I confess it. I have become obsessed. I arose at what the human female calls "sparrow-fart" this morning and went in search of my beautiful maiden. A King needs a consort, does he not?
After hours of fruitless traipsing through dew-spangled grass, soaking my cloak, boots, and armor, I at last located the herd of horses and their caretaker.
But instead of my chestnut-haired beauty, the equines were being minded by an armed and helmeted giant of a besom! I knew at once–she is of the Aesir, like my dear foster mother, Frigga, and that strapping warrior Sif. The air of assurance (or in Sif’s case, smugness) on top of the muscles is unmistakable. Whatever is she doing in Midgard?
Hiding my disappointment, I marshaled the silver tongue for which I am justly famous. I greeted her politely and introduced myself. She was unimpressed. Keeping one eye on the vicious brute who bit me (I could indeed pick him out, and I swear he bared his teeth at me and licked his lips) and another on her sharp-looking broadsword, I inquired whether any of her horses were for sale. She sneered! At me! It took all my self control not to twist her ugly horned head from her lumpish shoulders and invent a new fieldsport with it.
When she was finished looking down her potato nose, she named a price so presumptuous I near slew her anyway. But if there is one thing at which I excel, it is biding my time. I pretended to consider and casually asked who it was I had seen minding the horses the other day.
What? That vision is the sister of this battleax? This harridan, Gunnehilde, is flesh and blood of my chosen, who is called Sigyn? Oh, fair Sigyn, how well I know what it is to have truly lamentable relatives!
In the end, I agreed to purchase one of the horses–the black looks a likely beast, with no taste for man-flesh–on the condition that Sigyn be present when I bring the payment as proof that she agrees to the sale. After all, how am I to know that Mistress Cow Horns is not busy selling someone else’s property? It is something I would do… (But I did not say all this out loud.)
So now I have but a few days to raise what amounts to a king’s ransom. But by Heimdall’s helm, I will have steed and maiden both!