You Were: Justice

September 8, 2010

Throughout human history, there have always been lands where women are treated unkindly. Places where females are locked away inside their homes and denied even fresh air or sunshine. But while the laws of these lands never offer much protection, that doesn’t mean wronged women have always been without recourse.

You’ve experienced many lives and called countless countries home. And in each of your existences, you’ve provided the same service to your fellow women. You’ve been called a witch, a wise woman, and a she-devil. But these were the labels men gave you. Their mothers, wives, and sisters knew you as Justice.

Let’s take, for example, the five decades you spent in ancient Athens. You were a slave in a wealthy household. As a child, you’d been snatched from a distant land and put to work in your master’s kitchen. For five years, you scrubbed dishes and stayed silent. Everyone assumed that you weren’t terribly smart. The truth was, you were watching their every move.

As a slave, your work load was staggering, yet you enjoyed more freedom than the rich women you served. You could leave the house. Explore the city and visit the markets. Speak to men who weren’t blood relations. You may not have been Greek, but you knew much more about Athens than any woman who’d been born there. And it wasn’t long before you began to put your knowledge to good use.

Though they thought you a dunce, the men in your household had quickly learned to steer clear of the strange foreign girl with black hair and icy eyes. They were a mean-spirited bunch who enjoyed keeping order with their fists and their whips. But one harsh word to you, and they’d soon find themselves in agony, crouched next to the family’s foul-smelling latrine. One flick with a whip and your master’s beloved horse would go wild and trample him later that day.

They thought the gods were protecting you. You didn’t need the gods’ protection.

Those five years of silence had been well spent. You’d been born with a gift for horticulture, and you used the time to hone your skills. In the small garden outside the slaves’ quarters, you grew plants that could heal—and others that could annoy, wound, punish, or kill. A few sprigs of one would cause a terrible rash. A pinch of another could turn the darkest hair gray overnight. And just the smell of the pale yellow flowers you often wore in your hair could make a grown man lose control of his bowels.

Quietly, cautiously, you began to offer your services to the women who needed them. They’d find little packets of herbs tucked into their market baskets, along with detailed instructions on how to make use of them. Sometimes you’d even provide seeds so the women could enjoy a constant supply.

Most of the women never guessed you were responsible. But your masters’ daughters weren’t fools. They suspected you were the one who had saved them from terrible marriages. (One cruel suitor fled Athens when the city’s bees took to swarming around him the moment he left his house. Another found himself fainting whenever he came within ten feet of his wife-to-be.) And the daughters were suitably grateful. When they were finally allowed to marry the men of their choosing, they convinced their husbands to reward you.

At the age of twenty-five, you were purchased from your master and freed from slavery. Everyone expected you to leave Athens and return to your native land. But you knew there was too much work to be done in Greece. You married a kind man, raised six razor-sharp girls, and always kept an enormous garden behind your house.


3 Responses to “You Were: Justice”

  1. Rileydog Says:

    Lucky!!! I wish that was me. If I could’ve picked anyone to be in a past life it would’ve been a wise girl in Athens(or at least Ancient Greece) who used her knowledge to seek revenge on those who deserve it. And their culture is so rich with mythology.

  2. Toodles*** Says:

    Ooh Lala. Must find some lipstick like that. Could make me (almost!) pass as someone intimidating. Humph. Most people just can’t take me seriously. When I asked my friends what one word they would pick to describe me, almost all of them said random. I mean, I am, but still!

  3. Kartoffel Says:

    What a beautiful picture… And a beautiful story…

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