I ran up the grassy hill huffing and puffing.

“Madame Chamberlaine!” I panted. “Come quick!”

“Qu’est-ce qu’il y a?” she asked as she jumped up from the bench.

“Quick! Shuly drowned in the sandbox!”

Madame stopped running in her high-heel shoes. “Quoi? Drowned?”

“Just come!”

She ran in the direction of the playground. A huge crowd had formed around the sandbox.

We pushed our way through the people.

The sandbox was as big as my classroom. In one corner, only Shuly’s face was visible on top of the sand. The rest of her body was somewhere deep inside the sandbox. Madame stood on the red wooden ledge.

“What happened?”

“Shuly and I were digging a tremendous hole. We dug really deep. We actually had to go into the hole to shovel the sand out. Suddenly, while Shuly was inside, the walls of the hole collapsed, and look! She’s stuck! You must get her out of there, Madame!”

Shuly was sobbing. Her tears dripped on the sand around her and created little circles of mud.

“Get me out of here, Madame,” she cried. “I feel like I can’t breathe.”

Madame jumped off the ledge. She looked at all the people gathered around.

“I need two strong people to help.”

Two women stepped forward.

“Grab whatever you can, buckets, cups, whatever. Start digging now!”

In a few seconds, the women were throwing sand in every direction. They bent low. Soon, they were dripping sweat and breathing hard and then Shuly started to wriggle.

Madame gave a big tug and yanked her out.

Everyone clapped. Shuly and I were both crying.

“What a scare!” one person said.

“All she needs is a good shower,” someone else joked.

Madame Chamberlaine took our hands and led us away from the crowd. She found a quiet, grassy spot behind some bushes.

We sat down.

“Shuly, are you okay?” she asked.

Shuly nodded. She had sand in her hair, on her eyelashes, in her ears, in her coat, and down to her shoes.

“Let’s rest for a few minutes and then we’ll head home. We have to get le sable out of your hair and your clothes.”

“And my nose!” Shuly laughed.

Suddenly, Madame leaned over Shuly. She plucked something out of the hood of Shuly’s jacket.

“What’s this?” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 696)