The old town of Helmsvåg
along the coast it lay
Fishermen fishing, farmers farming,
It was just another day
The hustle and bustle of Northmen and women
as they go about on their daily chores
Their children all eager to run and play
Yes, they will soon spring from the doors.
A fair young maiden with golden hair
sows with a blush on her cheeks
For soon the young man, the love of her life
Will come for the first time in weeks.
O, it was just another day, everything was droll
The sun shone upon this coastal town.
But black birds came and perched, from near and afar
And the old men would look up and frown.
Nighttime came for Northrim now
and wrapped it in darkness and mist
The maiden in bed, she shivered with dread
Even as her lover she kissed.
The guard of the night, he was cold to the bone
Though why, he could not say
But he peered nonetheless through the black
At the figure that was coming his way.
A woman it was, he would soon realize
As he walked up and brought his torch close
A hunched old hag, cloaked all in black
Though where she was from, who knows
"It is late, old crone, and cold as Skadi's breath"
The guard said and smiled a wide smile
"Surely your bones need a warm, comfy bed.
You should rest at the inn for a while."
The Crone smiled back, three teeth in her mouth
she was carrying a broom and a rake.
She walked on her way, and the guard scratched his head
Before his spine would once again quake
In the darkness of night, the Crone watched the doors
And considered things for some time
Then she picked out her broom, with wrinkled old hands
And started to sweep the town's grime
Morning came for Northrim now
and the sun swept away all the chill
But the town of Helmsvåg had lost all its life
and the lovers were in their bed still
Man, woman and child, all were they dead
Their last hours spent in sickness and pain
Unknowing of what had happened
Unknowing of what was their bane
So see you the crows with the blood-red eyes
You should kiss your loved ones goodbye
For unless the old crone sweeps the road with her rake
You are all going to die.