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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett first published in 1905 - LWT 1986
Sara is so cold that she often stops near fires to catch some warmth. Back in her room she reads her books and falls asleep with a single candle burning in the night. The next days she returns with shopping for cook who is as nasty as ever. Cook forgot to put an item on the lost and resends Sara back out into the cold to buy it. It is nearly closing time at the shops so Sara has to run. She returns empty handed as the shop has closed. Cook is furious and so makes Sara go without her supper. Sara runs upstairs to her room and meets Beck who tries to clean her hands. Sara rushes into her room and finds Ermengarde waiting for her. At first Sara wants Ermengarde to leave as she is worried that the other girls will tease and punish Ermengarde for mixing with Sara. Ermengarde says that Sara is her only friend and she does not mind the punishment.
The next day, it has been snowing. Sara again is out running errands. She stops outside to watch two small children getting into a carriage. The small boy stops, smiles and gives Sara a sixpence as he is concerned that she will not have much to eat this Christmas. Sara says thankyou and watches the carriage head off. In her room, that night, Sara tells Emily that she will not spend it but instead have to turned into a necklace and place it around her neck.
A the Donald Carmichael (above boy) family home, they are having breakfast. The boy remarks on the fact the girl he met spoke so well. His father suggests that she must have picked it up from the other girls at the school. The other children remark on her clothes which although are dirty and torn, are not cheap and had seen better days. Donald suggests they invite her for Christmas. Mr. Carmichael is reading the post and finds that he has been requested to purchase a house for a client who is returning home from abroad. Mrs. Carmichael suggests the house next to the school which is vacant.
Outside, Sara is scrubbing the steps whilst the snow falls about her. School has broken up and the girls are heading home for the Christmas break. All that is except Sara. Amelia is really concerned about Sara but Miss Minchin as ever will do nothing to ease her day. Lottie wishes Sara a good Christmas and that she will miss her.
Inside Miss Minchin and her sister are discussing the Christmas bonus for each household member. Amelia wants to give Sara something but Miss Minchin will have none of it. She is already providing Sara with a roof over her head. Miss Minchin reminds Amelia that Sara still owes in excess of £200 and not a single Christmas present would be given to the child. She then slams the door in the face of a protesting Amelia.
Later Becky runs into the kitchen, Cook is asleep snoring in a chair. Sara is hard at work cleaning pots. She has news about the house next door.
Beck has seen a four armed statue. She describes it to Sara who recognises it as Kali. Becky is worried about someone moving in next door who worships an idol. Later the household are singing Christmas carols with the school children who cannot go home. In the Carmichael home the children are opening their presents.
After the carol singing is over, Miss Minchin permits the children to open their presents. Sara and Becky watch them at the back of the room. Sara thinks back to the days when she had happy times at Christmas with her father. Sarah is given a gift from Ermengarde. It is book, that Sara takes downstairs after Miss Minchin reminds her that it would not be proper to open it. The book is Alice through the looking glass and she is overjoyed to receive it. Becky has nothing but looks at the book in wonder. Becky cannot read or write. Cook and Henrietta poke fun at Sara for the gift of the book. Amelia appears with the school gifts. There is nothing for Sara & Amelia is clearly distressed by this. She hurriedly leaves the kitchen to avoid the uncomfortable scene. Becky offers to share her Christmas box with Sara.
Next door, the new owner has moved in. He is not very well and has had the Doctor in attendance. The Doctor requests that no more alcohol be taken but asks if he has recently had a shock. Mr. Carrisford is sitting in the chair as if the weight of the world is on his shoulders. Back at the school next door, Sara is serving dinner to the household. Miss Minchin asks Sara to be quiet when she was thanking Ermengarde for the book. One of the nasty girls deliberately pushes a food serving onto her dress and makes a fuss about it being Sara's fault. Sara tries to explain but Miss Minchin orders her to beg her pardon. Sara refuses and is sent to bed with no lunch or dinner. Miss Minchin is flabbergasted that a young girl should defy her and slaps Sara across the face.
Sara is angry and hurt. She returns to her dark gray room. On entering she hears a noise coming from outside her window. She opens the window and sees a small monkey with a Sikh man. The man refers to the money as the evil one at which point the money runs off towards Sara. Sara speaks Hindustani to the man and suggests he comes across to catch the naughty monkey. He explains about the monkey and that his master is very ill with jaundice.
Back next door the Sikh explains to Mr. Carrisford about the girl next door and of the terrible cold conditions she is living in. Carrisford is still very ill and does not really take in any of the information.
Later in Sara's room Ermengarde appears with some Christmas cake for Sara. They are playing hide and seek so no one will look for Ermengarde in Sara's room. Ermengarde hates Miss Minchin.
Next door, Mr. Carrisford has a visitor, Mr Carmichael. He hears some news about the whereabouts of someone he is looking for. Mr. Carmichael reports that the missing person may be in Russia.
The Story in Six Parts