Life at Laldwani village wasn't easy. There were men, mostly. Sher Singh and his little brother Kunwar were the only children. There were other children too but they were now dead, due to diseases such as cholera and influenza. Sher Singh's mother was a hill woman and knew how to carry heavy loads up hill and down all day long without pain. Sher Singh's father, Sher Singh Bahadur lived his life in Laldwani village, grazing his animals and cultivating the bit of land he owned. Now, he and all the other men were off on a jungle expedition, leaving Sher Singh and his mother with a sick Kunwar who was in a state of dying.