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The sight of Father was the worst. If Ingrid hadn’t known

better she would have thought he was afraid, and he never

is. Islanders are never afraid, if so they wouldn’t be able to

live here, they would have to pack their goods and chattels

and move and be like everyone else on the mainland, it

would be a catastrophe, islanders are broody, beset not

with fear but solemnity.

The solemnity doesn’t disperse until the head of the family

has been outside once more and returns with blood on his

face, remarking with a grin:

‘Lovely weather out there now.’

It takes a while for them to see that this is meant as a joke,

and after they have wiped the blood off him and see that he

has only a small cut on his chin, and after he asks for a cup

of coffee and says that ‘The old rowan has started to lean

eastwards,’ they realise that the wind, this time too, has

turned from the terrible south-west to the west, which is

the first sign that another hurricane is about to subside into

an ordinary storm, and then becomes a northerly and drops

to a strong breeze before finally abating enough for them

to be able to carry water to the cowshed without arriving

with their buckets empty. Barbro and Maria manage to get

them to the animals almost half-full.

Hans remains in the kitchen contemplating while fiddling

with the wound on his chin when he is struck by a sudden