Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/253

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sometimes be perceived in it; but they appear only at particular seasons, and they have nothing whatever to do with the workers or with the work. None of them would presume to address a worker,—except, perhaps, under extraordinary circumstances of common peril. And no worker would think of talking to a male;—for males, in this queer world, are inferior beings, equally incapable of fighting or working, and tolerated only as necessary evils. One special class of females,—the Mothers-Elect of the race,—do condescend to consort with males, during a very brief period, at particular seasons. But the Mothers-Elect do not work; and they must accept husbands. A worker could not even dream of keeping company with a male,—not merely because such association would signify the most frivolous waste of time, nor yet because the worker necessarily regards all males with unspeakable contempt; but because the worker is incapable of wedlock. Some workers, indeed, are capable of parthenogenesis, and give birth to children who never had fathers. As a general rule, however, the worker is truly feminine by her moral instincts only: she has all the tenderness, the patience, and the foresight that we call "maternal;" but her sex has disappeared, like the sex of the Dragon-Maiden in the Buddhist legend.