Edit of I Will Make You Proud
Stoick closed the door behind himself, relieved to be home. He sank into the waiting chair, gathering his thoughts as he did so. This morning, he had a plan; Stoick intended to meet with the carpenters to discuss replacing the eastern watchtower, then take inventory of Berk’s food stores. Those were things only the Chief could decide. Chasing down lost sheep, mediating a weeklong argument between Gerda Thorston and Tola Larssen, and being told by Gothi that she couldn’t gather all the herbs she needed by herself were not part of that plan. He was Stoick the Vast, not Odin; there were limits to his time and energy.
But he was home now, home to his boy Hiccup and his never-ceasing speech. The child always rattled on, finding more to say in a few seconds than Stoick could credit. It was unnatural the way Hiccup never seemed to stop. He could chase after any animal, any bird, anyone who interested him. His mind captured all kinds of odd notions and chewed on them. Usually, he’d blurt out whatever it was he was thinking at full speed, expecting Stoick to keep up. It was a struggle, and sometimes he wished the lad would simply slow down. Stoick kept searching for an indication that Hiccup had some sort of an attention span, but so far it had been a wasted effort.
Stoick gave a deliberate sigh; he was here, and it was time to be Hiccup’s Daddy instead of a chief.
Stoick glanced across the table to discover his son carrying an oversized mug and some ale. He set both items by Stoick and waited, silent for once. Then he spoke.
Stoick looked across the table at his boy Hiccup. “Yes, son?”
“Do you want one block of ice or two?”
Bewildered, Stoick asked, “Why do you want to know about ice, Hiccup?”
“You know, for your head?”
Apparently, Stoick’s face spoke volumes. He grimaced and asked Hiccup, “Do I look like I need ice, son?”
“Yeah, Daddy, you have a look that comes before you ask me for ice.” Hiccup studied his father. “Tonight you need two blocks. I’ll get it now.” Hiccup hopped down.
“I have a look for ice and my four year old recognizes it. No, he can tell the difference between needing one piece or two. When did he learn this?” Stoick took the first block from Hiccup, asking, “How long have I had a look for ice, son?”
“Well, I don’t know. But you had it when someone stole the eggs and hid them in a tree.”
Ah, yes. It was Autumn then, and it happened three days in a row. He suspected the Larsson boy of that stunt but lacked evidence. So, seven months ago.
“Well, Hiccup, thank you. You’re a help to your Dad tonight. Your mother would be proud. Now,” Stoick continued, “I have news for you. You’ve shown you’re old enough to pay attention and learn, so I’m setting you up to start schooling. Once I find you a teacher, “ Stoick smiled, “You can begin on runes and numbers.”
Hiccup gaped, his green eyes alight with excitement. The joy on his face was startlingly fierce, and his eyes burned with intensity. Stoick had never seen such a young child look that way; the passion in the boy’s eyes existed on the faces of warriors, not youngsters. Hiccup looked prepared to fight a dragon and win.
Hiccup lifted his chin. “I will work hard at my lessons,” he stated firmly, “and learn everything. I will make you proud, Dad.”
Before Stoick, his lad was standing straight and pledging to fight and conquer this challenge. Not mere pleasure to learn, but the determination to excel, radiated from his small frame. The resolve in Hiccup was palpable and powerful, and Stoick was affected to witness it.
“My son,” Stoick responded,” I am proud already.”