Two Leopards and a Snake (and SHOES!): A Tale in Ingeborg’s Voice

By Megan Willome

Well! Did you see that new girl? Tiny drops of blood on her brand-new blue dress! Imagine!! 

The first thing I did was ask her about her people but she didn’t say much so she mustn’t be anyone all that important! Although she is betrothed to that very handsome knight’s son! She’ll have it way better than me and old Einar Einarsson (I ask you! What sort of name is that?!?!) Oh, that man will be my greatest sorrow!! But he’s rich and that’s good because I plan to make him buy me lots of clothes and I do like clothes! I showed Kristin all my gowns but she didn’t seem to be that much into clothes so I knew what I had to do: I had to take her shopping!!

We set out for the spring festival and that ugly old Haakon fussed at me! But he can’t hear for anything so I giggled and took Kristin’s hand and dragged her to the shoemaker’s! She didn’t want to go but really you should’ve seen the shoes she brought with her! Maybe those are okay for some barn dance up where she’s from but not here in the city full of luscious young men! Hey, a girl can flirt! And I can flirt!!

There was a gentleman in the store with a cape that was to die for and the most dashing sword but Kristin didn’t notice him at all! I made him step aside and Kristin! This girl! She looked positively scared … of shoes!! Anyway old Didrek was trying to get her feet into something halfway decent while I was trying on a whole bunch of gorgeous new arrivals and I bought these super great green ones with red heels! Finally Kristin bought something! (Thanks be to God!!!) We also got ribbons!!

Which would’ve been a perfect day! Great job Ingebørg! Way to citify this country bumpkin! And then the whole thing got almost ruined because of two leopards and a snake!!!

Everyone was screaming and running and jumping into boats and I almost got trampled by a horse! But Kristin! That girl was not listening to me AT ALL!! She wanted to find some monk she knew but I ran into the forest cuz I knew this path that she didn’t know about because she’d only been at the convent like three weeks! Then we saw a farm and I was like, Great! Look at all these handsome young men drinking and having a picnic! And they said they’d take us home only they were definitely not taking us home right away! Which was fine and dandy with me but then Kristin paid them off and they were not happy!! One man asked her for a kiss and a purse!

Now all we had was what ribbons and shoes, which I’m sure he didn’t want but Kristin wouldn’t even give him a kiss! Just one little kiss, you know? I would’ve given him a kiss he’d tell everyone about!! Maybe Kristin’s never been kissed before. Maybe she doesn’t know how much fun it is to kiss someone you’ll never see again!

Well Kristin got into it with this German and he broke her necklace! (So sad!!) But then someone was coming and I screamed since Kristin was too busy fighting these grown men when … hallelujah!! The man from the shoe store with the cape and the sword came to our rescue!!!

Kristin bless her heart did not know how to behave when rescued by a man with good fashion sense! She’d like to have fainted! But I plopped down all provocative and sad and arranged my braids just so, you know, over my very ample breasts and would you believe Kristin laughed at me!! So I went and talked to the man but he had his hand on Kristin’s shoulder and next thing I knew she was riding with him on his horse! (Only because I can’t actually ride that well and I definitely do not have the clothes for it though I will make sure to buy some on my next trip to town!) They talked the whole way back (grumble!). When we got home we had to stay up and pray till midnight and when I finally got in bed I fell asleep right away like bam no nightie-night!

But I thought a lot about those leopards that Kristin got into it with and how they honestly might have made a lot of trouble for us if not for our rescuer with the quiet voice and beautiful eyes and lovely cape and sword! He tried to get me to take a message to Kristin but I wanted no part of that! I wanted to dance with him all by myself!! But he wanted Kristin all to himself

Oh well. I still had a fun time with Munan, who actually is a knight—unlike this Erlend fellow—and who gave me the loveliest gold buckle! Munan told me all about Erlend, who’s his cousin, and now I think that man is a snake!! And Kristin! She spent the whole night with him! Her! Betrothed! So the next day I told her what Munan told me, about how Erlend took this woman away from her husband! and had two kids with her! and then had to run off to Sweden! and got excommunicated! and owes a ton of money! It was a whole huge deal!! 

Kristin said she knew what she was doing but just because a man is handsome doesn’t make him a catch! Can he buy you all the shoes your heart desires? Not if he has to pay the church a bunch of fines! Anyway I’m going to town today to go shopping! Who knows what a girl might find! Cuz when my Einar comes to get me I want him to know he’s got it good!!!


Megan Willome is a writer, editor, and author of The Joy of Poetry, and Rainbow Crow, a children’s poetry book forthcoming in April 2022. Her day is incomplete without poetry, tea, and a walk in the dark. Find her on Twitter @meganwillome and Instagram at @meganwillome, or online at meganwillome.com

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