The Noonday Witch

Dorothy J. Heydt

Every living thing lay still in sleep: even the seagulls; even the flies. As for the men and women, it seemed the spell had come on them slowly, for they had taken the time to lie down or at least to find a comfortable seat. Here was a horse asleep on its feet, and its groom propped against a cartwheel, asleep with the reins still in his hand. Here were three little street boys curled up together like a basketful of puppies, and here an iron-jawed matron, her stole embroidered in gold, her head pillowed on the shoulders of the slaves who carried her baskets.

I am like Gyges who found the ring of invisibility, she thought, and stole everything he wanted, even to Kandaules' wife and kingdom. Sokrates had said any man would do the same, given the same opportunity, but somehow Cynthia was not tempted. Gyges, after all, could not be caught in the act by anybody---that was the whole point of the story---but Cynthia had Arethousa to answer to.

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