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Book of Equivalence
Chapter 3LN2 infobox
Chapter 3

Episode 06: The Straw Millionaire

Japanese Name

等価の書

Romanized Name

Tōka no Sho

Volume

2

Release Date

October, 2008

Pages

36

Adaptation

Episode 8

"Book of Equivalence" is the 3rd chapter of The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, volume 2. It's divided into four parts and contains two illustrations. The chapter is labeled as Episode 06 in the story line.

Camilla obtains the Book of Equivalence, a Phantom Book with the potential to grant everything one desires. Knowing how this power can be dangerous, Hugh and Dalian search after her.[1]

SummaryEdit

A young lady with shining golden hair and a tense wealthy man are having a conversation at a tea table, in a living room where one could smell the fragrance of high-quality leaves. Next to them, a cupboard shows expensive and foreign items, including dolls, musical instruments, toys and ancient tomes. The woman listens cheerily to Mr. Fieron, who talks about the laws of economics, how something common to someone can be extremely valuable to another person. He asks Miss Keynes how much she’s willing to pay for what she desires. She extends her hand to touch the book on the table, gently closing it.

Part 1Edit

Camilla Dalian

Dalian receives Camilla with no enthusiasm.

With an innocent smile, the young woman steps out of her carriage and walks like a child to the entrance of the Disward estate. Strangely, she’s wearing Western clothes, including a heavy leather belt and a cowboy hat. She rings the doorbell roughly before entering the mansion without permission. Carrying a large bag, Camilla tells Hugh she has something for Dalian. He’s unable to stop her from letting herself in. Dalian was reading in the drawing room, almost buried by a pile of books. She reproves the way Camilla is dressed. With a grin in her face, the latter opens her bag to grab a gift. Dalian is tempted by the large jam-filled fried bread brought from Berlin. She asks Hugh to prepare the tea.

Camilla means to reach her bag again to show something of Dalian’s interest, but she’s distracted by a book with colorful illustrations. Dalian was reading a dated catalogue of an old auction. Camilla takes the book from Dalian’s knees to study its contents. Apparently, the attraction of this auction was a collection of teddy bears. Some of the toys were as expensive as new cars. When Dalian is asked about her favorite, she loses her composure while describing the stuffed bear. Camilla laughs while Dalian tries to hide her blushing face. Coming back with a teapot, Hugh is kicked by both after questioning the value of the items.

The teddy bears were expensive because they were unique, handmade, with permanent guarantee. Camilla recognizes the name of the person who bought the one Dalian finds cute. He’s a famous collector with a bad reputation, a businessman acquainted with Camilla’s family. Dalian asks what else Camilla wanted to show her. Camilla looks inside her bag for a moment and changes her mind. Out of nowhere, she asks Hugh to give her something. Reluctantly, he searches inside his pocket and finds a paper clip. Camilla affirms that such a gift will make things difficult, but she accepts it regardless. She suddenly leaves the mansion, making Hugh and Dalian confused.

Part 2Edit

Hugh and Dalian visit a used bookstore, a place difficult to find, yet unexpectedly large, packed with old books stacked on the shelves and floor. The shop owner is acquainted with the Biblioprincess. While studying the shelves nearby, Dalian offers Hugh’s internal organs in exchange for any interesting book. He takes a letter from the pocket of his coat. Two days ago, the old man sent a message informing them about a Phantom Book he obtained. Previously, he was surprised knowing that Hugh became Dalian’s key-keeper. He remembers seeing a three-year-old Hugh crying, lost in Wes’ library. He also mentions Hugh being the second key-keeper. Dalian interrupts the old man before he can say more.

He searches the desk next to the checkout, lifting dust in the air. However, it seems as if he sold the Phantom Book by accident. Dalian loses her mind, saying she would burn the whole place. The shop owner didn’t get the name of the buyer, but he remembers the person as a beautiful, blond young woman sporting Western wear. Hugh suggests that Camilla is the owner of the Phantom Book. Dalian turns around to leave the bookstore and find her. She stops to ask the title of the book. The reveal makes her freeze. Camilla is holding the Book of Equivalence.

Part 3Edit

Hugh driving

Hugh and Dalian discuss about the Book of Equivalence.

