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Ministry of Education.

Extract from “Once” by Morris Gleitzman ( Pg 2-3)

I can’t believe it. Three years and eight months I’ve been in this orphanage and I haven’t had a whole carrot in my dinner bowl once. Neither has anyone else. Even the nuns don’t get whole carrots, and they get bigger servings than us kids because they need the extra energy for being holy….

I stare at the carrot.

At this moment I’m probably the only kid in Poland with a whole carrot in his dinner bowl. For a few seconds I think it’s a miracle. Except that it can’t be because miracles only happened in ancient times and this is 1942.

Then I realise what the carrot means and I have to sit down quick before my legs give way.

I can’t believe it.

At last. Thank you God, Jesus, Mary, the Pope and Adolf Hitler, I’ve waited so long for this.

It’s a sign.

This carrot is a sign from Mum and dad. They’ve sent my favourite vegetable to let me know their problems are finally over. To let me know that after three long years and eight long months things are finally improving for Jewish booksellers. To let me know they’re coming to take me home.


Dizzy with excitement, I stick my fingers into the soup and grab the carrot.

Published on: 26 Dec 2010