Holding it, I clambered over the stone after Freydisa, and followed her down the passage. Before we reached the end of it the lamps went out, so that we must finish our journey in the dark. Thankful enough were both of us when we found ourselves safe in the open air beneath the familiar stars.
“Now, how comes it, Freydisa,” I asked, when we had got our breath again, “that this Wanderer, who showed himself so threateningly upon the crest of his grave, lies patient as a dead sheep within it while we rob his bones?”
“Because we were meant to take it, as I think, Olaf. Now, help me to fill in the mouth of that hole roughly—I will return to finish this to-morrow—and let us away to the hall. I am weary, and I tell you, Olaf, that the weight of things to come lies heavy on my soul. I think wisdom dwells with that Wanderer’s bones. Yes, and foresight of the future and memories of the past.”
IDUNA WEARS THE NECKLACE
I lay sleeping in my bed at Aar, the sword of the Wanderer by my side and his necklace beneath my pillow. In my sleep there came to me a very strange and vivid dream. I dreamed that I was the Wanderer, no other man, and here I, who write this history in these modern days, will say that the dream was true.
Once in the far past I, who afterwards was born as Olaf, and who am now—well, never mind my name—lived in the shape of that man who in Olaf’s time was by tradition known as the Wanderer. Of that Wanderer life, however, for some reason which I cannot explain, I am able to recover but few memories. Other earlier lives come back to me much more clearly, but at present the details of this particular existence escape me. For the purpose of the history which I am setting down this matters little, since, although I know enough to be sure that the persons concerned in the Olaf life were for the most part the same as those concerned in the Wanderer life, their stories remain quite distinct.
Therefore, I propose to leave that of the Wanderer, so far as I know it, untold, wild and romantic as it seems to have been. For he must have been a great man, this Wanderer, who in the early ages of the northern world, drawn by the magnet of some previous Egyptian incarnation, broke back to those southern lands with which his informing spirit was already so familiar, and thence won home again to the place where he was born, only to die. In considering this dream which Olaf dreamed, let it be remembered, then, that although a thousand, or maybe fifteen hundred, of our earthly years separated us from each other, the Wanderer, into whose tomb I broke at the goading of Iduna, and I, Olaf, were really the same being clothed in different shapes of flesh.