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.