Night Training

written by Sibila Petlevski


In her broad skirt, she was riding a mule. Her feet were hanging at the side, pale, lightly wrinkled, as if pulled out of water. Between the toe and the ankle there was that characteristic extended line that sometimes, particularly in mortals covered in cold sweat, could excite compassion all by itself, moisten our eyes as if we were looking at a dear face that had had its expression stolen from it by sorrow, and not just a bare foot in which life on the move had inscribed a furrow. The patterned roll with the round bobble on the top, that tall, pointed head covering that we might today describe as being in the form of an upside-down cornet pressed down on a shaved female head instead of a scoop of ice-cream. The tip of this unusual cap stabbed into the implacable blue of the Spanish sky, its brilliant colours, not just scattered around anyhow, creating a meaningful pattern, appealing to as many people as possible. The mob gathered round, and the mule found it hard to push its way through.