The Sun of the Night Ocean




When the Icelandic archaeologist and scuba diver Sonja Gudridsdottir freed the mysterious statute from the seaweed and reappeared at the surface of the water, her heart throbbed. There was no doubt in her mind, the wreck that rotted deep below her at the bottom of the sea was the ship on which her esteemed professor and doctorate supervisor Hans Hoas had last been seen! At the same time, she realised this also meant that his expedition to the Nordic Sea had failed – which explained why no one has heard from him in such a long time. Only his corpse was not on board. Maybe it had floated somewhere in the shallows. Sonja shivered. She knew the statute from the recordings of the professor too well. It was the statute of the sea goddess Ran which should have been on the Tre Kronor, a royal vessel which once set out to find the fountain of life.

Old records stated that the statute served as a lucky charm to appease the sea goddess during passages.  Due to a scatty adjutant, an overworked captain or simply because of thoughtlessness, the statute had been forgotten at the harbour during an expedition many centuries ago. The ship sank and was never seen again. The absence of the statute was blamed for this, people believed that protection from the sea goddess wasn’t provided any longer. What made matters even more mysterious for Sonja was that the professor’s ship sank even though he had the statute on board! Clutching the statue, Sonja recalled what she had read in old writings about Ran:

”…During the day, the giant Dag rode across the sky and made the water of the oceans sparkle in the reflection of his horse, Skinfaxi, whose glowing crest illuminated the world with its shine. At night blackness ruled in the shallows of the sea and many sailors lost their lives.

The sea goddess Ran ruled the oceans with her husband, Aegir, and took the drowned people to her kingdom of the dead. She constantly considered how she could capture the brightness of the sun so that her oceans would also glow at night. The human’s gold captivated Ran and it seemed to her right on cue for this purpose.

So it happened that Ran promised lost explorers their lives when they gave all their treasures to the ocean in return.

Ran hoarded all her treasures at the bottom of the sea and the luminescence which was generated by Ran’s gold lit up the night. The glistening white crests that carried her nine wave daughters and the glistening bright nocturnal spray was soon known as “Meresvlam”. Some also called it “Ran’s sun” or “sun of the night ocean”.

On the morning of the 10th August 2009, Sonja started out with her motorboat. She had found a few possessions, money and a gold watch, together with recordings of the professor in a waterproof cash box which she stowed away on deck together with the statute in a box.

Sonja took the course the professor had mentioned in his notes. It was a calm ride, illuminated by the sun, and she was in high spirits. But when night approached and the first polar lights began to dance on the water, a storm Sonja had never experienced before appeared. Her ship was tossed back and forth on the waves, masses of water gushed on deck.

”I tried to hold on to the ship’s rope with all my strength when the boat was dragged down. It was like an undertow of unimaginable power, almost as if the water was brought to life. In the next moment, the ship touched down rough. The box with the statute hurled through the water and slammed against the railing. It opened with the impact of the collision and the statute fell out. In the next moment, a gigantic, almost transparent figure rose from the bottom of the sea and glared at me provokingly. Only then did I see that everything was illuminated. The entire seabed was covered with gold and was shining like the glistening sun. And then I saw him! Professor Hoas floated in the water attached to an anchor chain with cold, dead eyes. Behind him there were other people with drowned eyes like him moving animatedly – some drank mead, others were even dancing! Then the scales fell from my eyes! It meant that Ran gave lost sailors their lives if they gave their treasures to her in return. But it doesn’t automatically mean that they could not drown. If they had paid their tribute, then Ran granted them a life in her kingdom of death, amid her treasures!

I instantly tore the chain off my neck, pulled my rings off my fingers and gave them to Ran. Ran looked at me, scrutinizing. In panic, I remembered the possessions from Professor Hoas, took out the cash box from the case and threw her the money and the watch. The air in my lungs began to grow scarce! Ran sighed slowly and a smile spread over her face.

From the corners of my eyes I could suddenly see a bright shinning light which wasn’t there before. I turned around and saw that the statute had started to glow. Hastily I swam to it and clutched it. Just as quick as I was dragged under water, I was catapulted to the surface of the water. From the corners of my eyes I could barely see how the anchor chain came loose of professor Hoas’ ankle and it seemed to me that he was waving goodbye.”

As we know nowadays, thanks to Sonja’s life-threatening commitment, the statute had also saved Professor Hoas. But avarice eventually became his downfall. It wasn’t the despicable Mammon who was found with the help of the statue but insights that are of vital importance – because only those who are willing to give something of themselves receive glory and wisdom.