A palace to break
In the little town of Busto Arsizio the children were really problematic, because they liked to break everything: they ripped up clothes and shoes, they shattered the windows with the ball, they crushed plates and glasses. Their parents did not know what to do with them and at some point they decided to go and speak with the mayor. He organized a meeting with all the counselors and the accountants of the town, who had the duty to calculate how much damage had been done by the rascal young citizens. After calculating the insane amount of money lost because of them, the accountant Gamberoni had an idea: with half of that budget, they could build a huge palace full of stuff, which the children could break freely. Maybe after destroying such a giant building, they will stop crushing every other object. The mayor and all the counselors agreed, so the works got started soon.
The palace was built in a very short amount of time, as everybody wanted it to be ready as soon as possible. It had seven floors, ninety-nine rooms and it was filled with pottery, glasses, mirrors and sinks. On the day of the inauguration all the children were present and the mayor gave a hammer to each one of them. When the signal was given, all the kids ran into the palace and they started smashing cupboards, chairs, cups, everything! They enjoyed their time in such a way for the whole day. The day after they came back and kept doing the same, since there were still lots of floors, with lots of rooms, with lots of objects to break. The second day the same situation occurred, and the third day as well. The fourth day, though, the children were so exhausted that they did not even have a little bit of energy to grab a hammer or to kick a door. They had completely extinguished their “to-break” desire and now they did not have the will nor the strength to destroy anything. The accountant Gamberoni showed that the town had not only saved money, thanks to the palace, but even tamed the children. For this reason, he was given an award from the mayor.
The half-broken palace, though, kept staying there, disposable for the citizens. From time to time you could see engineers, doctors, teachers or any kind of professionals going there with a hammer and demolishing with great pleasure pieces of furniture, porcelain or walls.
[Original version: Il palazzo da rompere in GIANNI RODARI, Favole al telefono, Einaudi Ragazzi, Torino, 1995, pp. 18-20.]
Tags: palace; children; hammer; break.
Question: How many floors did the palace have?