'What a life!'

“What a life!” Eirik sighed as he came into Hilda’s bright bedroom. “Lie around in bed all day!”

“Oh, you!” Hilda snapped. “It isn’t as if you have any great responsibilities, bachelor-​​man. You spend all the day playing. You wouldn’t even like to lie around in bed all day, I think.”

“I would if I had such a lovely young lady to lie around with me,” he said as he stretched out his long body next to hers.

'I would if I had such a lovely young lady to lie around with me.'

“Not if she were as pregnant as I, surely,” Hilda snickered.

“Not if it weren’t mine, surely. But I still haven’t figured out how you and Sigefrith manage with that belly in the way.”

“Knock him on the head tonight after supper, and come up here, and I shall show you.”

“Slut!” he laughed.


“Jackass! Wouldn’t you like to!”

“I’m certain it’s easier without the belly. Speaking of which, I have a favor to ask your ladyship.”

“No favors either!” she cackled.

'No favors either!'

“Slut! That’s not what I was thinking. Not from you anyway.”

“Oh? From whom now?”

“Listen, I need you to invite Brede’s sister Sigrid here to sew or something.”

You need! Oh, Eirik! What are you cooking up now?”

“I’ve been meeting her in the woods, but her brother is getting suspicious.”

“In the woods! You dog! What have you been doing?” Hilda asked excitedly.

“Not much, yet, but she’s an eager little thing.”

'Not much, yet, but she's an eager little thing.'

“What do you mean to do?”

“Have a little fun with her, and then have her brother find out.”

“How little? Or how much, I should say,” she laughed.

“Why, as much as I can,” he laughed with her. “But that’s not the important thing.”

“Don’t have too much fun, Eirik, or you shall find yourself in the same boat as Sigefrith,” she said, and patted her great belly.

'Don't have too much fun, Eirik.'

“Oh, God, I don’t want that,” he agreed. “At least Sigefrith got a lady like you out of it. I would be stuck with that bit of a thing.”

“She’s somewhat pretty,” Hilda sniffed.

“Somewhat. She looks too much like her brother; sometimes I feel as if I am kissing Brede. Her little sister is far prettier.”

“Why don’t you go for her then?”

“Perhaps next year,” he laughed.

'Perhaps next year.'

“Well, what do you need me to do? Do you need a bed?”

“I don’t know,” he sighed. “I would say yes, and I would say no. The fact is, I don’t know what Brede did to my sister. When I found them, she had the top of her dress open, but they were only sitting on the bench. But I don’t know what they did before that day.”

“So you want to do whatever he did to Estrid.”

'So you want to do whatever he did to Estrid.'

“That’s the whole point, coz. Good God, I have been waiting for this day for ages!”

“Nothing like revenge in kind, is there, dear?” she smirked.

“I can’t wait until I see his face.”

“Well, listen, Eirik, if that’s what you want, then I suppose I should tell you that Brede and Estrid did a little more than what you saw.”

'I suppose I should tell you that Brede and Estrid did a little more than what you saw.'

“What? How much? When?”

“Now, now,” she soothed. “It was a long time ago. I’m certain Estrid is a good girl now, and Brede is simply afraid of you. But I have reason to believe it went a little farther than that.”

“How far?” he growled.

“Well, coz, it is true that I was watching Estrid’s belly quite closely for a few months there. But I shall say no more,” she said primly, and folded her hands over her own.

'But I shall say no more.'