She laughed, and he barely resisted the temptation to turn back and check on his khasut, but the laughter stopped. Instead he can hear her eating when he knew she had no food, but that was something that had happened before, and he had suspicions that it would happen again.
When they had last questioned her about it, the child had just smiled a secretive smile, and told them the story of her birth again as her father had told it to her; and it was true that she was an only child, and that both her parents had been elderly when she was born. He remembered her father spending many hours both in prayer in the precincts of the temple and study at home of texts ancient even by the standards of the temple, and his wife had accompanied the girl's mother to the mikvah many times over the years, and her birth had
given them both hope that they would be blessed with their own child eventually.
But the child was uncanny, sometimes; she rarely played with other children, but instead laughed and played happily on her own. As if, but not with, another child, and sometimes he sees his wife, who is the girl's cousin, look at her with startled recognition, and at other times a longing that drove him into the same prayers and to study the same texts as her father had been studying, and into his own masa umatan with the Divine.