Though it pained Iseult and Gilly profoundly to see, there was nothing that either of them could do to get through to Mac, who now spent his time standing by the side of the swollen canal that passed close by the factory staring at the fast-flowing floodwater.

Mac stood stock-still all day in the exact same spot and then at night walked slowly back to his bed in the corner of the courtyard. He barely touched the meagre meals that his friends left out for him and would fall asleep each night with the plate full beside him.

Iseult and Gilly were thrilled to find the same plate empty the next morning until the day they disturbed a well-fed rat helping itself to Mac’s supper.

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