Friday, November 19, 2004

2 -- 22 November 12 2004

Last winter Einer had sat by the steersman of the boat but his thoughts were still on the island he was leaving. His fingers absently sought the Thor's hammer hanging at his thoat, give me luck he prayed.. How could he be so dumb getting dismissed like that from by Hafgrim his job as the farm manager and butler in Hov. The ten oarsmen were rowing lightly because the double bowed boat was riding the counter current northwards close to the cliffs of the southern point of Skúvoy. Hafrgim's wife Guðrið had been planning to go Sandoy to visit her father and offered to help Einer escape to the safety of his cousin's house on Skúvoy. She had pretended that his things were hers in order to get them loaded on to the boat when a fine mild day had dawned.

The trouble had started over some beer on a fateful cold autumn evening. Hafgrim had told a slave to add a well dried out log to the peat fire, there are no trees on the Faroes and all wood is imported or salvaged as drift wood, so a wood fire was a true luxury, This tree had too many marine worm holes in it to have any value for roofing or boat building so after drying out for nearly a year it wasonly fit to be burnt.

The fire in the central hearth of the great hall at Hov (which means Temple or chieftains court) was burning brightly and hot making long shadows on the wooden panels lining the house built of turf and stone. The hall was fairly smoky because this was long before the time for chimneys, but the smoke hole in the roof could not be too big or the hall would never get warm enough.

All over the Faroes gossip and talk about each other are the news and life blood of such a small community, where everyone knows everyone and even their great great grandparents reputation for five generations. In the prechristian nordic culture land was owned by the king or jarl and each chiftain earned his rights by good service but no slave or descendant of a slave might own land.. Hafgrim had served Harald Graafell (of the grey fur cloak) and been granted his land by him.

The brothers Breste and Beine were being discussed by Einnar and Eldearn Combhood, thus nicknamed for the jagged cut of his cloak.

The brothers were sons of Sigmund, the brother of Thorbeorn Gatebeard who was the father of Trond from Gota who was easily recogised by his broad red beard.

They had been a-viking with Earl (or Jarl) Haakon Sigurdson of Lade by the river Nideros in the Trondelag in Norway and through their friendship with the Jarl had been granted half of the land of the Faroes.

Breste and Beine lived on Skúvoy and had a second farm on the precipitous island of Store Dimun and the grazing of Lille Dimun, which has hardly one flat place on it.

In the great hall the large fire crackled and popped sparks towards the roof where the blackend roots of the grass hung down, and even the spiders must have got tears in their eyes from the sour peat smoke. Einar was chewing a piece of sun dried cod fish and listene to Eldearn expounding the virtues of Hafgim as being far superior to all the faeroese warriors, but in reply he pointed out that Hafgrim may be older and richer, and make many sacrifices to the gods too, but although he was quick witted, he was hardly as wise as Breste nor as law learned.
Eldarn had a bad reputation as a fast talker and a liar and a back biter and for being quick tempered but now he was lost for words and grabbed a stick and started beating Einar around his head and neck and on his shoulders. Einar grabbed a little axe from by the hearth and hit Eldearn hard on his head, unfortunately the axe twisted in Einar's fist and instead of hitting with the flat, the well sharpened blade sank deep into Eldarn's skull.
Eldarn dropped and never spoke another word.
2127/ 50 000

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