Good All the Time
"Oh, you want a story, duck?" Mother Hathor clucked her tongue.
"Well, when I was eight years old, Mother Billy baked a pie, and set it on her window sill to cool. A hungry child took it off the sill and ate it. The other children, seeing her misdeed, chased and caught her. They tied her down on the old apple stump, and wrapped her wrist with twine, and with their little knives they cut off her hand - because, as you know, that is the penalty for theft. When the grown-ups in the village saw it, they were aghast at what they had done - not just the children's actions, but that it was they, the parents, that had raised their children to do such a thing. But the little girl that stole the pie didn't cry or whimper. She only told the truth. For she was a quiet child that got everywhere, and knew many secrets. She told of how the baker and butcher would lay their finger on the scales, and Farmer John took three deer from the forest last winter, and Mother Barrow and Mother Quail had lain naked together in the meadow. And the children had their knives, and they punished the crimes, just as they had been taught."
Mother Hathor scratched the stump of her hand. "They were good children. You couldn't say they weren't. And they tried to live good lives. But every now and then one would slip. It's so hard to go through life being good all the time."