“Quiet, he’ll hear us” my brother whispers with his authoritative tone.
“I am being quiet, you be quiet!” I snark back as I duck under the window to be on the same side as Halidor.
Peering through the bottom corner of the window, I can make out one of the green men standing before the counter.
“What do you see?” Hali asks.
Always relying on me to be his eyes and ears.
He probably doesn’t want to put his big head in the window, giving us away to the invaders.
“He’s cutting potatoes.” I whisper in Hali’s red ear.
“Andri, get a better look, he’s up to something.” Hali sternly whispers back.
Why are you always ordering me to do what you are too afraid to do you big oaf?
I look up through the window again, this time catching the green man as he drops the sliced potatoes into a frying pan.
What, frying . . . potatoes?
“He’s frying potatoes!” I laugh, a little too loud.
Grabbing my arm, Hali yanks me as he orders “Let’s go, Let’s go!”
“Hali, that hurts! Let go!” I scream out.
Hali doesn’t let go, but drags me back toward our house.
“Let go Hali, Let go of me!” I scream.
“Hali, take your hands off your brother!” mama calls out from our front door.
Oh mama. Thank you.
“Mama, Mama . . .” Hali screams as he runs up to our door. “Mama, the green man was frying potatoes!”
Mama runs her right hand through Hali’s blond hair as I catch up to clutch mama’s left hand.
“Now boys, don’t be spying on our guests. You know better than that.” She says in the stern voice she uses when talking to both of us at once.
I hug mama’s hand.
Comfort at the familiar.
Hali looks up at her face as she lowers her eyes at him.
“What nonsense” She said. “Nobody would fry potatoes, you must not have seen right. We fry kleinur and parta, but not potatoes!”
Hali glares at me, a look of pending retribution in his eyes.
Ha, I told the truth, and it still made you say something almost as stupid as you look!
On May 10th 1940 the British invaded Iceland in order to ensure it not fall under German control. The Prime Minister of Iceland, knowing he could not stop the invasion, broadcast to his people to invite the British in, treating them as guests in their homes. The British soldiers then took up residence in homes throughout the country.
In one occurrence, two boys were spying on a British soldier making his meal when they spotted him frying potatoes. They could not believe it. No one on Iceland had ever heard of frying potatoes. When they returned home they told their mother, who did not believe anyone would fry a potato. Only years later did one of the little boys come to the United States and order a burger and fries without knowing what it was. He found out fried potatoes are very good indeed. You think he called his mother?
The inspiration for this story comes from this site: http://www.icelandicroots.com/the-war-years-in-iceland-through-the-eyes-of-a-child/