All the girls of the village were wearing white linen dresses and crowns of flowers they had collected and woven that morning down by the riverside, while the boys practiced the traditional dances, jumping over logs and generally looking handsome and virile. Later in the evening the logs would be replaced by a bonfire, and the truly pious (or inebriated) amongst them would walk over the glowing coals in their bare feet. The bravest and best of the fire-dancers would be awarded a crown and a kiss by one of the fair maidens; and sometimes more. Often, nine months or so later, the village would be blessed with a plentiful crop of happy, healthy and lucky babies who were cherished by all, whether their fathers were known or not. (And most were not, as the celebrants were free to take as many partners as they pleased on this most special of nights.) The old men were already deep in their cups, belting out lewd songs and telling even lewder jokes. The young men would be joining them shortly, as soon as they’d finished hanging the red, black and white streamers and other decorations wherever there was space for them. Óðr watched the leisurely preparation as he strolled through the village, enjoying the wafting scent of baking honey-cakes, pork sausages and other phallic shaped delicacies each household was preparing. All this they were doing for him, though most could not have said why. Óðr smiled despite the memory of sulfur, rotting flesh and mouldering treasure. How sweet their reunion had been.