Water. Not a good subject for me. Does Laima care? I don’t think so. Laima is my goddess of destiny. She can make my future good or bad, so she is the goddess I make most of my offerings to. I am Efeja the peasant. I live in Eizrula, a small village in Latvia. Why don’t I like water? That I will explain later. I have been the oldest in my family ever since my brother Juris died, I had to take care of my sister Gracjia and my brother Rupes. Gracjia is like the meaning of her name, calm, graceful, and shy. Rupes is like a storm, he drives everyone crazy but is part of the balance of our broken family. Mammite would have called us pacietīgais or survivors, but Mammite is dead now and when Juris died, I had to go work for the richer men outside of the village in order to keep our family afloat.
It was considered a disgrace for a woman to work in the field, so nobody in the village would hire me. Gracjia was too young to marry, and there was no way I was putting Rupes in the working business at so young, so I became a maid. I knew Gracjia loved learning and she could continue to go to school with Rupes. I saw this as a win, but Gracjia felt bad for making me do all the work as a maid and having her in the luxury of school. I disagreed. I would much rather work than go to school. I thought maybe working would take my mind off of my grief.
My pay was not enough for the three of us and Rupes was a growing boy, so forgive me Laima for doing this, but I stole. I was the oldest in the family and had to provide. The rich men were stupid men, they were so abundantly filled with money that they would not notice if you took some. They sat there counting their money without heed to the maids that took it frequently. Gracjia and Rupes didn’t know I was stealing, but what they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them. I underestimated the rich men. I didn’t weigh the consequences of my capture. So, unfortunately, when I reached for the pile this time, I was detected.
“Get the scoundrel.” the fat, rich man yelled furiously as I shoved the Latvian lats (our currency at the time) into my pockets. I turned to run, but the burly manservants picked me up and one hoisted me over his shoulder. I screamed in fear, not because of what they were going to do to me, but because of Gracjia and Rupes, how if I died, Gracjia would have to marry and Rupes would have to work. I bit and thrashed at the manservants with all my will and energy, my mind blank with despair and agony. The servants held strong. Some of the maids were gasping, even giggling as the carried my to be punished.
“Laima!” I screeched. “Please protect Gracjia and Rupes.” I felt my consciousness slowly fade away. “Laima,” I pleaded as I fainted in the arms of my captor.
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