Great Aunt Lizzie tells the story of Charlotte and the Adventure of the Ear Ornaments. Charlotte meets a mathematician named Ho who teaches her how to count in Mayan.
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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!
Your 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 jade ear ornaments.
What a pretty pair!
A sweet choice for a sweet story.
Made to look like a most delicate flower.
Which reminds me -
must keep these fresh for later.
What's an ear ornament? Is it a type of earring?
Shall we find out? Shall I tell you the story
-of Charlotte And The Adventure Of The Ear Ornaments?
It all began long, long ago in Central America,
where the Mayan people built cities of stone and where rivers ran deep
into the most sumptuous rainforest Charlotte had ever seen.
The lush canopy teemed with plants
and millions of blooms like nowhere else on Earth.
Charlotte was collecting flower specimens when she heard a voice.
HE CHANTS IN OWN LANGUAGE
There was a man chanting
as he arranged little bags of coffee beans.
And after every few bags, the man placed a stick on the ground.
Charlotte came forward, curious.
-Ooh! Where did you come from?
-I'm so sorry.
-I'm doing counting.
I always get carried away when I'm counting.
-Hoo's my name, just like the number.
Hun, caa, ox, can, hoo.
Perfect for a mathematician like me! Just a moment.
Hun, caa, ox.
Hun, caa, ox.
I teach people about numbers.
So, every stick means five bags.
And a stone equals one.
You can draw them, too, but I find sticks and stones are better.
I've been saving bags of coffee beans to trade
for something extra special for my friend Lahca's birthday.
-Is it a special birthday?
-No... Yes... I mean...
Not especially special,
unless you think Lahca's especially special,
in which case her birthday would, I suppose,
be extra special on the account of it being hers.
And do you think she's especially special?
Well, Lahca likes numbers,
and that makes her special to me.
I'm going to run out of sticks.
-You wouldn't mind getting me some more, would you?
Could you look after these for me? Be as quick as I can.
And so Charlotte went about gathering sticks which,
on account of it being the middle of the jungle, didn't take long.
Meanwhile, Hoo was so busy counting,
he didn't notice when his favourite person appeared.
-Can I help?
-Hoo, are you all right? I'm so sorry!
-I didn't mean to frighten you.
-What brings you down this way?
We weren't going to count numbers today, were we?
No. Today is my birthday,
so I went to buy maize to make sweetcorn bread for my whole family.
-I'll bring you some later, if you like.
-Today is your birthday?
-No, your day sign is the rabbit?
Ah, the flower!
Charlotte could plainly see that this meeting wasn't going well
for Hoo so, at the mention of flowers, she had an idea.
You must be Lahca.
Hoo, did you give Lahca the flowers?
-You don't like them?
-Oh, no, I love them.
Flowers are my absolute favourite thing.
Only they don't really like me very much.
-I'm sorry. I must go and wash my face.
Don't worry. I'll come back later and I'll bring some corn bread.
No, no, no!
I thought her birthday was next week!
What sort of mathematician am I?
-I can't believe I've missed it!
-But you haven't missed it.
There's still some time to go to the market and trade something
-for your bags of coffee beans.
-No. I have lessons all afternoon.
I'm sorry about the flowers.
I didn't know. How could you?
Born on the day of the flower and allergic to flowers!
Such bad luck!
Charlotte had expected helping Hoo to be as easy
as one, two, three but it wasn't even lunchtime and, already,
Charlotte's problems were multiplying.
Looks like it'll take more than counting to solve Hoo's troubles.
Very good, Charlotte!
I can't imagine getting flowers and not being able to enjoy them.
Lots of people are allergic to flowers.
But now Hoo has nothing to give Lahca for her birthday.
She'll have other birthdays, I suppose.
But it isn't fair. He saved so hard to get her something special.
I think he "likes her" likes her!
I think you may be right.
Well, if Hoo can't go to the market, Charlotte should.
What should she get?
Lahca loves flowers but they make her sneeze.
There's more than one way to crack a nut, Charlotte.
Perhaps if she takes some of Hoo's coffee beans,
she might be able to find something in the shape of a flower.
-Lahca's birthday isn't over yet!
-And Charlotte couldn't stand by
and have them both disappointed now, could she?
So off went Charlotte in her hat, bag and boots.
Through the darkening rainforest...
..and south to the Mayan Highlands.
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, in the mighty forested mountains,
Charlotte came to a spectacular city of stone.
But she had no time to gaze in wonder.
Charlotte had to find something for Lahca before her birthday was over.
She found the market soon enough.
But then she didn't know where to begin.
Excuse me, I wanted to buy something special for a friend.
Then you want jade stone, Miss.
-Don't suppose you have anything shaped like a flower?
I could do better than that - two flowers!
A pair of jade ear ornaments.
Charlotte was awestruck at the pale green stone
and the delicate flower pattern.
-They're beautiful but what are they for?
-For wearing, of course!
You put them in the holes in your ears.
This gift, is it for a Mayan woman?
-Then she'll like them.
-I'll take them.
How many bags of coffee beans would you like to trade?
Oh, I don't do prices. This is my wife's store.
Come back later this afternoon when she's here.
This counting malarkey, it's all a mystery to me.
But as Charlotte looked at the store,
all those lines and circles suddenly made sense!
Hang on! I can read this.
-You can count?
One stick is like five stones.
Hun, caa, ox, can, hoo.
It's the same as one stick.
That sounds about right.
Here you go.
-She's going to love those!
-I hope so.
Thank you. Goodbye.
Back came Charlotte...
..down from the Highlands...
and back through the forest.
She arrived just in time.
Charlotte, look! Lahca's brought us freshly baked corn bread.
-Did you get...?
For the birthday girl.
-It was a joint effort.
Jade! Hoo, this is too much!
-Not at all!
-Shaped like flowers, too!
-But they won't make you sneeze.
-People might take me for a princess!
Some people already take you for a princess.
Oh, what a day!
Corn bread, good company
and a very special birthday gift.
And that was that, the whole birthday business,
Charlotte and the jade ear ornaments.
-The jade ear ornaments were very special.
I suspect Hoo and Lahca will be seeing a lot more of each other
-from now on.
-It was lucky Charlotte found out how to count in Mayan,
otherwise she wouldn't have been able to get anything.
-You never know when you're going to need your numbers.
-I guess not.
Goodness! Where does the time go? Come on, Charlotte. Tick-tock!
Now, how did they get there?
Home time, Charlotte.
-Thanks, Great-Aunt Lizzie.
-Cheery bye, Charlotte!
Great Aunt Lizzie tells the story of Charlotte and the Adventure of the Ear Ornaments. Charlotte meets a mathematician named Ho who teaches her how to count in Mayan. But while Ho may be brilliant at maths, Charlotte discovers when it comes to Lacha, his favourite person in the whole world, he has miscalculated the date of her birthday! Ho needs to find a present for Lacha and Charlotte goes on an epic quest to help.