At night, Dadi goes back out to search by the light of the moon. The family packs up their belongings in preparation for the move. They will not return until after Phulan's wedding. Before morning, they hear the bells of the camels. Dadi has found the herd and, miraculously, Grandfather. He found shelter among the herd and is barely alive. The family rushes him inside. He softly insists on traveling to Derawar, where he will be buried as a soldier. Dadi immediately agrees.

The family sets out for Derawar with one goatskin of water. They begin traveling before dawn, with Phulan's dowry and Grandfather carefully loaded onto Xhush Dil, their most trustworthy camel. Sadness overwhelms Shabanu as they leave their buried home.

They drink the water, a sip at a time. Shabanu's throat is as dry as paper in the hot desert air. Phulan and Shabanu wander off in search of a sito, a desert plant with succulent, watery roots. At the top of a dune, they catch site of a turban tied to the top of a tall shrub. Phulan is frightened: travelers who are lost or thirsty tie their turbans to the tops of trees in hopes that someone will see the turban and bring water. If the water bearer arrives too late, legend states that the ghost of the dead man will haunt him or her for the rest of his life. Phulan runs for Dadi.

Dadi arrives and digs up the man, buried by the sandstorm. They bless the man with water and bury him hurriedly. Shabanu knows the jackals will unearth him shortly. As they continue onward, Shabanu listens, through a haze of detachment, to Mama reminiscing about Grandfather. Shabanu promises Grandfather that the nawab, or prince, will receive him and bury him with honor.

They arrive in Derawar at night. Shabanu looks with despair to the next few months. She fears they will live half-thirsty, drinking salty water from poor wells and that the monsoon will not come. She prays that the monsoon will come before Phulan's wedding.


Camels offer Shabanu an escape from the adult world. She takes great comfort in her relationship with the camels. She feels as happy to see Mithoo again after being separated from him during her visit to the shrine as she is to see Dadi. When the dust storm strikes, she feels as much concern for Mithoo as she does for Grandfather until she carefully prioritizes her fears. Shabanu's love for animals epitomizes her wildness—her independence, defiance, and desire to remain a child in the desert forever. Her relationship with the animals also demonstrates her strength—the strength of her love and her ability to care for the animals skillfully.