The Wig Maker

August 6, 2010
The local wig maker was a ghastly woman at her absolute best. She was a big, brown, sweaty mass of a woman, with beady black eyes that were always squinted and forever suspicious. Her own wig, though intricately braided and threaded lavishly with
expensive beads, seemed too short and small for her round, fleshy face and served only to sway this way and that and rather comically slap against her sweat-beaded jaw. She was also quite fond of shouting. Yes, shouting was her absolute favorite.

But as was well known, looks and temperament have little to do with making wigs. The Wig-Maker had been praised throughout Egypt as weaving the best wigs that could be bought. In fact, she had even made some for the old queen herself. And, you see, such fame made this wig maker a very proud woman indeed.

Not many women in Egypt owned their own businesses, and even fewer would ever gain the
prestige that she had aquired. And when asked how she managed to make such exquisite wigs, she would proudly boast, “Why, it’s the fine material, of course!” And if she was sober, she would leave it at that. For all good merchants knew the most important rule of selling goods was this: ‘never reveal your secrets in the trade if you’re fortunate enough to have any worth stealing’. And of course, she was quite sure that her secret was undoubtedly worth stealing, as marvelous as it was. But alas, our wig maker liked her wine, and was known to over-indulge quite often. Sometimes, when she was in such a state, in the dark of evening behind the solid walls of her shop, with a small number of acquaintances, the wig maker would divulge her secret, being a proud woman who hated keeping secrets as it was.

“You know what ma-hic-makes a good wig?!” she would slur, “Li’l girls hair *hic* lil’l Hebrew girls’ hair, thas the bes, the Hebrew’s.”

You see, the wig maker owned a number of slaves. And as dictated by her almost superstitious preference for raw materials, most of them were little Hebrew girls.

Her reasons were quite simple. Business was booming, and with the girls, she could make as many wigs as she wanted without having to hire anyone. They also provided raw material. Hebrews came cheap, especially the girls. They were breading like rabbits and no one really knew what quite to do with them. The men at least, could be sent to
work on bricks and statues. The women, however, were little more than an additional nuisance. So, whenever she felt she wanted to add another girl to her collection, she would simply go to the dealer and make her pick. It was also quite satisfying to think
that she was actually buying something from the Pharaoh himself. The Hebrews as a group, you see, were the property of the nation of Egypt.

When a girl got to old to be of any good use, because, of course, the finest wigs were made from the hair of little girls, not big ones, she would simply sell them for a few extra silver pieces. It was simple business sense, and our wig maker applauded herself thoroughly for her genius.

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