Gold day

I am justly punished for failing compassion and then failing to feel guilty.

Today, by way of object lesson from the gods, my two children, not soaked by the rain this time but wearing sensible cloaks and straw hats, came in from the streets with much clatter, to tell me, “Lady mother, look what we’ve found! Can you tell us what it is?”

It was a poisonous snake, of the most deadly colorful banded variety. It seemed small for its type, and secure in Pen’s hands, and I did not scream. I was very proud of myself for not screaming.

“Daughter, we must very carefully let that snake go its way,” I told her. “It has a life of its own to get back to.”

“But, lady mother-”

“Now, daughter. Obey.”

She scowled at me, but her brother advised, “We may always catch another one, Pen-Pen.”

Thus was the snake taken back outside and gently released, to wend its way back to its home – in the canals and waterways of the city, as if I needed more nightmares.

“That was poison such as kills a man in three paces,” I said idly, standing in the streets of the lower city with my children, mist painting my hair to my head. “We are very lucky today.”

I hugged them both to me in close embrace, for I was frightened and we might have died all unknown to their father, my husband, all plots and plans to the contrary.

I will do justice by the god’s warning and be more compassionate.

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