The Eight Pointed Rose


Preface

JUNE 1978

The bedroom was silent and the curtains were closed, leaving little light in the room. A few beams managed to break their way through the curtains and light up the subtle dust which soared slowly in the air.
   The door was ajar and from there light also poured. Near it the siblings Tómas Hinriksson and Elísabet Hinriksdóttir stood. They watched their elderly mother closely, who lied almost motionless in the ghost-white bed. Just now she had asked for Áróra, her granddaughter, since she was her favourite.
   Soon Áróra came running into the bedroom with a doll in her hand. It was as if she lid up the room with her youth. She walked directly to her grandmother’s bed. The large cut wrinkles in the old woman’s face felt deeper than before. When Áróra senior saw the little girl who bared her name, she smiled even though it hurt.
   “Are you sick, granny?”
   “A little bit.”
   “Do you want Magdalenu?” She can cure you,” Áróra said and handed the doll over to her grandmother.
   “Thank you,” Áróra senior said and laid the doll next to her side, whispering that perhaps this would make her feel better.
   Tómas cleared his throat. “Mother, shouldn’t we take care of the business which ... which needs taken care of?” he asked and took a step forward for emphasize. Áróra ignored her son. She didn’t even take her eyes of her grandchild, which was like a sunbeam midst in the darkness.
   “Do you know why I asked for you, my dear Áróra?”
   “No,” the girl replied.
   “I want to give you a small gift.” The old woman began to cough. Her fragile body twitched. Áróra junior noticed blood in the cloth that her grandmother put in front of her mouth. “A very special gift,” she continued with difficulty, needing to cough more but resisting. She pointed to the wall above her and asked her daughter Elísabetu to bring her the quilt, which hang there in between pictures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. Elísabet complied.
   “I made this quilt myself when I was young and it has never left me,” the old lady said and handled the quilt with her delicate fingers. Her skin reminded Áróra junior of fish skin. “I want you to have it. Apparently no one can bring anything with him where I’m going.”
   “Where are you going? Don’t you want to play?” Áróra asked.
   “Not today.” She handed the quilt over to her grandchild, which looked at it and felt disappointed, since usually her grandmother gave her nice dolls. However, she had learned prober manners and hid her disappointment with a big smile. Her grandmother wasn’t fooled.
   “Perhaps you won’t value the quilt now, but one day you will. It’s the key to my treasure,” her grandmother said and smiled mysteriously.
   “Do you own a treasure?” Áróra asked with her eyes wide open.
   Her grandmother nodded and added that the girl should pay special attention to the 12 symbols in the middle of the quilt. These were called eight pointed roses: “Don’t you think they’re beautiful? The eight pointed rose has been a part of my life since I was a small girl like you. My father, your great-grandfather, introduces it to me and now I’m introducing it to you.”
   “Like your father?”
   “Yes, like my father. He also taught me to read the rose. Do you know what that is?” her grandmother whispered and leaned nearer.
   “No, what’s that?” the girl asked with curious eyes.
   “A secret which dates back many centuries, all the way to the fierce Vikings, but few know of today,” her grandmother said, still in low voice.
   “Can you teach me?”
   “I’m sorry, dear. I’m afraid I don’t have time to teach you how to read the rose right now.”
   “Later today?”
   “Yes, later today. I promise ...”