The Fox and The Maiden Fair: Knots Archive of Our Own
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
Finally, Sigvard stands, saying out loud, over the noise from the guests. “It is time for the bedding!”
Cries of excitement and laughter are filling the hall. The warm feeling provided by the ale goes away from Emer instantly. Ivar’s expression is stern. Emer is cold.
She is nervous about the wedding night. She knows Ivar has expectations. She just doesn’t know if she can fulfil the role. Emer recalls the noise when she was sleeping in Sigvard’s house as well as Thora’s teasing that very morning.
What if he doesn’t like her? Could he send her back to her father? She dreads this possibility. She would be ashamed, a pariah. Touched and tossed aside by her father’s enemy.
She should be brave, if this man has the intention to hurt her, taking revenge upon her body because of her father’s actions, she would not show any sign of pain. She wonders if she would be as nervous as she was now if her mother was by her side.
Endless couples have faced a wedding night. Her mother, sister, Thora, Borghild, all the married women in Ivar’s village. Now her time has come. It was the natural order. She would not be a maiden forever. As her mother became a woman, and her mother, and her mother, until the beginning of times.
Accompanied by Thora and Borghild, she goes to the bridal room to prepare for her wedding night. The bed is enormous, the headboard is beautifully carved. The sheets are part of the dowry she brought with her. Furs on top of them. On a table, she sees two gold goblets and a tankard of mead.
She asks her attendants. “More drink?”
The women laughed. “It is tradition that the couple drinks mead each night for the next month. It is considered unlucky to run out of mead before the end of the month.”
A gentle rain is pouring outside.
Borghild says joyfully. “Thor is blessing you. The rain is always a sign of fertility, as we need the water to grow the crops.”
Thora added. “May Thor, Freyja and Frigga bless you with a child tonight.”
Borghil helps Emer to remove her dress and change into a white shift.
When they are finishing, the door opens. Ivar enters. Six people behind him. The witnesses.
Thora gives her a hug, whispering. “Everything will be fine. Don’t be afraid!”.
The women leave the room. Ivar and Emer are alone now. He comes forward, looking at her from head to toe.