Far off Land and Unna
"There is someone in our room, someone I brought with me", Unna said.
"You brought someone with you?"
"Yes… I don't know if it's a man or a woman… such a lovely creature…"
This is how everything had begun. If only she hadn't saved that lovely woman… Unna recollected each possible step, however subtle, that had finally lead her to the gates of herself. She remembered how she hid and threw away the food that Alfarr's mother used to bring and how she was cursed. Then she came across Far off Land and took her home. Far off Land slept with Alfarr and Unna beat her almost to death but still wouldn't let her go. She took pity on her to see how frail and delicate she was. Yet there was this inviting femininity, inducing either extreme tenderness or cruelty in men and women alike. At times Unna felt she could have even mistreated this woman.
One day Far off Land said to Alfarr:
"Listen to me, I've come to tell you something important! Your wife Unna slipped into my heart. It didn't happen when I first set my eyes on her."
"Such a weird day it was, the day you slipped into our lives… but then you are so young… so easy to love. So it is her you love in the end. I'm not surprised, she is so provocative that even women's instincts are aroused."
"You should know I am prepared to compete with you in whichever way you want. If you want to fight me, I'll fight!"
"Yes, it was this violent temper of yours that made me give in to you and your feelings aren't less violent! When did it happen?"
"When did what happen?"
"When did you fall in love with Unna?"
"The moment she pressed her breast gently on my arm and I felt her nipples."
Alfarr lifted her chin and looked into Far off Land's eyes.
"But does she love you? Have you asked her?"
"No, I haven't but there is this sparkle in her eyes whenever she sees me…"
"Is this all, my child? A sparkle in her eyes?"
"No, wait! You see, she hides in her glances what she cannot speak. Didn't you notice the way she looks at me? She touches me as often as she can…"
"Only I am the one she sleeps with, I am her husband."
Far off Land took her by the hand and turned her head to look at Unna as they walked along. They entered a candle lit place and it smelled like roses.
"Roses! Are they for me?"Unna asked.
"Yes, all of them!"
"On what occasion?"
"Can you open the bottle, please? Thank you." Far off Land said to herself: "She smiles like when she is happy".
"On what occasion?"
"Well, yesterday I wanted to cook some vegetables in the frying pan and I was stirring into the pan, you know, and suddenly I realized I hadn't lit the fire… because I was thinking of you".
Unna took the cork and put it into the garbage basket. Then she said:
"Let me think… you thought of me… when was it? I must remember what I was doing then, it's the telepathy".
"No, that wasn't what I meant, Unna!"
"No? Then what did you mean?"
"I mean… I'd like to seduce you".
"Seduce me?" Unna smiled. "Why?"
"Because… you stirred up a gallant knight inside me… I look at you now and my urgent need is to protect you…"
"Now that we're having this intimate discussion, I must tell you I don't have fantasies with women. I feel attracted to everything manly and only men can satisfy me. I love manhood and all the force it brings about and I'm so in love with my husband! I once tried something with a woman… she was very sensuous… she made the proposal and we went to her room but… I didn't like it. I remembered how I kissed my hand when I was little but it meant something then… It was like kissing myself".
"Forgive me, Unna, I may have misinterpreted your hints. Your glances… forgive me but they were so languishing… your smile…"
"I am a joyful person, a playful pixie as you call me. I laugh and have fun with everyone. I'm glad we had this discussion and you didn't offend me at all. Far off Land, I'm sorry! I hope you won't suffer too long".
"For you it's worth suffering".
She said that and pressed her lips on Unna's wrist.
Unna felt empty now. How can you fill an empty chest? She remembered that children are often capable of more ruthless misdeeds than grown-ups. They run to the wounded butterfly that distracted them from playing and shake the dust off its wings to make sure it won't fly again.
"Go back to her! See how she languishes, can't you see?"
"Your mirror is lying… she understands too well how another woman takes a refusal… she understands I won't go back. You came to deceive me because you never accepted her as daughter-in-law. She used to throw your food away, she didn't sit with you at table and stood and ate beside you."
"Only it doesn't matter too much how I feel about her. Do your feelings not matter at all, my lady Far off Land? She doesn't need to know you are back."
A foreign guest was announced for Alfarr late at night. He invited the beautiful knight inside and asked him to dine together.
"Tell me, young man, what business makes a brave knight come to my place at this hour?"
"I know you are at war with your cousin and I came to offer you my help, if you will accept it."
Unna turned to him and said:
"Such gallant youths, you know, so good in battle… the same at leaving burning marks on ladies' wrists." She stretched her arm under her husband's eyes and their guest startled.
"You tell me, beautiful youth", Alfarr said, "how do I act if a besotted fool is longing to sleep… nay! He would slay a thousand enemies of mine only to caress Unna's nipple with but his fingertips".
"I would challenge him to fight but only if…" and the knight looked at Unna and she smiled back, "only if she agrees."
Unna ran at her and kissed her so fiercely that she almost bit her lip. Then Alfarr pushed Unna aside and drew closer.
"No, Far off Land, I won't fight you because we slept together and you certainly are trained in all kinds of pleasures. Your womanly charms defeated me. And since I want to forget it and to punish you for intruding in our lives again, you'll take the fiercest oath of all. From now on you cast your womanliness off and deny yourself as you were. You'll be a man, act like a man and dress like one. Oh, I mustn't forget to be generous! I have a gift for you, which I believe should assuage this gruesome duty. I sent for a far off land lady to be brought here and wedded to you. Isn't that something after all? Your name holds in it that, where she comes from… from so far away…"
"Still you can't surpass your mother. She proved a lot worse than you."
And while they were at war with Alfarr's cousin, the unknown lady's journey began and lasted many weeks. She kept asking her servants:
"Who is the lord, my would-be husband? What does he look like? I know that if you are promised to someone, most of the times you can't fall in love."
So they arrived at last. But Far off Land wouldn't go to see her bride. They waited a whole day long and the servants tried several times until the young lady couldn't refrain her tears any more.
"But why won't he see me? All these weeks I dreamed of him on our way…"
Unna heard the poor girl and took pity on her. She took her by the hand and moved aside the veils hiding Far off Land's chamber. The lady saw her and grew sick with love and said:
"Oh, how handsome he is! My heart aches."
"She is a woman but took the oath of becoming a man under punishment. But to you, I think, it doesn't matter for your heart is settled."
Far off Land lifted her eyes and caressed with a glance the lady's unhappy face.
"You have come a long way but you have come in vain! No wedding will take place. Go back to where you belong, my lady!"
She turned to Unna like a scalded child:
"She didn't even ask my name!"
"Do you think she will love you more if she knows your name?"
A long battle came to an end. Alfarr brought home wounded Far off Land and pushed her into Unna's arms.
"It isn't a deep wound, you'll be safe", she said.
Unna reached her hand out to touch her cheek and Far off Land raised it to her lips.
Unna blushed and glanced at Alfarr.
"Aren't you ashame of my husband?"
"I think I should be, yes, I made a fool of myself and all, took that oath upon me and have lived a miserable man's life since… Even under a spell it wouldn't hurt that much! Look at me and laugh! Such a besotted fool… not even one hour of love in exchange… All was in vain, my lady doesn't love me. I shouldn't have come back".
Then, as if she had seen someone rather than remembered her:
"I did deserve to die today, I am no better… I once broke a lady's heart… so sweet and delicate she was…"