The Baldwmn Library
FEATS ON THE FIORD
THE CROFTON BOYS" THE SETTLERS AT HOME" ETC.
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE
NEW YORK: 416 BROOME STREET
BY MISS MARTINEAU.
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
THE PEASANT AND THE PRINCE
THE BILLOW AND THE ROCK.
THE CROFTON BOYS.
TRADITIONS OF PALESTINE.
SETTLERS AT HOME.
I. -ERLINGSEN'S "AT HOME" .
II.-ODLO'S WALK . .
III.-OLAF AND HIS NEWS .
IV.-ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE
V.-THE WATER SPRITES DOINGS .
VI.-SPRING . .
VII.-VOGEL ISLET . .
VIII.-A SUMMER APARTMENT .
IX.-HUND'S REPORT . .
X.-SEEKING THE UPLANDS .
"XI.-DAIRY-MAIDS' TALK .
XII.-PEDER ABROAD . .
XIII.-PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT .
XIV.-MIDNIGHT . .
XV.-MOUNTAIN FARE .
XVI.-OLD TALES AND BETTER TIDINSC
XVII.-THE WATCH ON THE HILL .
XVIII.-TO CHPRCII . .
S. .. .
. . 59
. . 106
. . 118
S. ... 152
. . 168
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
ERLINGSEN'S "AT HOMEE"
EvERY one who has looked at the map of Norway must
have been struck with the singular character of its
coast. On the map it looks so jagged, such a strange
mixture of land and sea, that it appears as if there must
be a perpetual struggle between the two,-the sea
striving to inundate the land, and the land pushing
itself out into the sea, till it ends in their dividing the
region between them. On the spot, however, this
coast is very sublime. The long straggling pro-
montories are mountainous, towering ridges of rock,
springing up in precipices from the water; while the
bays between them, instead of being rounded with
shelving sandy shores, on which the sea tumbles
its waves, as in bays of our coast, are, in fact, long
narrow valleys, filled with sea, instead of being laid
out in fields and meadows. The high rocky banks
shelter these deep bays (called fiords) from almost every
wind; so that their waters are usually as still as those
of a lake. For days and weeks together, they reflect
each separate tree-top of the pine forests which clothe
the mountain sides, the mirror being broken only by
the leap of some sportive fish, or the oars of the boat-
man as he goes to inspect the sea-fowl from islet to isle;
TEATS ON THE FIORD.
of the fiord, or carries out his nets or his rod to catch
the sea-trout or char, or cod, or herrings, which abound,
in their seasons, on the coast of Norway.
It is difficult to say whether these fiords are the most
beautiful in summer or in winter. In summer, they
glitter with golden sunshine; and purple and green
shadows from the mountain and forest lie on them;
and these may be more lovely than the faint light of
the winter noons of those latitudes, and the snowy pic-
tures of frozen peaks which then show themselves on
the surface: but before the day is half over, out come
the stars,-the glorious stars which shine like nothing
that we have ever seen. There, the planets cast a faint
shadow, as the young moon does with us: and these
planets, and the constellations of the sky, as they
silently glide over from peak to peak of these rocky
passes, are imaged on the waters so clearly that the
fisherman, as he unmoors his boat for his evening task,
feels as if he were about to shoot forth his vessel into
another heaven, and to cleave his way among the stars.
Still as everything is to the eye, sometimes for a
hundred miles together along these deep sea-valleys,
there is rarely silence. The ear is kept awake by a
thousand voices. In the summer, there are cataracts
leaping from ledge to ledge of the rocks; and there is
the bleating of the kids that browse there, and the
flap of the great eagle's wings, as it dashes abroad
from its eyrie, and the cries of whole clouds of sea-birds
which inhabit the islets; and all these sounds are
mingled and multiplied by the strong echoes, till they
become a din as loud as that of a city. Even at night,
when the flocks are in the fold, and the birds at
ERLINTGSEN'8 "AT HOME."
