“Tell us the truth,” she demands. “Are you having an affair? Tongues are wagging all over town, about those two new girls next door, Abital and Eglah.”
So what choice do I have but to swear, “In heaven’s name, what are you suggesting?”
“I’m not suggesting,” says she. “I’m just saying.”
“I would never betray my wives!”
“Wouldn't you, dear?”
I clap my hand over my heart, most earnestly, and in an offended tone I say, “Of course not! Which is why I’ve already proposed to both of them.”
“I see,” says Maacha.
Abigail giggles. “I can just imagine, my lord, what words you used.”
“Yeah,” says Ahinoam, and with a hint of mockery in her tone she quotes the line I once whispered in her ear, and in the ear of any other girl I knew, “Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats, descending from the hills of Gilead.”
Taking a cue from her, Abigail goes on to quote my next line, “Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon. Your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.”
And Maacha says, “I don’t really care for all that agricultural talk. A purple veil is what I want. Give it to me and then, who cares? You can describe me as any kind of fruit you wish.”
“None of you women understand me!” I cry. “All this pressure is for no better reason than getting a dab of indigo dye, which I assure you, I’ll use for one purpose, and one only: to make this place the pinnacle of elegance, so that anyone who visits here will know, at a single glance, that I am not merely a tribal king—but one headed for imperial power.”
How long, Lord, how long? How much nagging can a man take from his wives? I throw my hands up, and with an indignant air I fling the door, leaving a royal slam behind me.
In my charcoal drawing, you can find two women in the construction of this man
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