So Ruth left and entered the field to gather grain behind the harvesters. She happened to be in the portion of land belonging to Boaz, who was from Elimelech’s family. ~ Ruth 2:3

Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. ~ Ruth 4:13a

 You’d think that was the end of Vilfridr’s story, wouldn’t you?  That is the happily-ever-after we’ve come to expect, after all.  It is not the end, however.

Overjoyed, the king and queen ask the old man how they can repay him; he says to give him their daughter to raise.  Feeling obliged, they agree with heavy hearts and return to the palace with their two sons.

Time passes, and when the girl comes of age, the old man tells her to sleep in his bed with him. Because “she loved her fosterfather as a father,” she does as she is told.[1]  (I know, I know…I was super creeped out, too…)

But in the morning, rather than an old man, “a beautiful young prince” is in the bed beside her.[2]  He had been placed under a magical spell long ago, but she had freed him from it.

They go to the castle to announce this happy happenstance to the king and queen, and of course they are overjoyed!  Vilfridr and her husband live a long time in happily wedded bliss, and the young princess and prince also live happily and have lots of children.

But “nothing is told about Vala, and so ends the story of Vilfridr Fairer-Than-Vala.”[3]

The Happenstance of Happily Ever After

Thus, the story ties itself up very neatly, despite the large bumps along the road.  Looking back, much of the story seems to hinge upon happenstance.  Vilfridr “happens” to find the dwarves, to whom she owes so much, not least her life.  The king of Saxland “happens” to be sailing when Vilfridr needs him to release her from the spell.  The old man “happens” to be passing by when the children are thrown from the window, and “happens” to catch all three.  Vilfridr “happens” to find the same old man, just as the king and Raudr “happen” upon him.  The old man “happens” to be able to right all the wrongs.  And, finally, the old man “happens” to be a young prince rather than a lecherous old man.

Are these, indeed, “happenstances” of the story?  Perhaps.  And yet there are times in life where things “happen” upon us; yet we do not believe those things are “happenstances” at all, do we?

The “Happenstance” of God

I love how the author of Ruth says she “happened” to be working in Boaz’s field.  It’s as if the author is ever-so-coyly showing us that there are no “happenstances” where God is concerned.  God directed Ruth – even if it seemed like a happenstance.  Likewise, God guides all of our actions, whether we give Him credit or not.  He is orchestrating a fantastical story, with all the elements of Vilfridr’s story, but woven into Truth.

As we know, Boaz was one of two kinsmen redeemers that Ruth had; he was the only one who could help her.  They end up marrying, and becoming the great-grandparents of David, which ultimately puts them in the ancestry of Jesus Christ.

I encourage you to look upon the “happenstances” of your life and see the hand of God at work.  You might be surprised at just how “fairytale-like” your life might begin to seem…



[1] Heiner, “The Story of Vilfridr-Fairer-Than-Vala,” Sleeping Beauties, 202.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

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