Saturday, 9 April 2016

A Child is Named

This legend struck me as indicative of a brutal historical reality: girls who became pregnant before marriage might be faced with the terrible choice of financial and social ruin, or the murder of their children.

A Child is Named

During the dark period of the year, on the ways where folk often walk, it has happened that some have heard a sound, as if a small child wept and would follow after them. They did not know what it might want with the people who walked there, but some old women thought after this manner: that a girl has killed her child and hidden it in the mire, and the child had no name. So they gave it such a name that is not suitable for people–pin-head or needle-eye–and since that time, no one has heard any child crying.

–Collected by Just Qvigstad from an unnamed informant in Kvænangen, in the county of Troms.

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