Project Redux: Hail, Halfrid
Poeming Kristin Lavransdatter
One thing Kristin is spectacularly bad at is forming friendships with other women. This separation from those who could help her leaves her defenseless when she is most in need. But there is one woman she never meets who does her an incalculable service: Halfrid, the first wife of Kristin’s betrothed, Simon.
Poor Halfrid gets a total of four pages in chapter 5, “Husaby,” from The Wife. We learn she was wealthy and highborn but sickly. She was generous to Simon when he slept with her maid and got the woman pregnant—she even allowed the child to live in their home. She must have been happy to have a son because her first husband beat her so badly that she had trouble bringing a pregnancy to term. Her son with Simon died quickly, as did she, after childbirth.
And then Halfrid disappears from the narrative for more than 100 pages, …
Read the rest of the post and a poem inspired by the hymn “Hail, Mary, Gentle Woman” at Project Redux.