Nøkken : The Water Spirit
The Happy Times
Every day Sefa watched her husband, from the vegetable garden, as he made improvements to the dam that her father had constructed years before. New irrigation channels were dug into the hard ground by Vigarr to bring water to the fields furthest away from the pond, and the base of the dam he strengthened with rocks, and mud interwoven with twigs to make it more sturdy, so that it could hold back the weight of the extra water.
Sefa, however, was not the only one who watched Vigarr's efforts. The Nøkken also took great interest in what the human male was doing. And as the little pond grew in size and depth the creature that lived among the Nøkkeroser became angrier and angrier at the one who not only had changed his home, but had taken away his privacy with his daily visits. As the days passed into months the Nøkken's eyes burned with rage as the human became more and more of a nuisance.
The crops were not the only thing on the Lillebekken farm that had begun to grow. By the end of the first year of their marriage Sefa's belly began to blossom from the seed that was planted in her womb by Vigarr. And when it was time for the spring planting the child had grown sufficiently within her to be harvested.
When Vigarr knew it was time, and that the child could wait no longer, he took the wagon and raced off to seek his mother's help with the delivery of their baby. Marta, despite their strained relations, could not refuse them in such a time of need and hurried to the Lillebekken farm to act as a midwife for Sefa. Even Petr, who had vowed time and again never to set foot on that, " haunted farm ", could not resist seeing his first grandson born, and reluctantly saddled his horse and followed his wife back to Lillebekken.
In the midst of the mother's moans and screams, and Marta's constant encouragement, there came the loud wailing of a newborn child from the bedroom that rang out from the farmhouse in all directions. Sefa, despite her discomfort and exhaustion, took her child from Marta, kissed him on the forehead, and decided on his name before succumbing to her weariness. The name she chose for their son was Haki. This had been the name of Petr's father, and she hoped this gesture would mend the fences that had been built between a father and his son.
At first it seemed to soften his parent's hearts, but quickly the anger and bitterness rose back to the surface. Marta, now fearing for the life of her grandson as well as her son, was the first to begin insisting that they leave this horrible place, and come live with them. Petr soon echoed his wife's position about the evil that lived side by side with them on the farm, and the danger it posed to them. The good feelings that were shared after Haki's birth were soon lost to bitter arguments that arose from their refusal to leave Lillebekken. As the months went by Sefa and Vigarr saw less and less of Petr and Marta.
Haki began to help his father almost from the time he took his first steps. Each morning he would go out to the fields and imitate his father as he turned the soil, or pulled the weeds that all too often sprung up among his crops to steal the vital nutrients and water that they needed. Vigarr, from time to time, had to show his young son which were weeds and which were the shoots of wheat or barley, but for the most part young Haki caught on fairly quickly.
Vigarr, ever the proud father, enjoyed the company of his son, even if occasionally he did make a nuisance of himself, such as the time he chased a butterfly through the tomato garden, trampling several of the young plants. And as the seasons passed Haki was given more and more responsibilities around the farm, in the form of chores, until by the age of nine he no longer needed to be told what his duties were, or had to be supervised while doing them.
Sefa enjoyed going down by the brook to watch her husband and son working together in the fields. These were the happy times, when the past was left in the past, and all that mattered was the future with all the great promises that lay ahead for them. Theirs was a perfect life, and it seemed that nothing and no one could take that away from them.
Another pair of eyes, however, watched as Sefa sat by the brook day after day. It had been years since these others had joined the female at the farmstead, and although the Nøkken did not understand why, he knew that he did not like the male human at all. The Nøkken's jealousy gnawed away at his patience daily, and the constant changes in water levels angered him to no end. But what made the Water Spirit most angry was that he was no longer alone here in his water world. When the water levels almost doubled in depth in the pond a new spirit took up residence in his home. And this phantom was much more dangerous than he had ever been.
This creature, known as a Bäckahäst often took the form of a white horse in the morning mist, or evening fog, and was irresistible to most humans. Anyone who caught a glimpse of the beautiful white horse would be drawn to ride the great beast. Once mounted, however, the rider could not get off of the horse's back, and they would be drowned when the horse dove back into a brook or pond.
The Nøkken decided to name the Bäckahäst Vanndykker, ( Water Diver ), and to never allow it to harm the woman or the child. The other male human, however, in the Nøkken's glowing eyes was fair game for both of them !
- End Chapter 4
- Next : Chapter 5 : Tragedy Strikes Again !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.