Won’t Leave

Should I bother with any preamble or not? Whatever for? Ever have an image, a thought, a random notion get caught in your mental loop and refuse to whirl off as it ought in time? If so then you’ll understand why I’m writing this in an effort to clear my brainspace of a ‘story’ embedded in the “Lost Vikings” of Greenland segment that I posted earlier in the week.  I’m beginning to feel just a tad haunted by the fact that these people actually burnt a man at the stake for seducing a woman.  Think about that for a moment. A man and woman decide to engage in some sexual activity and he gets burned at the stake by his fellow-men. According to the rest of the information in the segment, the woman “did not last long” after that murder.  I gather she too died–but of what? By her own hand? After much sorrow and abuse by her fellow women and men? Could it have been from a broken heart?  Was she married to some man whom she didn’t care for and who made her pay for her sexual indiscretion? I don’t think there’s a way of knowing any of the answers.

Yet, there is the fact that a man was burned alive.  According to the written record of hundreds of years ago he “seduced” a woman. It doesn’t say he raped a woman. He s e d u c e d a woman.  Who murders anyone for having sexual relations? Well, the global news is full of all sorts of told and untold stories of people killed for adultery and women suffering honor killings for being raped.  All of these involve violence connected with sex in some way. In the Viking story the violence seems to come from some other part of the human thought system. Is it just condemnation? If so, how many other men and/or women would have been burned alive for seducing someone? If you think my mind is wandering into more sinister byways, you’re correct.  What was really going on in that community at that point in time? When murder is justified by claiming sexual wrongdoing I begin to wonder about motives.  Everyone wants motives, except our justice system which doesn’ want moral or ethical motives coming into court for people like Tim DeChristopher and Bradley/Chelsea Manning.

I’m wondering about this woman who didn’t live much longer after her seducer was roasted alive. Did she watch him burn? Can you imagine watching another human burning alive? Close your eyes and imagine that if you can: sounds, smells, sights.

Perhaps another word might be in order here–love. What happens when love comes into play? There’s no mention of “love” in the segment or the historical account. Were these just two lusty adults? Were they lovers?

Do we get jealous lovers? A triangle? A quadrangle? Forbidden relationships? Why?

Or is that taking it all too far?

What can kill a person without leaving a physical mark upon them?

What happens to a woman who watches a man die a horrible death because she and he had sexual relations —  by choice and consent? Or vice versa–a man watching a woman he cares for die in such a horrific manner.

I’m thinking there were some very angry men doing the staking and torching. Perhaps some women too.

Some men in the right positions to get away with murder via their own record keeping.

Maybe this is all completely off the mark of reality.

Still–their story, complete with all the unknowables, is keeping me company. It just won’t leave.




  1. September 20, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Though the circumstances were quite different,the images that came to me were of the burning of “witches” in Salem … how can anyone watch another human being burned at the stake and somehow feel justified. Not to mention in the name of their God. (But we won’t go there.) I am simply unable to comprehend it. I would be scarred for life. Sometimes just IMAGINING something like this – as you are experiencing – can haunt me for long periods of time.

  2. September 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Eva, I’ve read a fictionalized, but well researched and historically accurate book with this incident in it. THE GREENLANDERS by Jane Smiley. Very good book. Very very good book. You can get past this by knowing more.

    • September 19, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Hello Bear, thank you very much for the book reference. I will find a copy. Hope all is well in swampland.

      • September 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm

        I’ve read two other accounts from a different cultural point of view, but they were older, and the holes in my brain won’t let me remember the names of the books, which I no longer possess. These only had a couple of verifiable historical touch points, but did incorporate some archeological and oral background. I do remember most of the content, such as clothing, plant food, and why folk couldn’t just go out with their rifles and shoot caribou (like the Inuit in the docu.) but not the covers or copy write/publisher or Title page. I’m sorry.

      • September 20, 2013 at 3:17 am

        No need to sorry at all, Bear. I did put in a request for The Greenlanders by Smiley. Shall have a go at it whenever it makes its way across town.

  3. MisBehaved Woman said,

    September 19, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    “What can kill a person without leaving a physical mark upon them?”

    Soul scars…wounds that cut the spirit so deeply that it bleeds out energy until all of the light fades away…*poof*…

    • September 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Soul scars–yes–excellent way to put it, MisBehaved Woman. I can imagine the woman in this ‘story’ being wounded this badly by being part of this action on any level. If this was more than a seduction–if this was a forbidden love match–ooo what wounds this murder would inflict.
      I wonder what it does to the perpetrators? Perhaps it’s better not knowing…..


      • MisBehaved Woman said,

        September 20, 2013 at 1:24 pm

        No matter how I twist it around in my mind tho, I can’t fathom the *crime* that could possibly justify people feeling okay about bbqing on of their countrymen. I can see it in relation to or as retaliation for violent crimes…but I can’t get a grip on the idea as it would relate to love/sex. Aside from the anguish and horror the woman must have felt, imagine the thought of now having to live around/with/among the very people that burned someone alive. Maybe the stress from that idea alone could kill someone?
        As for the perpetrators…probably one of those instances where Karma seems to take far too long, eh?

  4. September 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    sometimes I think that these people do it out of envy- pure envy towards the feeling called love, which runs away from them

    • September 19, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Hello Sharmishtha, indeed, envy is a good motive for some people who aren’t getting something they want badly.

  5. September 19, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Thanks for your interest in “Sous nos Couettes”. We’re now following your blog.

    If you want to sharpen your international sense of humor, we do also have a French version called “Sous nos Couettes” : http://tailsfromparis.wordpress.com/.

    Thanks for sharing if you enjoy it too …

    Best from Paris, France

    • September 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      Welcome! Hello and thank you very very much! I will indeed surf the wonderful link you’ve left, Sous nos Couettes! Merci, Gracias, thanks. 🙂

  6. slpmartin said,

    September 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Some events once visualized in the mind are difficult to remove…if they are ever removed.

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