Little Finn simply glowed.

Egelric had never been so happy as in those first days after the birth of his son, and would never be so happy again. Elfleda glowed with love, and Egelric with pride, and little Finn simply glowed.

Only Iylaine seemed to feel a little less than happy, and still said “No!” any time he asked her whether she wanted to see the baby. 

She still spoke only to him, so it was quite a surprise when Gunnilda brought her home from a visit with Wynna one evening and informed him, “Baby’s started talking to me.”

Gunnilda brought her home from a visit with Wynna.

“She did? What did she say?”

Gunnilda looked around for Elfleda. “It’s odd,” she said in a hushed voice, “but I guess she must have been copying Wynn. Wynnie says to me, ‘Mama, pick me up!’ says she, and then Baby says to me the same thing: ‘Mama, pick me up!’ And after that, it was ‘Mama this,’ ‘Mama that,’ ‘Mama the other thing.’ I tried to tell her that her Mama is at home, and I’m just old Gunnie, but she kept on calling me Mama. You better not tell Elfleda.”

“Mama, pick me up!” Iylaine said slyly.

'You see?'

“You see? I’m holding you right now, you goose, and I’m not your Mama. You say ‘Gunnie’, go on now.”


Egelric frowned.

“Oh, pish! Egelric, don’t you worry. She’s just mad she’s not the baby any more. Bertie stopped walking and started crawling again when Wynnie was born. She’ll get over it, though I sometimes wish Bertie hadn’t. Well,” she said, turning back to Iylaine, “you’ll always be Baby to me, you fat little squab. Now you be good for your Mama or Gunnie won’t let you come play with Wynnie no more.”

'Now you be good for your Mama.'

“Bye, Mama!” Iylaine called brightly.

“Don’t you worry, Egelric,” Gunnilda said, patting baby Finn on the head as she went out. “She’ll get over it.”