Emily and Phoebe

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Phoebe has just about learned to write her name in Greek but is nothing if not ambitious, and is determined to expand her repertoire of letters to include the other 19 of the Greek alphabet - and beyond.

Beyond? Well yes, because Phoebe has found that the traditional alphabet used by Greeks for thousands of years does not meet her particular expressive needs. So she's been making up new letters. And mixing them up with the old ones. To create a whole new system of writing!*

Strangely, the only one who can read these messages is her sister. Not even Phoebe herself can understand her heiroglyphics until the Sage Emily has examined them. As I discovered from the following conversation yesterday:

Phoebe: Emily, can you tell me what I've written here? [She hands her sister a piece of paper with some lines and shapes and a few letters painstakingly drawn on it and waits expectently while Emily pores over it.]

Emily: It seems to say... [She examines it more closely] "Phoebe is an annoying ratbag!"

Phoebe: [Disconsolately] But why? Last time it said "Phoebe is the most beautiful girl in the world!"

Emily: That was then, this is now. I can't help what you wrote.

Phoebe: I don't like writing...

* Which to the untutored eye might look like the random scribblings of a four-year old.


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