“But who will tell me the sagas?” sobbed Morag as she stood at the shore, hugging her father tightly. “You always tell me the sagas before bedtime!”
The now eight year old girl was becoming tall and strong, but not so strong that she could tolerate being without her father for long.
“Your mother will give you all the sagas you need, my darling girl,” Olaf assured the crying figure in his arms.
“And,” he whispered, “If you listen well, she may start to teach you the secrets of the shield maidens!”
Morag stopped crying and looked up.
“Really? I can start training?”
“If your mother believes that you are ready. Now go and stand by the others so that you can farewell us properly.”
Olaf gave Morag one final hug and kiss and nudged her away from him.
Astrid embraced her husband one last time and left him with a lingering kiss to remember her by before joining her daughter and the rest of the villagers in farewelling the voyagers who set sail.
Astrid was tucking the fur tightly around Morag’s wearied body, when the request came.
“Mama, will you tell me one of the special sagas?”
Laying herself beside her tired daughter, she whispered, “Even better, I’ll tell you a secret.”
“A secret?” Morag sounded skeptical, “What kind of secret?”
“A family secret.” her mother replied.
“A secret about your father. And his father. And his father before him. And a secret about your future.”
“There is no secret.” Morag retorted.
“Oh no?” Astrid taunted.
“You think I’m making it up?”
“Yes. I think you ran out of sagas to tell me.”
“There is no end to the sagas I could tell. There are always new sagas being written.
But this secret is better than them all.”
Morag rolled over, facing away from her mother.
“I’m too tired for stories anyway.”
Astrid gave Morag a squeeze and then stood up.
“If you say so, my darling. But I promise, this secret is real.”
As Astrid left the room, she heard her daughter mutter to herself.
“Daddy would have told me if there was a secret.”