Heimdall’s 8 Section 1
Letter – H
Name ‑ HAGALL
Meaning ‑ HAIL
Planetary Rulership ‑ SATURN PASSIVE (URANUS)
Gemstone ‑ ONYX
Flower ‑ FERNS
Number ‑ 8
Arthian ‑ MORGANA LA FEY
WEATHER ‑ COLD SLEETY WET
Disruption, fate, Surprise, circumstances beyond querents control, Gestation, Fertility rune.
In all situations where chance is involved to encourage lady luck to smile on you.
Disruption. Sudden change and earthly limitations. Circumstances over which the querent has no control. Change for the better, or possibly worse. The results are usually good. With this Rune, a temporary hardship may lead to completely unexpected good fortune.
“No!” Inga pulled her breast from her son’s mouth and hitched her dress over her shoulder before she ran to the house’s doorway. The telltale thunk of hail pounded against the thatched roof. When she looked out balls of ice as big as her son’s fist were pounding into her garden.
Hurrying, she grabbed the planks that were to become an extension on her house and leaned them against the fence, sheltering her vegetables from the falling ice. She was careful to avoid the thorns on the wild rose that wound around the fence to denture the pigs.
Having done what she could, she looked past the barricade around her garden. Her herd sheltered under a line of trees standing desolately, enduring the pounding ice because they could do nothing else. The pig and her piglets in the outside pen huddled under the half roof Sweyn had thrown up over the corner of their stall because in his kindness he thought it would be more comfortable for the pigs when it rained. Despite the disaster befalling her, that silly thought made her smile.
Then her eyes shifted again, and she frowned. Beside the pasture the field of wheat Sweyn had planted before he shipped out was being pounded flat.
“All that work and nothing!” she muttered and sadly turned and went back to her son who was crawling towards the smouldering fire pit.
Sigyn stared over her father in law’s ruined crops. “Why didn’t you do something?” she snapped at Tuborg who was newly returned from the sea and stood beside her watching the devastation.
“It’s hail. What can anyone do?”
“You should have done something! At this rate, I will never get my house. Inga has a house, and Sweyn became a captain a year later than you.” Sigyn tossed her head then stormed into her Mother in Law’s hall, her wide backside slamming into the door jam as she walked past.
Tuborg closed his eyes and felt a tremor run through his body. Then with a sad resolve moved to help the thralls pull planks over his mother’s vegetables. The delay fighting with Sigyn had caused meant that they’d lost the cabbages.
An hour later, the storm was over. Tuborg and his father walked the flattened fields talking in low voices.
“There’s no profit in it this year. Even if we have a late fall, there’s not enough time to take a wheat crop off.
“The trading will have to serve,” remarked Tuborg.
His father sniffed. “We’d need Andvaranaut’s ring to weather the storm this hail has cast us into. A few lucky trades won’t get us through this. I owe for that shipment of silks you brought in. I… I’m going to have to sell one of the ships.”
“Father?” Tuborg sounded shocked.
“Son, between your mother and that wife of yours, we’re lucky not to be sold into thralldom. Your brother is half a hand on the farm at best, and his wife, well she’d not good for much ‘cept popping out fresh mouths to feed. I blame myself. I never wanted any of you to work as hard as I did, but I went too far in the other direction.”
Tuborg looked at the pockmarked ground that the melting balls of ice was turning to mud. “Father. I…”
The older man gripped Tuborg’s shoulder. “Not you, son. I won’t lie, I was worried about you for a time, but the sea taught you what I didn’t. Came late, but it came. The rest though, they spend skatt as quick as we make it. Hail is something there is nought to do about. You can’t command it, and it does what it will. It’s just the storm caught us with our sail up. We need to get through this year, and that will mean buying food, or we’ll starve. To do that I need to sell one of the ships. I just don’t know who I can sell to. No one round here will have scatt to spare after this.”
Tuborg stared at the ground. “Sigyn won’t like it.”
Tuborg nodded. “She’ll like staving less, though a little famine might do her good.”
“Didn’t want to say anything, but she would be stable in a high sea.”
Tuborg smiled. Since becoming a captain, he’d grown to understand his father better. He almost considered the man a friend. “Broad across the beam.”
The two men laughed then sobered, and Tuborg continued. “Sweyn and Ingrid have been saving up to buy a field from old Ginmir. And she’s got a good thirty head of cattle.”
