Dibujo de portada: Elvira Peña

sábado, 30 de enero de 2010


A long, long time ago, in a little village near the sea, a nine-year old boy named Alexander lived happily with his family, his father, mother and sister Roxanne, who was two years younger than him. In those days, they celebrated the end of spring and the beginning of summer with a big party. Alexander asked his mother to make him a beautiful red cape, because everyone in the village wore the most beautiful and colorful clothing they owned. His mother agreed and told him to go for the cloth to make it, “before you go to the shop to buy the cloth” she said, “come here, I have to measure you.” Using her hand she counted: “one, two, three, four, five, and…six, oh my goodness, you have grown so fast. Okay Alexander, go with your sister to the shop and tell Mr. Patrick you need 6 hand spans of red cloth. Tell him I will pay for it tomorrow, because I have to go to the village in the morning.”

Alexander and Roxanne went to the village, when they came into the shop the boy said, “Mr. Patrick, I want 6 hand spans of red cloth, my mother is going to make a cape for me, I need it for the big party next week.” Mr. Patrick was huge, he was 2.10 meters tall and 2 meters wide, his hands were like two big frying pans, he took the cloth and he started counting: “One, tow three,...and six.” He did it very slowly as he couldn’t move very quickly because of his size. He folded the cloth carefully and gave it to Alexander. Roxanne said, “Good bye, have a wonderful afternoon.” She wanted to go home fast because she was a little afraid of the “giant”.

When they came back home, Alexander gave the red cloth to his mother, she had a look at it and said angrily: “What have you bought, Alexander? I told you 6 hand spans and you’ve brought cloth for the whole family.” Alexander said, “Mum, I’ve bought just what you said, six hand spans, no more. Roxanne, am I right?” The girl said “yes, mum, Alexander is right” then a few seconds later their mother realized, “Oh no! It’s not your fault, I should have told you before, my hands are much smaller than Mr. Patrick’s. What a terrible mistake!”

Next day she went to the shop to give Mr. Patrick all the cloth she didn’t use to make the red cape and she paid for the rest she used. Later she went to the Council of the Elderly Men in the village and she told them what had happened. They decided to invent a new way to measure things, THE SAME FOR EVERYONE.

Traducido por Bernabé Pérez

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