The Sick Rose

Dorothy J. Heydt

Rings on her fingers, necklaces on her neck, she danced in the center of the cabin while her companions sat in the four corners, clapping their hands in cross-rhythms and making little cries of praise for a step well made. The soft tendrils of Sarah's hair escaped from their restraining braids and curled round her face. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes shone. Bethania and Cynthia exchanged glances. Let her dance while she can, their eyes said. This time next year, if all went well, her sisters-in-law would dance for her while she labored with her firstborn. A pity, maybe, to marry a girl off so young--but Cynthia herself had married at quite an age, almost nineteen, and miscarried of her only child after her husband died; so perhaps it was better this way.

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