although it may tremble, it is immutable and eternal,
cemented to the earth itself. Yes, at this moment it is
almost a religious conviction he wants to impart to his
daughter, since he doesn’t have a son, and with every day
that passes he becomes more and more sure that he will
never have one and that he will have to be content with a
daughter and teach her the basic principle that an island
can withstand everything, always.
LATER, INGRID WAS TO REFLECT how strange this
evening had been, something I’ll never forget, she would
say, but this was long after the storm had passed, and only
those things which are immutable remain, an island is of
weightier stuff than a grain of sand. These thoughts are
prompted not by her father but by her mother, who, after
they have struggled home again, receives them with loud
screaming, complaining that she cannot even enter the
cowshed without this idiot of a man endangering the life of
her daughter, if he gets any more of these crazy ideas – I’ll
get a divorce and be off.
This is not the first time words of this kind have been
uttered in this plain-speaking household, they have nerves
of steel, but it is the first time Ingrid has understood what
the words mean: it is possible to leave an island.