“Did you buy our tickets, my dear?” He kissed her temple as she leaned close to him. Just back from the marketplace, she had stopped to see her husband in his workshop. The crucible where he heated the sand to make his delicate glass bottles and globes burned hot, and she moved behind him and placed her hands on his shoulders while he worked. “I did. I chose all our lucky numbers.”
“I like it,” he said, still distracted by his work.
“Do you? I just want the whole thing to be over. No one can talk of anything else. The rich merchants are leaving the royal gatehouse with sacks full of chits. As if they needed anything more! And the poorest people, I hear, are not buying bread because they’re spending all their alms money on one single ticket.”
As he prepared the materials for a gold vase commissioned by one of those rich merchant’s wives, he murmured, “Ours is not to judge how people spend their money or do anything else. Haven’t you told me that before?”
“Yes,” she sighed. “But I still don’t understand it. Why would the prince decide to share a portion of his fortune with just anyone? Is he looking for entertainment, watching the people stand in line and boasting about what their lives will be like when they live the life of a royal?”
“I do admit I prefer imagining a life of plenty to worrying over next month’s profits.”
“Me too, me too. I just keep wondering, do you get a portion of the man’s misfortunes as well when you go to collect your winnings?”