The Marriage Proposal
Sigmundur Refuses The Coin
" Please see who is at the door Thoralfr. " she told her son.
Turið was a Christian through and through, but as a little girl she had been told that Odin taught that northern folk should never be far from their weapons, for no one knows who lies behind the closed door, or what could attack you when you are out tending to your fields alone. It was a lesson that she had passed down to her daughter Tóra, who without having to be told brought her mother her sword, as well as retrieving her own.
When the door opened and a smiling Laf Ossursson stood in the doorway Turið and Tóra did not make the connection of why he had come at first. It was not until Laf held up the gold coin that both understood why he was standing there. At first neither mother or daughter knew quite what to say. Tóra had expected Eyvindr to be the first to arrive, while Turið had practically been given assurances by her husband that Dirk IV of Frisia would win the race. After a long moment of awkward silence Turið set her sword on the table behind her and stepped forward to address Laf.
" My husband is not here at the moment. He has gone to Little Dimun in his boat to do a little fishing. I will let him know when he returns that you Laf Ossursson were the first to make it back to the Faroe Islands." she told him politely, but in a rather formal way.
Laf stood there in stunned silence for a long time before placing the coin back in his pocket. He had not expected a cheering crowd to celebrate his victory, but he had thought that Sigmundur's daughter at least would be happy that he had risked his life for her. Disappointment and something akin to shock, however, were all he saw in their eyes.
" Perhaps I should stay to make certain that the chieftain understands that I was first to arrive. " he told the women with a hint of distrust.
Turið stepped forward and grabbed hold of Laf 's arm.
" That will not be necessary ! My family will attest that you have won, and I am sure that your entire crew is aware of that fact as well. " she told him as she gently, but firmly, ushered him out the door.
As Laf stepped outside he turned to ask Turið a question.
" When will Chieftain Brestisson see me ? " he asked.
Turið , who was doing her best not to get angry or cry, answered him quickly.
" My husband will send for you first thing in the morning. " she assured the suspicious winner.
Laf narrowed his eyes and looked over at Tóra who had not moved, or said a single word, since he entered the home.
" Then I will return to my ship and await word from my future father- in - law. " he replied, before turning and walking away.
When the door shut it was as if Tóra had been released from an invisible restraint. She ran over to her mother and grabbed hold of her arm.
" Mother ! Will I have to marry Laf Ossursson ? He is a fine and very brave man, but he is not the one I would have chosen,.... had I been given the choice ! " she said nervously.
Turið put her arms around her daughter, and tried her best to comfort Tóra. After kissing her on the forehead Turið pushed her daughter away and looked her in the eyes.
" Your father will be back soon, and we will have to see how he handles this situation. " she explained to her daughter.
Sigmundur rowed his boat up onto the shore and stared down the beach to his right. In the waning light he could see one ship moored at the dock, and another beached in the sand further up. Despite the descending cloak of darkness Sigmundur could tell that neither of these ships belonged to Dirk IV of Frisia. As the uncertainty of what had happened grew within him he hurried up the hill to his home. When he reached the front door he turned and looked down at the beach. To his great consternation he saw bonfires burning, and heard laughter. Someone had obviously won,.. but who ?
With a sense of foreboding Sigmundr opened the door. He desperately wanted to know who had returned to Skúvoy first, but he also very much feared the answer. In the moment before he stepped inside all of the contestant's faces ran through his head. A few were acceptable as husbands for Tóra, but most were not.
" Thank God you are home ! " Turið shouted when she saw her husband.
Sigmundur did not greet his wife in any manner. He simply stood holding the door open as he asked:
" Who has won the contest ? "
Turið ran to her husband's arms and whispered into his ear.
" Laf Ossursson has arrived first,... and he has a gold coin ! " she told him.
Heinrekr the Saxon jumped off of the dock and walked through the sand to the bonfire where Laf Ossursson sat on a barrel drinking ale.
" It is good to be the winner,..... is it not ? " the Saxon asked.
Laf looked up from his horn, and replied in an uncertain tone.
" I am not sure if I will be the winner or not. His wife and daughter gave me quite the cold reception when I visited them at their house earlier. " he explained.
Heinrekr grinned as he nodded.
" Then you should probably know that one of my warriors spotted Chieftain Brestisson returning a few moments ago. " he informed the intoxicated warrior.
Laf gave Heinrekr an evil grin before he turned and threw his empty horn into the bonfire.
" Then I believe that I will not wait until tomorrow to present my coin to Sigmundur Brestisson ! " he told the Saxon angrily.
Laf Ossursson was in such a hurry to see Sigmundur that he left his sword leaning up against the barrel. Heinrekr had considered calling to Laf to inform him of his error, but after a moment of careful consideration he decided that in his condition Laf was better off without a weapon.
Laf stumbled up the hill, falling to his knees several times, before reaching the door of the turf house. He knocked only twice on the door before Tóra opened it for him. For the moment Laf ignored Tóra and focused his attention on Sigmundur and his wife, who sat at the table facing him. Laf fumbled in his pocket for a moment before finding the coin that Eirik the Red had given him. He slowly placed the coin on his thumbnail and held it in place with his forefinger. With a quick flick of his thumb he flipped the coin to Sigmundur, who caught it in mid-air.
" I have a feeling that you and your family are not pleased that I have won the contest for your daughter. But I did win, and therefore I have come for your daughter to make her my wife ! " he said defiantly, but with a drunken slur.
Sigmundur looked at the coin for a moment before throwing it back to Laf.
" I will not allow my daughter to marry a Heathen who will not convert to the true religion ! " Sigmundur shot back angrily.
Laf reached down for the hilt of his sword, but it was not there. Realizing that he was unarmed, and in no condition for a fight, he nodded to the chieftain and his wife.
" This is not the end of this,... it is only the beginning of your end ! " he shouted angrily at Sigmundur.
As Laf turned to leave he spotted Tóra, who was still holding the door open, through his blurry eyes.
" And you my dear will someday be my wife ! " he told her before he stumbled back through the doorway into the night.
- End Chapter 9
- Next : Chapter 10 : Revenge Isn't always Perfect
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.