Dagrun’s Story

My name is Dagrun, the daughter of Ingibjorg and Halldor. I was born on my father’s lands in Jutland, neighouring the land held by my mother’s family. I lived there for many years until I was married to my dear husband Ørn whose lands were not so far from where I had grown up. The marriage was a promising one and I was pleased with the match, although I did not get on well with his family. Ørn was very good to me but very stubborn in his affairs with others. I always feared that this would be his downfall.

One spring my mother’s father Ragnar was killed in an ambush. From then on the year was ill-fated; their livestock was stolen and the animosity between my family and their neighbours escalated. My mother’s uncle Ulrik had lands in England and offered my parents a new life there. My older brother Arinbjorn was as yet unmarried as were my younger siblings, so they went to England along with my parent’s few relatives and slaves. I was saddened to see them go but understood that they could not stay where they were, and I in turn could not leave Ørn and the life and children I hoped to have with him.

My family left and for too short a time life was good, although I missed them terribly and longed for news. My husband’s family were civil to me but it always seemed as though they thought their son could have married better. I worked harder to try to gain their favour, and became a fine worker of cloth and yarn, though I missed the guidance of my mother in these matters, whose weavings were the finest of any in the land.

The following yule Ørn had a drunken row with Sigarr, a local man whom I had never liked. I thought the row trivial but Ørn felt slighted and brooded over it for weeks. One day he announced he was going to settle matters with Sigarr. I begged him not to go but his stubbornness won out: that was the last time I saw him alive. My dreams of a happy marriage shattered, I tried my best to get on with his family but they blamed me for Ørn’s death, saying I should have stopped him from going to see Sigarr. I longed for my own family and became more and more unhappy as the months wore on.

Then at the height of summer, my mother’s cousin Valgard came to Jutland. I had never seen such a wonderful sight! Though it pained him to do so Valgard told me the news of my brother and father’s deaths. He had heard of Ørn’s death and knowing of the emnity between his family and me had come to offer me passage to England. I did not even stop to think and was soon on my way to a new land to be with what remained of my beloved family, knowing my mother would appreciate help to run the household. The passage to England was strange for me having never been at sea, but I was excited to see new places and to be back amongst my own people.

Now I live here at Hólmr, helping my mother with the running of the farm and learning to improve my weaving from her skilled hands. Many visitors pass this way and we always show them the greatest hospitality. It is thanks to one of these visitors that I have my son, Finn, although his father did not settle here amongst us. I have no doubt that he will grow up to be a fine, strong lad, and we will raise him with the stories of the old gods and the new.

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