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The Winter's Tale

Some sighted a little girl, clothes bedraggled, picking up her stuffed doll afore a painting by Salvator Rosa, The Death of Regulus. How and why a grand museum piece ends up on the walls of ghetto is beyond comprehension. Maybe the painting is transported through the flicker of light the little girl recklessly ignited. For the weather is irrefutably dismal and the sale of candles soars.

So soars the price of candles, the most invidious vendor makes it so. Some sighted a man facing heavenward and lamenting his inability to purchase even a short, unreliable candle. This winter is made austere, since it is too expensive a flame to exorcize the pricking coldness. No mists nor fogs but something dense and humid descends from the sky, encompassing all. Like a weightless carpet it falls, presumably a white whispering from God. A doddering old man stares up and declares he sees snows.

A stout egg-white candle held by some silky-skinned, taper fingers illuminated all. At least to the little girl’s astonishment the light is too big a blob which meddles with her eyes; muddies her eyes. Soldiers fight with grits under a capsized greyness of light, which seems laughably preposterous in such historical context. The fingers holding the candle unaware of their condemnable mistake. “Impressive picture, ain’t it?” the fingers ask the little girl with smiles in their words.

But lights do poke through the grim of the sky, the little girl perceives after the depart of the candle, the arrive of its restored murkiness. Lights poking through the gaps splitting like thunder, forcing the nearby patches to turn yellow. Fierce, fear and anger are nonetheless written all over the people’s faces. Some are contorted with grimace, others too frustrated to make their expressions explicit. None are slanted by the poking light, peculiarly enough.

Perhaps there are no lights at all in the painting, nor flames are welcomed in this white world. The little girl’s compassion transports onto the stuffed doll, which she caresses maternally under her petticoat. Sighs are barely audible but can be detected by tufts of white smoke exhaled from the little girl’s swollen lips. Tufts of white smokes are here and there, contributing much to the ever-descending weightless carpet. One flake drops and every head raises up. Staring into the gaps amid the heaven they hope to seek the light, but lights are obscured by their fleeting presence. Through to the infinity of the heaven the people still stare notwithstanding, with eyes bold and bare.

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