The boy’s name was Santiago. Dusk was falling as the boy arrived with his herd at an abandoned church. The roof had fallen in long ago, and an enormous sycamore had grown on the spot where the sacristy had once stood.

He decided to spend the night there. He saw to it that all the sheep entered through the ruined gate and then laid some planks across it to prevent the flock from wandering away during the night.

There were no wolves in the region but once an animal had strayed during the night and the boy had to spend the entire next day searching for it.

He swept the floor with his jacket and lay down using the book he had just finished reading as a pillow. He told himself that he would have to start reading thicker books they lasted longer and made more comfortable pillows.

It was still dark when he awoke and looking up he could see the stars through the half-destroyed roof.

I wanted to sleep a little longer he thought. He had the same dream that night as a week ago and once again he had awakened before it ended.

He arose and taking up his crook began to awaken the sheep that still slept. He had noticed that …

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