roost, and the echoes themselves seem to be asleep,
there is occasionally a sweet music heard, too soft for
even the listening ear to catch by day. Every breath
of summer wind that steals through the pine forests
wakes this music as it goes. The stiff spiny leaves of
the fir and pine vibrate with the breeze, like the strings
of a musical instrument, so that every breath of the
nightwind, in a Norwegian forest, wakens a myriad of
tiny harps; and this gentle and mournful music may
be heard in gushes the whole night through. This
music, of course, ceases when each tree becomes laden
with snow; but yet there is, sound, in the midst of the
longest winter night. There is the rumble of some
avalanche, as, after a drifting storm, a mass of snow,
too heavy to keep its place, slides and tumbles from the
mountain peak. There is also, now and then, a loud
crack of the ice in the nearest glacier; and, as many
declare, there is a crackling to be heard by those who
listen when the northern lights are shooting and
blazing across the sky. Nor is this all. Wherever
there is a nook between the rocks on the shore, where
a man may build a house, and clear a field or two;-
wherever there is a platform beside the cataract where
the sawyer may plant his mill, and make a path from
it to join some great road, there is a human habitation,
and the sounds that belong to it. Thence, in winter
nights, come music and laughter, and the tread of
dancers, and the hum of many voices. The Nor-
wegians are a social and hospitable people; and they
hold their gay meetings, in defiance of their arctic
climate, through every season of the year.
On a January night, a hundred years ago, there was
FEATs ON THE FIORD.
great merriment in the house of a farmer who had fixed
his abode within the arctic circle, in Nordland, not far
from the foot of Sulitelma, the highest mountain in
Norway. This dwelling, with its few fields about it,
was in a recess between the rocks, on the shore of the
fiord, about five miles from Saltdalen, and two miles
from the junction of the Salten's Elv (river) with the
fiord. It was bat little that Erlingsen's fields would
produce, though they were sheltered from the coldest
winds, and the summer sunshine was reflected from the
rocks, so as to make this little farm much more pro-
ductive than any near which were in a more exposed
situation. A patch of rye was grown, and some beans
and oats; and there was a strip of pasture, and a garden
in which might be seen turnips, radishes, potatoes,
lettuce and herbs, and even some fruits,-a few rasp-
berries, and a great many cherries. There were three
or four horses on the farm, five cows, and a small flock
of goats. In summer, the cattle and flock were driven
up the mountain, to feed on the pastures there; and
during the seven months of winter, they were housed
and fed on the hay grown at home, and that which was
brought from the mountain, and on a food which appears
strange enough to us, but of which cows in Norway
are extremely fond:-fish-heads boiled into a thick
soup with horse-dung. At one extremity of the little
beach of white sand which extended before the farmer's
door was his boat-house; and on his boat he and his
family depended, no less than his cows, for a principal
part of their winter subsistence. Except a kid or a
calf now and then, no meat was killed on the farm. Cod
in winter, herrings in spring, trout and salmon in
ERLINGSEN'S "AT HOME."
summer, and salted fish in winter, always abounded.
Reindeer meat was regularly purchased from the Lapps
who travelled round among the settlements for orders,
or drove their fattened herds from farm to farm. Be-
sides this, there was the resource of game. Erlingsen
and his housemen brought home from their sporting
rambles, sometimes a young bear, sometimes wild ducks,
or the noble cock-of-the-woods, as big as a turkey, or a
string of snipes, or golden plovers, or ptarmigan. The
eggs of sea-birds might be found in every crevice of the
islets in the fiord, in the right season; and they are
excellent food. Once a year, too, Erlingsen wrapped
himself in furs, and drove himself in his sledge, followed
by one of his housemen on another and a larger, to the
great winter fair at Tronyem, where the Lapps re-
paired to sell their frozen reindeer meat, their skins, a
few articles of manufacture, and where travelling Russian
merchants came with the productions of other climates,
and found eager customers in the inhabitants who
thronged to this fair to make their purchases. Here,
in exchange for the salt-fish, feathers, and eider-down
which had been prepared by the industry of his family,
Erlingsen obtained flax and wool wherewith to make
clothing for the household, and those luxuries which no
Norwegian thinks of going without, corn-brandy,
coffee, tobacco, sugar, and spices. Large mould candles
were also sold so cheap by the Russians that it was
worth while to bring them home for the use of the
whole family,-even to burn in the stables and stalls,
as the supply of bears' fat was precarious, and the pine-
tree was too precious, so far north, to be split up into
torches, while it even fell so short occasionally as to
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
compel the family to burn peat, which they did not like
nearly so well as pine-logs. It was Madame Erling-
sen's business to calculate how much of all these foreign
articles would be required for the use of her household
for a whole year; and, trusting to her calculations,
which were never found to be wrong, her husband
came home from the winter fair heavily enough laden
with good things.
