On Pentecost the cart stopped for the first time in front of
the Geil house. Grandfather opened the door and Nils
Tvibur and another man came in to retrieve Pisan, or
Grandma Pisan, as the children called her.
Pisan was from Hestoy, and when Farmer Támar’s oldest
son got her pregnant, and she gave birth to a daughter, she
took her own child’s life.
That’s what Old Tóvó told his great grandson several years
Pisan gave birth to her daughter in a peat shed up on the
island, he said. And the child was healthy. She smelled so
freshly of the womb; Pisan could feel the warm breath from
the newly developed lungs against her neck and chin. She
said the breath from the small nostrils and tiny mouth was
like a storm, the strongest she had ever experienced. She
put the baby to her breast, and when the child had nursed
its fill, Pisan did what plenty other unmarried mothers did
during the slave law
years – she killed her own child. With
the little nape trustfully resting against her hand, she
pressed her thumb to the baby’s throat, and when its
Law passed in 1777 that forbid anyone who did not own land from marrying.