Tuborg’s father sighed. “I don’t know how I’ll pay him anyway, but if he allows the wages I owe him to go towards the boat.”
“He may not have enough. The hail would have hit him two.”
“Make the offer. If he has enough to get us through the year, I’ll carry the debt. Sweyn’s an honourable man. He’ll pay in full, even if it takes a year or two.”
Ingrid stood beside her father, looking over Sweyn’s flattened wheat field.
Her father, a wiry man with long, grey hair and a bit of a gut clad in a simple brown work tunic and trues, stroked his beard in thought. “There should be enough time. If we move on it. When will Sweyn be back?”
“End of the week. But I don’t want to wait. Getting seed oats will be difficult if other people have the same idea. Can I borrow your thralls?”
Svafnir smiled at his daughter. “As soon as I’m done with doing the thing you suggested in my own fields, they’re yours. Can’t do nought about some things but make the best of them.”
Ingrid hugged her father. “I’ve left little Svafnir with Sweyn’s parents. Being wood wrights, they don’t have much in the way of fields. Loftveig never liked us moving out of her house. She likes being a grandmother.” Releasing the embrace, Ingrid began gleaning the wheat field.
When Sweyn arrived, Inga and her father’s thralls were planting the field to oats.
That evening Sweyn was surprised when Tuborg appeared at his door. The horn of hospitality was filled with mead, and they passed it back and forth, declaring the peace bond between them before any business was begun.
When the warm glow of the good mead had encompassed both of them, Tuborg began to speak “With the hailstorm my father can’t afford to pay you your portion of the cargo.”
“I can’t afford to forgive the debt. If you need more time, we can talk. If you mean to cheat me, I will bring it before the þing.”
Toborg looked grim. “I understand, but my father sees another way. You’re a fair man, Sweyn, and a strong captain. Time won’t help my family. We need money now. My father wants to know if you would buy one of our ships. Fold your wages and captain’s portion into the boat and trade what silver you can, and if Ingrid can let us have some of her cattle that would be welcome as well. If you don’t have enough, we could hold up to a quarter of the price as a loan, and you could pay us off over the next year or two when the new trade is running.”
Sweyn felt Ingrid’s hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t know. They’re Ingrid’s cows, and we were planning on adding to Ingrid’s house.”
“Don’t be silly. I know you’ve always wanted a ship of your own.” Ingrid bent down and kissed Sweyn’s cheek.
The simple act of affection sent a wave of melancholy through Tuborg. “Hagel, some things simply are as they are and must be endured.
Ingrid turned to her guest. “Now what exactly is your father asking, and what about the trade for the rest of this year.”
Sweyn looked from his wife to Tuborg. “Let’s set a price, then we can start on the details.”
When Tuborg lurched drunkenly down the path towards his father’s hall Half of Ingrid’s cattle were traded, reducing the fodder her herd would need, and the small chest of skatt Sweyn kept in his sea chest was empty. One of the three skeid in the harbour was now owned outright by its young captain. The expansion of Ingrid’s house was put back by at least a year. The hail had disrupted life bringing hardship and unexpected good fortune.
Autumn came, and the ships were grounded for the winter Sweyn helped harvest the Oats that would see them through the frigged months.
The hail had broken the old pattern and allowed for new growth. There was that in the world that couldn’t be controlled and had to be endured. How one endured determined success or failure.
“Why do we have to have oat bread again? Couldn’t you trade for wheat? You are so useless!” Sigyn tore at the dense loaf before her and dipped it into the beef stew that she’d drawn from the cauldron in the centre of her mother in law’s house.
“The hail destroyed the wheat crop. We were lucky we could get seed oats so we could replant the fields,” observed Tuborg
“Always an excuse. I deserve better than this. Thrall, refill my horn.” Sigyn held out her empty horn. A dark-haired pubescent girl in a tattered brown tunic stepped over to take the horn.
“Thank you, Gerda,” said Tuborg.
The girl’s Saxon features tinted pink with a blush as she smiled and dipped her head then backed away.
“Thanking a thrall, you’re a fool!” snapped Sigyn.
Tuborg sighed. “The hail comes, it is what it is, and maybe yes I have been.” He drained his horn and staggered to his feet.