P. Edronkin

The Story Of Rype



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Life has some surprises in store for the most unlikely individuals, and as Borges would have it in his Lottery of Babylon, you get the prizes that come to you, and you can't refuse them, good or bad as they might be; one day you may be living a splendid childhood, and the next one, you may watch everyone around you pass away; you may survive as a savage, and then become a millionaire.

In May 1349 a ship carrying wool and other cargo sailed from England, not to touch port ever again with a crew alive; it was the time of the Black Death as it swept thorough Europe after decimating the population of China, India and the Middle East. The sailors of the ship must certainly have contracted the infection as they left port, and as they died one by one at sea, the vessel was left adrift.

Some time later, in the area around Bergen, in Norway, local inhabitants saw it abandoned, and as they went aboard in order to take whatever they could, they realised that it had brought them quite an unexpected visit: the plague. It was already too late when they could connect the mystery of a well-provided and stocked, fairly intact ship with the fact that its crew died a horrible death from which they had heard only rumours one or two years ago. The Black Death had arrived at Scandinavia.

As it happened in the rest of the then known world, people began dying as their relatives, friends, priests, doctors and the local authorities watched helplessly, before dying themselves. Some died a week after catching the plague while others just lasted a few hours, and as in the case of countless towns, those who could just left everything they had behind and fled to wherever they could. No family was spared: every single person either died or saw a close relative or friend perish.

Some of the well-to-do inhabitants of the city went to a place called Tusededal, in the nearby and beautiful mountains. There they built for themselves a new village, just hoping to survive the incomprehensible evil that fell upon them, but as fate would have it, they were not and everyone died, except a small girl.

As so many towns, farms and cities, Tusededal was soon forgotten for there was almost no one left to remember it: there was simply not enough people to care for what was left, for the disappeared and the dead ones. The very essence of society was destroyed to a point hard to imagine even in an age of mass destruction weapons.

But some years later, someone discovered this girl living in the wilderness like an animal, completely feral and savage; she was taken back to Bergen, christened as the 'Wild Bird' or Rype, and was soon assimilated back into Norse society. Then she married and even had a family.

But the most curious part that fate reserved for her, the only survivor of Tusededal, was that being the only person left alive, she became entitled to all the lands, properties and belongings left there by the disappeared families that fled inland in order to save their lives, and ever since then the Rype family became one of the wealthiest clans in the whole region.




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