Third thread: We will find you a good husband
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They sat on a wall of dusty stone, their faces touched with pink by the rays of the rising sun. The mother pulled a dumpling out of her basket and handed it over to the little girl:
The road is hard on our feet, and will always be. At least I have you, golden flower of my life. When you run to me, the prettiness of the child in your face and your small, lean body softens my eyes. I bend to kiss your hair and smell the fragrance that rises up all the way from the ground through your veins, and then, I forget the insults people shouted at me. I forget the chestnut husks the children threw when I was small, the men who tried to take advantage of me because they said I would never find a husband. I did marry, you see, even if your father is not so skillful. My mother had to take for husband her father’s cousin. He was short and bent over, with a thin, white beard that reached to his chest. He died when my little brother was just beginning to walk.
For you, we will find a good husband, young and handsome and willing. I will pass on to you all that my mother taught me until I do not remember because I will have given you everything, as you gave me everything. We will ask the neighbour who knows embroidery to show you, and also the basket weaver, and the pot maker, until all these skills adorn your wedding garland. I will feed you herbs that get their strength from the earth for you to grow healthy, honey from the sky for your beauty to soar like the birds, salt to grant you the fertility of the seas, fatty cuts of meat to keep your love for me as vigorous as fire. We will send you away where they do not know us, where they do not question our origins, and we will swell your dowry with our best blankets and pots and tools and the four silver coins stamped with an owl that I hide in the salt jar, to ensure happiness is yours.
They got up and walked down the rocky country lane, hand in hand. In her basket, the mother had laid some eggs and goat cheese. She was hoping to get a better price for them at the town’s market than the villagers would give her.