他们要这么做当然我很高兴如

他们要这么做当然我很高兴如

adopted them.’
‘They’re not your own and yet you seem so fond of them!’
‘How can I help being fond of them? I breast- fed them both. I did have a child of my own once, but
it pleased God to take him. I didn’t love him as much as these little girls, though.’
‘So whose are they?’
9
And the woman proceeded to tell them the whole story.
‘It all started about six years ago, when these little girls lost their father and mother the same
week – the father was buried on the Tuesday and the mother died on the Friday. So, for three days
they had no father and on the fourth they lost their mother. At that time my husband and I were
farm- workers and our yard was right next door. The father was a lone wolf and worked as a
woodcutter. One day when they were cutting down some trees they let one fall right on him and it
crushed his insides. They had hardly got him back to the village when his soul went up to heaven
and the same week his widow gave birth to twins – these little girls. She was a poor woman, all on
her own, with no other women, young or old, to help her. Alone she gave birth and alone she died.
‘The next morning I went to see how she was, but the poor thing was already stiff and cold. When
she died she’d rolled over on to this little girl and twisted her leg out of shape. Then the
villagers came, washed the body and laid it out. Then they made a coffin and buried her. Good folk
they were. So the two little girls were left alone in the world, and who was going to look after
them? I happened to be the only woman in that village who’d had a baby at the time and I’d been
breast- feeding my first- born for about eight weeks. So I took care of the girls for the time
being. The men thought hard about what to do with the orphans and in the end they told me, “You’d
better look after them for now, Marya, until we manage to sort something out.” So I breast- fed the
girl who hadn’t been harmed, but not the one who’d been crippled, as I didn’t expect her to live.
And then I thought to myself, “Why should that little angel be left to fade away?”I took pity on
her too and started feeding her, so that in the end I was feeding all three of them – my own first-
born and these two, at my own breasts! I was young, strong and well- nourished and God gave me so
much milk that it filled my breasts to overflowing. Sometimes I’d feed two at a time, with the
third waiting, and
when one had had its fill, I’d put the third to my breast. But it was God’s will that I should
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