they remembered the day the king had ridden through the village.
the king had pointed to lucy and exclaimed, that is the fairest maiden i have ever seen.
naturally, this gave the villagers ideas.
they nodded sagely to each other, and expected the king to return at any time to claim lucy and make her queen.
they expected that lucy, when she was crowned queen, would remember them and shower them with blessings and favors.
joshua smith, the miller’s apprentice, did not share in the enthusiasm.
joshua had strong opinions as to lucy’s destiny.
he had long indulged in visions of making lucy his own.
smitten with jealousy, joshua began going for long walks in the woods at night, heedless of bears or bandits or demons.
but he knew in his heart he was doomed, one way or another.
years passed. the villagers began to get restless.
lucy, fair as she was, did not get any younger.
but the remembrance of the king’s visit died hard.
at last, joshua could bear it no longer.
encountering lucy one morning, as he was returning from his restless night in the woods, and she was setting out on the high road to the county market with her basket, joshua confessed his burning passion.
i am very sorry, joshua, lucy replied plaintively, but i can not disappoint the devout hope of my poor widowed mother, that the king will return and make me his queen.
suddenly joshua and lucy both heard loud laughter coming from the woods beside the high road.
they had no idea who or what could be producing the mocking sounds.
an owl flew out of a tree, up into the blue morning sky.
joshua deduced that the creature was st matthew, laughing at lucy’s and her mother’s foolish faith in the king’s honorable intentions.
but lucy deduced that the owl was telling her to laugh at her fears, and that the king was even then on his way on a white horse, with a ring of gold for her finger…
this is an important message from the department of safety.
we urge all citizens to stay in their place of residence.
social toxicity has been declared a permanent health hazard.
racism, sexiism, homophobia, transphobia, alienation, appropriation, oppression, exploitation, abuse, injustice, inequality, ignorance, hatred, and bigotry combine to form social toxicity.
you may believe that you are immune to some of these elements, but it has been determined by the department of safety that the probability of any one person being immune to them all, as well as being protected from viruses and other physical hazards, is unacceptably low, and that therefore the policy of zero tolerance adopted by the department requires that all citizens remain permanently in their residences.
power, water, oxygen, and protein will be provided to all citizens by smart networks. all maintenance work that might be required will be carried out by smart assistants.
a new generation of smart safety monitors is being developed that will absolutely insure that the new regulations are followed. until then, we ask that all citizens observe the new regulations.
violators who are caught will be subject to fines, and repeat offenders will be subject to more severe penalties.
the information networks have been combined into a single provider administered by the department of safety. a new series of streamed programs will shortly be introduced. mostly they will celebrate the heroes of the safety revolution. we are sure you will find them enjoyable and inspirational.
in closing, we again urge all citizens to observe the new regulations. we ask you, even if you do not care about your own safety, to think of the safety of others.