The Woods Wanderer

Thunor sought home, after a faring. He fought Thurses in the East, he now wished for warmth of his hall. He came to some woods, but did not know his way through. He did not look forward to finding his way alone. Though, to great luck, or so he may have thought at the time, he saw an old man sitting upon a stone, near a grove of ash trees.

“Eala! Old Man! I seek a way through these woods. I long for the frith of home, dear friend. May I ask your name? May you help me?”

The Old Man says, “Call me Grim, or Wind Wolf, or Wise Wanderer, or any tally of names I hace been given. I know these woods, Red Bearded. Though I know not whether to help you, or leave you be. What have you done of worth, Thunor? Who are you to be worth my help?”

“I am the Rain Bringer! It is I who brings water to earth from the heavens! Who are you to ask me this?”

“Oh, me? I am but a wanderer. One who has begat many lines of Kings in the Old Lands. You’re the one who the churls speak of? What is so great to say of such?”, spoke the Old Man.

“If it were not for me, the Stone Thurses would have stolen the cows and water from great and small man alike! If it were not for those who work the land and do the works of the folk, who would hold up the lines of Kings you have put forth? A King without a folk to lead is no King at all.”, Thunor boasted.

The Wanderer went on, “There are good men and great. I give will to the great and lead such men to do great things. They seek me for the folk to know their name far and wide! That I may give it to them, that is. The churls and theows give to you for rain! There may be great men who gift you as well, and good men who seek me. Though we all have our burdens, do we not?”

“My place is among mine, and my might to show to those who would harm them, would fall before me. Old Man, I tire of this. Might you show me the way through these woods?”, and Thunor, in truth, did tire of it.

“Follow me, and I will take you where I wish. For these woods are mine, and I go where I choose. I may lead you out, but you will do so as I wish.”

This brought anger to Thunor, but he was wise enough to know when he had no way to get what he wanted. He went with the Woods Wanderer. Though trust he did not this shadowy fellow, or his outlandish boasts. He saw great sights in these woods, and loved the woods so, but Thunor always has a hard time finding his way through them. In anger he would swing his hammer, bringing a whole woodland down, but he did not wish to do this.

The two came across a meadow, where they saw a wolf alone on one side, and what looked like his pack on the other. Yet, the lone wolf could not get to them. The Wanderer spoke, “I have been to many places, and have learned many things. World Wandering, World Weary, I have paid greatly for great knowings. From the First Days on, I have wandered. Great knowledge and runes have shown themselves to me. I know first, and last, life, and death. Yet, I do not know if you know these things as well.”

Thunor said, “I know the first, for I was born. I know not last, but have held dying men in my arms. I know life, for I live. I know death for what I have done has brought much of it. I have brought death to hold life. Life to stop death. I have not died, nor do I wish it. Gift from the Mother is life, I do my best to make the most of it.”

World Wanderer spoke, “I have been alive, I have been dead. I know its works. Can you see the kin of wolves on the other side of the meadow?”

“Yes. Though I see not why this one here cannot get to them.”, Thunor gave back words.

The Wanderer took up the wolf, by its throat, and put spear in its chest. He then heaved it, and threw it to the other side of the meadow. It came to life and met its kin! Thunor stared in wonder at this. “I have been there before. We are not Men, Thunor.” The Wanderer said.

“No. We are great, but we are not known if Men do not know our greatness. The Éotens will not look upon us as good, for they only wish to take from us. As you say, we all have our burdens.” Thunor let show his hammer, to show he understood, “My place is home, now. Would you tell me the way if you wish not to take me?”

“Take the path to the right, there will be a great hill to climb that way, and between the oaks at the top, is the way out, and your way home.  For I must go left. Through the meadow and back out, the ash marks my way home. For someone so mighty, a climb up the hill should be no great deed. Is that how you would have it? Farewell.”, said Grim.

Thunor wended up the path to the right, but looked back. The new farer wended his way through the meadow. But with his mantle gone, he saw what could only be a God. Tall and fair, with a wolf hide over his shoulder, and a glowing spear in hand. His Mayn could be felt from as far away as Thunor was, but only a sight could he get, and then the new farer was gone. Thunor wondered upon the sight, but more glad so he was, for the warmth of his home and hearth.

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