The novel takes us back to the 17th century and is very loosely
based on Shetland folklore. Relatively few records are available,
especially of the smaller islands, many of which are no longer
inhabited, and each island had its own rules. The events and
characters in this novel are purely fictional. This is the story of
the crofters' remarkable strength and also of their weaknesses, of
superstitions and deep-rooted pagan beliefs mixed with
Christianity. The main character is Siegund, a girl of sixteen, for
whom growing up is a hard lesson to learn. When a boat drifts to
their shores she believes the dishevelled occupant to be the god
she had seen in her dream. Troubled times descend on the islanders
who set out to rid themselves of the witch who is causing so much
hardship. Who can they blame? Siegund becomes their scapegoat. The
fiddler helps her to escape to the cave of the trolls, which is
shunned by all. When eventually she returns home the islanders,
unsure of her powers after apparently having survived the
impossible, treat her with curious respect. She uses their feelings
of awe and guilt to bring unity back to the island so that they may
regain the strength, the pride and dignity they once possessed and
perhaps show them that compassion and forgiveness is not a
detestable weakness even for the descendants of the heroic
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