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Section 1.1 Small Number Counts to 100

Written by: Veselin Jungic and Mark MacLean

Illustrated by: Simon Roy

Small Number is a 5-year-old boy who gets into a lot of mischief. He lives with his Grandma and Grandpa, who patiently put up with his antics, in a small settlement with 7 tipis arranged in a circle.

One-day Small Number wanders out into the woods and sees a beautiful black cat with a long white stripe down its back.

Wanting to take the cat home to show Grandma, he tries to catch it and learns that the black cat is really a skunk.

Smelling strongly from the skunk spray, he runs home to Grandma, who quickly takes him out to wash the smell off him. As hard as she scrubs him down, she can’t quite get rid of all the bad smell.

Grandma doesn’t want Small Number spending time in their tipi until he smells better, so she decides to set him a task she thinks will take him a long time. She knows Small Number can count to 100.

She tells him to start at their tipi, which is right beside the entrance to the settlement at the east point of the circle, and to walk around the circle of tipis by first heading south.

His task is to count the tipis going round and round until he can tell her which tipi he gets to when he reaches 100.

Small Number starts walking around the circle counting. He starts at 1 at his tipi, and when he gets back there, he has counted to 8.

When he gets to 15 and is back at his own tipi, he stops and sits down. He counts on his fingers for a while…

…and then runs in to see his Grandma and yells: “It is Auntie Rena’s tipi!” which is one tipi south of his grandparents’.

Question: How did Small Number know that the 100th tipi is the one just south of his grandparents’ tipi without actually counting them?