A tall elegant French-looking gentleman stands at the side of a small country road.
He is waiting at a zebra crossing, watching for a break in the traffic.
Behind him stand about two dozen children in an orderly queue of hand-holding pairs.
The cars and vans roar noisily past at high speed.
Lorries rumble noisily along, belching forth foul emissions.
The occasional bus trundles by in a cloud of smoke.
The drivers either do not see the crossing, or are too pressed for time to pause for the children.
The man waits calmly, showing no sign of impatience.
He has an air of insouciance, which transmits itself to the children.
They also stand patiently, some watching the man, others with their heads bent towards their partners in quiet conversation.
There is no unrest.
After some time there is a lull in the traffic.
The man turns his head to the right, to the left, and back to the right.
The road is clear.
Ah no, a little way off something is approaching.
It appears to be a small giant or a very large person on a child’s push scooter.
A little bird swoops and dives around him.
Propelling himself with his left foot, the little giant nears the crossing.
He raises his right arm with bent elbow in the internationally recognisable stop signal.
Using his foot as a brake, he brings his vehicle to a halt eight or ten feet short of the crossing.
He looks at the man, then at the children.
The man again checks both directions, then marches to the centre of the road.
He stops and turns 90 degrees, facing past the giant and along the road.
He adopts the pose of a French traffic policeman.
He holds his left arm aloft in the same way as the giant had earlier.
With his right arm he motions to the children to cross in front of him.
The children, still holding hands, walk smartly across the road and form the same orderly queue at the other side.
When the last child has crossed the man lowers his arms.
He looks at the giant and, with the faintest of smiles, nods his head.
The little giant, smiling happily, nods his head in return,
The bird chirps ecstatically and flits excitedly around his head.
The man turns and walks after the children.
He reaches the far side and, with a motion to the children to follow, walks on without a backward glance.
The little giant pushes off with his left foot and continues on his way.