CHAPTER ONE; CHILDREN

 

Who’s point of view POV?

 

The sun sparkled on the edge of two worlds.

 

The children playing oceanside. They are dipping their hands into the water. Like fingers of people building earthen huts. Playing delightedly with twigs and driftwood from wrecked galleys. Peopling harbours and landfalls to scale. Floating whole navies of fishing craft like bread upon waters. Ozone filled their lungs. Their high shouts of joy float upon the wet shining incandescence. In the sunny glare  of any sparkling pool they find by the rocks or tied a rooted dips in the stream's leading to the ocean: the seas that heave and seethe in the background:the dull booming sound of surf the sound of tumbling far off waters massed in an increasing crescendo.Their tide retreated naval battle noise distant yet poised for renewed assaults upon the new sun dried beach.

The pools are glistening and sparkling in the sunshine. The children squeal happily. The dull roar of the ocean blue in the background faint far far away from them. Roaring the children run to and fro. From the pile of driftwood not too far away. The driftwood has come down in the stream, the driftwood has come in from the sea, delivering all their wares to the children on the beach stop from the use they select the smallest and lightest tweaks the smallest pieces of fabric. Some they can pick away at holes in them and find beneath the little dry dust deposits of gritty sand, the treasure they seek the slight suggestion of bore-hole that they can enlarge and put a stick in. Thus they construct something! Themselves have created a Viking ship. Along ship of their very own a piece of wood that tweak sticking from its centre. This they endeavor to folk float in the little sparkling pools. The little rivulets that they divert from the stream to come the away small little runs of water that they can handle. In these they place the little boats summoned team sometimes just one slightly larger one: the big one. The one they have created themselves. They too are Norseman travelling far and wide for trade along the coast. They to venture out in this little dreaming boat's into the ocean of ships and join the others. In their imagination all things are possible they are lost in this world this little Viking world for the Viking children.

 

The tide is going out. Thus their hours along alone on the beach this little cluster of children. This little clerkship small humanity. This small group alone upon the ocean of the lost on the beach. It not far away are the home and dwelling and Hamlet's and hearts and little house fashioned by timbers reeking of the sea. Krupp a day to a child lasts forever stop so the lost and is as purely temporary, they will be found again. By their eldest sister or brother. He will come and look for them. She will find the stop they have no worry of any timekeeping or hazard or danger is the small scale of their little deities adventure. Building boats that blow upon the adhesion pool is, the water adhesion of pool tucking and restraining their little boat as they blow them the wind blows them along from one side of the river to another even sometimes upstream against the run of the water. Depending upon the breezing of the day the breezing as of the day today it is fairly calm. The ocean blue's quietly in the background. Like a vice of noise that is just there attached to their heads – so they can forget about, and they do, as always they do so familiar that are they with the sound of the sea. They hardly hear it is always there sounding in the distance. Sometimes coming close, as in a storm, the rising swell and a high time, and the Thai high Spring time fall stormy sudden water: drenching everything sometimes drowning the chickens but they kept in a shed or a small little tussock paddock out the back fenced in with some willing barricades and twine any ropes and other bushes and hedges sometimes a small stone wall but stones are rare in these parts the flatland of an island off the coast of the Frisian territory.

For that is where they live off the North sea coast slightly south the Jutland and with freezing is as neighbours

stop.

