Julie-Ann knew that there were rules. Breaking these rules would of course, result in punishment.
Julie-Ann’s world was quite simple. It contained three other people. There was her mother, her father, and her older sister, Beth.
The world contained only one building, as far as she knew. It was the log cabin that she and her family lived in.
The world contained a huge blue sky, and Kansas prairie as far as she could see. The world also contained a small little cove by the creek, where she could be alone.
One of the rules that was strictly followed in this simple world that six year old Julie-Ann inhabited was that Sunday was God’s day. Sunday was the Sabbath, and violating it was to violate the Ten Commandments.
Julie-Anne and her sister Beth were not to speak on Sunday, not a single word. Her mother and father could speak to one another, but only if absolutely necessary. Her father was to wake the family at dawn, and read them from their only book, the family Bible.
Then, as the sun began to set, he would read them another selection from the Bible, signifying that the Sabbath day had ended.
The good side of the Sunday rites was that they allowed for rest. The family was not permitted by their strict religious code to work. Julie-Anne’s mother could not cook. Her father could not plow his fields or hunt. She and her sister Beth could not do laundry, sweep the house, or perform any of their usual chores.
It was a day of rest, and silence. Julie-Anne had been told that they were to be silent so that God could be heard. Julie-Anne listened intently throughout the day, hoping not to miss if the holy spirit were to whisper in her ear.
Julie-Anne was silent, and often went down, by herself, to the creek. The creek was surrounded by trees whose roots soaked water from it. Julie-Anne often spent Sunday afternoons sitting by the creek, under the shade of trees, silent of course.
On one particular day, Julie-Anne sat by the creek. Her eyes dazed as she sat, silent, wishing she could sing, talk, dance, or do something to brake the dead silence that seemed to haunt her beneath the wide, bluish sky.
But as children always do, Julie-Anne found a way to amuse herself.
She discovered that when she tossed rocks into the creek, they made an odd sound she had never heard before. The sound was not a loud splash, but a low “plop.” The rocks and pebbles she tossed into the lake made a different sound when hitting the water, depending on what size they were.
While this may seem dull to us, in the dull boredom of a summer Sabbath day, it was a fascinating break in monotony.
For several hours Julie-Anne thrilled herself with the rocks and pebbles, as they plopped into creek, some making a slight, quick splash, but others simply fall in with a plopping sound as they dropped.
Julie-Anne lost herself in this little game she had invented.
She was so lost that when a thick, feminine hand grabbed her upper arm in a tight squeeze she nearly jumped out of her skin.
“You are not to be playing on the Sabbath!” Her mother scolded in a strict voice.
Julie-Anne was terrified as she looked up into her mother’s brown eyes. Her mother was not angry, but just had a firm and disciplinary scowl on her face.
Julie-Anne knew that if this were not a Sunday, when her mother was instructed to limit her speaking, her mother would lash her with her tongue much more harshly.
Julie-Anne knew that she had broken a rule of the Sabbath day. She had to be punished. Her father had informed her many times that God had clearly ordered in his book of Proverbs “He who spares the rod hates his son.”
“Kneel.” Her mother said.
Already tearing up, Julie-Anne kneeled by the side of the creek. She hung her head, and sobbed a bit as she tried to gather herself. She would now have to withstand the punishment she deserved. Why had she let herself begin throwing the rocks? Did she not remember that on God’s day she was not to play, but to focus on Him.
Julie-Anne staired down at the silten banks on which she kneeled. She could see nothing but the ground, but she knew that behind her, her mother was plucking a “switch” from a nearby. This was to be the rod that she would not spare, when helping her to learn obedience to God.
Julie-Anne knew her mother was soon to begin, when she felt her skirt flipped up, and her undergarments lowered. Her bottom was bare, and unlike the rest of her body it was not sunburned. It was an extremely pale shade of white.
However, this was soon to change.
The strokes soon came.
The tree branch thwacked against her bottom. Julie-Anne wished her mother had asked her to cut the switch for her, as she would have picked one with less stems. When swung quickly and snapped into her hind end, the stems on this thin tree branch were prickly. She felt the skin of her bottom begin to bleed as the strokes rained down harder and harder, faster and faster.
