Summary of "The Dragonfly"


Chapter 1

      The Fourth Crown Princess of the Blue Crescent Islands had sixteen rituals to observe from the moment of waking to when she broke her fast. These included getting out of bed on the right-hand side; turning to the east to bow to the sun; submitting to having her hair groomed with forty strokes from a silver-backed brush by the Under Mistress of the Royal Chamber; and–
Princess Taoshira paused. What have I forgotten? Goddess rot the Etiquette Mistress’s rule book, I know there’s something else
“Your fingerbowl, Your Highness,” intoned the Senior Mistress of the Chamber, holding out a bronze basin.
Fingerbowl! Why do I always forget the finger bowl? Taoshira rinsed her fingertips delicately and dried them on a white linen towel.
Probably, chimed in another voice in her head, because when you were at home–before you were chosen as princess–you had to wash your hands under the pump in the yard, jostling the serving girls for your place in line.
Taoshira, or Tashi as she used to be known to her family, almost smiled at the recollection–then remembered that the Crown Princess was not allowed to show emotion until she had said the Four Blessings, the true beginning of the day in the Royal Palace, and accompanied the words with the appropriate gesture.
“Eternal Goddess of Mystery, give our people wisdom” (touching her head):
“Gracious Mother of Mercy, look upon our people with compassion” (right hand on heart);
“Kind Sister of Healing, bless all who are ill” (hands outspread);
“Joyful Child of Hope, prosper our work this day” (fingers arched, thumbs touching in a triangle).
The four attendants gathered in her bedchamber gave the required response in unison: “As the Goddess wills.”
Tashi was relieved that was over. She liked the morning prayer to the four faces of the Mother Goddess but had not yet got used to the fact that she was now an official priestess for the entire nation. If she forgot to say it–or even fluffed...

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