17/09/2009

Bjorn in english, chapter 3

Cathy Landergan, qui traduit Bjorn le Morphir en anglais, m'a envoyé le chapitre 3 il y a déjà un moment. Le voici for those who are interested :

 

3

 IT’S UNLEACHED

December 23rd, after the meal, everyone gathered in the back of the common room, to assist in the long awaited duel. I would confront my brother in front of everyone, and I was ill at ease. Gunnar, bigger and stronger than I, had practiced with weapons for a long time. I had little experience, and only had one title or glory with the bow and arrow.

I won’t describe the battle against my brother, which became one of the worst moments in my life. Gunnar pulverized me without pity. My sword Gnarler jumped from my hands three times, and twice I found myself with all fours up in the air. My brother’s weapon, like my own, covered in a thick cloth, couldn’t cut or stab. I got out of it with my body as black and blue, as was my soul!

My unraveling had been public. My father, who I admired so much and hoped I would be like some day, had seen what a weak warrior I was. My cheeks were burning with shame. For the first time in my life I hated Gunnar.

I did find some comfort in the eyes of certain spectators : my mother, my sister and also the half troll Dizir. I also saw a tear on the cheek of Sigrid, the oldest mute.

So this poor girl had sympathy for me and I ignored it.

“Tomorrow I will give my sons instruction”, announced my father, standing up to go to his chamber. “Dizir and I will show you how to hold a sword !”

Gunnar paled at those words because my father seamed to make no distinction between the two of us: the winner and the loser. I felt some sense of vengeance.

The next day was Christmas. Mother told us the story of the Baby Jesus, while my father, ostensibly with his back to the gathering, continued writing his memoirs. Every so often he stopped to laugh at what his spouse was reciting, as she ignored him. Maga, the mute sisters, Inge and I, were fascinated by the story of the Christian God’s son. As for the half troll Dizir, he cried with emotions several times.

”I zo love thiz woman, thiz Marie” he said. “I would have loved to know her more than the Baby Zesus even! I would have been her confident….”

“There is no room for stinkers of your sort in the life of the Gods”, screeched Drunn the Shepard.

He and others were reserved during my mother’s tale, but I could tell that they were listening carefully.

When my mother was finished, Erik stood up loudly.

“Now lets get to important things”, he said. “Instruction!”

Surely, to take arms on a day like today seemed sacrilegious. My father worried little about Christian holidays ; he probably liked to shock my mother.

She was, as usual, like stone.

The men of the house followed my father to the back of the room. You could see the excitement. Oh yes, to see Erik handle the sword, was worth it!  My father was amongst the best warriors in the country. No sane man would have confronted him without apprehension, and even Harald our king, feared him.

The half troll Dizir seemed calm though, approaching his master, sword in hand.

“He’s probably paralyzed inside”, I thought.

The fight began, with bared swords. But there was the deception ! No duel, no authentic confrontation: we were witnessing as calm and depressing as a math lesson.

With the movement of puppets, my father and Dizir showed us several moves, and the way one stands firmly on ones legs. We learned the name of each part of the sword, how they were forged, and where the best ones come from. To the amusement of Hari the fisherman, I remember that Gunnar was as disconcerted as myself. 

It’s at this point that my father looked at us, his son, with a grave look, and I think, a certain emotion.

“But all this is worth nothing”, he declared. “Lessons aren’t worth anything. One thing means more than anything, to keep your cool…. You, Gunnar,” continued father while turning towards my brother “you’re too hot blooded. You absolutely have to calm down !”

The look he then sent my way was severe.

“As for you Bjorn, it’s more serious. You don’t have enough blood...” It was a polite way to say I didn’t have enough strength, that I was a softy. I felt a tightness in my chest.

The battle against Gunnar had only served to increase my natural repugnance towards weapons and violence. How was I to gain my father’s respect, a man who excelled by his actions, in these conditions ? I was better off giving up right away; learning to live with the idea that I would never equal Gunnar in Erik’s heart.

Christmas night was terrible. For hours the snow was relentless ; our poor house creaking with pain, fighting back under the grip. We were shaken up like sailors in the hold during a stormy night. My little sister and I hung on to each other, terrorized, while Maga recited strange prayers, half pagan, half Christian.

We all stayed together in the common room, reassured a little by my parents’ presence, who appeared calm. Only Gunnar stayed alone in his room that night.

“Let me sleep, I’m tired”, he growled to Dizir who, asked by my mother, had come to get him.

“If it’s even possible to sleep on a night like this !” The truth was that Gunnar was proud. He had second thoughts however, because we found him the next morning under a beam, his bed almost completely covered with mud and dust.

The ceiling in his room had caved in, in two places, without the snow being able to find a way in. A true miracle.

“My little one !” screamed Mother.

But Gunnar was alive, in bad shape, but alive.

The other rooms also had suffered. Several wall showed signs of fatigue. In my parents’ room, the wind was coming in through a hundred new and worrisome cracks. Our food store had moved a good yard towards the west, and the walls were tilting dangerously.

While we were looking at the extent of the damages, Drunn the Shepard was following Dizir with nasty looks, as if the Troll was responsible for the situation we were in.

We decided to move the beds and food in the common room, and condemned the rest of the house. Before we closed the doors for good, we recouped all the material that we could use to reinforce the four remaining walls.

We would have to stand each other night and day, 24 hours a day for months maybe.

To be continued...

16:53 Écrit par Thomas Lavachery dans Le morphir en anglais | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Facebook |

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