|Old Farmer Halvard
Author: gkmoberg1 PM
A short story that both leads in to and out of the novel Let The Right One In. The story contains two threads which eventually converge.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Chapters: 12 - Words: 11,246 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 01-19-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7757373
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is a story consisting of two threads, which combine at the story's end. I wrote this story while experimenting with writing. I wanted to see how well I would do at writing from different points of view and in different styles. You'll see that pretty quickly as you read along. The Oskar & Eli thread is a good adventure but is written in a lighthearted manner. The Norwegian thread is where I was trying to push myself to see what I could do. The tone for this second thread varies. Regardless, I hope you enjoy this story. Please leave me a note!
Thanks to my proof-readers and reviewers: Siv, Pete and Clubby! You guys are great.
Old Farmer Halvard
[This story was first posted by me, gkmoberg1, in July 2011 on the forum "We, the Infected."]
The old, old farmer, Halvard, opened one eye. It was the dead of night but starting at this time of year it was always night.
He knew who it would be. It would be the little fairy that visited him and the farm on these northern Norwegian months of endless darkness. Normally she would climb in through the shutter all by herself and snuggle in beside him. But on the first days of her annual return she would always knock first and seek permission to enter. He didn't know why she always asked. It had become a ritual. For the last forty-three years she had come annually like this. He had grown to look forward to it. It was a delight to be awakened to. It meant that mid-November had arrived, a milestone on the approach to Jul.
Slowly he righted himself. He placed his two aging feet onto the cold wooden floor and set up straight. Gah, the little room was cold! His little place on the farm was always cold. He no longer lived in the main house. Two decades ago he had passed the farm along to his sons, as his father had once done for him - and his brothers - and he had moved into the tiny grandparent house, the føderådstue.
His bones ached. He extended a finger through the closed shutter.
"And who might it be at this hour?" He asked, pretending that he did not know.
"I was about to ask the same of you!" It was that beautiful little voice. Same as last year. Same as the year before that. Always the same.
"But I have gone and asked you first. So you must tell me. Who is it that comes knocking at my shutter in the depths of night, over the snow, and through my gårdstun (farmyard)?"
"It is I. The same I who visited you last winter."
"And how is it that you have found your way again to my house? And why come you here? Why not the visit my sons at the våningshus (main house)?"
She giggled as she always did.
"Because I know the way. And because I find the låve (hay barn) too lonely and the fjøs (livestock barn) too crowded."
"Then, yes, you are welcome here, dear little sprite who always arrives in the dark, sings to me in the dark, curls up by my side and yet disappears by the first light of fading winter. You, dear, are welcome - as welcome as anyone could ever be. Come in dear child, dear pixie, and get yourself out the night's cold."
And using his arthritic old skinny fingers he pushed open the shutter and in she climbed.
For the next months she told him, nightly, stories of her year. She told him of the places she had visited and the adventures she had undergone. He would always doze off to sleep while she spoke and sang. And he would awake to find her gone. But he also knew that while she was there for those few precious months that she was nearby. By day she was not ever to be seen. Yet the old, old farmer had figured her out. Not much got by an old Halvard. He new that by day she hid up into the roof of the hay barn, up behind a makeshift weatherboarding that he made sure to keep well reinforced - he wanted her to have some warmth. And he never disturbed her during the day, always fearful she would spook and flee forever.
He had never learned her name. That was part of their magic. And he had never told his sons about her. They would know him to be crazy from such a story! So it was fast his secret and he would never tell.
And she had never told him the truth. That too was part of their magic. And she never told him the entire story of her life. That would destroy more than the magic. The truth was her terrible secret! And she could never tell him. But this yearly visit filled her heart with love. Love for him and the love he gave back to her. For this time each year she could sing her songs quietly in the night to a gentle aging soul and he would listen endlessly to hear her stories.
She knew this could not go on forever. He was getting so old and frail; she could tell. She wondered "This year, 1882, could it be the last?" Of course last year she had thought the same. And the same the year before that. Always the same.
She hugged him in the darkness, told him about warm seaports to the south and lands where folks stayed up late and laughed loud far into the night. Eventually she and he became quiet and both fell asleep.