This two-part story is by William Morris. Like many of the stories in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, this tale takes place in the medieval period. The names in this
story — Olaf, Sigurd, Gertha — link it with the other
Nordic stories in the Magazine, such as Burne-Jones’s Story of the North and
Morris’s Svend and his
Brethren. The story is one of several that show the influence of
Malory’s Morte d’Arthur.
The opening of “Gertha’s Lovers”
— “Long ago there was a land, never mind where or
when, a fair country and good to live in” — uses the
conventions of the fairy tale. The story also has elements of the
supernatural, such as the appearance of Olaf’s ghost (501) and
the handmaiden’s vision in the last chapter (511). While many of
the stories in the Magazine use the convention of dreams, this direct use of
supernatural imagery is atypical.
First printed in
The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine
, 1856, in two parts: the first part in July and the second
part in August.