Inside Thora and Eyvind were huddled around their fire with their child, Eirik, who was watching the flickering flames with a childs innocence. They all jumped when the dull thud of knocking was heard upon their door ! Who would come to our humble house at this hour of the night they thought. Would it be friend or foe. With immense trepidation, Eyvind rose from his seat grabbed his seax and went to the door. He held the weapon behind his back as he opened the creaking door. In the doorway stood a large bearded man in a drenched cloak. As he pulled back his hood, his care - worn face smiled and he asked the owner to show hospitality for a weary traveler. Eyvind studied the mans face for a moment, the long beard, the patched eye, and the wrinkled skin, were offset by his look of dignity and wisdom. Eyvind invited the man in.
Thora took his wet cloak and hung it by the fire to dry, while Eyvind offered him a seat on his bench. Thora placed a small pot over the fire and re - heated the food that was left over from their dinner. They would have a sparse breakfast tomorrow ! Eyvind placed a cup on the table in front of the stranger and filled it with water. "I am sorry sir, I having nothing better to give you, " said Eyvind. The wanderer looked at the mans face and saw fearful eyes. He replied, " This will be fine." Eyvind asked the quiet man his name. The stranger replied," I am known by many names. " Then he asked Eyvind why his conditions were so poor. Eyvind, with eyes filled with dismay, replied, " most of our crops have failed this year and we barely have enough to eat." Worse Yet, the King's men will be here soon to collect the taxes and I have nothing to pay them with!" He continued, " I owe as much as a silver coin and I fear the King's soldiers will take me away." The old man looked at these humble people and said, " As long as you have each other you are as rich as any King." Thora looked down and replied, " Unfortunately that is not enough to pay the King with." The wanderer looked at the little boy, patted him on the head and said, " Someday you will be a stong warrior little one." Eirik replied with a small uncomfortable smile.
After the wanderer had eaten he was shown a corner, near the fire, where he could bed down for the night. Thora gave him a thread worn blanket and apologized for its condition. She had nothing better to offer him. The stranger simply smiled and nodded. Then the whole family bedded down for the night.
Eyvind and Thora were awakened the next morning, by a loud pounding at their door. Orders were shouted to open the door at once ! The King's men had arrived for their tax money. Eyvind looked at the seax, but knew it would not protect him from these unmerciful soldiers. He slowly walked to the door to face destiny. Thora looked over to where the stranger had been sleeping, but he was gone ! The tattered blanket was neatly folded in the corner. Something on top of the blanket caught her eye. She walked over and glanced down at the objects. There, glistening in the rays of the morning sun was a silver coin and a gold coin.
Eyvind could not even look the soldiers in the eyes as they demanded the King's money. Just as the soldier was about to reach out to grab Eyvind, Thora placed the silver coin in his hand. The startled soldier looked at the coin, shook his head, and without uttering a word walked away from the house and back down the road. After closing the door Eyvind asked Thora where she had gotten the coin. She simply pointed to the blanket and the remaining shining gold coin.
Eirik grew up and became a strong young man, and a leader of armies. He defeated and deposed the King and ruled the lands himself. He ruled with a gentle hand and a kind heart. He never forgot the kindness that weary traveler had taught him all those years ago!
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !