It was fall in that country to which I'd traveled. I'd been there for almost a year, slowly fitting in and being accepted by the residents of the small home in which I'd chosen to live and work. I enjoyed my status as resident foreigner. No one had ever stayed as a visitor as long as me and I was treated to the best wine and invited to the smallest of gatherings. The people of that place enjoyed life and I had enjoyed more than one encounter with the vibrant and willing ladies of the town.
I often sat and watch the young men and women of the town come down out of the fields where they harvested the grapes that went into the wine for which the country is known. The boys were strong and moved with a sensuous grace, the women moved with the vibrancy of youth, their lithe limbs and firm breasts a constant source of enjoyment. It was the introduction of those young people of the city into society as adults that introduced me to one of the most unusual and erotic customs I have encountered in my travels.
The society of the town is closed and reflects the unique beliefs of its townspeople regarding life. The children of the town are offered freedom. They are taught the things they need to know, but they are taught to do what they want. If they do not want to work on a particular day, they don't. If they get in mischief of almost any sort, it is as if it is ignored - until the Festival of Redemption in the fall of their twenty-second year.
There are many cultural and historical aspects of the Festival. However, I suspect that the readers here will be more interested in the erotic aspects of the week and I will direct this story toward those. It is with some pride that I obtained the level of respect necessary to be asked to participate. More than anything, that confirmed my acceptance into the community. I was living with one of the town elders, Mario, and I suspect he had much to do with my invitation to participate. He explained what was expected of me.
The people of that city allow their children much freedom, but from a very young age they are taught that though they can get away with almost anything as a child, to become an adult, the town will make them pay for the transgressions of their youth. The Festival is a week of measured punishment, meted out according to a consensus among the elders as to the price each young person must pay to enter adulthood. It is a week of service and punishment. In the curiosity of this culture, the participants eagerly await their duty. It is their rite of passage. Not to participate is unthinkable. They would not be able to marry or get a meaningful job or participate in any of the privileges afforded an adult member of their society. Perhaps a few have left town, but, if so, they are never mentioned.
I was uncomfortable at first, but I know that the rites and customs of a foreign society are not mine to question.
On the first day of the Festival the adults of the town, including me, gathered in the square and drew marbles from a box. Those who drew red marbles gathered together as did each group that drew blue and yellow. The number of red marbles equaled the number of males who were participating. The number of blue marbles equaled the number of girls. Those who did not draw a red or blue got a yellow and became Witnesses of Redemption. I drew a blue. The "reds" went to a field where a platform had been constructed. Those of us who drew blue gathered in the square. Those who had drawn yellow lined up again and drew again to determine whether they were to witness for the males or females. In turn, they joined those of us at the field or in the square.
In a short while the fourteen girls who were participants walked into the square. The town people were joyful and in high spirits. The girls demeanor was a little different and in keeping with their role. Each was dressed in a thin white dress, specially made for the occasion, and they walked in single file, their hands at their side and their eyes lowered. Tears glistened on the cheeks of a few that were undoubtedly wishing they had been a bit more circumspect as they matured. Many in the crowd yelled out to the girls, reminding them of something long in their past. You'd hear, "Julia! Remember when you were 10, you took my sheets off the line and made a tent." And there would be much laughter, as the transgressor blushed.
The girls lined up randomly, as did we. One by one, we were matched with our ward for the next four days. There was much laughter as I walked forward to stand by Louisa. She was well known. I had seen her argue with shop owners. I had seen her at the town dances. She loved to party and she often left the fields if there was anything else of interest going on. She was headstrong, her dark eyes flashing defiance and willfulness as they probably
had for the last twenty years. I sensed that the town was going to make her pay dearly.
In turn, each girl stood before the crowd and the witnesses and punishers alike would take turns telling the things they remembered about the girl's past. In the end, the elders would announce the extent of punishment each would receive. The lightest ordered was one light whipping a day for three days and service to the punisher. It took a long time for everyone to recite Louisa's wrongs. The Mayor said, "Louisa, you have heard your neighbors. Do you desire to redeem yourself?"
"Yes," she answered quitely.
"We have decided that you are to determine your own punishment. You are to serve each day and each day you will request the punishment you feel is necessary to redeem yourself."
There was much laughter at that. I was to learn that the punishment she would have to endure was the harshest possible. If she did not do enough, she would have to wait another year to redeem herself. Some of the other girls even smiled.
I led her back to my room. She would stay with me the rest of the Festival. She would cook and clean. And I was to administer corporal punishment as she requested.
I was a little uneasy and when we were alone, I said, "Louisa, I am almost a stranger and where I come from we do not do this. I want you to know that I will not tell if you do not ask for a spanking."
She looked fearful and said, "No! You must spank me. They will look at me and they must know that I have redeemed myself. Please, do it right. Promise." "Okay, of course I will do as you ask."
"Then spank me now. And tell them tomorrow how I asked for a spanking the first thing. Humble me and tell them. I want there to be no question in their minds."
"As you were told, you're going to have to tell me just what you want me to do. I'm very uncomfortable with this."
She smiled at that. "Thank you for caring. Do not worry about me, this is what we do. I had a lot of fun growing up and I accept that it's time to pay the price. So, tie me and spank me. Use the paddle. Its time."
Each home has a chair designed for this purpose. Often it is handed down from generation to generation. I led Louisa to the upholstered bench that was prominent in my room. The back was rounded and just the right height. I fumbled with the cord that had been prepared earlier.
"It must be done on my bare skin." She stood there, her head bowed slightly and her hands at her side.
I knew that she expected me to follow the customs of the Festival. I decided to do my best. "Louisa, it is time to begin your punishment. You must remove your dress and I will bind you to the chair. You will think of the wrongs in your past and request the punishment you are due."
"Thank you," she said, "for permitting me to redeem myself."
She removed her dress. I wondered if anyone in town could avoid the sexual excitement that permeated this adventure. All through town young men and women were experiencing similar events. Her body was sleek and firm, her breasts, not large, but firm. Her nipples were swollen and I realized that even those being punished must often experience some varying degree of sexual pleasure at what was happening. The jet black hair on her head was duplicated between her legs.
I went to the front of the bench. She stood behind it and bent over at the waist, extending her arms to the side. I tied a cord to each wrist and tied the cord to one of the legs of the bench at each end, stretching her arms away from her. Her breast grazed the cloth on the back of the bench and I imagined the stimulation she must be feeling.
.... There is more of this story ...