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The next morning, I was still upset with Dad and thought about skipping breakfast with him, but when I followed the smell of flatbread and goat cheese to our common area, I only found Nick.

“Your Dad went out. Said he had some transaction to make, whatever that means.” Nick handed me bread folded over cheese. “Ready for all the wild celebrations today?”

I shrugged and went outside. Only a few people were out, visiting with other campers or getting breakfast. They all appeared tired, their shoulders slouched and their eyes marked by dark circles. Two people emerged from the Temple of Hera at the foot of the north hills carrying a couch with sweeping arms covered in white ivory and yellow gold that glistened in the morning sun. They carried the sacred furniture to the front of Zeus’s temple - about the same distance as one lap in the stadium. Then a boy who looked a couple years younger than me trotted out from around the other side of the temple with crowns of pale green olive branches encircling his arms. I knew he had just cut them from the Sacred Tree. He passed in front of me and reached the couch where he carefully laid them out - one for the winner of each contest. I’d heard that the athletes would get them this afternoon and celebrations would go on until dawn. 

While watching all this, I also saw out of the corner of my eye, to the right, Dad emerge from the other side of a cluster of tents. He made long strides toward me. When he got close enough to talk to me, I focused on tearing off small pieces of my flatbread to eat.

Dad held something out to me - something gold and wiry. My bracelets.

I froze. “Dad…”

“Now before you get upset, listen to what I have to say. I thought a lot about what you said and I agree. Alex refusing to take my bribe took a lot of integrity. I asked around about him. Then I went to him and said I wanted my daughter’s bracelets back in exchange for him coming to work for me after he took enough gold home to help his village.”

  With shaky hands I accepted the bracelets back and looked wide-eyed at Dad. 

“I’m forming a new council for charity. The first members will be Alex, and your gracious mother.”


“Really. Besides, Alex could also help train some young blood from our city-state to compete in the next Olympics.” Dad put his hand on his heart. “I’m getting too old for this.”

My face felt warm and I was grinning so hard I thought my face would crack.

“Oh!” I said, “And I know someone here who you should ask to train our chariot teams and archers. Can I introduce you to Cynisca?”

Dad tousled my hair. “How could I ever say no to my clever daughter?

Submitted: June 02, 2022

© Copyright 2023 LaVonna S.. All rights reserved.


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