Ulrig Hausmarten was born in a little fishing village, in the far north, the icy north. Where the fjords are blue, the glaciers white, the maidens pink, and the dolphins gambol among the frozen corpses of dead boys. (‘Twas the custom of the Barbarians to permit only the first-born of any litter to survive — all so-called “subsequents” were sacrificed to the fertility gods.)
As a second-born son, Ulrig had been slated for an icy fjordulent death from the moment of his barbaric conception. But on Ulrig’s arrival into this world of pain, his broody overdoting mother, Hegworst, had hidden him away, thus preventing the High Shaman from carrying out zir sacerdotal duties, a sternutatory achievement indeed, given the High Shaman’s formidable anti-perfunctoriness.
Hegworst had hidden the newborn Ulrig wrapped in a reindeer-hide cape in a secret ice cave in a secret plaice not far from the village. For five barbaric years, she had secretly visited her shivery son, bringing him food and drink — reindeer horns full of mead and you’d.
It was the custom for Barbarian mothers to hide their subsequents in secret ice caves, sort of a hobby, in a funny sort of way. All the women were doing it. Often they bumped into each other on the way to feeding their secret subsequents, and then they would have gigglingly conspiratorial conversations with each other.
For instance, one would say, “O Norvegah, fancy bumping into you in this secret icy plaice…”
And the other would reply, “Yes Hegworst, what a peculiar coincidence, whatever the CONsequences …” and then they would giggle and dart away secretly like frightened squirrels to their encaverned offspring.
Hegworst had an advantage over the other wimmen, in that her husband, Brutusus, was very wealthy. He had a lot of fish — herring, mackerel and kipper — dried, in barrels behind the main hut. It stank like buggery. He also had a lot of reindeer hides, seal’s ears, and dried ...
... CONTINUES in NIGHTMERRIES: The Lighter Side of Darkness out now at Amazon
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