Sunday, May 5, 2013

Story-A-Day May: Hothouse Burdens

Lilly has a crown she will wear this morning, when her groom climbs the high hill and the players strum their green-stringed goldbedums, singing softly into the moist air of May.

The circlet is made of silver leaves, dotted here and there with water gems, the costly ones that look like emerald. They are fixed in the centers, or at the shiny tips of the worked metal leaves like dewdrops about to fall or evaporate. Many enslaved artisans helped in the making of this beautiful thing, an item of rare grace that Lilly will wear ever after only for the most special and sacred occasions.

It does not dawn on her that her people, who are starving, may look upon the jeweled artifact with resentment, wondering why she has the nerve to flaunt her stolen wealth at them. She has no fears that her countrymen and subjects might look with distaste or even disgust at the explicit show of expansiveness, might revile the largesse of her wedding feast, where they would not be welcome.

It doesn't cross her mind, because it isn't so-- the people, hungry and falling daily from sicknesses associated with inadequate nutrition, want nothing but the best for their queen. They would have it no other way, than that she should make them proud by looking as richly refined as the princesses of the three wealthier countries that border theirs. The image of their young queen, lovely as a blossoming tree as she speaks her vows, is what they wish for this morning, to hold in their hearts through the drought-ridden summer to come. Their crops will die soon, after stunted yields, but her glory will rain on them all.

 © By Mari Kozlowski, May 5, 2013

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