"The lady's fate is writ in water."
Joined: 01 Oct 2007
Thanked 61 Times in 61 Posts
4701 White Gold Dollars
|Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:50 pm Post subject: An editing and re-write thread...
|We have threads to get us to just plain write stuff...
I've noticed (the 2 or 3 times I've edited stuff) that I sometimes like editing it.
Therefore... edited stuff (as opposed to new material) can go here.
(hmm, we'll see if this works.)
I cannot sleep tonight. Tomorrow I will be tested on my dance. The sleep does not reject my eyelids due to fears I shall fail at dance, though. I will be able to place my feet rightly even if I am too tired to remember which name is mine.
You do not know what it means among our people for a girl of barely thirteen to have mastered the steps of The Great Dance. My mother says it is a mind-sorter; that women of quick mind will always succeed at it. In her babyhood, my best friend spoke well before the first year of her life, and she was lithe and quick to begin the dance, imitating the old ladies before her real lessons began. My older sister Sarilah did not talk until three, but by the time she was six, she was exasperating her older brothers as she won arguments. Sarilah was formed clumsy of body, but she pressed her mind into the patterns that were needed for dance. She has her own way of thinking about dance; I think she made her own language for talking to her hands and feet, arms and legs, and she would talk to them using it. And I think her mind talked to them in her sleep. In this way, she could practice for longer than other girls. She became excellent at the dance. Sarilah has been married these five years now, and has borne three sons already. Not married to a man who is very great, but she is content. My parents have hoped that I will leap higher.
But, in the secret courtyard of my heart, I know that is not what I will ask for when I go to offer sacrifices just before dawn. I begged mother that I may offer the gods greater sacrifices than our family had at first planned. Grandmother was listening, and she just rocked back on her heels and chuckled. Then she told the story of how grandfather lamented what he had to give up to buy the first few animals of the herd. Yet in time, so much wealth has come to our family through that herd. Her meaning was clear: spend more now to buy the favor of the gods in this decision; a daughter wedded to a wealthier husband will be a reward for our family later. Mother was pleased with this advice, and promised we would present the greater sacrifice I sought. She reminded me that a king will see me when I dance, assured me that at the least a noble man of great possessions will desire me when I dance. I smiled my thanks but remained silent.
In my secret thoughts, I felt ashamed just then. Because I will not ask the gods for such a match, as they expect. I will ask the gods to give me a husband who is kind and patient and does not fear a curse.
My younger sister, Astrena, has not brought a curse yet. She has lived through eleven runnings of the seasons, and we have not had a curse on our family. Mother continued to birth sons after her, and father has only increased in success and dignity. And yet Astrena still cannot speak her own name, and makes a mess if she is not helped at the chamber pot. These past three months, I have noticed mother is tired from waking up with her. Mother is sick, I think, though she has not told father yet. The times when he is home from the wars are so short, and she does not want to discourage him. Mother is so much older than I, so many children she has nursed. So I have trained my mind to wake up at Astrena's slightest sound instead. It was very difficult the first two nights, but now I wake up to her and to no other sound. Mother thinks that her difficulty in the night has stopped.
So know, O you who read my words, that my entreaty to the gods is not to spare myself. Any girl knows that a wealthy husband is what is good for her family, while a kind husband is what is good for her self. But I do not choose as I choose to help myself. I am not worried that I would displease any husband in cooking food that lacks good a flavor, or in speaking foolishly among the wives of his friends, or in failing to work fine fabric diligently with my hands. But I will pray - I have prayed - for a husband who is kind and patient for this reason: that once we are wed, he may allow us to take Astrena into our home... and that he may also allow her to see the sunshine and the birds. Many of my friends have received from the gods a husband whose wealth is great or a man whose reknown is great. But can the gods do so great a thing as grant my petition? For I dare hope for a man whose soul is great.