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Sun Quest

Part 1 - Southbound

by and © Ruwen Rouhs

Chapter 2

Aegir was born in the far north on an island where the sun never set in summer and never rose when thick snow covered the ground. Already as a boy of six, Aegir had decided to leave his family, his clan, his homeland and to venture to the south, where the sun was shining all year long in summer and in winter.

Aegir had had two reasons to leave his family, his village and his clan. Reason one was the sun. He wanted to know what it would be like to live in a country where the sun shone every day all year long. He had told this to his mother, "Mother, when I pass the rite of passage and become a man, I will travel south. I will ask Sol, the goddess, to steer her golden wagon to our island, every day, the whole year long! Look we all are pale! The summer is short and the winter never seems to end. I will ask her to come with me and stay here!"

Aegir had a second reason, an even stronger one. This reason however was his secret, his big secret! He wasn't going to tell anyone for the sake of his life, not even his mother. The red-haired boy was the son of the clan chieftain. He was a prince and his father had given him the name Aegir, meaning "sea-giant". According to the tradition he was supposed to get married to another chieftain's daughter after he had obtained the status of an adult by the rite of passage and later become chief himself. The marriage arrangement was supposed to strengthen the friendship between the clans. In accordance with the tradition the clan chiefs betrothed their children when they both were only four years of age. Neither Aegir not Gullveig, his wife to be, had been asked for their assent.

Aegir knew Gullveig very well and liked the fair-haired maiden, but he didn't want to marry her. This wasn't her fault. Gullveig was a beautiful girl with soft skin and ginger hair that shone as bright as the sun. When she grew older, every teen around had the hots for her, but not Aegir. He didn't want to marry her, neither her, nor any other girl. It was not Gullveig's fault; it was the fault of a dream.

As a boy of six, Aegir had had a dream the night before the summer solstice. This was the strangest dream of his short life so far, a dream he could never forget. In this dream he met a boy with curly black hair and with a dark and shiny skin like the coat of a bear cub, coal black eyes, red lips and teeth like the first snow in winter. They kissed each other and walked away holding hands. Together they walked towards the sun. From the first moment on Aegir knew what to call his friend. He called him Curlyhead.

Next morning he asked his mother, "Are all boys foxy-haired like me and my friends?" His mother smiled and mussed up his blazing red hair, "No! Sure not!" then she laughed out loud, "Sure, around here all boyshave ginger hair. But ask Bard Heymir when he comes here next winter. He can tell of boys he met on his voyages, of boys with light brown hair, of boys with dark brown hair and even with hair black like coal! The farther south he rambled the darker the hair and the skin of the boys got!"

These words made Aegir feel warm all over and he jubilated, "So I was right when I dreamed I had a friend with dark hair, with curly hair darker than the fur of a bear cub!" and then he added proudly, "When I am old enough, I travel south and marry him, marry my friend, marry my Curlyhead!"

Just then his father came into the hut. He started laughing "Come on my brave boy!" and he Aegir lifted up into the air, "You are a boy! You are my brave boy with a little, little woody. But eight years from now you will be a big boy and your little woody will be a big woody and then you will become a man and you will marry a princess and you will father many little Aegirs with your big woody and after my death you will be chief of this clan!"

"But I don't want to marry a girl! I want to marry my curly cub, my Curlyhead."

"But you are a boy and boys are supposed to marry girls!" his mother smiled and tussled his blazing red hair.

"If I can't marry him, I will make him my brother and we will stay together for all time!"

Aegir did never forget this dream! He day-dreamed about the dark-haired boy on and on, but never talked about his dream to his father again, because he knew his father was a determined and serious man, a man that would never change his mind. He knew his father's answer in advance, "Forget about that vision my boy! You will be my successor and you have to marry a king's daughter and never a dark-haired boy! Like it or not! You will be my successor!"


On this island all boys celebrated the rite of passage in the year they turned fifteen. The big celebration always took place on the night preceding the summer solstice. While all his peers were excited and proud Aegir's heart was sad. Naturally Aegir also was proud to become a man but at the same time he was sad, because the celebration of his wedding to Gullveig was scheduled for the next day. He knew this night he had to follow his dream and go south to catch the sun. Otherwise he had to marry Gullveig and stay in this dark country for ever. He had to make the decision now!

After the celebration of the rite of passage had ended and everybody was drunk, even his wife to be, Gullveig, Aegir went down to the beach. Looking up to the star-covered sky he called on his tutelary spirit: "Big Fylgjur! Holy Spirit, my Helper and Guide, help me on my way to the sun! Help me find my Curlyhead, my bro, my love!" A long time he stood there waiting for a sign of his tutelary spirit. Just when he turned to go back to the village a shooting star crossed the sky and Aegir left his people like a ghost in the middle of the night. First he crossed the sea with a frail boat, then the wide grassy planes in the north and then travelled through forested mountains further to the south. He had been travelling for more than ten months when he came to this place three days ago.

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