Hugh drives his car to Camilla’s house with Dalian. They discuss about the Book of Equivalence. One can get everything he wants using the Phantom Book. The person affected by its power must give something of equal value to what the user presents. Hugh thinks it would be useful to Camilla’s father, who’s involved in the trading business. Deals made with the Phantom Book ought to be fair, with no one being tricked. After all, only items of equal value are exchanged. However, Dalian explains the user can become rich using the Book of Equivalence because the price of an object is determined subjectively by people. What is common to one individual, can be valuable to another. Dalian is impatient because the Phantom Book is dangerous. A trade is certain to happen, even if the item is considered to be as important as someone’s life. Camilla is wealthy enough to buy everything she wants. If she needs the Book of Equivalence, she may be involved in an ominous deal.

They are greeted by one of the Keynes’ employees, a long-term servant in his mid-thirties who’s acquainted with Hugh. He doesn’t mind Dalian’s appearance, apparently familiar to women wearing strange clothes. He informs that Camilla returned, but left again a while ago. Hugh means to get back to his car, but Dalian questions about the paper clip the servant is using, the same Hugh presented to Camilla. He needed the paper clip for the documents he’s carrying, so he gave his pocket watch to Camilla in exchange for it. The deal seemed absurd, but the pocket watch was given by the man’s former lover, so he was looking forward to get rid of the item. Hugh and Dalian resume their search for Camilla. The pocket watch didn’t represent her ultimate goal.

Part 4Edit

They were back to the Disward mansion after tracking Camilla past midnight. She had exchange items with different people, but never returned home. Dalian asks if Hugh could sniff her, as if he was a dog. He smiles, noticing how she was worried about Camilla. Dalian affirms she was only thinking about the sweets she usually gives her. Hugh is kicked after witnessing her cheeks flushing. If Camilla wants something that cannot be bought with money and the owner decides that the item is more valuable than life, she may have a cruel fate. Hugh tries to comfort Dalian, saying she wouldn’t be bartering during the night. Suddenly, someone shows up behind him. Looking at her, it seems as if Camilla was sleeping in the garden, waiting for them. She takes a stuffed bear from her bag and gives it to Dalian. Big as a baby, the old toy is dusty and worn, but it’s evident that it was cared with affection by its previous owner.

She had gone to Mr. Fieron's mansion to negotiate the teddy bear, after getting tired of bartering in order to test the power of the Book of Equivalence. The collector deemed the item priceless for speculation reasons. Camilla shouldn’t be able to escape the spell imposed by the Phantom Book. However, she offered the book itself in exchange for the stuffed bear. Camilla saw it as a good deal, having bought the Phantom Book at a low price, as if it was a common, secondhand book. She gets depressed after reflecting how she used a Phantom Book to present Dalian with a stuffed bear, when she could have obtained a mansion, starting with a simple paper clip. However, after seeing the faint smile on Dalian’s lips, she cheers up and says it was all worth it. Hugh wonders why the Book of Equivalence accepted the deal, even when Mr. Fieron put such a high price on his possession. Dalian looked happy holding the teddy bear. He understands how valuable that is to Camilla.[1]

Trivia Edit

  • Straw Millionaire is a Japanese folk tale likely written during the Heian period. The story features a poor peasant named Daietsu-no-suke, who becomes wealthy through a series of successive trades, starting with a single piece of straw.[2] Camilla refers to the tale in the anime.[3]
  • Camilla made a series of trades throughout one entire day to obtain a priceless teddy bear, starting with a single red paper clip. In real life, Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald bartered his way from a red paper clip to a house after fourteen transactions over the course of a year.[4]
  • In the chapter, it's said that some stuffed bears were as expensive as cars.[1] The Ford Model T is regarded as the first affordable automobile. In the 1920's, produced in the United States, the vehicle was sold by no more than $395.[5] As for 2017, the equivalent value is around $4830.[6]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Chapter 3, volume 2.
  2. Straw Millionaire. (2017, April 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:25, June 16, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Straw_Millionaire&oldid=776259298
  3. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian anime, Episode 8.
  4. One red paperclip. (2017, March 30). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:38, June 16, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=One_red_paperclip&oldid=773002657
  5. Ford Model T. (2017, June 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:38, June 17, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ford_Model_T&oldid=784173297
  6. Consumer Price Index Data from 1913 to 2017. In US Inflation Calculator. Retrieved 22:38, June 17, 2017, from http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/consumer-price-index-and-annual-percent-changes-from-1913-to-2008/

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