Copyright 1999 to <mijita@thetreehouse.net>. Please respect this copyright. Don't distribute or archive this story in any way except for personal use without explicit permission. No, it's not in the public domain. Ask first, okay? Thanks.

[horizontal rule]

[Image of Little Miss Naughty] A Millennium Ago
by Mija

"Really, Jinee, they used to be the same."

"No way, Elicia! It wouldn't even be possible."

"I read it. First in history files, then scans. I even went to the Textual Archives and read hand-files."

Jinee was stunned. As were the other children who'd broken off their social play to listen and ask their own questions.

"You got permission for the Textual Archives? What's it like?"

"Full of files you hold in your hand. Reading them's hard work; they're heavy. You have to keep turning papers. But like I said, education used to be like social play. All of the children together in one room and doing lessons."

"Wow. Think of the fun they must have had! Social group as lessons. Too stellar."

"But no two children learn at the same rate. How'd they pace?"

"A human teacher did it. And no computers at all."

"But how could one human know enough?"

"A lot less to know back then, I guess."

"But how could thirty children be kept in order for lessons?"

"I wondered about that too. The computer file and scans couldn't tell me. That's why I got permission for the Textual Archive."

Elicia paused dramatically. This was where her story was leading.

"The human teacher maintained order through physical violence."

"That's impossible!"

"Everybody knows violence is the basis of chaos!!"

"No way."

Elicia raised her hand to the chorus of protests which met her.

"That's what I read. Children who broke rules or didn't complete lessons were punished violently."

Her social playgroup stared. No one had ever heard of a child being punished, not even in their grandparents' time. Only adults who repeatedly resisted Remotivation were punished.

"How were the children punished?"

"The teacher administered beatings on children's legs and bottom with a thin flexible rod or a flat wooden paddle. Or on their hands. All that varied according to where on the planet they lived."

[horizontal rule]

Questions came fast and furious. Elicia didn't exactly know all the answers so she made some up.

"Yes the others watched - as a warning to them too."

"Uh-huh, on bare skin. Their clothing was taken off. And they got lots of hits. More than ten I'm sure."

"No, they couldn't go home and complain. Their parents did the same to them at home!"

[horizontal rule]

"But what did punishment feel like?"

The question hung in the air as the Scheduler announced the end of the day's social group. No one could imagine.

[horizontal rule]

"No new information has been entered for ten minutes. Please explain difficulties."

She jerked up in her chair. Elicia hadn't been thinking about her lessons. She'd been thinking about children taking group lessons. And imagining the fun they'd had.

Now she imagined a human teacher punishing her for daydreaming during lessons. With a whippy rod on her bare bottom. Without thinking about it she took down her clothes so she was uncovered, rubbing her bottom against the seat cushion, feeling a burning friction.

Punishment burned, the young historian decided.

[horizontal rule]

Back to Mija's stories

Back to the treehouse