In Robinet Testard's miniature illustration of Ovid's  Heroides, 
the painter captures the moment shortly after 49 of Danaus's 50 
daughters have slit the throats of their sleeping husbands— 

Their beds, canopied and striped in crimson and gold,
are spread through what looks almost like a drafty
dormitory room. The floor is tiled in what could be 

pink- and green-flecked marble. Pillars and double
doors guard their enclosure. They've been forced 
into marriages of convenience with their first

cousins, for political reasons— their father 
has asked them to play along, then given 
each one a dagger for this deed on their 

wedding night. Only one of them—Hypermnestra—
spares her husband because he honors her wish 
to remain a virgin.  Each woman sits, startling pale 

feet swung over the edge of her bed, looking more 
shell-shocked than dismayed by what they've done. 
The one unfilial daughter is handed to the courts 

by her angry father, who accuses her of faithlessness. 
The others are condemned by the gods to an eternity 
of ceaseless labor: carrying water in perforated 

vessels, they can never fill a tub in which to wash away
their sin. But neither myth nor painting tells how long 
they had to work at their futile task, or if in the end 

one of them filed a workplace grievance— I can think 
of several that fit the bill: excessive workload, bullying, 
toxic work environment, health and safety hazards; 

defective equipment, lack of clear term limits. 
Eventually, they gain pardon, even getting to choose 
new mates from the winners of some athletic contest. 

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