Sidda was hanging about the gate at a moment when Mr Sivasanker was standing in the front veranda of his house brooding over the servant problem.
"Sir, do you want a servant?" Sidda asked.
"Come in" said Mr Sivasanker. As Sidda opened the gate and came in, Mr Sivasanker subjected him to a scrutiny and said to himself, "Doesn't seem to be a bad sort ... At any rate, the fellow looks tidy."
"Where were you before?" he asked.
Sidda said, "In a bungalow there," and indicated a vague somewhere, "in the doctor's house.". "What is his name?". "I don't know master," Sidda said. "He lives near the market." "Why did they send you away?". "They left the town, master," Sidda said, giving the stock reply.
Mr Sivasanker was unable to make up his mind. He called his wife. She looked at Sidda and said, "He doesn't seem to me worse than the others we have had." Leela, their five-year-old daughter, cane out, looked at Sidda and gave a cry of joy. "Oh Father!" she said "I like him. Don't send him aay. Let us keep him in our house." And that decided it.
Sidda was given two meals a day and four rupees a month, in return for which he washed clothes, tended the garden, ran errands, chopped wood and looked after Leela.
"Sidda, come and play!" Leela would cry, and Sidda had to drop any work he might be doing and run to her, as she stood in the front garden with a red ball in her hand. His company made her supremely happy. She flung the ball at him and he flung it back. And then she said, "Now throw the ball into the sky." Sidda clutched the ball, closed his eyes for a second and threw the ball up. When the ball came down again, he said, "Now this has touched the moon and come. You see here a little bit of the moon sticking." Leela keenly examined the ball for traces of the moon and said, "I don't see it."
"You must be very quick about it," said Sidda, "because it will all evaporate and go back to the moon. Now hurry up...." He covered the ball tightly with his fingers and allowed her to peep through a little gap.
"Ah yes," said Leela. "I see the moon, but is the moon very wet?"
"Certainly it is," Sidda said.
"What is in the sky, Sidda?"
"God, he said.
"If we stand on the roof and stretch our arms, can we touch the sky?"
"Not if we stand on the roof here," he said. "But if you stand on a coconut tree you can touch the sky."
"Have you done it?" asked Leela.
"Yes, many times" said Sidda. "Whenever there is a big moon, climb a coconut tree and touch it."
"Does the moon know you?"
"Yes, very well. Now come with me. I will show you something nice." They were standing near the rose plant. He said, pointing, "You see the moon there, don't you?".
"Now come with me," he said, and took her to the backyard. He stopped near the well and pointed up. The moon was there, too. Leela clapped her hands and screamed in wonder, "The moon here! It was there! How is it? "
" I have asked it to follow us about."
Leela ran in and told her mother, "Sidda knows the moon." At dusk he carried her in and she held a class for him. She had a box filled with catalogues, illustrated books and stumps of pencils. It gave her great joy to play the teacher to Sidda. She made him squat on the floor with a pencil between his fingers and a catalogue in front of him. She had another pencil and a catologue and commanded, "Now write." And he had to try and copy whatever she wrote in the pages of her catologue. She knew two or three letters of the alphabet and could draw a kind of cat and crow. But none of these could Sidda even remotely copy. She said, examining his effort, "Is ths how I have drawn the crow? Is this how I have drawn the B?" She pitied him, and redoubled her efforts to teach him. But that good fellow, though an adept at controlling the moon, was utterly incapable of plyng the pencil. Consequently, it looked as though Leela would keep him thee, pinned to his seat till his stiff, inflexible wrist cracked. He sought relief by saying, "I think your mother is calling you in to dinner." Leela would drop the pencil and run out of the room, and the school hour would end.
After dinner Leela ran to her bed. Sidda had to be ready with a story. He sat down on the floor near the bed and told incomparable stories: of animals in the jungle, of gods in heaven, of magicians who could conjure up golden castles and fill them with little princesses and their pets....
Day by day she clung closer to him. She insisted upon having his company all her waking hours. She was at his side when he was working in the garden or chopping wood, and accompanied him when he was sent on errands.
One evening he went out to buy sugar and Leela went with him. When they came home, Leela's mother noticed that a gold chain Leela had been wearing was missing. "Where is your chain?" Leela looked into her shirt, searched and said, "I don't know." Her mother gave her a slap and said, "Gow many times have I told you to take it off and put it in the box?"
(story continues on your handout)