"I am very happy to be here, too," I replied, stretching the truth to its breaking point. I was relieved, at least, to have the first day over with. I lifted Anish and carried him up the stairs.
That night, huddled in my sleeping bag wearing three layers of clothing plus a hat, I slept more soundly than I had in a long time. I was more exhausted than I'd been after trekking to the foot of Everest, and I'd only spent two hours with the children.
I woke the next day to the general mayhem of children sprinting through the house, half-crazed with happiness. I dove deeper into my sleeping bag and wondered what in human biology caused children around the world to take such pleasure in running as fast as they could moments after they had woken up. Unable to fall back to sleep, I nosed just far enough out of my bag to peek through the thin curtains. The sun had not yet risen above the tall hills behind the orphanage. The only source of heat in the village was direct sunlight, so I waited. At exactly 7:38 a.m. the sun flashed into the window. I got up and wandered downstairs.
Farid was sipping milk tea outside in the sun, his breath steaming in the morning chill. As I sat down next to him, a woman entered the gate, straining under the weight of an enormous pot, filled to the brim with what looked to be milk.
Excerpted from Little Princes by Conor Grennan. Copyright © 2011 by Conor Grennan. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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