
to get it hot enough to fire all those cups.
Oh, I'm sweating all over!
-Would you like some water?
-Thank you, that would be very welcome!
Oh, thank you.
The owl skyphos I had got broken. I really need to replace it,
or a servant could get into a lot of trouble.
Well, I would give you one from the kiln,
but they won't be cool enough to handle for ages.
Charlotte couldn't wait for it to cool down,
or she'd never get it back for the party.
Then she had one of her brilliant ideas.
I know. My winter hat.
I always carry it just in case.
I could put the hot cup in there, and it would cool on the way back.
Great idea! I'll bring it on a tray.
Charlotte held out her hat like an oven glove,
ready to wrap up the precious skyphos.
She was determined that this one would arrive safely back with Kimon.
-You're welcome. Enjoy the festival!
I will. Bye!
Back came Charlotte.
Down the hills...
..and along the twisting dirt tracks.
Charlotte found Kimon looking very nervous, indeed.
-I got it!
-Oh, thank you, Charlotte!
My mistress has called me three times already.
It took me longer than I thought.
-You mended the crack.
-Actually, it's a brand-new skyphos.
I got it from the maidens of Athena.
-Yes, that's why I took so long.
I don't know how to thank you.
-Take it to her, quickly, before she finds out.
Oh. It really is beautiful.
And that was that. The whole storm in a teacup.
The story of Charlotte And The Owl Skyphos.
Except, it wasn't a teacup. It was a cup for wine.
-You're right, it was.
-But your cups are for tea.
They are. Tea and stories.
Which makes them very special, indeed.
Just like the owl skyphos.
Thanks to you and I, they're all clean and dust-free.
-Ready to drink our tea out of.
Have you ever broken a teacup from your collection,
-Great Aunt Lizzie?
-I did once,
but I managed to mend the crack so it was almost invisible.
Oh, goodness me, is that the time?
That story will have to wait for another time, Charlotte.
Your mum'll be here in a minute.
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 Owl Skyphos. A servant in Greece is preparing for the Festival of Arrhephoria when he notices a small crack in his mistress's special cup. Charlotte goes to a workshop to try to repair it, but disaster strikes, and she has no option but to set off to the great city of Athens. Will she return in time for the great Festival of Arrhephoria?