The Laziness of Snails

“Oh, tis a grievous condition.” the Healer woman said. She pushed a lock of white hair away from her face.

“It happens when children are slow, as they often are. There are those that call it Snail Face, but I prefer the more accurate term of Laziness.”

She huffed and motioned at the child’s face. “You see it all the time. Children not moving for days or weeks and the snails come and make their home upon the child.”

She leaned in to speak to me, whispering to me softly. “There is but one cure. You must take this.” Here, she handed me a satchel full of a glittering powder.

Upon further inspection, the powder turned out to be pepper. “What am I to do with this?” I asked.

“You are to sprinkle this on the child’s feet so that they get itchy. The child will want to dance and dance, and the snails, no longer content to live on a moving host, will vacate straight away.”

Here she blushed and handed me a handkerchief. “You may need this. They do tend to leave a little snail poop behind when they are shocked by movement.” She huffed out a breath.

“Dirty little blighters.” She spat out a lump of spit. “You see ‘em all the time in all the dirtier of houses.”

I took a moment to consider her rudeness. First in the act of spitting on my floor, which was quite intolerable. Then the act of calling my house dirty. I wondered whether her words were meant as an insult or merely as a frank comment. I took her words as the latter.

“Why you dirty little trollop.” I kept the smile on my face. “It’s so nice of you to drop by.”

She smiled back. “Oh yes, fun.”

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