by Raven Kaldera

(From Angrboda to Sigyn)wolf cub


In the accounting of sons, it seems,

Only One-Eye’s tireless siring

Has brought him out ahead.


It was my sky-lads found him,

Wandering the heaths. They race the sky

Each day and night, my Skoll and Managarm,

In their deal with the Old Man, which I

Disapproved of, but they seem content enough—

Flight through the skies in exchange for keeping

Sun and Moon on track. It was they who found him,

A lone brown wolf, raging mad through the rocks

And lonely mountains, half-starved, tearing

At his own flesh. They cornered him, nosed him,

Herded him slowly to me. They had grown up

In the Wood, did not understand his fear

At entering. Are not all wolves welcome here?

Mother, can you heal him?



But he was no wolf, not to start with.

What had been done could not be undone,

Save one small part of it, and that I did.

I taught him to take back his own body, at least

Some of the time, when enough sanity lit

That darkened mind. He had no training in the

Were-gift; his father’s blood allowed the spell

To wrap him, but he was a sheltered creature

Of cozy hearthfire and fenced yard, he had no instincts.

We fed him, bound his wounds, my sky-lads held

Him with the warmth of their bodies.

We coaxed soup into his mouth when he sat

Staring at nothing, rocking back and forth.


Am I like him? he asked me one day. Not

Father nor grandsire, I knew what he meant.

No, lad, you are nothing like my great doom

Of a son. He is wrath, you are pain; he is at least

Whole in his rage, while you are broken

Like pottery on a stone floor. Hold still, I will paste

What I can with earth and spit and magic,

But some pieces are gone and madness leaks from the hole.


After all, I said to the air that was not my beloved,

I have some skill in mothering mad wolves.

I do not blame you, little child-bride; how could you know

The terrible fate our lover brings to his own?

And Odin pushed from one side, and I from the other,

And his own daughter from her cold kingdom,

Each with our own reasons. His women cried

For vengeance, for son and brother chained,

And I could only guess what One-Eye promised him—

You’ll be all right, I’ll see you aren’t harmed,

You’ll get away as you always do—how could he

Stand against us all, he whose secret weakness

Was the hunger for approval? No, he was lost,

And the girl-bride dragged into it, and now one dead as dust

And the other rocking at my hearthfire.


It was the least I could do.

I let him come and go as he chooses, feed him,

Give him warmth, as wolf or man. There is no healing

That my skills can give, so I send him forth,

A living memory of the ill-work that was done.

Laughing his soft, chilling, crazy laugh.

They let him come and go, As, Van, Jotun, all,

They feed him, give him a place at the fire,

Pretend not to show their discomfort—they know how unlucky

It would be to turn him away. He is the mad aunt

At the funeral, cackling, reminding them all

Of what they would not see. And when he is bad,

And the wolf circles and bites itself, my sky-lads come

And bring him home again, to what home I can give

Out of wergild for the one I did not intend to wound,

My sister-wife who threw away her home

The day that she walked down into that cave.