What do you mean telling people I am manipulative? I most certainly am not. I do offer my considered advice, but people take it on their own, or to their sorrow, they don’t. I cannot make anyone do anything, any more than you can, you silly author.
So what if I did put it into Panya’s mind that she might drown the poor, misbegotten waif to better comfort the miller in his grief over losing his wife. He would surely have thought that the water monster had taken the child when she abandoned him.
Well, of course the fish abandoned him when her red hat was taken. She could not stay above water without it, and it would be foolish to drown in the air. She is sensible for a fish. And what mother, piscine though she might be, would not take her child? Leaving the child behind was not acceptable. She is no sort of decent mother. What if she does wail along the river at night? It is no concern of mine. It was an indecent marriage.
What do you mean, the child can’t breathe water? Well, due to her parentage, she has the worst of both worlds. Have you seen the webs between her toes? It’s disgusting, but she must have her feet to manage things—can’t hide those toes with decent socks or shoes, only those clogs she wears.
Yes, the first time she came here, she still had her hands, and she was so sweet, a lovely, golden-haired child, barely out of toddlerhood. The fish was clearly a bad mother, as she let this child out of her sight where she might fall into the millworks or into the pond at any moment.
I didn’t realize who she was until she came visiting that first time, and we found her asleep in the cub’s bed, sucking her webbed thumb. But Cobb fell in love with her at first sight, and when her mother abandoned her, it was simple to let her come here for comfort. Her.father had certainly gone off the deep end. I’ve hoped that she and Cobb would live here with me and take care of me in my old age.