Twelve-year-old Tembu lives with his father Baldeo, mother, and young sister in a tribal village on the outskirts of a jungle forest in India. They rely on the produce from a small rice field for subsistence, but the land's paltry yield provides them with little more than a bare living.
To supplement their income, Baldeo works as a watchman at a nearby way station for the railroad. Every night, he stays in a bare hut near a tunnel cut into the rock; his duty is to keep the signal lamp burning and make sure that the tunnel is clear of obstruction so that the overland mail can pass...
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