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May 25 , 2009

Our Little Grecian Cousin


Zoe sat in the doorway tending baby Domna as she lay asleep in her cradle. She was sleeping quietly, as any child should who has the cross on her cradle for good luck. Her skin was as white as milk, and this was because Zoe had taken care of her Marti. On the first day of March she had tied a bit of red ribbon about her little cousin's wrist, for a charm. The keen March winds could not hurt the baby after that, nor could she have freckles nor sunburn. Early on the morning of April first, Zoe had dressed the baby and carried her out of doors. The dew lay over the flowers, the sun was just up, and his rosy beams turned the blossoming lemon trees to beauty. Zoe had sought the nearest garden and there hung the Marti on a rose bush, plucking a rose and pinning it to Domna's cap. "Now, Babycoula," she had said, clapping her hands, "you shall have luck. Your Marti is upon a rose bush kissed with dew before the sun is high. The summer's heat shall not touch you and you shall be cool and well." It was fortunate for Zoe as well as for the "Joy," which the Greek word for baby means, that Domna was a quiet baby. As most of the little girl's time was taken up with caring for one or another of her aunt's children, when they were cross it left her but little time for thinking and dreaming. Zoe's thoughts were often sad ones, but her dreams were rose-coloured. When the little girl thought, she remembered the home she had once had. It was far in the sunny south where lemon groves lifted golden-fruited arms to the soft winds, and hillsides gleamed with purple and white currants.
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