'Gunnie, are you sleeping?'

“Gunnie, are you sleeping?” Alwy whispered.

Gunnilda mumbled something incomprehensible.

“Gunnie, I thought you was calling me.”

“I didn’t call you, Alwy, but I guess I’m not sleeping.”

“Here’s your baby, Gunnie. Don’t you want to see her?”

“I already saw her before Aelfie took her out to you.” Gunnilda gingerly pushed herself up to sit. “But I don’t mind taking her if you’re done gloating over her. Is she hungry?”

Gunnilda gingerly pushed herself up to sit.

“She didn’t say,” Alwy chuckled.

“Help me with my pillow and let’s have her here.”

Alwy placed the pillow behind his wife’s back and then laid the blinking baby in her arms. “Her eyes is real light,” he said eagerly. “You would see if the light was better. Aelfie says they’ll be blue like mine.”

“Oh, what does Aelfie know about it?” she snapped.

“Well, I don’t know but I guess her babies both have blue eyes like mine.”

'Well, I don't know but I guess her babies both have blue eyes like mine.'

“Alwy, if you weren’t a simple man I would be very jealous right now,” she sighed.

“How come, Gunnie?”

“Never mind. I suppose Osric has blue eyes, too.”

“Well, I don’t know but I guess he does. Gunnie, I was going to go get them kids but the sun isn’t up yet so I guess I would like to stay a little while with you and this baby. Can I?”

“Of course you can, Alwy.”

Alwy grinned and came around the bed to lie beside her. He slipped an arm behind her head and pulled the blanket away so he could see the baby’s little face.

“Well, I don’t know but I guess she’ll be a pretty girl, too.”

“Oh, Alwy, I could have borne a piglet and you would have found it pretty.”

“Well, I don’t know but I guess I always thought piglets was real cute.”

“I guess she is rather pretty, though.”

“I guess so! Look at her little hands.”

“You’re not too sorry she’s a girl?”

'You're not too sorry she's a girl?'

“Sorry?” Alwy whined. “Why should I be sorry? I guess I always did like girls best, but don’t tell Bertie or Beddy.”

“Because now you don’t have a boy to be a priest,” she said softly. “I guess Bertie will be a knight and do great things and be killed in war, and Beddy will stay here and get the farm.”

“Oh, Gunnie! Don’t say such things!”

“Isn’t it true?”

“Well, I don’t know but I guess Bertie won’t get killed. There won’t be any wars any more, I don’t think. Our king likes to stay home. And what else? I guess I don’t need a boy what gets to be a priest. Because I been thinking, and I guess I thought it would be fine to have a boy that was a priest, because a priest is almost like a gentleman. But I guess I’m almost like a gentleman now, don’t you think? And so Beddy will be too. And Bertie will be a sir, and his wife will be a lady, and that will be even finer than a priest. And because Bertie couldn’t have kids if he was a priest, but if he’s a knight he can have lots of kids. And wouldn’t that be fine? Oh! I guess she was hungry, wasn’t she?”

“I guess so,” Gunnilda sighed.

“Did you think about what you want to name her, Gunnie?”

'Did you think about what you want to name her, Gunnie?'

“I guess I would like to name her Angnes.”

“Angnes! Oh, Gunnie, you don’t want to give a baby a name that means troubles and cares, do you?”

“I guess someone ought to warn her what awaits her in life.”

“Oh, Gunnie,” he whimpered. “I don’t know but I guess she’ll have happy times too.”

“She might, and this way she will appreciate them while they last. I know I didn’t.”

“Oh!” Alwy stared at his wife, mute and helpless. Ever since she had lost little Wick, he had been waiting for a baby to come to help her find her way back to her old laughing self. But it was not enough, and Alwy was out of ideas.

And so he did what he always did – he pulled her head towards his, and kissed her, and hoped she would understand what he didn’t know how to say.

He pulled her head towards his and kissed her.