Thirty years after the day on which the Volksmoeder was murdered by the commander Magy, was a time of great distress. All the states that lie on the other side of the Weser had been wrested from us, and had fallen under the power of Magy, and it looked as if his power was to become supreme over the whole land. To avert this misfortune a general assembly of the people was summoned, which was attended by all the men who stood in good repute with the Maagden (priestesses). Then at the end of three days the whole council was in confusion, and in the same position as when they came together. Thereupon Adele, demanded to be heard, and said:— You all know that I was three years Burgtmaagd. You know also that I was chosen for Volksmoeder, and that I refused to be Volksmoeder because I wished to marry Apol; but what you do not know is, that I have watched everything that has happened, as if I had really been your Volksmoeder. I have constantly travelled about, observing what was going on. By that means I have become acquainted with many things that others do not know. You said yesterday that our relatives on the other side of the Weser were dull and cowardly; but I may tell you that the Magy 1 has not won a single village from them by force of arms; but only by detestable deceit, and still more by the rapacity of their dukes and nobles.
Frya has said we must not admit amongst us any but free people; but what have they done? They have imitated our enemies, and instead of killing their prisoners, or letting them go free, they have despised the counsel of Frya, and have made slaves of them.
Because they have acted thus, Frya cared no longer to watch over them. They robbed others of their freedom, and therefore lost their own.
This is well known to you, but I will tell you how they came to sink so low. The Finn women had children. These grew up with our free children. They played and gamboled together in the fields, and were also together by the hearth.
There they learned with pleasure the loose ways of the Finns, because they were bad and new; and thus they became denationalised in spite of the efforts of their parents. When the children grew up, and saw that the children of the Finns handled no weapons, and scarcely worked, they took a distaste for work, and became proud.
The principal men and their cleverest sons made up to the wanton daughters of the Finns; and their own daughters, led astray by this bad example, allowed themselves to be beguiled by the handsome young Finns in derision of their depraved fathers. When the Magy found this out, he took the handsomest of his Finns and Magyars, and promised them "red cows with golden horns" to let themselves be taken prisoners by our people in order to spread his doctrines. His people did even more. Children disappeared, were taken away to the uplands, and after they had been brought up in his pernicious doctrines, were sent back.
When these pretended prisoners had learned our language, they persuaded the dukes and nobles that they should become subject to the Magy—that then their sons would succeed to them without having to be elected. Those who by their good deeds had gained a piece of land in front of their house, they promised on their side should receive in addition a piece behind; those who had got a piece before and behind, should have a rondeel (complete circuit); and those who had a rondeel should have a whole freehold. If the seniors were true to Frya, then they changed their course, and turned to the degenerate sons. Yesterday there were among you those who would have called the whole people together, to compel the eastern states to return to their duty. According to my humble opinion, they would have made a great mistake. Suppose that there was a very serious epidemic among the cattle, would you run the risk of sending your own healthy cattle among the sick ones? Certainly not. Every one must see that doing that would turn out very badly for the whole of the cattle. Who, then, would be so imprudent as to send their children among a people wholly depraved? If I were to give you any advice, it would be to choose a new Volksmoeder. I know that you are in a difficulty about it, because out of the thirteen Burgtmaagden that we still have remaining, eight are candidates for the dignity; but I should pay no attention to that.
Teuntia, the Burgtmaagd of Medeasblik, who is not a candidate, is a person of knowledge and sound sense, and quite as attached to our people and our customs as all the rest together. I should farther recommend that you should visit all the citadels, and write down all the laws of Frya's Tex, as well as all the histories, and all that is written on the walls, in order that it may not be destroyed with the citadels.
It stands written that every Volksmoeder and every Burgtmaagd shall have assistants and messengers—twenty-one maidens and seven apprentices.
If I might add more, I would recommend that all the respectable girls in the towns should be taught; for I say positively, and time will show it, that if you wish to remain true children of Frya, never to be vanquished by fraud or arms, you must take care to bring up your daughters as true Frya's daughters.
You must teach the children how great our country has been, what great men our forefathers were, how great we still are, if we compare ourselves to others.
You must tell them of the sea-heroes, of their mighty deeds and distant voyages. All these stories must be told by the fireside and in the field, wherever it may be, in times of joy or sorrow; and if you wish to impress it on the brains and the hearts of your sons, you must let it flow through the lips of your wives and your daughters.
Adela's advice was followed.
These are the Grevetmen under whose direction this book is composed:—
Apol, Adela's husband; three times a sea-king; Grevetman of Ostflyland and Lindaoorden. The towns Liudgarda, Lindahem, and Stavia are under his care.
The Saxman Storo, Sytia's husband; Grevetman over the Hoogefennen and Wouden. Nine times he was chosen as duke or heerman (commander). The towns Buda and Manna-garda-forda are under his care.
Abêlo, Jaltia's husband; Grevetman over the Zuiderfly-landen. He was three times heerman. The towns Aken, Liudburg, and Katsburg are under his care.
Enoch, Dywcke's husband; Grevetman over Westflyland and Texel. He was chosen nine times for sea-king. Waraburg, Medeasblik, Forana, and Fryasburg are under his care.
Foppe, Dunroo's husband; Grevetman over the seven islands. He was five times sea-king. The town Walhallagara is under his care.
