The Adulteress


“The guilty catch themselves” ~ Proverb

 Photo by Marili Forastieri

“M’Lord, I am a married woman who’ve committed adultery, I beg you to bequeath my consequence.”

And his heart sank, for what parent could bear a child’s self-appointed doom? “You needn’t cometh, child,” said the Messenger, “for there were no witness testifying, nor have you been required to.”

“M’Lord,” she insisted, “I have committed an irreversible sin, for I carry that burden within me.”

“Then you shall leave and care for the life within you, for a child yet to be born is innocent and has a right to live.”

Hence the woman left.

Months later, the woman returned. Uninvited, self-appointed, by her own will and on her own feet, with an infant child in her arms.

She said, “M’Lord, I am a woman who hath committed adultery, and herein lays the the living proof to my sins.”

The Messenger’s heart sank deeper. For what parent could bear a child’s self-appointed doom? Gravely, the Messenger responded, “You needn’t cometh. A child in your son’s age needs to be loved and fed from your bosom. Go home and tend after your child’s needs. For his survival necessitates yours, whether or not there is a point to be made or a heartbreak mended.”

Thus she left again.

Years went by, in which campaigns cycled; religions’ spread. In which men had died and others were born. In which memories were erased and faults forgiven.

But a woman scorned would not forget, would not forgive, and - with a heart of stone - would rather not live. The adulteress, from the depths of a father’s dread, returned FOR A THIRD TIME. This time, she presented a robust, healthy and upright toddler.

“M’Lord,” she said, “This is the proof of my sin, able to feed himself and walk a path of his own. He lives on, and so hath my sorrow and shame. If I’ve managed to keep the reminder of my sins alive, then - by God, Prophet – either you free me from this burden or be accounted for a suicide.”

And for her the Messenger’s heart broke, “Have you no reasons enough to live? Have you no reason enough to let bygone be bygone?”

“Reason enough not to kill myself, my Liege. Reason enough to consult you. I have lived in wrong, and would have lost my way again, so the least I can do to amend, is dying in right. Can’t you see the rejection I have for a life betrayed, despite sanity and maternity?”

Hence the father, who could not bear his child’s living misery in spite of worsening his own, replied, “Then all shall be well, my child.”

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