Have you ever asked for a beating?
In the bird's shadow
AdsI have to take care of Gunnhildur and run to papa crying. After lamenting for a while, he says that a solution will be found for Gunnhildur and that I can be with the others.
Kristbjörg claims that dad is putting damn nonsense in my head, and she also says that he should give me a beating rather than let me get away with it all. As if dad would ever spank my butt!
In Reykjavík, women play the harmonium. It's on the floor, the size of many accordions together, and you have to sit on a special chair in front of it. Guðmundur tells us that and much more.
I dream endless dreams of sitting on a high chair in the middle of a room and playing song after song on a brand new harmonium. The tones from it are much nicer than the ones Daddy's accordion makes. They are so beautiful that I play forever.
Sorrow lay in Mother's eyes throughout the winter. A few days ago I heard Gudmundur say she was a strong woman and there was admiration in his voice. He was talking to Kristbjörg. Contrary to her habit, she spoke softly and I did not hear what she was saying. He later told mother that she had a clear singing voice. Mother blushed a little and looked happier. The day after it rang
The valiant compatriot
all over the yard.
We got a brother. He is tall and handsome and is called Pétur Jakob. Papa called the pastor and he baptized him when he was just a day old. Mother cannot forget Pálmar's emergency baptism - nobody knows whether the little one went to heaven. That is why she herself asked the pastor to come right after the birth. Mother didn't think it was bad that the child was named like two apostles. Dad said it would have been best to just baptize him in Jesus Christ. Then he laughed loudly and long, Mother was silent.
I'm sitting outside on the peat wall gasping for air. The bird has pushed its way up my neck piece by piece, and now it's stuck. Today is the Exaltation of the Cross and a change of servants, a new maid arrives. Her name is Halldóra, is no longer that young and has a son.
Sigurður and Magga are not married, although he gave her the scarf last year. Around Christmas time, Ninna's bed became cramped, and in mid-March Magga gave birth to a boy who screamed loudly and for a long time. Nobody talks about who the father is. Even old Kristbjörg keeps her mouth shut.
When he was a few days old, the boy was baptized Einar. He was healthy and well-fed and slept between Ninna and Magga until spring.
Papa puts Magga on a horse. She goes to a courtyard further east of the district. Sigurður accompanies them. I can feel Magga's tear-stained cheeks on mine. Still smell their scent. I have never smelled a better scent on anyone.
Stand outside, see, as evening falls, Sigurður riding up the path to the courtyard, and also the little Pálmar who appears in the clouds above the glacier. All day long I had hoped that Magga would come back with Sigurður. But now Halldóra is sleeping in her bed with the wretch, Þórarinn, who is just as old as me, a head smaller and, to make matters worse, still red-haired. And he has protruding ears. Magga's scent is gone.
My sister Ninna and little Einar have moved into the bed across from papa and mother. Mother takes care of Einar when he's restless at night.
For as long as I can remember I've followed Papa like a shadow. He told me stories about heroes and outlaws, read to me about old warriors, showed me how to listen to nature and see the glacier properly. And he taught me all about herbs.
He performs ballads, plays the accordion and gives me arithmetic problems - he went to Latin school and says that there are invisible beings all around us, some good, some not. Sometimes he sniffs the air, grimaces, and spits. When I ask why he behaves like that, he hardly answers. Says that he drove away evil spirits. Sometimes he goes outside with scythes, rams them into the ground and makes everyone point in the same direction. Also the rake tines. Does this to keep something away from the yard, but doesn't want to say what it is
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