Water day

The winter solstice has safely come and gone for another year. It is my least favorite holiday and it is not often that propriety permits me to avoid it.

I am not heartless. I am not, however, so sentimental that a pair of dripping-wet twins wearing identical expressions of innocence and carrying a handsome rodent with an injured forepaw stirred anything in my heart but dread.

We have enough trouble with molds and strange insects without bringing vermin into our home. I permitted them to make a small home for it with rags in the shelter of the outdoor stair, but after that it was into hot baths for both of them to be washed and combed until I was satisfied with them.

I tried to convey with kindly words that they were almost eleven, and past time they set aside childish notions like getting soaked to the skin to save a brown rodent, even an injured one.

“Lady mother,” Pang said, at his most reserved, even while up to his chest in his bath with soap in his hair, “What is the difference between one animal life and one human life?”

“Ask your father when he returns. He is wise in the ways of these things.”

Not my most kindly moment, I admit.

“When will he be returning?”

“I am not certain. He has his duties.”

Both of my twins understand duty, so this did not cause strife. They are, however, entirely convinced that their creature is a pet. I will not have it.

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