What Pegman Saw – The Thain takes a Wife

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

WPS - The Thain's Wife 190922

Image from Axe20 by Pixabay

The Thain takes a Wife

My parents’ blood soaked into my clothes. I lay still, as though dead, clutching a knife beneath me. Its serrated blade was designed to strip the hide off a seal; it should take the life of at least one of these murderers, these Vikings.

I heard footsteps; I felt the draft as he lifted the flap of our mamateek. I could smell him. He reached down and touched my shoulder.

“Aiieee!” With the loudest cry I could muster, I twisted to one side and thrust upwards with all my strength, willing the blade to snatch at least one Viking life in exchange for the deaths of so many of my tribe.

He stepped back, and his boot kicked away my blade.

His sword was raised.

He stared at me, then seized me and dragged me from the floor.

“Come,” he grunted. “To the boat. You will bear me many warriors.”

24 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – The Thain takes a Wife

    • Dear Righteousbruin
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, there is much sadness in the history of the Beothuks. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that we know about their descendants in Norway through DNA evidence, and, even more to the point, it’s matrilineal DNA. That means that at least some of the woman abducted survived to give birth, and their female children also survived to have children in their turn. They were survivors!
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 2 people

  1. A tense and evocative story, Penny. Love your brave heroine, lying low until her moment comes. What will become of her, do you think? Horrific beginning to a new life, but we can but hope her Viking captor is kinder to his wife than he was to his enemies. Great story

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comments. I think she will be very pragmatic, will look after the thain, and will look for influence through her warrior sons. Eventually she might achieve quite a happy life. Things were very different then, and it’s difficult for us to conceive what it was like to live that life. Of course, it’s not unknown even today – one only has to think of Boko Haram for example, and their actions in kidnapping young women as ‘wives’.
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Na’ama
      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      I’m not sure I altogether agree with you that matters haven’t improved. Yes, there are still many atrocious incidents, but there is the beginnings of a consensus that conquest, rape and slavery are wrong. There is a court for war crimes; yes, it doesn’t bring most perpetrators to justice, but it’s a start.
      There are two things we need to do. Firstly, and most importantly, we have to continue to propagate the ideals of peace and justice. Secondly, we should inform ourselves about the ‘hidden’ forces of the arms trade that continue to deal in people’s misery – and campaign against them.
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

      • Improved, perhaps, in some places, yes, but there is plenty more to be done — and there are places in the world were women and girls are still sold and trafficked, and where rape as a weapon of war and loot are still real. I think we agree that we ought to propagate peace, inform about justice and injustices, and expose profiteering and those who deal in what becomes people’s lives – whether directly or indirectly, much of human misery as refugees is led by war and those who profit from it and then from the exploitation of those who have little choice but to submit.
        We have done better in some ways (even if the consensus is not quite as complete as one would hope), and we have plenty more to go. I join you in looking forward to applying more of what we know is humane, to the inhumanity that still remains.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As you say, it wasn’t what she had in mind – she was hoping to kill a Viking but she fully expected to be killed herself in the act. Thank you for the comment about DNA evidence; it gave me a wonderful excuse for having the heroine kidnapped to produce sons for the Thain – much more satisfying than just a massacre!
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Joy
    Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, it is a very unpleasant idea that you could be forced to ‘marry’ a man who murdered your family. However, it was far from uncommon in mediaeval times, and still happens today in some parts of the world. Possibly even more disquieting, a significant number of women who experience such a fate go on to love and care for their husbands.
    With very best wishes


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