When I was young, my mother read me a story about a wicked little girl.I sat against her on the couch as she read from a book on her lap. The lamp shone on us and there was a blanket over us.
The girl in the story was beautiful and cruel. Because her mother was poor, she sent her daughter to work for rich people, who spoiled and petted her. The rich people told her she had to visit her mother. But the girl felt she was too good and went merely to show herself.
One day, the rich people sent her home with a loaf of bread for her mother. But when the little girl came to a muddy bog, rather than ruin her shoes, she threw down the bread and stepped on it. It sank into the bog and she went with it. She sank into a world of demons and deformed creatures. Because she was beautiful, the demon queen made her into a statue as a gift for her great-grandson.
The girl was covered in snakes and slime and surrounded by the hate of every creature trapped like she was. She was starving but couldn't eat the bread still welded to her feet. She could hear what people were saying about her; a boy passed by saw what had happened to her and told everyone, and they all said she deserved it. Even her mother said she deserved it.
The girl couldn't move, but if she could have, she would've twisted with rage. "It isn't fair!" cried my mother, and her voice mocked the wicked girl.
Because I sat against my mother when she told this story, I did not just hear it in words only. I felt it in her body. I felt a girl who wanted to be too beautiful. I felt a mother who wanted to love her. I felt a demon who wanted to torture her. I felt them mixed together so you couldn't tell them apart. The story scared me and I cried. My mother out her arms around me. "Wait," she said. "It's not over yet. she's going to be saved my the tears of an innocent girl. Like you."
My mother kissed the top of my head and finished the story. And I forgot about it for a long time.
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