- "Every breath you take from this moment on is by my mercy. Every bite of food you eat, by Harra's charity. By charity and mercy - such as you did not give - you shall live. Dead woman."
"Some mercy, Mutie lord."
- ―Miles Vorkosigan sentencing Mara Mattulich[src]
Mara Mattulich or Ma Mattulich was a resident of Silvy Vale, a small village in the Dendarii Mountains, and the mother of Harra Csurik and grandmother of Raina Csurik, whom she'd murdered shortly after death due to the infant having a cleft palate. Mara had had several children that were either stillborn or marked with minor defects whom she'd also killed due to the severe ingrained fear of mutation that still remained in most lower class Barrayarans after the Time of Isolation.
Lem Csurik became the chief suspect in Raina's death, and despite his knowing who the real murderer was, he did not accuse Mara for fear of hurting his wife, Harra. Speaker Serg Karal and many of the older citizens already knew who the murderer was, as well, but remained silent. However, Harra went to seek justice from her liege lord Count Vorkosigan, who sent his demi-mutant son Miles Vorkosigan in his stead as his Voice.
Miles eventually learned the truth, and had the hard duty of passing a sentence. Realizing a death sentence would be too severe for the crazed elderly woman, Miles struggled to find a punishment that would fit the crime. He cunningly sentenced Mara to loss of all property and freedom, and that she would be under the permanent custody of her daughter. In addition, he decreed she was to receive no death offerings when she passed away, a powerful symbolic punishment that struck home not only to Mara but to the older citizens of the town.
When Miles returned to Silvy Vale ten years later, he'd discovered the graveyard had been flooded by the installment of a new hydroelectric dam. Most of the graves had been moved, but Mara's was not. Harra explained:
- We didn't move my mother's grave, of course. I left her down there. Let even her burial be buried, no burnings for her.