The following is a chapter of Frithjof, the Viking of Norway, by Zénaïde Alexeïevna Ragozin.
“Let Bele’s sons send out the war call from vale to vale! I go not to the field. In Balder’s halls — there is my battlefield, there is my world!”
Such was the sum of Frithjof’s broodings after Hilding’s ill-omened visit. All his thoughts now centered on one fierce intent: he would see Ingeborg once more, would speak with her, assure himself that neither wile nor violence could take from him the love that was the sunshine of his soul. At peril of his life he would enter the sacred enclosure. He opened his heart to his blood-brother Björn, who little recked of law or danger, so he could serve his beloved Frithjof. They consulted together and decided to let Ellide take them some night to that part of the temple grounds which, bordering on the sea, was easy of access, unguarded, and unbarred. They managed to let Ingeborg know of their coming, so that she was watching for them and met Frithjof a short distance from the place where they landed, as he made his way alone in the pale dusk of a Northern spring night. They bent their steps from the strand towards the temple, and Frithjof, feeling the maiden’s slender frame tremble on his supporting arm, whispered to her words of courage and of cheer:
“Beloved, why quakest thou? Thou hast no cause for fear. Björn stands out there with bared sword and warriors enough to guard us, should need be, against a world. I myself would brave a world for thee, to hold thee thus. ‘Twere joy to be borne away to Valhalla’s heights, wert but thou my Valkyrie: to have thee bend over me as I lie on the bloody field, look in my face with thy dear eyes, then lift me on thy wind-winged steed; to soar with thee —up, up, to Odin’s heavenly halls— what fate more blessed? What whisperest thou in such affright? Is it Balder’s wrath thou dreadest? Why, he cannot be wroth with us. He too did love, the gentle god, was faithful unto death. Did he not love sweet Nanna, his wife, even as I love thee?”
As Frithjof spoke, they entered the temple. Even there the darkness was not so dense but that they could dimly perceive the god’s carved image in its prominent position. He drew the timid maiden towards it.
“See!” he said. “He is near. How mildly he looks down on us! Come, bend thy knee. There is no sight in the wide world more pleasing in Balder’s eyes than two hearts plighting their troth for life and death.”
The prayer which Ingeborg offered from the depth of her pure heart, and the many soothing words uttered in her friend’s familiar voice, partly banished the maiden’s anxious fears. It did not seem natural to her to fear when he was with her. Nor could she feel that she was doing any wrong in conversing with him as she had done all her life unchidden. So the hours sped swiftly on in loving, innocent communing. Still, she did not forget the danger which Frithjof was challenging by his daring deed, and it was she who noted the signs of coming day — the lark’s early song, the first rosy streak of dawn; but not before the sun had burst forth in unclouded splendor could Frithjof tear himself away. But not for long. Emboldened by the success of this first venture, he repeated it again and again, and these nightly meetings became the one joy of the two young creatures so wantonly parted by one man’s wicked pride of rank.