This was inscribed upon the walls of Fryasburg in Tex-land, as well as at Stavia and Medeasblik.
It was Frya's day, and seven times seven years had elapsed since Festa was appointed Volksmoeder by the desire of Frya. The citadel of Medeasblik was ready, and a Burgtmaagd was chosen. Festa was about to light her new lamp, and when she had done so in the presence of all the people, Frya called from her watch-star, so that every one could hear it: "Festa, take your style and write the things, that I may not speak." Festa did as she was bid, and thus we became Frya's children, and our earliest history began.
This is our earliest history.
Wr-alda 2, who alone is eternal and good, made the beginning. Then commenced time. Time wrought all things, even the earth. The earth bore grass, herbs, and trees, all useful and all noxious animals. All that is good and useful she brought forth by day, and all that is bad and injurious by night.
After the twelfth Juulfeest she brought forth three maidens:—
Lyda out of fierce heat.
Finda out of strong heat.
Frya out of moderate heat.
When the last came into existence, Wr-alda breathed his spirit upon her in order that men might be bound to him. As soon as they were full grown they took pleasure and delight in the visions of Wr-alda.
Hatred found its way among them.
They each bore twelve sons and twelve daughters—at every Juul-time a couple. Thence come all mankind.
Lyda was black, with hair curled like a lamb's; her eyes shone like stars, and shot out glances like those of a bird of prey.
Lyda was acute. She could hear a snake glide, and could smell a fish in the water.
Lyda was strong and nimble. She could bend a large tree, yet when she walked she did not bruise a flower-stalk.
Lyda was violent. Her voice was loud, and when she screamed in anger every creature quailed.
Wonderful Lyda! She had no regard for laws; her actions were governed by her passions. To help the weak she would kill the strong, and when she had done it she would weep by their bodies.
Poor Lyda! She turned grey by her mad behaviour, and at last she died heart-broken by the wickedness of her children. Foolish children! They accused each other of their mother's death. They howled and fought like wolves, and while they did this the birds devoured the corpse. Who can refrain from tears at such a recital?
Finda was yellow, and her hair was like the mane of a horse. She could not bend a tree, but where Lyda killed one lion she killed ten.
Finda was seductive. Her voice was sweeter than any bird's. Her eyes were alluring and enticing, but whoever looked upon them became her slave.
Finda was unreasonable. She wrote thousands of laws, but she never obeyed one. She despised the frankness of the good, and gave herself up to flatterers.
That was her misfortune. Her head was too full, but her heart was too vain. She loved nobody but herself, and she wished that all should love her.
False Finda! Honey-sweet were her words, bat those who trusted them found sorrow at hand.
Selfish Finda! She wished to rule everybody, and her sons were like her. They made their sisters serve them, and they slew each other for the mastery.
Treacherous Finda! One wrong word would irritate her, and the cruellest deeds did not affect her. If she saw a lizard swallow a spider, she shuddered; but if she saw her children kill a Frisian, her bosom swelled with pleasure.
Unfortunate Finda! She died in the bloom of her age, and the mode of her death is unknown.
Hypocritical children! Her corpse was buried under a costly stone, pompous inscriptions were written on it, and loud lamentations were heard at it, but in private not a tear was shed.
Despicable people! The laws that Finda established were written on golden tables, but the object for which they were made was never attained. The good laws were abolished, and selfishness instituted bad ones in their place. O Finda I then the earth overflowed with blood, and your children were mown down like grass. Yes, Finda! those were the fruits of your vanity. Look down from your watch-star and weep.
Frya was white like the snow at sunrise, and the blue of her eyes vied with the rainbow.
Beautiful Frya! Like the rays of the sun shone the locks of her hair, which were as fine as spiders’ webs.
Clever Frya! When she opened her lips the birds ceased to sing and the leaves to quiver.
Powerful Frya! At the glance of her eye the lion lay down at her feet and the adder withheld his poison.
Pure Frya! Her food was honey, and her beverage was dew gathered from the cups of the flowers.
Sensible Frya! The first lesson that she taught her children was self-control, and the second was the love of virtue; and when they were grown she taught them the value of liberty; for she said, "Without liberty all other virtues serve to make you slaves, and to disgrace your origin."
Generous Frya! She never allowed metal to be dug from the earth for her own benefit, but when she did it it was for the general use.
Most happy Frya! Like the starry host in the firmament, her children clustered around her.
Wise Frya! When she had seen her children reach the seventh generation, she summoned them all to Flyland, and there gave them her Tex, saying, "Let this be your guide, and it can never go ill with you."
Exalted Frya! When she had thus spoken the earth shook like the sea of Wr-alda. The ground of Flyland sank beneath her feet, the air was dimmed by tears, and when they looked for their mother she was already risen to her watching star; then at length thunder burst from the clouds, and the lightning wrote upon the firmament "Watch!"
Far-seeing Frya! The land from which she had risen was now a stream, and except her Tex all that was in it was overwhelmed.
Obedient children! When they came to themselves again, they made this high mound and built this citadel upon it, and on the walls they wrote the Tex, and that every one should be able to find it they called the land about it Texland. Therefore it shall remain as long as the earth shall be the earth.