Sylvia woke up from her sleepy dream, looked at the sun, and realised that she was late. Climbing down from the boulder, she tried hard to walk quickly along the riverbed, but the sand kept swallowing her footsteps. By the time she reached the corner where her Gran should have been waiting, she could feel small streams of sweat moving down her back. Where was her Gran? Looking in the direction of the school, she could see that it was even later than she had thought. The rich children had all been taken home in their parents’ cars. Everything was very quiet.

Sylvia panicked. How would she get home? She didn’t know the way well enough through the narrow, winding lanes in the village.

Just as tears began falling down her face, she saw her Gran coming towards her from the direction of the school. When she saw Sylvia she began to run.

“Where have you been? I thought now they have taken you too and I would be an old woman all alone,” she said grabbing up Sylvia in her arms, holding her tight until Sylvia thought she wouldn’t breathe another breath.

Then her Gran set her firmly on the ground, held her out and put on an angry face, where it didn’t really belong. “Why have you not been going to the rich people’s school?”

Sylvia didn’t know what to say. She didn’t want her Gran to cry when she found out that they might never be able to go and fetch Sylvia’s mother in America, just because she was frightened of the rich children.

“I don’t like it there,” she said in a soft voice.

Her Gran pulled the big roll of money from her coat pocket and held it out for Sylvia to see. “Never mind. You will go to school near our house. Maybe you’ll be a teacher. They are rich too, Sylvia. Do you know that?” Sylvia nodded. “We will not tell your mother. When the school money is enough, we will send it back to her and she will be able to come home to us.”

She smiled down at Sylvia and Sylvia smiled up at her wise and clever Gran. Then she took Sylvia’s small hand in hers and they walked home.


Tell us. Do you agree that her Gran is wise and clever to rather send Sylvia to the neighbourhood school, even though it does not have good facilities?