'My boy!  My boy!'

“My boy! My boy!” Lady Eadgith cried and ran into the hall and into her son’s arms.

“Look who’s here, mother!” Leofric beamed.

“And, Sigefrith!” she gushed. “It’s your birthday, too!”

'It's your birthday, too!'

“I know it is!” Sigefrith laughed. “Who else but you would treat me as I should be treated on my birthday?”

“Twenty-​​one years!” she said reverently. “Leof! Do you remember? Twenty-​​one years ago this day?”

“I remember,” Leofric grinned. “What an ugly little runt it was! And how I wished I could put it back once it began squalling!”

“Oh, what nonsense!” she scoffed. “Don’t believe him for an instant,” she advised her son. “He was so proud of you! One would have thought he was the first man ever to have the clever idea of having a son.”

'One would have thought he was the first man ever to have the clever idea of having a son.'

Leofric chuckled. “It was the first time I had the clever idea, at any rate.”

“And I am here to thank you,” Sigefrith announced. “And ask you what’s for dinner, because I’m starving already.”

“Oh, Leof! Whatever he wants! What shall we have?” she asked in agitation as she began reformulating her dinner plans for the day.

“What fatted calf shall we slay?” Leofric asked.

'What fatted calf shall we slay?'

“Not the fattest one, I hope,” Sigefrith said, holding his mother out at arms length to look her over. “Good Lord, mother! What’s he been feeding you out here to make you so fat all of a sudden?”

Leofric threw back his head and laughed. “I like that! Tell him what I’ve been feeding you, mother!”

'I like that!  Tell him what I've been feeding you, mother!'

“Oh, Sigefrith,” she blushed. “It’s not what I’ve been eating…”

“Isn’t it?” Leofric roared. “Son of a serpent!” He went stumbling over to the wall to support himself in his laughter. “‘It’s not what I’ve been eating!’” he repeated.

“Leofric!” Eadgith scolded.

Sigefrith’s ponderous mind finally caught up to his father’s. “Good Lord!”

'Good Lord!'

“Well?” Eadgith asked primly to hide her embarrassment.

“Well – nothing, mother. But – Good Lord! Wait till I tell Eadie!”

“Oh, dear! What will she say?” Eadgith asked, turning to her husband for reassurance.

Leofric shrugged. “She’ll know what you’ve been eating. She’s been known to partake.”

'She's been known to partake.'


Finally Sigefrith laughed. “Wait till I tell everybody! Good Lord! What will Haakon think of his baby uncle?”

'What will Haakon think of his baby uncle?'

“Or aunt,” Leofric said.

“Oh, yes! You and your girls! But you had better hope for a boy. You can’t improve on Eadie, but as for me…”

“Oh, you!” Eadgith laughed and hugged him again. “Neither we nor anyone else could ask for better than you!”

'Neither we nor anyone else could ask for better than you!'

“You would think she was the first woman ever to have the clever idea to have a son,” Leofric said.

“Isn’t he magnificent, though?” Eadgith protested. “Wouldn’t any woman be proud to call him her son?”

“Well, now,” Leofric said. “I’m proud of him, and I’m not even a woman.”

'I'm proud of him, and I'm not even a woman.'