The children have various names some of the names that Norse name and Thule dish names from as far north in Lapland as you can get up the coast of Norway. Some of the others have Scandinavian names from northern fiord's and and southern Norway from the Vic from the region of the Vic outside of Oslo. Most of Danish names stop most have Danish names from Jutland. They are a mixed lot some with parents who are part Irish or part Frisian or part Saxon or part Frank or part Teutonic some even have the odd touch of Roman Gaul lushness about them. But all of them speak in their childish way – and are learning further from the folks – their older siblings around, and the cousins and uncles, and their parents and other adults and use an young people in the village, and even from the really ancient old elders. The ones who tell them stories. And teach them the culture and teach them the language through much conversation in low tone is as if imparting a secret, the secret stories of their people. From this they have fashioned in the tongue and little speech patterns the talk of children everywhere – and also the talk of their own nation, tongue and people's. The speech in the main settles on the dialect of the North Sea Jutland coast of Denmark – so they are Danes living as settlers and colonists on a Frisian island on a former Frisian island off the coast of for easier. On one side there are exposed to all this doom storms and winds and howling and witness and watering this in the tides and the waves of the North Sea the winds howled their back as they huddle in the of all their shacks the sheds their hamlets their long-houses this sort hearts and their sand covered buried wooden living quarters. That their parents have made in earlier time. For they have been there well over 100 years and live peaceably with the neighbours. It things are soon to change. They do not know if this nor do they care. Their little lives are measured in small steps than men and women do take. So they are at peace, and that he is, and live the lives of people who are so young it seems like they will live forever for dear as far away in the lives of innocent children.

 

Today they are busy at the beach playing. One says to the other some bright idea stolen from her own dream. The other agrees. The matter what it is. All is delight. Today they are Norse be in Norse. That is sufficient for them. Why think about? For after all they are Norse and they? Yes of course they all exclaimed together exclamations sign! There is then after all nothing to think about. The boats are enough. Mine is the biggest says one stop the others take no notice for they think there's is the biggest stop unless it is so blatantly and apparently so. Then they might say sullenly agree and hang the ends and get back to their own shipboard adventure in the sparkling little pot. The seawater is mixed a little with the fresh so much of it is brackish. Their little brackish boats in a little brackish ocean stop that is all it is to them – the whole wide world!

 

One of the boys called Hoder went away upstream and began to build a dam with sand. His efforts were quite manly for a boy so young. For he was only seven years of age. He scooped out great swathes of sand with his two arms and his two hands and his two sets of fingers and dragged it down to the stream or a side channel that he had found Andy began laboriously to build to build a blockage at jetty of sand across the water. It glistened and boil so alarmingly at him. It was so wet and clean and the sand was gritty and try and bit dirty and stuck to him. Nevertheless he dug in willingly even happily. He soon exhausted himself. And threw himself back on the same to rest briefly. Then he rose and stood to his feet calling out to them come over here come over here and help me. For his little jetty of sand was now beginning to wash away at the tip and if he carried on like this the water was too much he would not be able to am it up in the four for the four could streamed off on a level all of its own. It meandered away from the main stream of water rushing down the beach to the ocean and the sea.

His efforts were beginning to crumble and dissolve butter's determination hadn't he called out again come up here and help me he said loudly and then let out a huge howl and they all turned up to him and some came immediately running. One of the what is it you want do you want us to help you they set because some of them just wanted to mill around and walk but they soon carried little pockets of sand in the fingers and dropped the usually to be swept away in the ever strengthening slippage of water through the gap.

One of the older girls who was still quite young to 6 or seven seasons old slipped away into the dunes where there was a stash of driftwood for the fire for a fire for the adults. She came back with an arm full of twigs and kindling. And she said here use these. And she began thrusting these into the water like a palisade. Like a barricade to hold back the enemy army of water. Behind this fence the onrush of water abated and weakened as it struggled to swirled past the sticks. Many children now filled in the fence of sticks from the pile of tweaks and smaller branches that had weathered in the storm is far out to sea. Here the sticks were fighting back so arranged vertically as the strakes on the long ships were arranged side-by-side in their barricade built horizontal. The dam of sticks stood upright. Just as the planks of wood on the Viking long ships held back the sea and journeyed forth upon it. The ocean awaited those beheld the sticks.

The water began to pull fast before the barricade of stick reinforced sand. The wooden foundations of earth launched out upon the stream I could Viking shipbuilders work building a new conqueror of the sea. Would.

They together as children had launched a keel of sand upon the waters. And they had one, hurrah! All of the children had now carried barrow loads of sand. And the fork of the stream had been stopped in its tracks. Just as a Viking iron-steel composite sword stopped an enemy in his tracks. They had killed the ocean. In this neck of the beach and dunes and sand and stream anyway. They had beaten an enemy. They had won. Victory was theirs. They felt elated and flushed, proud of their triumph on this day.

