1089. December 30. I have heard a tale, and such a tale it was! I will write a poor song from it but I must finish it later for I have neglected my duties long enough. Here is its beginning but not its end.
Wealthy was Thorhall when winter struck
fast the fruitful glades of fertile Shady-vale.
Thane feared not though thick twined the mists
through rock and rill. Rich was Thorhall,
sky-wailed shrieks shattered not his lands.
Cattle and kine clustered in herds
forest-thick. Fearless his fief against all harm.
Happened one hour that a Hell-pit
groaned and disgorged a ghost most foul.
Death-walked the wight in wretched Shady-vale
lashed at the living with lonely death,
gore-soaked gullies grim in the glooming.
Shepherdless the sheep for no shepherd dared
to wander the wild wraith-rode ruin…*
* I wrote this poem in the Norse style from a period prose piece “The Gretis Saga.” Caitlin lives just north of what was the Danelaw, and her deceased husband was Anglo-Dane. And since the Beowulf poem also came from England, I felt confident that she would have been familiar with this style of writing. You can read the complete poem here.