Reidun Anderson stayed hidden even though she heard the screams of her parents and some of their friends and neighbors as they were slaughtered. The raiders had appeared with no warning. Her brother Sigurdr was covering the opening to where he had hidden her. She had protested when he shoved her into the cubby hole under the kitchen floor. Quickly Sigurdr covered the hole back up with the wood flooring. ”Shhh!” He let his fingers dangle through the crack and touched her small fingers for a moment and gave her a reassuring smile. “You’ll be okay little one.” Reidun smiled trusting in her brother’s words.
“Stay quiet Reidun. Don’t make a sound no matter what. Do you hear me?” She nodded, tears rolling down her face. She had shoved her thumb in her mouth and closed her tearstained eyes. It was an old habit that she had broken but in her fear it came right back. Sigurdr noticed but said nothing. She had heard the front door open and her brother Sigurdr stood up and grabbed his axe. Sigurdr’s voice rang out in a battle cry as he challenged the man. Swinging his axe Sigurdr managed to anger the large man. Reidun reached up toward her brother just as a blade pierced his chest and she yanked her arm back. She watched the light dull and disappear from her brother’s eyes.
Reidun whispered to her brother, “Sigurd?”
As she did a large fierce looking man yanked Sigurd’s body away and looked down through the floorboards at her menacingly.
“What have we here? A pretty little lassie.”
As the man bent over and was reaching for her, Reidun shrunk into the hole as far as she could in terror and then the man’s expression changed. “THUNK” went the axe that impaled itself deeply into his back. The man’s body was cast aside. Reidun closed her eyes in fear. She had gone into shock. She was quickly lifted out and held tightly by her father’s friend Erik Halgrimson.
At first Reidun was terrified and fought Erik as hard as a five year old can. After hearing his calming voice she realized who it was and clung to him like she might die if he put her down. Reidun was in his arms as he walked through the carnage. Six homes had been attacked and there was no one but little Reidun left. “Mama! Da!” Her little hands reached towards her parents bodies and Erik turned her away from them. Reidun cried and shook terribly. After determining that the rest of the family was dead he took the young girl home to his family.
Nine year old Aksel Halgrimson looked up from the damn he was building with some rocks and saw his father bringing the little girl home. Reidun was filthy from the hole under the floorboards and her face was tearstained. “Da! What’s wrong with Reidun?” Concerned for his friend’s little sister, he followed his father into the house. Erik put a whimpering Reidun down on the floor by the fireplace where she continued to shake terribly. Aksel heard his father telling his mother about the attack on Reidun’s family.
Aksel, realizing that his best friend was dead walked over to Reidun determinedly. He saw her shaking and wrapped her with a blanket. Thinking that she must still be cold he sat behind her and pulled her into his embrace and hugged her tightly. “It’s okay Reidun. Everything is going to be alright. I won’t let anyone hurt you, ever.” Erik told Gyda what had happened when he and some of the others in the village had gotten to the fight. He let his worried wife hug him and they turned to see the children and smiled softly. The two were hardly ever separated from each other from that day forward.