Nor was it only what was required for his owa every-
day household that he brought. The quantity of pro-
visions, especially corn-brandy, tobacco, coffee, and
sugar, consumed in hospitality in Norway, is almost
incredible; and retired as the Erlingsens might appear
to dwell, they were as hospitable, according to their op-
portunities, as any inhabitant of Bergen or Christiania.
They gave feasts at Christmas, and on every occasion
that they could devise. The occasion, on the particular
January day mentioned above, was the betrothment of
one of the house-maidens to a young farm-servant of
the establishment. I do not mean that this festival
was anything like a marriage. It was merely an en-
gagement to be married; but this engagement is a
much more formal and public affair in Norway (and
indeed wherever the people belong to the Lutheran
church) than with us. According to the rites of the
Lutheran church, there are two ceremonies,-one when
a couple become engaged, and another when they are
married. In Norway, this betrothment gives the couple
a certain dignity beyond that of the unengaged, and
more liberty of companionship, together with certain
rights in law. This makes up to them for being obliged
to wait so long as they often must before they can
ERLINGSEN'S AT HOME."
marry. In a country, scattered over with farmers,
like Norway, where there are few money transactions,
because people provide for their own wants on their
own little estates, servants do not shift their places,
and go from master to master, as with us. A young
man and woman have to wait long,-probably till some
houseman dies or removes, before they can settle; and
then they are settled for life,-provided for till death,
if they choose to be commonly industrious and honest.
The story of this betrothment at Erlingsen's will ex-
plain what I have just said.
As Madame Erlingsen had two daughters growing
up, and they were no less active than the girls of a
Norwegian household usually are, she had occasion for
only two maidens to assist in the business of the dwell-
ing and the dairy.
Of these two, the younger, Erica, was the maiden
betrothed to-day. No one perhaps rejoiced so much at
the event as her mistress, both for Erica's sake, and on
account of her own two young daughters. Erica was
not the best companion for them; and the servants of
a Norwegian farmer are necessarily the companions of
the daughters of the house. There was nothing wrong
in Erica's conduct or temper towards the family. She
had, when confirmed,* borne so high a character, that
"* The rite of confirmation is thought much more of in Norway
than with us. The preparation for it is longer and more strict;
and the destiny of young people for life depends much on how they
pass through it. A person who has not been confirmed is looked
upon as one without a character and without knowledge; while
those who pass well stand high in credit; and, if they have to earn
their living, are sure of good situations.-In the newspapers in
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
many places were offered her, and Madame Erlingsen
had thought herself very fortunate in obtaining her
services. But, since then, Erica had sustained a shock
which hurt her spirits, and increased a weakness which
she owed to her mother. Her mother, a widow, had
brought up her child in all the superstitions of the
country, some of which remain in full strength even to
this day, and were then very powerful; and the poor
woman's death at last confirmed the lessons of her life.
She had stayed too long one autumn day at the Erling-
sen's; and, being benighted on her return, and suddenly
seized and bewildered by the cold, had wandered from
the road, and was found frozen to death in a recess of
the forest which it was surprising that she should have
reached. Erica never believed that she did reach this
spot of her own accord. Having had some fears before
of the Wood Demon having been offended by one of
the family, Erica regarded this accident as a token of
his vengeance. She said this when she first heard of
her mother's death; and no reasoning from the zealous
pastor of the district, no soothing from her mistress,
could shake her persuasion. She listened with submis-
sion, wiping away her quiet tears as they discoursed;
but no one could ever get her to say that she doubted
whether there was a Wood Demon, or that she was not
afraid of what he would do if offended.
