Hedwig the Barefoot Duchess of Silesia

Lauren Lloyd

Wroclaw, Silesia: 1209

Monsters come in many forms, including shoes.

The soft, brown leather boots are dwarfed by Lorenz the Confessor’s manly hands.

Henry the Bearded chose his conspirator well. If anyone has power to make Hedwig cover her feet, it’s Bishop Lorenz.

Hedwig feels her breath and her heart quicken.

As quickly as it starts, it calms.

Lorenz has big hands, but he is not God. Neither is her beloved husband. Her bare, bloodied, misshapen feet and her obstinacy bear testimony to that.

“God knows you are a good woman, Hedwig. You give your life to others. My darling, I love you for it. My life is yours.” He takes her hand, his eyes implore. “But you CANNOT rule Silesia barefoot. I cannot allow it. You WILL wear shoes.”

Hedwig smiles at her husband. She strokes his unruly orange beard with a gentle hand before turning to pour some…

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