COULD YOU RUN A LAP FOR ME? — PART 1

The Arcadian or Pastoral State. Oil on canvas, 1834, by Thomas Cole
The Arcadian or Pastoral State. Oil on canvas, 1834, by Thomas Cole (from here)

“Grandpa, would you tell me the story about Petrus and Rona?

“It is late Tim. It is time for you to go to bed.”

“Could you tell it to me as a bedtime story, Grandpa? Please!”

AS TOLD BY THE KING’S CHIEF GUARD TO HIS GRANDSON

When I first heard the story Adolf had told, I could not believe it. What possessed my lord to believe such a thing? Yet he was the king. So when he told me to fetch Petrus, I had to obey.

Petrus lived in the town with his lady.  Her name was Rona. Petrus and Rona treasured each other. They had grown in the little town of Teetering Rock playing together, and they married each other.

Petrus was skilled in the construction of longboats, but he was better known for something else.  He was a powerful athlete, a superb runner. From time he was sixteen his fellow villagers counted upon him to represent them at the games, and he always returned victorious.

Petrus had a habit that one of the goðar (that was Adolf), a careful observer, noted with interest. Every morning, he went for a run.  He jogged up to that large boulder that teeters atop the crag overlooking the valley. Once there, he stopped to pray. To what god he would not say, but after awhile, he ran back down to the village.

Over time, Petrus’ habit became well known, and even in the countryside where all the men labor, they admired his stamina and speed. Thus, his fellows would jokingly ask: Could you run a lap for me?”

Like her mother, Rona was a fine weaver. She would patiently weave the most beautiful designs into woolen tapestries. She would spin and carefully dye the wool. Then she would carefully craft her designs. Her most noted creation the king had purchased and hung in his castle, somehow thinking she had created it for him. She had, however, thinking of Petrus, woven a picture of the great rock teetering on that massive crag because he ran there each day. She used her profits as her dowry.

A few years after their marriage, Rona began to slowly waste away. She had never been strong. Quiet and graceful, but never strong. Yet now it seemed she would fade away. She did not complain, and she still tried to work, but Petrus saw she was dying.

Petrus took Rona to the goðar, but her illness left the goðar puzzled. The goðar‘s puzzlement only increased when something suddenly arrested and even partially reversed Rona’s decline. Yet none could help but notice how Petrus and Rona reacted to each other. The hard, toughen competitor thought only of his lady’s desires and comfort. The lady forgot her weakness and gave all her attention to Petrus.

Adolf decided to investigate. To him, Rona’s cure smacked of sorcery, not that Adolf objected to sorcery. His concern was which god was involved.

Several days after Rona’s recovery had become obvious, when Petrus arrived a the top of the crag and stopped to pray, Adolf was hiding behind a bush. Adolf heard Petrus softly speak these words.

Creator God, One God above all, thank you for giving me Rona’s life. Thank you for allowing me to give her some of my strength.

She my soulmate. Just as you intended, she complements me. When I am too hard, she softens my heart. When I am too practical, she holds me back to watch the sun rise. She fill my eyes with the beauty of a new day.

When I hold her, I am filled with peace. When smiles, her joy becomes mine. Thank you, my God, for making her mine to love and protect.

Slowly, Petrus got up, stretched, and then he started his run back down the crag. Adolf watched Petrus head down the hill, now understanding Petrus’ diminished strength. He quietly raged. Creator God! One God above all! This people worships Ægir! How dare he?!!!!!!

Then Adolf took his story to the king, and he demanded the king do something, that he punish Petrus by having him flogged and publicly humiliated.

That’s when I was sent to fetch Petrus.

To Be Continued

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