Erlingsen and his wife always treated her supersti-
Norway you may see among the advertisements, "A confirmed
shop-boy wants a place." "Wanted, a confirmed girl, who can
cook;" which means that their having been confirmed proves that
they are considered respectable, and not deficient in capacity or
ERLINGSEN'S "AT HOME."
tion as a weakness; and when she was not present,
they ridiculed it. Yet they saw that it had its effect
on their daughters. Erica most strictly obeyed their
wish that she should not talk about the spirits of the
region with Orga and Frolich; but the girls found
plenty of people to tell them what they could not learn
from Erica. Besides what everybody knows who lives
in the rural districts of Norway,-about Nipen, the
spirit that is always so busy after everybody's affairs,-
about the Watersprite, an acquaintance of every one
who lives beside a river or lake,-and about the Moun-
tain Demon, familiar to all who lived so near Suli-
telma; besides these common spirits, the girls used to
hear of a multitude of others from old Peder, the blind
houseman, and from all the farm-people, down to Oddo,
the herd-boy. Their parents hoped that this taste
of theirs might die away if once Erica, with her sad,
serious face and subdued voice, were removed to a
house of her own, where they would see her supported
by her husband's unfearing mind, and occupied with
domestic business more entirely than in her mistress's
house. So Madame Erlingsen was well pleased that
Erica was betrothed; and she could oily have been
better satisfied if she had been married at once.
For this marrying, however, the young people must
wait. There was no house, or houseman's place,
vacant for them at present. There was a prospect,
however. The old houseman Peder, who had served
Erlingscn's father and Erlingsen himself for fifty-eight
years, could now no longer do the weekly work on the
farm which was his rent for his house, field, and cow.
He was blind and old. His aged wife, Ulla, could not
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
leave the house; and it was the most she could do to
keep the dwelling in order, with occasional help from
one and another. Housemen who make this sort of
contract with farmers in Norway are never turned out.
They have their dwelling and field for their own life
and that of their wives. What they do, when dis-
abled, is to take in a deserving young man to do their
work for the farmer, on the understanding that he
succeeds to the houseman's place on the death of the
old people. Peder and Ulla had made this agreement
with Erica's lover, Rolf; and it was understood that
his marriage with Erica should take place whenever
the old people should die.
It was impossible for Erica herself to fear that
Nipen was offended, at the outset of this festival day.
If he had chosen to send a wind, the guests could not
have come; for no human frame can endure travelling
in a wind in Nordland on a January day. Happily,
the air was so calm that a flake of snow, or a lock of
eider-down, would have fallen straight to the ground.
At two o'clock, when the short daylight was gone, the
stars were shining so brightly, that the company who
came by the fiord would be sure to have an easy voy-
age. Almost all came by the fiord, for the only road
from Erlingsen's house led to so few habitations, and
was so narrow, steep, and rocky, that an arrival by that
way was a rare event. The path was now, however, so
smooth with frozen snow, that more than one sledge
attempted and performed the descent. Erlingsen and
some of his servants went out to the porch, on hearing
music from the water, and stood with lighted pine-
torches to receive their guests, when, approaching from
ERUINGSEN'S AT HOME."
behind, they heard the sound of the sleigh-bells, and
found that company was arriving both by sea and
It was a pretty sight,-such an arrival. In front,
there was the head of a boat driving up upon the white
beach, and figure after figure leaping out, and hasten-
ing to be welcomed in the porch; while, in the midst
of the greeting, the quick and regular beat of a horse's
feet was heard on the frozen ground, and the active
little animal rushed into the light, shaking his mane
and jingling his bells, till suddenly checked by the
driver, who stood upright at the back of the sledge,
while the ladies reclined, so wrapped in furs that
nothing could be seen of them till they had entered the
house, and issued forth from the room where they threw
off their pelisses and cloaks. Glad had the visitors
been, whether they came by land or water, to arrive in
sight of the lighted dwelling, whose windows looked
like rows of yellow stars, contrasting with the blue
ones overhead; and more glad still were they to be
ushered into the great room, where all was so light, so
warm, so cheerful! Warm it was, to the farthest
corner; and too warm near the roaring and crackling
fires; for the fires were of pine-wood. Rows upon
rows of candles were fastened against the walls, above
the heads of the company; the floor was strewn with
juniper twigs; and the spinning-wheels, the carding-
boards, every token of household labour was removed,
except a loom, which remained in one corner. In
another corner was a welcome sight-a platform of
rough boards, two feet from the floor, and on it two
stools. This was a token that there was to be dancing;
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
and indeed Oddo, the herd-boy, old Peder's grandson,
was seen to have his clarionet in his belt, as he ran in
and out on the arrival of fresh parties.
