And how we thereby lost all our southern lands and Britain to the Golen.
Near the southern mouth of the Rhine and the Scheldt there are seven islands, named after Frya's seven virgins of the week. In the middle of one island is the city of Walhallagara 1 (Middelburg), and on the walls of this city the following history is inscribed. Above it are the words "Read, learn, and watch."
Five hundred and sixty-three years after the submersion of Atland—that is, 1600 years before Christ 2—a wise town priestess presided here, whose name was Min-erva—called by the sailors Nyhellenia. This name was well chosen, for her counsels were new and clear above all others.
On the other side of the Scheldt, at Flyburgt, Sijrhed presided. This maiden was full of tricks. Her face was beautiful, and her tongue was nimble; but the advice that she gave was always conveyed in mysterious terms. Therefore the mariners called her Kalta, and the landsmen thought it was a title. In the last will of the dead mother, Rosamond was named first, Min-erva second, and Sijrhed third in succession. Min-erva did not mind that, but Sijrhed was very much offended. Like a foreign princess, she wished to be honoured, feared, and worshipped; but Min-erva only desired to be loved. At last all the sailors, even from Denmark and Flymeer, did homage to her. This hurt Sijrhed, because she wanted to excel Min-erva. In order to give an impression of her great watchfulness, she had a cock put on her banner. So then Min-erva went and put a sheep-dog and an owl on her banner. The dog, she said, guards his master and his flock, and the owl watches that the mice shall not devastate the fields; but the cock in his lewdness and his pride is only fit to murder his nearest relations. When Kalta found that her scheme had failed she was still more vexed, so she secretly sent for the Magyars to teach her conjuring. When she had had enough of this she threw herself into the hands of the Gauls; but all her malpractices did not improve her position. When she saw that the sailors kept more and more aloof from her, she tried to win them back by fear. At the full moon, when the sea was stormy, she ran over the wild waves, calling to the sailors that they would all be lost if they did not worship her. Then she blinded their eyes, so that they mistook land for water and water for land, and in this way many a good ship was totally lost. At the first war-feast, when all her countrymen were armed, she brought casks of beer, which she had drugged. When they were all drunk she mounted her war-horse, leaning her head upon her spear. Sunrise could not be more beautiful. When she saw that the eyes of all were fixed upon her, she opened her lips and said:
Sons and daughters of Frya, you know that in these last times we have suffered much loss and misery because the sailors no longer come to buy our paper, but you do not know what the reason of it is. I have long kept silence about it, but can do so no longer. Listen, then, my friends, that you may know on which side to show your teeth. On the other side of the Scheldt, where from time to time there come ships from all parts, they make now paper from pumpkin leaves, by which they save flax and outdo us. Now, as the making of paper was always our principal industry, the mother willed that people should learn it from us; but Min-erva has bewitched all the people—yes, bewitched, my friends—as well as all our cattle that died lately. I must come out with it. If I were not Burgtmaagd, I should know what to do. I should burn the witch in her nest.
As soon as she had uttered these words she sped away to her citadel; but the drunken people were so excited that they did not stop to weigh what they had heard. In mad haste they hurried over the Sandfal, and as night came on they burst into the citadel. However, Kalta again missed her aim; for Min-erva, her maidens, and her lamp were all saved by the alertness of the seamen.