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gave birth to Betta in 1810. Shortly thereafter, Annelin

married Finnur, who was a farmer in Kirkja on Fugloy, but

she left her small daughter, Betta, to be fostered by her first

husband’s mother and father in Tórshavn.

Sorrow and Rhyme

Sixteen days later the cart again stopped outside the Geil

house. To Tóvó’s mind, it was as if a stick had been stuck

between the wheel spokes; and when he thought back later,

it was as if the cart had stood there his whole childhood,

digging and hewing itself deeper and deeper to his soul’s


Nils Tvibur and a man in a mask placed the empty coffin on

the floor. The mask had a beak with a little dried moss and

caraway and horseradish. The smell was supposed to

prevent contagion.

The Geil house had gotten so fine. The floorboards were

new. Martimann had laid at least half the floor and installed

the stove before the measles broke out. The disease’s

progression had been as expected. His eyes and cheeks

swelled up and he lay in bed with a high fever for a week.

When he felt better and his cough was somewhat improved,

he thought there was no harm in nailing down a floorboard

every now and then. There was no one else to do it, and he

could not bring himself to ask Old Tóvó. The old man had