Before four o'clock, the whole company, consisting
of about forty, had arrived. They walked about the
large room, sipping their strong coffee, and helping
one another to the good things on the trays which
were carried round,-the slices of bread-and-butter,
with anchovies, or shreds of reindeer ham or tongue,
or thin slices of salt cheese. When these trays disap-
peared, and the young women who had served them
returned into the room, Oddo was seen to reach the
platform with a hop, skip, and jump, followed by a dull-
looking young man with a violin. The oldest men
lighted their pipes, and sat down to talk, two or three
together. Others withdrew to a smaller room, where
card-tables were set-out; while the younger men
selected their partners, and handed them forth for the
gallopade. The dance was led by the blushing Erica,
whose master was her partner. It had never occurred
to her that she was not to take her usual place, and
she was greatly embarrassed, not the less so that she .
knew that her mistress was immediately behind, with
Rolf for her partner. Erica might, however, have led
the dance in any country in Europe. All the women
in Norway dance well, being practised in it from their
infancy, as an exercise for which the leisure of their
long winter, and the roominess of their houses, afford
scope. Every woman present danced well, but none
better than Erica.
"Very well!" "very pretty!" "very good!" ob-
served the pastor, M. Kollsen, as he sat, with his pipe
ERLINGSEN'S AT 1OME."
in his mouth, looking on. M. Kollsen was a very
young man; but the men in Norway smoke as invari-
ably as the women dance. Very pretty, indeed! They
only want double the number to make it as pretty a
dance as any in Tronyem."
What would you have, sir ?" asked old Peder, who
sat smoking at his elbow. "Are there not eleven
couple ? Oddo told me there were eleven couple; and
1 think I counted so many pairs of feet as they passed."
Let me see:-yes, you are right, Peder; there are
"And what would you have more, sir ? In this
young man's father's time--"
Rolf's father's ?"
"No, sir,-Erlingsen's. Ah I forgot that Erling.
sen may not seem to you, or any stranger, to be young,
but Ulla and I have been used to call him so, and I
fear I always shall, as I shall never see the furrows in
his face. It will be always smooth and young to me.
My Ulla says there is nothing to be sorry for in that,
and she does not object to my thinking so of her face.
But, as I was saying, in the elder Erlingsen's time we
thought we did well when we set up nine couples at
Yule: and since then, the Holbergs and Thores have
each made out a new farm within ten miles, and we
are accustomed to be rather proud of our eleven
couples. Indeed, I once knew it twelve, when they
got me to stand up with little Henrica,-the pretty
little girl whose grave lies behind, just under the rock.
But I suppose there is no question but there are finer
doings at Tronyem."
"Of course-of course," said the young clergyman.
FEArS ON THE FIORD.
" But there are many youths in Tronyem that would be
glad of so pretty a partner as M. Erlingsen has, if she
would not look so frightened."
Pretty she is," said Peder. "As I remember her
complexion, it looks as if it was made by the reflection
of our snows in its own clearness. And when you do
get a full look into her eyes, how like the summer sky
they are-as deep as the heavens in a midsummer noon!
Did you say she looks frightened, sir ?"
"Yes. When does she not ? Some ghost from the
grave has scared her, I suppose; or some spirit that
has no grave to lie still in, perhaps. It is a great fault
in her that she has so little faith. I never met with
such a case. I hardly know how to conduct it. I must
begin with the people about her,-abolish their super-
stitions,-and then there may be a chance for her.
