A snipe whinnied close by, a plover replied with a poignant
cry. Are you so unhappy?, he asked softly, he asked
tenderly. You need to experience happiness to understand
unhappiness, and don’t look at me like that, no one needs
to comfort me, there’s nothing to comfort, life is either
victory or defeat, not happiness or unhappiness, and I’m
going to be victorious in my own way. How can you be
victorious without happiness?, asked her captain, John
Andersen, lifting his thick hands and stroking Geirþrúður’s
eyes, stroking tenderly, stroking as a man strokes
something that matters a great deal to him, and she took
his hand, bit it lightly with her predator’s teeth, I’ll tell you
tomorrow, or whisper it to you, but now it’s getting colder.
And they both looked up at the sky, the blueness had
darkened, the storm pounding Friðrik’s house was
approaching. But if you want, she added, and if you can
manage again, I’m ready. Only if I may love you, he said.
You may; but then leave your love behind when you sail
away, leave it here between the mountains.
Love is not a thing that one lays aside.
Yes, this love is, she said, unbuttoning her blouse. She
unbuttoned her blouse and he beheld her gleaming white
breasts, those breasts that he could gaze at endlessly, that
pursued him far out to sea, all the way to England, those
breasts, that skin, that scent, those long legs that locked
around him, and the pitch-black hair that flowed like