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Asgerd; Thorolf's Widow

 

That same winter I heard all the stories that I had missed while in England. Berg-Onund, son of Thorgeir Thorn-Foot married Gunnhild, daughter of Bjorn the Yoeman. They had moved over to Berg-Onund’s farm in Ask.

Asgerd, Thorolf’s widow, was staying with her cousin Arinbjorn. Thordis, her young daughter by Thorolf also lived with them.

I told Asgerd that Thorolf was dead and offered to look after her. She grieved at the news but seemed to be avoiding my offer. I was devastated but could not admit it. However, it must have been obvious because Arinbjorn mistook my sadness for the loss of my brother.

I made a verse.

 

Beauty must bear with

My boorish manner;

Braver in my boyhood

I lifted my brow;

Now my cloak must cover

The craggy cliff-face,

When wife, widow and mother

Worry my mind.

 

Arinbjorn pressed me about who this woman was. I told him it should be obvious. It probably was but he needed me to say more. I made a second verse.

 

I seldom conceal

Her name in song,

Gradually her grief

Grows less:

If your ear can interpret

The art of verse.

You’ll soon make sense

Of what I say.

 

I then said to Arinbjorn “This is the typical case of where a man can tell his friend how he feels but he can not tell the lady in the verse. It is Asgerd.”

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