Meanwhile I have but a poor account to give to the
bishop* of the religion of the district."
"Did you say, sir, that Erica wants faith? It
seems to me that I never knew any one who had
You think so because there is no idea in this region
of what faith is. A prodigious work indeed my bishop
has given me to do. He himself cannot be aware what
it is, till I send him my report. One might suppose
that Christianity had never been heard of here, by the
absurd credulity one meets with in the best houses,-
the multitude of good and evil spirits one hears of at
every turn. I will blow them all to the winds pre-
A hundred years ago Nordland was included in the diocese of
ERLINGSEN'S "AT HOME."
gently. I will root out every superstition in a circle of
"You will, sir?"
I will. Such is my duty as a Christian pastor:'
"Do you suppose you can, sir?"
"Certainly. No doubt of that. What sort of pastor
must he be who cannot vindicate his own religion ?"
"These beliefs, sir, were among us long before you
were born; and I fancy they will last till some time
after you are dead. And, what is more, I should not
wonder if your bishop was to tell you the same thing
when you send him your report of us."
"I thought you had had more faith, Peder. I
thought you had been a better Christian."
However that may be," said Peder, "I have some
knowledge of the people about us, having lived nearly
fourscore years in the parish; and perhaps, sir, as you
are young, and from a distance, you would allow me to
say a word. May I?"
But while M. Kollsen gave this permission, he took
his pipe from his mouth, and beat time with it upon his
knee, and with his foot upon the ground, to carry off his
impatience at being instructed.
My advice would be, sir, with all respect to you,"
said Peder, that you should lead the people into every-
thing that you think true and good, and pass over
quietly whatever old customs and notions you do not
understand or like. I have so much belief in the reli-
gion you are to teach as to feel sure that whatever will
not agree with it will die out of its way if let alone.
But if religion is brought in to hurt the people's feel.
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
ings and notions, that religion will be the thing to
"I must judge for myself about such matters, of
course," said M. Kollsen. He was meditating a
change of place, to escape further lecturing about
his duty, when Peder saved him the trouble of leaving
his comfortable seat by rising and moving away
towards the fire. Peder's pipe was smoked out, and
he was going for more tobacco to the place where
tobacco was always to be found-in a little recess above
the fireplace. He felt his way carefully, that he might
not interfere with the dancers, or be jostled by them;
but he had not far to go. One friend begged to be sent
for anything he wanted; another, with a quicker eye,
brought him tobacco; and a third led him to his seat
again. All looked with wonder at M. Kollsen, sur-
prised that he, Peder's companion at that moment,
young and blessed with eyesight, could let the blind old
man leave his seat for such a reason. Mi. Kollsen
whiffed away, however, quite unconscious of what
everybody was thinking.
"This waltz," said Peder, when the dancers had
begun again, "does not seem to go easily. There is
something amiss. I think it is in the music that the
fault lies. My boy's clarionet goes well enough; no
fear of Oddo's being out. Pray, sir, who plays the
violin at this moment ?"
A fellow who looks as if he did not like his busi-
ness. He is frowning with his red brows as if he
would frown out the lights."
"His red brows! 0, then it is Hund. I was think-
ing it would be hard upon him, poor fellow, if he had
ERLIlqGSEN'S AT HOME."
to play to-night; yet not so hard as if he had to dance.
It is weary work dancing with the heels when the heart
is too heavy to move. You may have heard, sir, for
every one knows it, that Hund wanted to have young
Rolf's place, and, some say, Erica herself. Is she
dancing, sir, if I may ask ?"
"Yes, with Rolf. What sort of a man is Rolf-with
regard to these superstitions, I mean? Is he as foolish
as Erica-always frightened about something ?"
"No, indeed. It is to be wished that Rolf was not
so light as he is-so inconsiderate about these matters.
Rolf has his troubles and his faults; but they are not
of that kind."
"Enough," said M. Kollsen, with a voice of autho-
rity. "I rejoice to hear that he is superior to the
popular delusions. As to his troubles and his faults,
they may be left for me to discover all in good time."
