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  • As I wandered along amongst the detritus of humanity; dogs of the market place, dead flowers, chewed up receipts half eaten burgers in plastic take-away boxes; someone’s shoe, a red jacket flung over a table (someone would miss that); the rats finding titbits round the fish and chip stand, stray dogs fighting over some bones discarded by the butcher; I saw a little girl sitting and crying holding a paper carrier bag.

    Her long dark hair waved around her head in the wind. Her tears had soaked the front of her dress. One sock was pulled up the other had fallen down over her red buckled shoe. I thought, who had abandoned this child?

    I put out my hand and touched her shoulder and she shrunk away from me.
    “Child, why are you on your own?”
    “I was wondering around the hats and looking in the mirror and I got lost!”
    “But who did you come to the market with?”
    “My uncle did. He took me to the circus and I said I was bored.
    I didn.t see why the lady would want to fling herself off a trapeze hoping a man would catch her, and why a horse would want to run around in circles. My mum tells me that if I try to do tricks on the swings in the park, I am careless.”

    There I was, a drunken wreck wandering around looking for scraps, and I found a jewel What was I going to do with her?
    “come on,” I said, “let’s get you cleaned up.”
    “I’ve got to stay here or I won’t get found.”
    “I think your uncle must have stopped looking for you by now. Come and see where I live.”
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