Julie-Anne cried. She knew she deserved every last stroke and much more.
If God chose not to forgive her for this sin, she knew, she would face an even harsher pain, the fires of hell.
Julie-Anne hoped that this spanking would be extremely hard, as to drill into her memory its lesson. Julie-Anne hoped it would be painful enough to prevent her from making such a godless blunder again.
But almost as quickly as they started, the switch stopped.
Julie-Anne turned, and through the blur of her teary eyes, she saw that her father had grabbed her mother’s arm to halt the whipping.
“You are not to discipline a child on the Sabbath day!” Her father scolded her mother, in a harsh whisper. “You are to wait until sundown.”
Her mother dropped the switch as if it were burning hot.
“When the sun goes down, good wife, you to must face chastisement.” Her father spoke these words calmly, and without anger. His bearded face was not enraged, but simply serious.
Julie-Anne felt sorry for her mother. Her mother would face punishment at sundown, simply for forgetting to wait to whip her.
As the sun went down, Julie-Anne’s father read from the scriptures. His low strict voice read slowly, and with passion. Sometimes when her father read, she thought she could see the Red Sea and the Burning Bush he spoke of. Though it was not usual for women, Julie-Anne hoped to read someday herself, so she could find each and every exciting story in between the cover pages of the Holy Bible.
When the last ray of sunlight faded into nothing, her father put the Bible down.
“Beth and Julie-Anne, please help bind your mother.”
Both girls looked at their mother, who gulped, suddenly short of breath.
She then spoke “Go to it girls, it is God’s will. Do not disobey your father.”
So, the girls prepared the shackles, as their mother took her clothes off. She was cold in the night, as the cabin was lit only by a single candle.
Mother kept her bonnet on, for some reason clinging to the only clothing she was permitted when she received a flogging.
Julie-Anne’s mother, in the nude, lay on the floor of the cabin. She pressed her breasts against the wooden floor. Her eyes focus on the floor.
Beth stood and one end, and secured her mother’s arms into the shackles. Julie-Anne stood at the other end, securing her mother’s feet into them as well.
The shackles were mostly used for father’s horses, but as all the family knew, they had another purpose, when a wife violated God’s law.
Both daughter’s knew that a mere spanking with a switch, belt, or hand was not enough for a grown woman who violated the Sabbath. A grown woman, the girls had been told, needed to feel the sting of a large bull whip.
As his wife was secured, Julie-Anne’s father sat in his chair like a judge. His eyes burned with fire, pulling bitterness up inside of him, to let him do the cruel act he needed to do.
He pulled his large horse whip, made of thick leather from the shelf.
Julie-Anne and Beth stood behind, so as not to be caught in a blow by accident.
Then, their father, doing his duty as the head of the household, began to administer the harsh corporal punishment necessary for violating the Sabbath.
Strokes landed on Julie’s mother’s back and bottom. At first, they just left red welts, but soon the red welts gashed open, and blood began to pour.
The girls were terrified. They knew that at some point they would be grown, and married to a husband. This future husband, they knew, would be required to do the same to them if God’s laws were violated.
Their mother yelped and wriggled under the lashes of the thick whip. She cried and screamed. The girls knodded, approvingly, knowing that their mother needed this correction.
Both daughters changed into their pajamas, as father dressed the wounds on their mother’s back. The mother sobbed, as bandages were gently placed on their mothers upper and lower back, and a few slight places on her buttocks.
“It’s alright Agatha.” Said the father. “It’s alright to cry. It shows that you have repented from your sin.”
The father carried his wife over to the bed and lay her down.
He then walked over to the bed of his two daughters. One by one, he did as he did every Sabbath evening.
He told them why he did it, as was part of the Sunday evening ritual.
“To remind you of the pain Christ felt, when suffering for our foolishness and sin.”
Then he gave each daughter a hand spanking on her bottom with his hand. He pulled up their pajamas to do it.
He didn’t spank long, just enough to bring a tear to each girl’s eyes, so they knew a bit of agony before going to sleep after a Sabbath day.
With each girl in pain, the lantern was extinguished and together the family slept, until the week began again on Monday morning.