With all my heart, sir. They are nobody's busi-
ness but his own, and, may be, Erica's. Rolf has a
good heart, and I doubt not Ulla and I shall have
great comfort in him. He lives with us, sir, from this
night forwards. There is no fear that he will wish us
in our graves, though we stand between him and his
That must be rather a painful consideration to you."
"Not at all, sir, at present. Ulla and I were all the
happier, we think to this day, for having had four such
years as these young people have before them to know
one another in and grow suitable in notions and habits,
and study to please one another. By the time Rolf and
Erica are what we were, one or both of us will be
underground, and Rolf will have, I am certain, the
'FEATS ON THE FIORD.
pleasant feeling of having done his duty by us. It is
all as it should be, sir; and I pray that they may live
to say at our age what Ulla and I can say at the same
season of our lives."
The pastor made no answer. He had not heard the
last few words; for what Peder said of being under-
ground had plunged him into a reverie about Peder's
funeral sermon, which he should, of course, have to
preach. He was pondering how he should at once do
justice to Peder's virtues and mark his own disapproba-
tion of the countenance Peder gave to the superstitions
of the region in which he lived. He must keep in view
the love and respect in which the old man was held by
everybody, and yet he must bear witness against the
great fault above mentioned. He composed two or
three paragraphs in his imagination which he thought
would do, and then committed them to memory. He
was roused from this employment by a loud laugh
from the man whose funeral he was meditating, and
saw that Peder was enjoying life at present as much as
the youngest, with a glass of punch in his hand, and a
group of old men and women round him recalling the
jests of fifty years ago.
"How goes it, Rolf?" said his master, who, having
done his duty in the dancing-room, was now making
his way to the card-tables, in another apartment, to see
how his guests there were entertained. Thinking that
Rolf looked very absent, as he stood, in the pause of
the dance, in silence by Erica's side, Erlingsen clapped
him on the shoulder, and said, How goes it ? Make
your friends merry."
Rolf bowed and smiled, and his master passed on.
ERLINGSEN'S AT HOME."
How goes it ?" repeated Rolf to Erica, as he looked
earnestly into her face. Is all going on well, Erica ?"
"Certainly. I suppose so. Why not ?" she replied.
"If you see anything wrong,-anything omitted, be
sure and tell me. Madame Erlingsen would be very
sorry. Is there anything forgotten, Rolf?"
"I think you have forgotten what the day is: that
is all. Nobody that looked at you, love, would fancy
it to be your own day. You look anything but merry.
Hardly a smile from you to-night! And that is a
O, Rolf, there is something so much better than
Yes, love; but where is it ? not in your heart to-
"Yes, indeed, Rolf."
"You look as dull,-as sad,-you and Hund, as
"Hund!" repeated Erica, glancing around the room
for Hund, and not seeing him till her lover reminded
her that Hund was the musician. Hund does seem
dull enough to be sure," said she, smiling; I hope I
do not often look like that."
I am more sorry for him than you are, I see," said
Rolf, brightening when he found how entirely Hund
had been absent from her thoughts. "I am more
sorry for Hund than you are: and with good reason,
for I know what the happiness is that he has missed,
poor fellow But yet.1 think you might feel a little
more for him. It would show that you know how to
Indeed I am very sorry for him; but more for his
2- FEATS ON THE FIORD.
disappointment about the house than any other. To-
day once over, he will soon fix his love on somebody
else. Perhaps we shall be dancing on his betrothment-
day before the year is out."
Then I hope his girl will look merrier than you do
to-night," muttered Rolf, with a sigh. "0 Erica! I
wish you would trust me. I could take care of you,
and make you quite happy, if you would only believe it.
Ah I know what that look means. I know youlove
me, and all that; but you are always tormenting your-
"I think I know one who is cleverer still at tor-
menting himself," said Erica, with a smile. "Come,
Rolf, no more tormenting of ourselves or one another !
No more of that after to-day What is to-day worth,
if it is not to put an end to all doubts of one another ?"
