‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Will Straw's Saga (1)

(pic source)
The Farm at Heathdale

There was a man called Vilhelm Johannsson who worked near Kirkjan Vestur[1].  He was skilled in rune-writing, but he had tired of this employment and wanted a farm of his own.  So in the Spring he went to his father, who had a homestead at Svartáin[2].
On his way, he rode across a heath and a valley[3], past a river where oak trees grow[4]. “This would be a good place to settle,” he said to himself.

When he came to Svartáin he greeted his father, and after dinner and the usual formalities he explained his plan. “It is not such an easy thing as you think,” said his father. “I can use my influence to get you the land, but you must learn how to work it.”

“Work is for slaves,” said the other. “I can write and speak well. When my neighbours need a man to go to the Althing, I can represent them.”

“You are young,” replied Jóhann, “though your ambition does you credit.”

“I am thirty-three,” replied Vilhelm. “You were thirty-two when you first spoke at Kirkjan Vestur. “

“That is true,” said his father. “But even before then I had represented many young men, and helped several important people with their counsels.”

“I should be glad of your counsel,” said the son. “That is why I have come, and if I am at Heathdaele it will be easy for me to consult you frequently.”

Pleased with his son’s sagacity, Jóhann agreed warmly and so they began to make their plans.

[1] West Church/Minster
[2] Black River, or Black Burn
[3] heiðina og dalinn: Heathdaele (Celtic “Ros”: “moor, heath”, hence "Rossendale")
[4] ánni þar eik tré vaxa: Oak River (Celtic: “Darwen”)


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