Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll

Tóvó’s Flies

That morning Tóvó was awakened by his mother. She had been up a few times during the last two days, but she did not speak. She was not her usual self, and now that the measles and its after effects had lost their grip, she would break into sobs so heartrending that Tóvó had to cover his ears; he went outside, even though it did not help. He had no idea that these crying spells were a burgeoning insanity, and that in the coming years his mother would earn the nickname Crazy Betta. In Iagttagelser , or Observations , Panum wrote: there is hardly any other country, or indeed any metropolis, in which mental diseases are so frequent in proportion to the number of people as on the Faroes. Tóvó’s brother, L ýð ar, and his sister, Ebba, were still confined to their bunks, and their grandfather had placed a spittoon on the bench between him. An old household remedy said seawater had curative powers, and therefore grandfather often made the trip to the little promontory of Bursatanga to rinse out the spittoon. He covered it with a lid to keep the flies away, but nonetheless they buzzed around this interesting wooden container. Sometimes they sat on the rim, and while they cleaned their shiny legs, Tóvó struck. Most he killed as soon as he caught them, but some he tortured to death. He would place the prisoner on its back and sense the faint buzzing of the fly body as a


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