“That's it!” A splendid idea occurred to her. She looked up at Mother and informedher of it at the top of her voice, “Couldn't I be a ticket seller who's really a spy!”Mother didn't reply. Under her felt hat with its little flowers, her lovely face wasserious. The fact was Mother was very worried. What if they wouldn't have Totto-chan at the new school! She looked at Totto-chan skipping along the road chatteringto herself. Totto-chan didn't know Mother was worried, so when their eyes met, shesaid gaily, “I've changed my mind. I think I'll join one of those little bands of streetmusicians who go about advertising new stores!”There was a touch of despair in Mother's voice as she said, “Come on, we'll be late.We mustn't keep the headmaster waiting. No more chatter. Look where you're goingand walk properly.”Ahead of them, in the distance, the gate of a small school was gradually coming intoview.
The Little Girl at the Window
The reason Mother was worried was because although Totto-chan had only juststarted school, she had already been expelled. Fancy being expelled from the firstgrade!It had happened only a week ago. Mother had been sent for by Totto-chan'shomeroom teacher, who came straight to the point. "Your daughter disrupts mywhole class. I must ask you to take her to another school.” The pretty young teachersighed. “I'm really at the end of my tether.”Mother was completely taken aback. What on earth did Totto-chan do to disrupt thewhole class, she wondered!Blinking nervously and touching her hair, cut in a short pageboy style, the teacherstarted to explain. “Well, to begin with, she opens and shuts her desk hundreds of times. I've said that no one is to open or shut their desk unless they have to takesomething out or put something away. So your daughter is constantly takingsomething out and putting something away - taking out or putting away hernotebook, her pencil box, her textbooks, and everything else in her desk. Forinstance, say we are going to write the alphabet, your daughter opens her desk, takesout her notebook, and bangs the top down. Then she opens her desk again, puts herhead inside, gets our a pencil, quickly shuts the desk, and writes an 'A.' If she'swritten it badly or made a mistake she opens the desk again, gets out an eraser, shutsthe desk, erases the letter, then opens and shuts the desk again to put away the eraser--all at top speed. When she's written the 'A' over again, she puts every single itemback into the desk, one by one. She puts away the pencil, shuts the desk, then opensit again to put away the notebook. Then, when she gets to the next letter, she goesthrough it all again--first the note-book, then the pencil, then the eraser--opening andshutting her desk every single time. It makes my head spin. And I can't scold herbecause she opens and shuts it each time for a reason.”The teacher's long eyelashes fluttered even more as if she were reliving the scene inher mind.