Obviously I did not actually intend to end up with a baby. I’m perfectly happy on my own, thank you very much, and if that man had never come into my vegetable garden and started stealing my rocket none of this would ever have happened.
It was probably those early-morning gifts that made him so cocky when the case came before the magistrate. Or maybe he just couldn’t help himself in a room full of men. He walked in there with a swagger, sat down, legs spread, the way a man will do, and he grinned at the magistrate. If the woman had been there, I would never have done it. But she was too swollen to stir so far from the house by then. I’d watched over her all those months, seen her grow stouter, wearier, as she sat on the bench outside her house when her work was done, always with some little garment in her hands.
When the judge found in my favour and asked what reparation I required, even as my demand came out of my mouth, I was certain I wouldn’t ask for payment when the moment came. A baby? What on earth would I do with a baby? The man looked properly chastised which was all I’d been aiming for, so when I walked out of that court building I was perfectly satisfied. It was only as I passed him outside on the steps that I changed my mind. He was standing there, preening before a group of men, positively smirking. “Could have been much worse,” he said. “A fine I couldn’t pay. Hours of work for the old crone. Babies are free. We can always make another one!” And they laughed, every one of them.
He was right. They’ll have another one. And perhaps the loss of this first one will make him value the next as a baby deserves to be valued. Obviously, I feel sorry for the wife. None of this is her fault. I try not to look out of that side of the house too often these days. Perhaps I will have the wall built a little higher. Or maybe it would be best to move away, somewhere a little more isolated before my darling girl starts to want to run about in the garden.