“If you listen long enough to the whispers, you will hear the truth. Until then, I will tell you this: the world is made safe by a woman. She bound the monster up and cast him out, and the man who was left was saved.”
“I do fear him,” I said, which was close to the truth. “I fear him as I fear the desert sun and poisonous snakes. They are all part of the life I live. But the sun gives light, and snakes will feed a caravan if they are caught and cooked.”
“My sister is no fool and she is not tender-hearted,” I said. “My sister fights for her home, and takes what risks she must. That is why I put myself before her today—why I would not let you have her. My sister burns, and she does not burn for you.”
“Good men fall to monsters every day.”
“I am yours to command, husband,” I said to him, and met his eyes.
When my mother spoke to our father, she often said that. He liked it, the way she put herself in his hands. Until just now, I had not realized that since my mother was the one who allowed it, she had more power than even he might have realized. Lo-Melkhiin thought I was less than him; but his was not the only tally.”
“Always, it seemed, men would overlook unpleasant things for the sake of those that went well. The statues’ eyes for the melodious sounds of the fountain. The deaths of their daughters for the bounty of their trade.
There was great beauty in this qasr, but there was also great ugliness and fear. I would not be like those men who turned their eyes from one to see the other. I would remember what those things cost.”
“My sister burns, and she does not burn for you.”
“There is life, and there is living.”
“The monster tested her, pulling at her soul and rending her spirit. She clung to life, and in the clinging she might have become a monster too, except she chose the path her story would take. She chose white stone walls and a golden crown. She chose to debate words of law, and to never grind her own grain. She chose to fight men every day, and then fight their sons, who thought they knew better than their fathers.<...> If you listen long enough to the whispers, you will hear the truth. Until then, I will tell you this: the world is made safe by a woman.”
“There is life, and there is living—and that is what she learned.”
“Watch your world burn, light of my heart. Tomorrow we will find another one and burn that too.”
“If you are clever and you are good, the monster will not have you.
You should not believe everything you hear.
Good men fall to monsters everyday. Clever men are tricked by their own pride or by pretty words.”
“I had spent all the years I had been in Lo-Melkhiin’s body giving power to men who I thought would use it in ways that might serve me. I had given them great art and great thoughts, and they never guessed that they fed a terrible hunger in me that would require feeding until they died trying to sate it. They had done great things and made great tales, but I had been blind. All of this time, I had had access to more power than I had imagined, and I had missed it because I saw with men’s eyes. I had forgotten the girls who scrubbed the floors and spun the yarn. I had forgotten the women who dyed the cloth and worked with henna. I had married three hundred girls, and as much as eaten them all before they were done cooking.”
“Have you seen burning bone, my wife? It starts like a roasted goat, but then the meat strips away to feed the fire, and the bone is left naked and alone. It twists and shatters, marrow leaking into the flames, until only the dust is left."
"That is what happens to everything, my lord," I said to him. "If only the fire can be made hot enough."
"Would you like to see it?" he asked.”
“She chose to fight men everyday, and then fight their sons, who thought they knew better than their fathers.”
“He was the soul of politeness, my husband.”
“Our father would return to see his fairest flower gone and only the weed left for him to use as he saw fit”
“She had not answered my question. She had not told me that she loved his eyes or the sound of his voice. She had not said that his touch lit a fire on her skin. Then it came to me: she loved him because he did not seek to change her. If I had made him, or if my father had found him, it did not matter. My sister would have a husband who would not make her sit, veiled and weaving, in his tent. He would not take another wife, as my father had done. She would be his, and he would be hers, alone. This was why she loved him, and it made my heart glad to hear it.”
“I had tasted power and I had used it up, but now I would get more of another kind. We would share it, and keep each other from the dark.”
“When the dust rises over the desert, the villagers know that Lo-Melkhiin is coming with his guards to choose another wife. He always takes one wife from each village, or each district within a city. And she always dies”
“When the dust rises over the desert, the villagers know that Lo-Melkhiin is coming with his guards to choose another wife. He always takes one wife from each village, or each district within a city. And she always dies.”
“I onda sam shvatila: voli ga jer je ne želi promijeniti. Jesam li ga ja stvorila, ili ga je moj otac proašao, to nije bilo bitno. Moja će sestra imati muža koji je neće tjerati da, zakrivena velom, sjedi u njegovom šatoru i prede. Neće uzeti i drugu ženu, kao što je to bio učnio moj otac. Bit će samo njegova, kao što će i on biti samo njezin. Zato ga voli, a meni se, kas sam to čula, srce ispunilo radošću.”
“They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my childlike faith in practical politics.”
“To set one's name to a work gives no one a title to be remembered, for who knows how many of the best of men have gone without a trace?”
“The schematicism by which our understanding deals with the phenomenal world ... is a skill so deeply hidden in the human soul that we shall hardly guess the secret trick that Nature here employs.”
“I looked to the ceiling and told God, “God, next time I want an adventure, strike me with lightning. You have my permission.”
“Keep your shirt on," she said with a laugh at her bad joke. "Your clothes are at the laundry. They'll
deliver them as soon as they're ready."
"And in the meantime?"
"Looks like you're naked."
His jaw worked as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing. "I beg your pardon?"
"Beg all you want, you're still going to be naked." Tabitha paused at the wicked image in her mind.
"Come to think of it, a gorgeous, begging, naked man… that's the stuff of fantasies. Begging won't get
you your clothes, but it could get you something else." She wiggled her eyebrows at him.”
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