Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
After working for eighteen years for Bailiff Jon, Bjartur is at last able to buy, with a heavy mortgage, the croft (small farm) called Winterhouses. Proud of his new status as a landowner and fiercely independent, Bjartur promptly renames the place Summerhouses. It is a poor place, fit only for sheep grazing. The house, which Bjartur rebuilds, consists of one room over the stable. The walls are of sod, and the roof is made of a few sheets of corrugated iron covered with turf. Nevertheless, it is his own place, and Bjartur is determined to be a hired workman for no one and to put his trust in sheep. He chooses for his wife the twenty-six-year-old Rosa, a small, sturdy woman with a cast in one eye, who was also in service to the bailiff. Rosa is disappointed in her house, and Bjartur is disappointed in Rosa. He soon finds that she is already pregnant. He suspects, and is sure much later, that the lover is the bailiff’s son, Ingolfur.
After a few months of marriage, Bjartur leaves on a cold winter day to look for his sheep. Seeing a buck reindeer in the woods, he jumps on the animal’s back and attempts to subdue it. The reindeer, however, is too strong and takes off in mad flight for the river. With Bjartur still holding on, the animal swims downstream and finally lands on the other shore. Bjartur, nearly frozen to death, stays to recuperate at a nearby croft.
He returns home after several days to find his wife dead from childbirth and a baby...
(The entire section is 1144 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Independent People Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!