The Red and Gold Shoe part 1/7

The Red and Gold Shoe

The Red and Gold Shoe part 1/7

"Cock-a-doodle-doo ! Cock-a-doodle-doo !" You'd  think  there ought  to be a pleasanter way  to wake up than by having  the red cock Lalu split his sides crowing from under his reed basket  in the middle of the floor of Amma's hut. And immediately  the  two foolish hens under their crate in a corner begin to  fidget and cluck and knock  on the wooden  slats  to be  let out.
Asia and global story

"Cock-a-doodle-doo  !" and "Cluck! cluck!  cluck!" This  is the way a day begins  for eight-year-old Lata where she sleeps on a tin  trunk. Old Amma gropes  from her string  cot for  the bamboo pole she keeps handy, and she waves  it about as if she would drive back  the dawn, for, oh! she  is tired and aged and would so like to sleep a little  longer.

" Whack  ! whack  ! whack  !" She wallops  the basket under which  the cock  crows. That ought  to keep  the  red devil quiet. May a plague  take him! May  it wither his flesh and drain his bones dry! May  it lock his joints and choke him-he and his cock-a-doodle-doo  ! He would bring  the roof down on a tired old woman's head, would he?  "Whack!"

But the signal  has been given. Out from under Amma's cot comes Rakhi the goat and  tweaks  Lata's braids where she lies.  In at the window drops Maow  the wicked  tomcat after another night of brawling with other cats  in the  fish market across  the railway  line, and outside  the door whines Kalu the black  dog who belongs  to everyone  in general but  loves Lata and her grandmother  in particular.

"Latar. Latal Get up!" shrills Amma. "Let Lalu out! Let Kalu in! Go fetch  the water!"

This  is the way each day begins  for Lata: Let-Lalu-out-let-Kalu-in, go-fetch-the-water ! This is how  the day always begins down by the railway yard, on your  right as you ride grandly into  the city gazing  down from  the height of the  fine cream and blue carriages  of the train called  the Rani. The little  lane is very crooked as only  lanes can be, and  the homes of the poor stand  shoulder  to shoulder along the slatted fencing of the railway. The houses may sag  in places,  but
they have bravely held each other upright for many a year now.

"Is it time, Granny?"  sleepy voices call from all sides.  "But the Rani hasn't gone through yet, has it? Is it late then? Or has the moon turned your Lalu's brain? And Pinto Carpenter's alarm clock-has  that rung yet?"

"Cock-a-doodle-doo  !" replies  the red cock, but his voice is drowned  in the sudden  thunder of the train.  It rocks  the tiny shacks, clatters  the  tin  roofs, and shakes the rows of god pictures  in their gaudy  frames  in each home-many-armed gods and goddesses,  the elephant-headed,  the monkey-headed, and the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven.

The other parts

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