Insubordinate but admired.
Schoolmaster Johansson looked harshly at the eleven-year-old girl sitting in front of him. The usually cocky and rather insubordinate Mathilda Knutsdotter was obviously nervous. The girl was one of the school's rebels and always seemed to be surrounded by a group of admirers - especially younger girls who looked up to her. This made matters worse - because she dragged the younger children with her in her antics.
Rarely had Johansson met a girl with such a great need for a proper discipline. He wondered in his quiet mind if the kid had ever been smacked or birched at home - it seemed to him as if no one had taken care of her for a very long time.
The use of corporal punishment in schools was hotly debated these days and there were many indications that a ban on its use could come within just a few years. The principal had personally given orders to minimize the use of discipline, in order, as he said, to "reduce the number of upset parents".
So far, however, it was in the full authority of the teachers to punish misbehaving students in an appropriate way, and Johansson intended to teach young Miss Knutsdotter a proper lesson.
"Well, Mathilda," Johansson said. "I think you have an idea of in which direction this is heading. Apart from a long and well-worded letter to your parents, I think you understand that I can not let this go unpunished."
"Please master, isn't the letter punishment eough?" the girl gently asked.
"No, I would hardly believe that. Letters have been written to your parents before, and I have not seen ay of them improving your behavior. No, I think you understand that because of all this you have earned yourself a proper round of discipline. "
Mathilda swallowed. "Master ..." she began, but Johansson held up his hand.
"I'm not going to discuss it with you anymore, little girl," he said. "It is about time we got this done. You can come in," he said in a louder voice.
Four younger girls came through the door, all part of Miss Knutsdotter's little gang. Johansson thought it was a good idea for them to see with their own eyes that their leaders' behavior wasn't accepted at this school. Hopefully it would make them think and behave better themselves.
Mathilda looked at the other girls in horror.
"You can sit down," Johansson told them. "Consider this a lesson where you may learn what happens if you behave as Miss Mathilda did."
Johansson stood up and from one of the drawers in the desk he picked up a wide wooden ruler that he often used. He also took down the stylus that hung next to the blackboard.
"Please master ..." Mathilda started.
"Stop, begging will not help you," Johansson said. "Now you stand up."
He took the ruler in his hand. Then he walked around the chair, took the chair the girl was sitting on, turned it towards the classroom and sat himself down on it.
"Well," said Johansson. "Unzip your trousers."
That a girl wore trousers at all, Johansson saw as rather scandalous - but it fit well with Miss Knutsdotter's rebellious personality.
Mathilda fumbled with the button on her gray-green trousers before slowly pulling them down to her knees. The girl had at least had the good taste to wear proper underpants under the modern trousers. Not because they were needed now, though.
"The underpants as well" said Johansson.
The girl blushed even more and made no attempt to obey.
"You heard me," Johansson said, demonstratively smacking the ruler in his palm.
"But please master," the girl asked.
"Please me here and please me there," said Johansson. "If you think this is embarrassing, you might want to consider behaving instead."
For a second, Johansson looked at the other children, who were sitting on the benches. A couple of them looked scared, while the other two seemed to make an effort to look neutral.
Mathilda still made no attempt to pull down her underwear.
"Let me be clear," Johansson said. "If you do not obey my commands, I will use my own strength to make you, and then perhaps more than the pants might come off. In addition, I can promise a number of extra strokes for every time you do not obey."
The girl looked completely destroyed by shame when she finally pulled her white underpants down to her knees. Slightly amused, Johansson noted that despite the girl's precocious behavior, there were still no physical signs of adulthood.
"Over my knee," he commanded, and the girl slowly lay down.
The white buttocks that looked up at him showed no signs of being disciplined recently. "Well, we'll change that," Johansson thought.
Then he raised the ruler in the air.
The ruler made a loud smacking sound as it repeatedly landed on Mathilda's buttocks. Satisfied, Johansson noted that the girl reacted to the sting and burn fairly immediately. After just around a dozen blows, he heard her sobbing. He made sure to spread the blows all over the girl's bottom - not a single point did he intend to leave white. He hoped that the girl would find it difficult to sit for at least the rest of the day - perhaps even longer after adding a number of strokes with the stylus.
The spectators sat in complete silence and watched the scene. Johansson gave them a look. The youngest girl was no more than seven years old, she also looked most shaken of the four. Johansson actually thought that the best thing would be to discipline them all, but given the principal's view on things, it had to be enough to set an example by giving Knutsdotter a smacking that neither she nor the other girls would forget for a long time. In this case, Knutsdotter had to represent the other girls.
Johansson did not really count the smacks but kept on spanking until he felt that it was enough. It took several minutes. By then, both the buttocks and the upper parts of the thighs had assumed a dark pink color.
The girl kicked her legs a little during the discipline, but otherwise, she lay surprisingly still. Perhaps the threat of additional strokes had motivated her to lie as still as she could.
She cried all the more, however. For Johansson, the sound of her tears was like music to his ears - a sure sign that the discipline worked as it should.
He gave the buttocks a couple of final blows, then ordered Mathilda to stand up.
The girl did so, but on rather unsteady legs it seemed.
Johansson moved the chair away. Then he said, "Now you bend forward over the desk. You will get ten strokes with the stylus."
Mathilda seemed to be taking a deep breath. On unsteady legs she then stepped forward, almost stumbling on the trousers that had slipped down to her feet. Johansson accompanied the girl down so that she was lying with her upper body on the desk, with her body in a ninety-degree bend. He then picked up the stylus from the table.
He aimed a few times before raising it a good distance in the air. Then he swung it down straight across the eleven-year-old's bottom.
The girl gasped. After the second stroke, she started to cry loudly again. After a few more blows, Johansson had to put a hand on the girl's back to keep her in place.
Once the tenth blow had landed, the girl's buttocks had red stripes on top of the already dark pink shade.
"Good," Johansson thought. "This will stay for a while."
The child's legs shook slightly when Johansson ordered her to raise.
"Well, Matilda, are you going to apologize?" Johansson wondered.
The girl nodded. She took a deep breath, then said, "Sorry, Master."
"Sorry for what?"
"My ... my behavior."
Johansson nodded. "I hope you learned a lesson from this. And not just you, I hope it applies to the rest of you as well. I could have disciplined you all, no one would disagree that your bottoms deserve to be as red as Mathilda's. But ... I'm satisfied this time by showing you what will happen to you too if you do not improve. And you, Mathilda, you must act as a role model for the others. They look up to you, so it's in many ways your fault if they misbehave. Do you understand? "
"Well," said Johansson. "You can pull up your trousers again."
Johansson sent the younger girls out, but asked Mathilda to sit down at a desk. Satisfied, he noted that the girl did not seem to sit comfortably at all.
While Mathilda was given the task of writing a few lines, Johansson formulated a letter to her parents in which he carefully described her behavior. He concluded by saying that he had given the girl a proper discipline and recommended the parents to do the same as soon as the need for it arose.
He sealed the letter and then called the girl.
"I will find out if your parents got this," he told her. "You can go."
To Johansson's surprise, Mathilda curtsied when she received the letter. With a small smile, he looked at the child as she left the classroom. With a little luck, he had actually managed to awake some kind of desire for change in the girl. The future would show if this punishment was the last, or if more rounds across his lap would be needed to get the child on the right path.