Next they went hunting for big leaves and small tweaks to play a game they had played many times before. They all knew what to do. Dry but still green leaves, stiff and not too pliant and floppy. No, they didn't want their masts and sails to hang limply in the breeze as if on a ship becalmed. Each came back with something. One little boy Hanns. He had a big long tweak: these were to be try as bone. Dry. This he plunged into a big generous leaf from below. And threaded it through the other side. Forming a mast and a sale combined in one unit. Then they set about boring the whole with a piece of pumice and a scrap of scoria lava stone (long treasued)that one boy had in his pocket. It was good for roughly sanding the soft woods dried and bleached by salt water and many hours spent navigating distance on its former nautical terrain. This was sufficient to create a budding whole for the mast. Which was now to be buried in the middle of the wood standing upright. This was their boat and it was soon quickly launched. Joining all the others like a flotilla of leaves and twigs and driftwood upon the small ponded ocean that they had made their own little beachy inland sea. Oh how they had one over the enemy see as imagined today in the little thoughts: joyful little thoughts though they be. Of course the real ocean rumbled away as before darkening on the horizon – maybe a squall was brewing? And the hiss and the roar of the far distant waves at the fullest stretch of the tide outwards was like a blurry sound far far away, yet ever present with them.

Get off the beach at some point. [NOTE]

Scope forever – the boys particularly and all the children generally kept a weather eye out for the local conditions on the beach. Though there were knots and clusters of children far away from other hamlets and villages dotted along the coast. But this was the group. This was their village. Their hamlet had claimed this section of beach. This stream was theirs. It belonged to no one else. No nor to anyone else at all as far as the eye could see along the very flat horizon. This vast space of seascape and landscape beach scape all belong to them in their little ponding dam their own little ocean was the centre the very most topmost centre of the universe. The sky above in all its blueness and sunniness belonged to them and to them alone. Even though there was the occasional Viking adult strolling along the beach about their adult business. Either they were fishing or looking for children, or preparing rough nets, or cleaning boats and corals and skiffs for the Tidewater streams, or cleaning fish and gutting their contents upon the sand. There are few are sick bowels guts smelly – the gravity of death above which circled and Amada, the whole squadron, an entire air force of ravenous greedy and hungry birds – lusting for the blood and gore and guts of the dead fish. We all had to eat reasoned even the girls. Girls are sensible when it comes down to it. Boys are expected to know that something has to die in order for us to eat. Life comes from life. Don't you know they thought.

 

The seagulls didn't bother them: their squawking offered a thrilling contrast close-up, to the far distant booming and roaring of the seizing ocean. Far away of. Far away the fierce stench of fish full blown about by the fierce little gusts and breezes whistling of off the surf. The sharp tang of ozone and saltiness stung their noses faintly.

They were thrilled by the emptiness. Such clustering of their own close company of other children was like intimacy. The intimacy of the mothers and fathers. Sturdy and robust folk: direct and seldom speaking yet fair and warmly loving of all of the them. Phew there were that had bad parents. Though there were some stop. These were often attended to by the elders of the hamlet. And the wise ones who knew a thing or two by the hard way of experience.

