The Good Woman and Huldukona: an echoing yes to life and to love

Once, or maybe twice, in that time when things we dream really do happen there was a woman in Iceland who trusted her dreams, she was a good woman. She was a hard working peasant woman, married to an average kind of hard working man. There was nothing much remarkable about their lives. They lived each day as best they could. They worked hard. They had little, but they had enough. Life was not easy for them, but it was their life and they made the best of it. To look at them you would find nothing very remarkable. And yet if you stood with them for a while you would feel a depth, a resonance, a rootedness.

One night as this good woman slept, she dreamt that the elfwoman Huldukona came to her. In the dream, Huldukona asked her to put two quarts of milk a day in a bowl, and to set it in a corner behind a cupboard. Huldukona asked the woman to do this every day for one month. Huldukona explained that she needed the milk for her child, the child of her heart and hearth. The good woman was moved by compassion and promised elfwoman that she would do this.

In the morning when she woke, the good woman remembered her promise, and put the milk in a bowl in the place Huldukona had pointed out. The good woman did this even though she and her husband had only enough to get by. Every day for one month the good woman put out the bowl of milk. And each day when she returned the bowl was empty. The good woman was faithful to her promise and continued her gift faithfully each day.

At the end of the month, Huldukona again visited the good woman in her dreams. Huldukona thanked the good woman for her kindness, and asked her to accept the belt she would find in her bed in the morning when she rose from her sleep. Huldukona then dis-appeared.

In the morning, when the good woman rose from her sleep she found a stunning hand wrought silver belt, more beautiful than anything she had ever seen, the gift of the grateful elfwoman.

 

When we think of heroes the first image that comes to mind is likely to be that of a warrior – a strong burly man engaged in a physical struggle of muscle and violence. But, today I am inviting you to think again. This good woman was a hero, maybe a new transformative kind of hero. She trusted her dream and her vision. She was willing to give from her heart to nurture a life. She believed in what was asked of her. She said yes to life and to love. What could be more heroic? And yes, in the fable she was richly rewarded in the end for her generosity, but I think that may well be beside the point. The point for me is that she said yes to life and to love … in a small unremarkable way, but in a way that made all the difference for those to whom she responded. And that made all the difference to them.

So, today in some small way, let us each wake up and say yes to life and to love, with a small act of kindness and generosity giving just a bit more than we might have first thought we were able, because after all, kindness and generosity are an echoing yes to life and to love.

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