“Do we have to put a cross in our bread, mama?”
“Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answer?”
“Because I don’t like it. It’s stupid.”
Claire slid her finished loaf into the oven, then dropped to her knees and put one hand on each of her daughter’s shoulders. “I know. This land was supposed to be for religious freedom, but it seems the Christians only wanted religious freedom for themselves.”
“I hate the Christians.” Bridget pouted.
“Don’t say that, my love. You should know by now what hate does to a person.”
“I don’t care! I hate them!” Bridget threw her loaf of dough onto the floor.
“Now look at what you’ve done. You’ve wasted a whole loaf of bread. And you know how the Goddess feels about waste.”
“I don’t care.” But this time the protestation was a mere whimper and Bridget couldn’t meet her mother’s eye as she spoke.
“Bridget.” It was a warning.
She still didn’t look up at her mother.
“Bridget, what have I taught you?”
Bridget still refused to meet her mother’s eye, looking instead at the floor off to her right as she said, “That the Goddess will provide.”
“Yes, but only if we ask her to. First, we can’t waste her bounty.” Claire picked up the loaf of dough off the floor, dusted it off as best she could, reshaped it, cut a cross onto the top, and placed it in the oven next to her own. “Second, we must ask for her protection.”
Bridget looked up at her mother, her brown eyes wide and full of questions. “How do we do that?”
Claire pinched some salt between the thumb and forefinger of her right hand. Holding it in front of her daughter’s eyes, she said, “Every time we put salt in our food, we ask for her blessing. The Goddess loves salt, so we sprinkle a little on the ground for her to soak up.” She demonstrated by sprinkling the pinch of salt onto the floor between herself and her daughter. Then she said softly, “Goddess, bless this house and all who dwell here.”
Bridget watched the salt disappear into the ground as her mother finished the spell. Then she smiled. “I see.”
To be continued…