En 11b Frana

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    Ott 2023

    11b. Death of Frana

    [082] Two years later, the magus himself came with a fleet of light boats to kidnap the mother of Texland (Frana) and steal the Lamp. He loosed his cruel plot on a stormy winter night as the wind howled and hail lashed the windows. The watchman thought he had heard something and lit his searchlight. But as the light fell on the encircling grounds, he saw that many armed men had already climbed over the burg wall. He hurried to ring the bell, but it was too late. Before the defense was ready, two thousand men were already at work ramming the gate. Thus, the battle was short, for the guards had been neglectful in their watch and all were felled.

    While all the men were busy fighting, a vile Finn sneaked into the mother’s flat, or private chambers,[1] meaning to defile her. But the mother resisted, so that he stumbled and fell backward against the wall. When he had stood up again, he drove his sword into her belly, saying: “If you will not have my cudgel,[2] then you shall have my sword.” Behind him came a Danish skipper; he took his sword and clove through the Finn’s skull. Out flowed blood that was black, and a blue flame hung above it.[3]

    The magus ordered that the mother [083] be nursed aboard his ship. When she was well enough to speak again, the magus told her that he was taking her with him, but that she could keep her maidens and the Lamp. He said she would enjoy greater prestige than ever before. And he said he would ask her in the presence of his chieftains if he should become master over all Frya’s lands and folks, and that she must approve and affirm this, or be tortured to death. When later he had gathered all his chieftains around her bed, he asked ceremoniously: “Frana, since you are clairvoyant, tell me if I shall become master of all Frya’s lands and nations?”

    At first, Frana ignored him. But she finally opened her lips and spoke: “My eyes are darkened, but the higher light is enkindled in my soul ... Yes, I can see ... Hark Earth,[4] and rejoice with me! In the times when Aldland drowned, the first spoke of the Yule wheel stood at the top. Thereafter, it descended — and our freedom went down with it. When two more spokes, or two thousand years, have passed, the sons who are born out of fornication by princes and priests shall stand up and denounce their fathers. These sons will all be murdered. But what they say shall be remembered and bear fruit [084] in the hearts of the virtuous, like good seeds sown in your soil. Yet another thousand years the spoke shall descend, and sink ever deeper into darkness and blood — shed over you through the deceptions of princes and priests. But there will come a day when the dawn glows red again, and, seeing this, the false princes and priests will join forces to keep freedom at bay. But freedom, love, and unity will encircle and protect the people and, with the wheel of time, they will rise from the evil morass. The light that started as a lone glimmer shall grow and become a mighty flame. The blood of the wicked shall flow over you, O Earth,[5] but you must not drink of it. In the end, the toxic vermin shall feast upon it and perish. All the vile histories made up to bolster the position of the princes and priests will be offered to the flames. Then, all your children shall live in peace.”

    When she had spoken, she sank back. But the magus had not understood all she said, and cried: “I asked you, if I shall be master of all Frya’s lands and nations, but you spoke to someone else!” Frana sat up once more and stared at him, declaring: “Before seven days have passed, [085] your soul shall wander about the graves with the night birds, and your corpse will lie at the bottom of the sea.”

    “Very well,” said the magus with suppressed rage, “you can announce that I am coming.” And to one of his men he said: “Throw that woman overboard.” That was the end of the last Folksmother.

    We do not seek revenge, for time shall take that. But, a thousand thousand times we repeat Frya’s call: “Watch! Watch! Watch!”

    Sandbach 1876

    [p.113 cont.] Two years afterwards Magy himself came with a fleet of light boats to steal the lamp from the mother of Texland. This wicked deed he accomplished one stormy winter night, while the wind roared and the hail rattled against the windows. The watchman on the tower hearing the noise, lighted his torch. As soon as the light from the tower fell upon the bastion, he saw that already armed men had got over the wall.

    He immediately gave the alarm, but it was too late. Before the guard was ready, there were two thousand people battering the gate. The struggle did not last long. [p.115] As the guard had not kept a good watch, they were overwhelmed. While the fight was going on, a rascally Finn stole into the chamber of the mother, and would have done her violence. She resisted him, and threw him down against the wall. When he got up, be ran his sword through her: If you will not have me, you shall have my sword. A Danish soldier came behind him and clave his bead in two. There came from it a stream of black blood and a wreath of blue flame.

    The Magy had the mother nursed on his own ship. As soon as she was well enough to speak clearly, the Magy told her that she must sail with him, but that she should keep her lamp and her maidens, and should hold a station higher than she had ever done before. Moreover, he said that he should ask her, in presence of all his chief men, if he would become the ruler of all the country and people of Frya; that she must declare and affirm this, or be would let her die a painful death. Then, when he had gathered all his chiefs around her bed, he asked, in a loud voice, Frana, since you are a prophetess, shall I become ruler over all the lands and people of Frya? Frana did as if she took no notice of him; but at last she opened her lips, and said: My eyes are dim, but the other light dawns upon my soul. Yes, I see it. Hear, Irtha, and rejoice with me. At the time of the submersion of Atland, the first spoke of the Juul stood at the top. After that it went down, and our freedom with it. When two spokes, or two thousand years, shall have rolled down, the sons shall arise who have been bred of the fornication of the princes and priests with the people, and shall witness against their fathers. They shall all fall by murder, but what they have proclaimed shall endure, [p.117] and shall bear fruit in the bosoms of able men, like good seed which is laid in thy lap. Yet a thousand years shall the spoke descend, and sink deeper in darkness, and in the blood shed over yon by the wickedness of the princes and priests. After that, the dawn shall begin to glow. When they perceive this, the false princes and priests will strive and wrestle against freedom; but freedom, love, and unity will take the people under their protection, and rise out of the vile pool. The light which at first only glimmered shall gradually become a flame. The blood of the bad shall flow over your surface, but you must not absorb it. At last the poisoned animals shall eat it, and die of it. All the stories that have been written in praise of the princes and priests shall be committed to the flames. Thenceforth your children shall live in peace. When she had finished speaking she sank down.

    The Magy, who had not understood her, shrieked out, I have asked you if I should become master of all the lands and people of Frya, and now you have been speaking to another. Frana raised herself up, stared at him, and said, Before seven days have passed your soul shall haunt the tombs with the night-birds, and your body shall be at the bottom of the sea. Very good, said the Magy, swelling with rage; say that I am coming. Then he said to his executioners, Throw this woman overboard. This was the end of the last of the mothers. We do not ask for revenge. Time will provide that; but a thousand thousand times we will call with Frya, Watch! watch! watch!


    1. 'flat, or private chambers' (FLÉTE JEFTHA BEDRUM) — although BEDDE is used for 'bed' (p. [120]), BEDRUM can be more than just 'bedroom', for example 'reception room' or 'audience chamber', since BÉDA can mean 'to ask/pray/offer'.
    2. ‘cudgel’ (KUL) — this fitting metaphor is a likely cognate; ‘kul’ in Dutch is known to have meant both testicle and penis.
    3. ‘flame’ (LOGHA) — this word (plurale tantum) may be related to Greek: λόγος (logos) as well as Latin: ‘lux’.
    4. ‘Hark Earth’ (HARK JRTHA) — compare ‘erce eorþan módor’ from Anglo-Saxon charm, referred to by Grimm.
    5. ‘O Earth’ was added to clarify that Earth is addressed here.

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