"And then?" chimed the little girl with wondrous green eyes.
Her skin was as white as snow and the winter had turned her tiny nose red. She cupped her pale cheeks with her palms and looked up at the old man.
".. And then, the frog insisted that the princess let the frog eat out of her tiny golden plate. the princess got soooo disgusted. 'cheee cheee' said the princess"... and he motioned with his hands and wrinkled his long nose.
The little girl's eyes widened some more before she burst into a fit of laughter. The old man's wrinkled face was a canvas of animated expressions and the little girl was absolutely delighted.
"And then?" she asked again.
The story continued - slowly and surely and tirelessly - till the wondrous green eyes began drooping and her and-then's began fading.
The old man beckoned the girl's mother to carry the girl to her bed. He was too weak and bent with age to carry the little girl himself - the little girl who had lost both her legs, both her brothers, all her friends and her hearing to the incessant warfare that continued to ravage their village by the countryside. One of the few things she could now say was "And then?" whenever her grandpa, and now her only playmate, regaled her with his animated stories.