Ingveldur gave Agnes a stone when she left Agnes, telling her that, if she put the stone under her tongue, she could speak with birds. According to Agnes, it never worked, but she still keeps the stone until it’s taken away from her when she is arrested. This stone and its lack of utility seem to represent Agnes’s mother’s many failures regarding her daughter. It also reflects Agnes’s desire to decode the symbols in the natural world around her. When Agnes is leaving Kornsá for her execution, she believes that she feels the stone in her mouth and spits it out. While it seems that this may have been Agnes’s imagination acting up due to her distress, the fact that Agnes has, at least mentally, had the stone under her tongue the whole time suggests that Agnes has always possessed an ability to understand and perceive elements of the natural world that are inaccessible to most people.
Agnes’s Mother’s Stone Quotes in Burial Rites
I am crying and my mouth is open and filled with something, it is choking me and I spit it out. On the ground is a stone, and I look back at Margrét, and see that she did not notice. “The stone was in my mouth,” I say.