Q. Hi. What’s your name?
A. I’m Ahmose.
Q. How old are you?
A. I’m seven. I just lost a tooth. See?
Q. Are you going to keep it?
A. Why would I do that?
Q. To put it under your pillow for the too— never mind. Where do you live?
A. In the palace. In the harem, with all the other kids and their mothers.
Q. With your mother?
A. No. My mother died when I was born.
Q. Oh. So do you go to school?
A. No, I work all day. For Jannes.
Q. Who’s Jannes?
A. The chief sorcerer.
Q. What do you do for him?
A. I help with his potions. Clean up after him.
Q. Is it just you and him all day?
A. No, Jambres is in there a lot.
Q. Who’s Jambres?
A. His assistant. They argue all the time, though. I don’t like it when they fight. I like it better when they’re gone.
Q. Because the fighting’s over?
A. Yes. And I have a secret.
A. You must not tell Jannes. He would be very angry and hit me.
Q. I promise.
A. When he leaves, one of the cats comes in and lets me hold her. But she doesn’t like Jannes. When she hears his footsteps or his voice, she jumps down and runs away.
Q. Does Jannes hit you a lot?
A. Yeah. I’m used to it. Want to know another secret?
A. At night, sometimes I sneak out of the harem and go to the kitchen and get some bread and honey.
Q. You can do that?
A. I’m not s’posed to. But if I bring the guards some, they let me.
Q. You smile an awful lot.
A. Smiling’s better than crying. Crying just makes your tummy hurt.