Late one night, winds did howl a death song to the sun
Came a knock and a shudder – a scratch upon the hall
Was it wolf? Was it orm? Or jötunn come to kill?
Heard we spears upon our roof, clatter as they fall.
Mothers sleep, children dream as men get clad for war.
Armor donned, helmet on with spear and shield in hand.
Heard they cows in the barns lowing in their fear
Through the door, into the night, they search the frozen land.
Wives awake, children cry, what monster now has come?
As they hear the shouting men, the clashing, gashing din
See! the door is shoved and cracked. A fearsome, cackled growl
Have the wolves come tonight? Is Fenris clawing in?
Growling voices heard outside, yipping in their glee.
Girls are screaming, boys are seeking swords or sticks or bows.
Men call out to those inside to save themselves and flee!
Wives are armed with butcher knives, awaiting their new foe.
Now they hear naught without – no man or cow in barn.
Winds are howling – lo, hear growling – from outside the door.
Axes thunk and chop the door; it cracks and then it breaks.
Women muffle fussing babies underneath the floor.
Goblins hiss and goblins shout, they search the hall for more
Devour they the food they find at table and on hearth
Laughing now that we have fled they cheer their cunning plan
But from the cellar under foot come cries from the dirt.
What is this? A babe we hear and there beneath our feet?
They swipe the rug that hid the women ‘neath the wooden door.
Cellar opened: women scream, babies cry and children weep
But jumps out Ragna with her knife and fells her goblin foe!
Jumps out Ragna, whipping blade, fells her now another!
Goblins reel back now afraid as she rushes forth.
Bounds now Ragna, thrusting blade, fells her now a third!
They shriek but Ragna strikes, her blade seeks now her fourth.
Looms Ragna over goblins, clothed in scraps and hides.
Ragna’s arm goblins slash, its blade returning red
Flaxen hair cascades to shoulders, legs are planted hard,
Breasts heaving and apron swishes as goblins trip on dead.
Grabs she now a wooden shield a goblin corpse did give
Guarded now she onward comes cutting air and screaming
Valkyrie, as strong as man, she trades knife for mace
Then spots her chance and out the door, Ragna goes a-running.
Followed her did the beasts, streaming from the hall
First one out was first one down, skullbone hewn in twain
Chase was on, second now follows on her heels
Spear thrown, caught on shield, Ragna falls away.
Her enemy had found again the courage that they lost.
Pushed they now with sword, spear, and axe all together .
Ragna, screaming, fell as one pierced now another
As goblins slaughtered, first her, then in the cellar.
Returned they then to feasting upon our great hall.
Evil endings had we that first winter in the North.
Nothing left remained, no man or maid or child.
Vowed we that day to reclaim our new hearth.