Sometimes he could be hard on people, even his own men,
but he was good at getting things done.
His Christian name was Selleg, and he hailed from the
peninsula of Sveio in Hordaland. However, no one ever
called him Nils Selleg, and he always signed his name “Nils
Tvibur” in the Skansin log. He was called Tvibur because he
was a twin,
and since he had been born last, it was his older
twin brother who had acquired the land lease.
And Nils Tvibur was no self-coddler. When the gravedigger
succumbed to measles in May, Nils took up his spade, and
he also drove the horses that pulled the cart. When the
corpses were too large, he broke their necks so that he
could nail the lid on the coffin shut.
“Damn,” he said one day after hr. Hans had blessed a man
from Hoyvík whose neck he had just broken. “He looks like
he’s listening to something I can’t hear. So long as it’s not
the footfalls of Iblis.”
Hr. Hans blanched when he heard the name Iblis. “Don’t
you go spouting the name of Muslim Satan in a Christian
church,” he said, making the sign of the cross over the