"Myth is truth, and much of it actually happened."
He was an adventurous cook turned sailor and navigator who would write the greatest play of his age.
She was a very early feminist who had radical ideas about education for everyone.
They cherished books and learning at a time when both were rare.
They loved each other and together undertook a remarkable journey. The year was 1381.
The setting is Scandinavia, the most literate and socially progressive part of Christian Europe, far from the great seats of power.
The Black Death swept through the region 30 years before, killing about a quarter of the population. A general labor shortage results in high wages, particularly for skilled workers. Even before the plague, the middle classes had been growing both in size and importance.
New technologies include the harnessing of waterpower and the beginnings of modern navigation, cartography and printing. All these play a role in the story. The region has been nominally Christian for two centuries, but much of the old religion remains. At the same time, the Church itself is splintering throughout Europe. There are competing popes. Theological concepts labeled heretical spring up everywhere. Literacy is increasing, and so are the public expression of new ideas. These include the increased importance of secular learning by observation and experimentation, and the broader education of the populace. Modern feminism has its roots in this period. So do many of our current social customs and political structures.
Everything in this tale probably happened, at some time, in some place. Likely many times. And likely in many places.