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Gordon's Knot

by Jennifer Milne

My neighbor Mrs. Henriksson was a princess. At least, that’s what she always said.

“I come from a very long line of ancient Viking warrior princesses, Mary Gordon,” she would say in her thick Nordic accent.

She regaled me with wild tales of her ancestresses the shieldmaidens sailing across the untamable seas, fighting Saxon pirates and going on epic journeys. She said her great-great-something or other grandmother fought raiding marauders out of her village while nursing her baby in her arms.

On one such adventure, she told me, one of her ancestresses found the fabled Tíðknut. Tíðknut meant “Time Knot” in Old Norse and was a piece of rope that had been braided from the hair of the Norns—the Norse equivalent of the Greek Fates. Mrs. Henriksson said the legend was that Norns themselves had given her ancestress the Time Knot after she’d correctly answered their riddle.

The rope had a single knot in the center, and the one who possessed the Time Knot could untie it to tu…

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