Every morning they sat and talked about the day ahead. Every evening they made dinner together. After they washed the dishes, Simbegwire's father helped her with homework.
Simbegwire ran to her father, but stopped when she saw that he was holding a woman's hand.
"I want you to meet someone special, my child. This is Anita," he said smiling.
Father was happy and excited. He talked about the three of them living together, and how good their life would be. "My child, I hope you will accept Anita as your mother," he said.
Her only comfort was the colourful blanket her mother gave her. Father did not seem to notice that Simbegwire was unhappy.
Simbegwire's face fell, but her father did not notice. Anita did not say anything. She was not happy either.
Each night Simbegwire cried herself to sleep, hugging her mother's blanket.
The precious blanket caught on a nail, and tore in two.
She took the pieces of her mother's blanket, packed some food, and left the house. She followed the road her father had taken.
Maama, maama, you left me.
You left me and never came back.
Father doesn't love me anymore.
Mother, when are you coming back? You left me.
They thought it was only the wind rustling the leaves, and carried on with their work. But one of the women listened very carefully to the song.
The other women stopped washing and helped Simbegwire to climb down from the tree. Her aunt hugged the little girl and tried to comfort her.
That night, Simbegwire cried as she went to sleep. But they were tears of relief. She knew her aunt would look after her.
The woman explained that Simbegwire had run away. "I wanted her to respect me," she said. "But perhaps I was too strict."
Father left the house and went in the direction of the stream. He continued to his sister's village to find out if she had seen Simbegwire.
But her father went to her and said, "Simbegwire, you have found a perfect mother for yourself. One who loves you and understands you. I am proud of you and I love you."
They agreed that Simbegwire would stay with her aunt as long as she wanted to.
She reached out for Simbegwire's hand. "I'm so sorry little one, I was wrong," she cried. "Will you let me try again?"
Simbegwire looked at her father and his worried face. Then she stepped forward slowly and put her arms around Anita.
Then the children played while the adults talked. Simbegwire felt happy and brave. She decided that soon, very soon, she would return home to live with her father and her stepmother.
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