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soon one of the adults came looking for them. This was is card the lonely Lookout keeper. His main duty was to look out along the vast sweep of coast to the north. On the other side of the island, for this was off the coast of freeze your and was held in Danish hands. There was another watcher on the shore. In their duty was to look for events coming from the landward side and report to the elders for the mustering of any of the villages and settlers and inhabitants that were needed to greet them or to challenge the. However on the landward side it was often not necessary as there were people frequently hanging about on the jetty and everyone was casually engaged in conveying that information anyway. Mostly just by going about their ordinary business. They would pick up all sorts of information about the events in freeze your itself along the Friesian coast. This was an outlying settlement. A colony as it were of the Jutland exploration of trade. And on that basis they were tolerated and accepted by the Friesian is on an island just off the coast. There was no marauding plunder going on. So the duties of the coast watchers were mild and merely precautionary rather than a response to the challenge of any real danger. More or less like a just in case option. Just in case there was any trouble. Just in case there was something new emanating from the Friesian people. The Lookout keeper on the ocean side was called Frika. He ambled over to them nothing to report it said? He was just kidding. He was not seriously inquiring that children would know anything of any potential alarm. His purpose to was precautionary, just to see what the children were doing. He never expected any alarming thing. These children were good, they obeyed their parents, and will always well behaved and polite to him, sometimes just for fun being a little cheeky. He was not worried. And he just sat down in the sand for a while and made as if to join with the children in the play. He appreciated volume Billy the things they'd been doing all that looks like a fine embankment he said of the dam that ponded up a fork of the stream you've got a great harbour there he said. The children barely stopped in their play. They were so serious about it stop they treated him as if he was part of their world they met him so often. Always just a quick visit. It was like he was one of them. He was so wild and slow that they could keep up with him easily and even outrun him stop when they had to return beyond the dunes to the fence and the marshes and the little hills and a looks of sandy soil where their homes were. The little hearts and shacks and sheds and little houses that they lived it. The little salt cottages. Built somewhat like bunkers but aboveground. Solid wooden structures covered with earthen wall with a sloped out of the ground as if they were little hill covered in greenery. The goats and sheep and sometimes the car would clamber up on the roofs of their houses eating the grasses and green leaves and mosses and such like things to be found there some tussock in nibbles for these bovine creatures. It was also wonderful. The days were long summer and there was a little teaching to attend to. Little learning to be done. Yet what was done is very useful. They had to learn the runic alphabet to count up to about 100. That was mostly sufficient for them and sometimes to cut things in half and cut things in quarters and maybe cut things into bigger portions meaning many small things out of one big thing. Other non-that their education was and how to build a house and how to build a ship or to weave a coral cook out of Willow sticks and flaxen how to cork small ship book Oracle with wax and/or hills and vegetable matter and sometimes glistening bog or ill from the swamps and the wetlands of the inner coast.

 

So Frika ambled off satisfied that he'd spent time with the children the minimum supervision he ever did. And they did cast a glance or two along the coastal horizon to see if there are any ships coming in. He was looking for fishing or trading vessels mainly. The children knew this and sometimes would point out these things appearing faintly on the horizon. For their eyesight was often better than this. But usually they paid it no mind. They were much more interested in play. Play however that emulated the adult world very closely as any could see. They played with boats and coral calls made of leaves they played with sticks to build Palisades Eric aids dam and even bridges and jetties. Some driftwood might pass for a small fishing skiff or a cargo ship or a longboat for warriors and explorers over the seas stop the compass of their world amenable to their hands, available to the scope and play was fairly small stop yet their dreams are a far bigger thing is in the adult world. These things they knew come to them later. For they had seen many grow up and mature before them. And they too would see younger ones in themselves being born and fed and nourished in the wonderful strong and robust ways of their culture. Were they not a proud people.? Needing no arrogance to express themselves – as they wore it naturally, warmly and freely as free people. They with a Freeman of the world the independent once. We are the Danes they said we are from Jutland and we know what to do that's what all the children said. When asked and who what they were.

 

 

 

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The children continued their play. Two fleets were formed and they began trading from one side of the pond to the other and fishing and the began loading the ships with little cargoes. There was much splashing about one boy tried to make out he was a sea captain and began watering the others about stop at army they said angler doesn't like it and you've hurtn she doesn't like it either please stop it so we quite down it was no longer a bother to them. He just went off and built himself his own duty sort of like a birth of sticks that he could tie has little piece of traffic to at the mast with a piece of linen that he had found a piece of linen's string made from flax strains.

