Nøkken : The Water Spirit
Tragedy Strikes Again
Despite the skies being dark and cloudy it appeared that the much needed rain would not come this morning. The Spring had been much drier than usual, and the summer so far was proving to be even worse. Every day, for a month now, Vigarr was forced to irrigate his fields from the dam, and the water level in the pond had dropped dramatically from it's constant draining. It had never happened before, but Vigarr feared that the brook might run dry, and the pond go empty. Yes ! The skies were threatening, but if it did not rain by midday he would have to remove another board from the dam to irrigate his fields.
The Nøkken was very angry ! If it wasn't bad enough that he had to share his watery domain with a Bäckahäst, the water level in his home had fallen to the point where it was almost impossible for the two creatures to coexist. To make matters worse the hunger had returned, and it needed a soul to quench it's never ending desire. No longer could it wait ! It needed to feed now, and it had already chosen it's next victim.
Vigarr waited as long as he dared. Noon had come and gone, and yet there was still no rain from the darkened clouds that floated quickly by overhead.
Reluctantly Vigarr called out to his son :
" Haki ! " he shouted.
His son was helping his mother fertilize the garden when he heard his father call for him.
Yes, father ! " he shouted back.
Vigarr pointed off to the east and ordered his son to go to the last field on the farm.
" When the water reaches the end of the east field signal me and I will stop the flow. " he instructed his boy.
" Yes, father ! " Haki replied eagerly.
Haki, ever the obedient son, ran out to the wheat field. When he was in place he waved to his father that he was in place and ready.
Vigarr removed the top board, but the flow was insufficient to allow the water to seep all the way to the far end of the east field, and he was forced to remove another. With the second board gone the water finally poured into the far irrigation ditches, and slowly made it's way to each of the fields in that area. As the water level began to sink to dangerous levels Vigarr walked over to the pond to examine it closer. As he watched the water shrink around him it looked to Vigarr as though he were draining a bath tub. Then, suddenly, a strange ripple appeared on the water's surface that caught his attention.
The Nøkken watched his target above as it moved about in the watery lens that he looked through. Humans were such easy prey when the predator hid in the murky waters of a pond. If they ran, or even moved a few feet from the water's edge they would be out of reach of danger. They seldom if ever did move, however, and the humans died so easily.
Vigarr peered into the muddy water as though he were transfixed by the circles being caused by an underwater disturbance. As he leaned over to get a better look something that appeared to be a tangle of roots and weeds rose up out of the pond and wrapped itself around him. Before he had time to scream, or even take a deep breath, he found himself in the dirty pond with something very heavy pressing down upon him. Vigarr tried to struggle, but he could not move a muscle. The roots acted like the tentacles of an octopus, holding his arms and legs locked in place, as he sank to the bottom.
Every second seems like an eternity when you cannot breathe, and Vigarr sensed that his time was quickly running out. The great weight that pressed him into the mud was too much for him to overcome, and his eyes were beginning to bulge in his head, as he held his breath longer than he had ever held it before. As he let out his valuable air in tiny bursts he knew that he would soon have to inhale, which would of course end his life. In the moment he had left he thought of Sefa and Haki, and he hoped that they would be alright alone. Vigarr's concern for his family was suddenly interrupted, however, when he saw the glowing eyes of the Nøkken staring down at him. Vigarr wanted to scream, but he could hold his breath no longer and was forced to inhale the muddy water ending his life.
Haki watched as the water slowly reached the east field. He followed the flow as it rose in the irrigation ditches, and when it reached the level his father had taught him was sufficient, he ran to the edge of the field and signaled to his father to board up the dam.
When the flow of water did not diminish Haki ran to the field which was nearer to the dam and yelled.
" Father ! Board up the dam ! The fields are beginning to flood ! "
He received no answer.
Sefa was picking a few cucumbers when she heard her son pleading with his father to board up the dam. The cries of, " Father ! Father !! ", brought back a flood of bad memories from the day her father went missing. Feeling the panic begin to grow inside of her Sefa dropped the cucumbers and ran for the dam as fast as she could.
" Vigarr ! Vigarr !! " she screamed along the way.
When Sefa reached the spillway the water level was not much higher than it had been before her father built the dam. Frantically she looked around the muddy banks, and into the woods beyond as well, for her husband. When her gaze came back to the pond the water level had lowered still further. In the muddy darkness of what was left of the pond she looked upon something familiar, and yet her mind could not place it at first. When she made the connection she screamed ! What she saw among the tangle of weeds and thick mud was a hand,.. and it was wearing her husband's wedding ring !
Haki became a man that day. His mother, paralyzed with grief, and in shock from what she had seen, was unable to do more than sit at the water's edge crying. It was Haki who ran all the way to his grandfather's farm to get help,.. and it was he, along with grandpa Petr, who dragged the body out of the muddy water.
The funeral was a quiet affair. Petr and Marta were far too angry and distraught to blame Sefa for their son's death. Sefa, in turn, was much too grief stricken to say anything to anyone. The only words that anyone heard Sefa say that day was when she placed flowers on her husband's grave.
" Goodbye, my love ! " she had whispered.
The next day Petr and Marta demanded that Sefa and Haki leave the, " haunted farm ", before it claimed another victim. Sefa, however, would not leave the place where her mother, father, and husband were buried. " Who will tend to their graves ? " was her reasoning for staying.
Petr tried to gain custody of Haki, but the courts did not agree that there was an evil spirit that haunted the Lillebekken farm and refused the request stating : " This court deals with facts and not mythology ! " Even so, it was only after the judge asked Haki if he wished to go with his grandparents, or stay at the Lillebekken farm with his mother, that the judge decided in Sefa's favor. Haki had replied emphatically, to his question, that he wished to stay.
Petr and Marta, however, refused to stay in the Smalhaugen Hills any longer, and moved to Bergen. Petr's last bitter words to Sefa were :
" I will not stay here and watch another member of my family die ! "
They would never see each other again.
- End Chapter 5
- Next : Chapter 6 : A Crying Shame
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.