‘Isn’t it beautiful?’ said Andy Lawson to his sister, Mary.
‘No,’ replied Mary. ‘It’s not beautiful and it’s not interesting.’
Andrew Lawson, always called Andy, looked at his sister. She was thirteen and he was thirteen. Th ey were twins – but they were not the same. He was 170 centimetres tall with short red hair and blue eyes. She was only 160 centimetres tall with long dark hair and big brown eyes. They didn’t look the same and they didn’t think the same.
‘Mary,’ said Andy. ‘Look at it. It’s over a thousand years old. Half a million people come here every year. They want to see this because it is very old and very famous.’
Andy and Mary were in the city of Dublin in Ireland.
Actually, they were in Trinity College in Dublin and in front of them was the Book of Kells, 680 pages of words and pictures, and over a thousand years old.
‘Well, I don’t think it’s beautiful,’ said Mary. ‘I’m going to the shop.’ And she walked away.
The shop was in the next room. Mary looked round.
There were books and CDs about the Book of Kells, and there were Trinity College T-shirts. Mary looked at the T-shirts.
‘I like these,’ she thought. ‘And they’re not too expensive.’
She took down a red T-shirt and got out some money.
Mary waited with the money in her hand. In front of her was a big man with a green Ireland football shirt. The shirt was much too small for him and Mary saw his stomach.
Yuk! The man bought a postcard.
‘I’m sorry,’ he said to the shop assistant. ‘I know the postcards are just 75 cents, but I’ve only got this.’ There was a €20 note in his hand.
‘That’s OK,’ replied the shop assistant.
Mary looked at the money in her hand. It was a €50 note and a kind of orange colour. In England, of course, the money was not the same – pounds not euros.
The man walked away. Mary gave the T-shirt to the shop assistant.
‘€14.95, please,’ said the shop assistant.
Mary gave her the €50 note. The assistant put the T-shirt in a bag and gave it to Mary. Then she gave her €35.05. Mary looked at the notes. The €20 note was blue, the €10 note was red, and the €5 note was grey. She put the money in her bag.
Then Andy came into the shop.
‘You know, it is beautiful and interesting,’ he said, with a smile on his face, ‘but not for very long. Come on.
I want an ice cream. We’ve got time. We’re meeting Miss O’Brien at five o’clock and it’s only three now.’
Andy and Mary were in Dublin with students from their school in England. Their science teacher, Miss O’Brien, was from Dublin and every year she took ten or twelve students there at the start of the summer. The students enjoyed seeing a new city: Dublin is small and friendly, and there is a lot to do. And Miss O’Brien enjoyed seeing her family.
Andy and Mary walked to Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s important shopping streets and found an ice cream shop. Andy asked for a chocolate ice cream. Mary wanted a strawberry one. Mary gave the shop assistant €20 and he looked at the note. Then he turned the note over and looked at it again.
‘I can’t take this,’ he said.
‘Why not?’ asked Mary.
‘It’s not a real €20 note,’ he answered. ‘It’s forged – it’s not real. Look here.’ He found a new €20 note and put it on the shop window. Then he put Mary’s note next to it.
‘Look on the left of the note,’ the assistant told Mary.
‘You can see a kind of window on the real note, but there isn’t one on yours. Yours is forged. Here.’
He gave Mary her note.
‘But—’ Mary started to speak.
‘Have you got some more money for your ice creams?’ the man asked.
Mary found some more money.
‘The police say there are a lot of those forged notes in the city just now,’ the assistant told Mary. ‘You need to take that one to the police station.’