 

His efforts were soon followed by others so before long they all had jetties including Sven and I would or junior and the other boys Michael Lynn Peart truck Tomas and Connor there are about a dozen of them and all even the boys some of them were infants and just splashed about moving random pieces of wood without masts they just imagine the masts that was a knife at them they just want to join with the others. The sunny day continued. The ozone is still assailed their nostrils. It was sharp and warm and familiar. They loved their lazy days in the sun and water. Long may they last they would occasionally declare oh they would say this is so good I am so happy I want to do this for ever they said meaning the ships in the water and jetties and the harbours and sales in the fishing and the trading and the keeping together of their own kiss and Ken children. They were all one together all united all people from the village and the Hamlet all of them Danish from Jutland to a boy to a girl. They knew who they were. They didn't have to think about. Oh it was such fun.

 

The long summer days continued. Most times they played they would not see Frika at all. The whole day's play would go by constructing dams building harbours and he wouldn't appear at all. The coast then remained under watched except with them. And it didn't really matter for nothing happened. Nothing ever happened on the island. There were only the storms in winter time to really watch out for. And these were the sunny days. The long and full days of the falls sons so summer.

 

When Frika sort of did join them he would sometimes fall asleep. And every so often just occasionally they would play a trick on him. He would fall asleep in the dunes a little away from them. They would sneak up on him. And giggle and tits and laugh. For it was strange to see an adult all on his own with his mouth open sleeping. Mostly that's all they did. Just sneak up on it and look at maybe to Callisto's with a loop and stem. Or a piece of tussock grass. He just snorted sneezed in his sleep and never woke up.

 

* Another time they had an oiled basket made of willow and it held water quite well and they carried this over to him and splashed it on his face and had to run away because he woke up completely with us are told yelp stop what are you rascals doing he said. He was most upset in Tele fully remembered where he was. Oh you naughty boys and girls he said I'll get you. But he never did. He just said. He was a mild mannered and even-tempered old man. Otherwise they wouldn't let wander off with the children which they knew he did. As is main duties was to attend to the fishing on the beach and the watching of the horizon. He wasn't like a sentry or anything. It was just a precaution. Not a serious business at all. For they were at peace with everyone. But you never know. And they had to tell him to do something so as not to hurt his feelings stop otherwise he had no other job to do. Toward the end of one long summer they crept up on him again and they laughed and giggled and tittered as before. However this time they crept away and they found not far away off from the dunes along the coast in the wetlands a type of tussock flax that had rooms on it long on the end of long stalks. So they gathered some of the and took them down to the upon seeming tea by the hundreds took the ages to do that. And they giggled and laughed no one said a thing as to what they were going to do. For they all knew that they were going to do all 12 four 1011 or 15 of them whatever the number was that day no one remembers. Oh it took them ages. It took them such a long time but they had such fun thinking of what they were going to do. It was a conspiracy of intimacy. Rascally intimacy. Sharing this confidence together. This naughty wicked thing there were going to do. What delight and full some fun. Oh the Mary choker at the prattle on freight and joy of such an naughty pad thing to do to the old man. Seemingly all is one one in each hand they picked up along from on the store with the plume. And dipped it into their pond sinking some of their own little boats as they did so. And to ranking it out the plumes were heavy with water stop they practice flicking the water and it showered like a dog shaking itself. They dipped it in again and then all in one body they went up the June. Over to where Frika was asleep. And they surrounded him from the dunes around on high. And they flickered Frika with the watery plume. Shaking themselves like a dog in the water emerging. And within a few moments he was totally drenched from head to foot. They expected a startled angry cry. In a fierce rising to his feet of the slow man. But he didn't do a thing they had trunk away from the edge of the dunes to run away but there was silence there was no response. Sony crept back and looked at the wheat and drenched in salt and figure down in the hollow of the dunes before them all. The sand all around was wet hot white dry glistening sand was now wet like a sullen tear in the hollow. What's he doing one small boy asked one of the larger girls went down and touched with her is wet from. He didn't move. A bigger boy raced up alongside her and poked him gently with this foot then a bit harder he didn't wake up at al.

 

Thank for a cast. Is if they had killed him. But no he had died peacefully in his warm sun basking sleep among them or at least not far from them. For they were his friends. And they were horrified this slightly mean thing there were going to do to him. But they merely added cold witness to his son warmed corpse. For he definitely was dead. He had died not quite alone. Not far from their happy voices.