The Abusive Father
Eldgrim stared down at his son with a crazed look in his eyes. As he spoke he could not hide the bitterness and hatred from his voice. " I might as well have you fitted for a gown right now ! " he shouted. " Are you really my son ?! " he screamed at the sobbing youth. Hoskuld lay on the ground with one hand pressed against his swollen cheek. He did not look up at his father as he spoke. " I.... I.... I am sorry father. " he replied meekly. Eldgrim placed a hand on his hip and pointed menacingly at the boy with the other. " Yes ! Yes, you are a sorry little bastard ! I am embarrassed to have you as my son ! Now get off of your ass, and show me that you can do something as simple as killing a deer ! " he said in a loud whisper to not scare away the animals nearby. Hoskuld slowly lifted himself off of the ground and brushed off the snow. Impatient, Eldgrim grabbed his son and pushed him into a small tree. " Hurry ! Do you think the deer is going to wait for us ? ! " he told his son angrily. As they picked up the deer's tracks once again Eldgrim began to look around. He suddenly had the strange feeling that he was being watched.
Out of sight, behind a large oak tree, someone was watching ! With the eyes of an eagle, Skadhi, the Mountain Goddess, observed everything that had taken place. It angered her greatly to witness the young boy being abused by his cold and heartless father. She did not like seeing a man with such little honor taking his own inadequacies out on a small and defenseless boy. Skadhi wanted to pull out an arrow and put it through the human' s heart, but if she interfered here in Midgard she knew that she would be breaking Odin's decree of non - interaction with humans. The All- Father himself only walked among humans while in disguise, and after his son Thor had thrown the Jotuns out of Midgard a millennium ago Odin had ordered that no one should interfere in the affairs of the blue world. But as the father and son began to track the deer they were after, the Mountain Goddess could hear the father throwing insult after insult at the boy. Skadhi, feeling sorry for the child, and against her better judgement, decided to follow them.
At the edge of the forest Skadhi observed the hunters stop. In the clearing, digging in the snow with its hoofs not far from them, was a large deer. Once again she witnessed the child named Hoskuld aim his bow with unsteady nervous hands. This time, however, the deer did not move, and the boy got off his shot. Skadhi shook her head when she saw the arrow fly well over the deer's body, and land in a tree beyond. The deer froze for a second, and then ran off into the woods on the other side of the clearing. What Skadhi witnessed next infuriated her right down to the bone.
" You useless piece of dung ! How in the nine worlds did you miss !? " he screamed at his son. Eldgrim grabbed his boy and threw him on the ground. He slapped the boy twice and then in a fit of uncontrolled rage he began to pummel the defenseless boy with punch after punch . The boy tried to fend off his father' s blows, but he was neither fast enough nor strong enough to defend himself. Hoskuld's pitiful screams reverberated throughout the forest as he was being punished !
Skadhi, in one fluid motion, placed an arrow on her bowstring, and pulled it back ready to fire. As she aimed she kept hearing Odin's voice : " No one should interfere in the human' s world ! " Skadhi stamped her foot in frustration, and lowered her bow. Fortunately the father's anger dissipated, and he finally pulled himself off of the boy. Then she heard the father say something very ominous. " I will give you just one more chance you worthless child ! " he told his son.
Skadhi tracked the father and son for most of the day. Just as the last of Sunna' s rays were filtering through the forest canopy, a small herd of deer appeared at the edge of the forest by a meadow. Skadhi watched as the father forcefully grabbed his son by the back of his neck, and pointed at a large deer with a nice set of antlers. Once again the boy tried to steady his hands as he carefully aimed, but to no avail. Skadhi was certain that the boy would once again miss !
With practiced ease, and the skill of a great hunter, Skadhi placed an arrow onto her bowstring, aimed and fired. As Skadhi had feared the boy had missed badly to the right. Her arrow, however, fired with great force, struck the deer in the shoulder, pierced its heart, and exited burrowing itself deep into the ground. The great huntress quickly placed another arrow on her bowstring, and aimed it carefully at the father's head. " If he hits the boy again I will kill him ! " she told herself.
Eldgrim walked over to the deer, and was amazed at what he saw. The arrow had cut through skin, muscle, and bone, and no longer appeared to be in the animal at all ! The father turned to his son, and with a look of disgust on his face shouted at the boy : " Well, you got lucky this time you wretched boy ?! " he told him. " But you cannot just stand there like an idiot ! This deer has to be dressed, and made ready to travel ! " he shouted, his words echoing through the darkening forest.
When Hoskuld reached the deer his father grabbed him by the back of the neck, and threw him on the ground in front of the carcass. Eldgrim took a knife out of his belt and flung at the ground. The blade stuck in the dirt just inches from the boy' s hand. " Well, cut the damn thing open ! " the father shouted. The boy's voice trembled as he replied : " I do not know how father. " Eldgrim shook his head in frustration. " You are truly useless boy ! " he screamed. Eldgrim grabbed his son' s hand, placed the blade in it, and thrust it deep into the deer' s belly. Skadhi, who was hiding behind a snow drift watching, winced as the deer' s steaming innards spilled out all over the boy.
Skadhi watched intently as they made the deer ready to travel. The father forced his son to make a simple sled out of small tied branches , and then together they rolled the heavy deer onto the sled. The Mountain Goddess then observed the father as he pushed his son to the front of the sled, and handed him a rope. " You killed the damned deer, now you can haul it back home ! " he shouted at him.
Skadhi knew that it was time for her to leave, but something inside of her was pulling at her heartstrings, and would not let her go. What made her stay and follow the human father and son she was not quite sure. Possibly it was the anger in the father's eyes, or maybe it was the fear in the son' s eyes that kept her there.
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.
End Chapter 1
Next : Chapter 2 : A Goddess Pushed Too Far !