Here we continue the telling of the story of Petrus and Rona. For Part 1, see COULD YOU RUN A LAP FOR ME? — PART 1
AS TOLD BY THE KING’S CHIEF GUARD TO HIS GRANDSON
When Adolf the goði arrived with his complaint, King Adalbert sat in his throne room with two ne’er-do-wells much like himself. Even though it was still early in the day, these gentlemen were assisting the king by helping him to sample ale. Adolf the goði stepped into this small party, and he asked permission to speak.
“My king, may I speak.”
“Yes, Adolf. What is it?”
Adolf then leveled his charge. “I have learned that Petrus worships some other god than your own, Ægir. Not only that, he calls this god the Creator God, the One God above all. If you wish to retain Ægir‘s favor, Petrus must be punished.”
The king took another drink. Then he asked, “How do you know this?”
Adolf replied. “Petrus runs up the crag every morning. At the top he stops to pray. This morning, from behind a bush, I listened to his prayer. He thanked his God for allowing him to give some of his strength to his woman.”
The king rocked back on his heels. Then he gave me my orders. “Aage, bring Petrus to me.”
So I sought five of my men, and I went for Petrus.
Petrus was a widely respected man. Not only had he achieved renown as an athlete, he was honorable and dependable. Yet here I was, ordered to take him to the king for punishment. Unlike his father, King Adalbert had no honor, and he had no respect for those who are honorable. Unfortunately, the old king was dead, and that made Adalbert the king. Spoiled, this lazy good-for-nothing had never grown up. Even though he was in his 50’s, the king and old enough to know better, he still just took what he wanted, ate like a pig, and drank toasts to his favorite god, Ægir. With his foolish greed and gluttony, he was destroying his own kingdom. Not even Ægir would approve of such an undisciplined beast.
We arrived at the shipyard, where Petrus worked shortly after the noonday sun had reached its zenith. We found Petrus, and I told him that the king wanted to speak to him. He asked why, I said the king would explain. When the shipyard boss asked how long Petrus would be gone, I said I did not know. I was just sent to fetch him. Thereupon, I ordered Petrus and my men to get moving. Petrus’ fellow workers grumbled, but none dared to stop us.
After the sun had marched half-way down from its zenith, we arrived back at the throne room. When Petrus and I walked in, we found the king and his ne’er-do-well friends still nursing flagons of ale.
As Petrus walked in, the king turned to him. “Petrus, what is this I hear about you worshiping another god besides Ægir?”
Surprised, Petrus said nothing. Then the king asked. I understand you gave some of you strength to your lady. Can you do that for me?”
Again, Petrus stood silent. The king waited a moment. Then he howled. “Answer me!”
Finally, Petrus answered. “I don’t know. My God made it possible.”
Then the king spoke in an angry whisper. “You will share your strength with me. Tomorrow you will strengthen me, or I will have your head and your woman’s head sitting up on poles. Now begone!”
I escorted Petrus to the entrance of the castle, and I walked with him across the drawbridge. Then I said: “I am sorry. The king has no right to do this.”
Petrus calmly looked at me. Then he thanked me.
Then I asked. “Petrus, who is this god of yours?”
Petrus said. “He is the Creator, Guard Captain. All that we see He made. He is our Father.”
“How do you know of Him?” I asked.
Petrus paused for moment. Then he said, “I prayed.” After another moment, he added this. “You already know the Creator exists. We have the majesty of the night skies, the glory of a sunrise, the mystery of a child’s birth…. Our legends — even legends of so-called gods — are not enough to explain such things.”
Then I asked him, “what will you do?”
“I will pray,” he said.
To Be Continued