"But where is the use of that, if you still will not
believe that I can keep off all trouble from you-that
nothing in the universe shall touch you to your hurt,
"0, hush! hush!" said Erica, turning pale and red
at the presumption of this speech. See, they are wait-
ing for us. One more round before supper."
And in the whirl of the waltz she tried to forget the
last words Rolf had spoken; but they rang in her ears ;
and before her eyes were images of Nipen overhearing
this defiance,-and the Watersprite planning vengeance
in its palace under the ice,-and the Mountain-Demon
laughing in scorn, till the echoes shouted again,-and
the Wood-Demon waiting only for summer to see how
he could beguile the rash lover. Erica finished her
dance; but when the company and the men of the
ERIINGSEN'S "AT HOME."'
household were seated at the supper-table, and she had
to help her mistress and the young ladies to wait upon
them, she trembled so that she could scarcely stand.
It was so very wrong of Rolf to be always defying the
Long was the supper, and hearty was the mirth
sound the table. People in Norway have universally
a hearty appetite,-such an appetite as we English
have no idea of. Whether it is owing to the sharp cli-
mate, or to the active life led by all,-whatever may be
the cause, such is the fact. This night, piles of fish
disappeared first; and then joint after joint of reindeer
venison. The fine game of the country was handed
round, cut up; and little but the bones was left of a
score of birds. Then there were preserved fruits, and
berries, eaten with thick cream;-almost every dish
that could be thought of made of the rich cream of the
north. Erica recovered herself as the great business
went on, and while her proud lover watched her, for-
getting his supper, he thought to himself that no one
of the fair attendants trod so lightly as Erica-no one
carved so neatly-no one handed the dishes so grace-
fully, or was so quick at seeing to whom the most re-
spect and attention were owing. Perhaps this last
thought was suggested by Rolf's perceiving that, either
by her own hand or another's, the hottest dishes and
the nicest bits were found, all supper-time, close to his
elbow. Madame Erlingsen, he decided, with all her
experience, did not do the duties of the table so well;
and the young ladies, kind and good-tempered as they
were, would never, by any experience, become so graceful
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
At last appeared the final dish of the long feast-the
sweet cake, with which dinner and supper in Norway
usually conclude. While this was sliced and handed
round, Rolf observed that Erica looked anxiously to-
wards him. He took no notice, hoping that she would
come and speak to him, and that he should thus be the
gainer of a few of her sweet words. She did come, and
"The cake and ale are here, Rolf. Will you carry
0, the treat for old Nipen. Yes, I will carry them,"
replied Rolf, rising from his seat.
It is the custom in the country regions of Norway
to give the spirit Nipen a share at festival times. His
Christmas cake is richer than that prepared for the
guests; and, before the feast is finished, it is laid in
some place out of doors, where, as might be expected,
it is never to be found in the morning. Everybody
knew therefore why Rolf rose from his seat, though
some were too far off to hear him say that he would
carry out the treat for old Nipen.
"Now, pray do not speak so,-do not call him those
names," said Erica, anxiously. "It is quite as easy to
speak so as not to offend him. Pray, Rolf, to please
me, do speak respectfully. And promise me to play no
tricks, but just set the things down, and come straight
in, and do not look behind you. Promise me, Rolf."
Rolf did promise, but he was stopped by two voices,
calling upon him. Oddo, the herd-boy, came running to
claim the office of carrying out Nipen's cake; and
M. Kollsen, from his seat, declared that he could not
countenance any superstitious observances,-would not
ERLINGSEN'S "AT HOME."
indeed permit any so gross as this in his presence. He
requested that the company might have the benefit of
the cake, and made a speech in ridicule of all spirits
and fairies so very bold and contemptuous, that all
present who had to go home that night looked in con-
sternation at their host. If such language as M.
Kollsen's were allowed, they looked for nothing less
than to have their way beset by offended spirits; so
that Erlingsen might hear in the morning of some
being frozen, some being lost in the fiord, and others
tumbled from precipices. M. Erlingsen made haste to
speak. He did not use any scruples with the young
clergyman. He told him that every one present would
be happy at all times to hear him speak on the matters
belonging to his office. He had discharged his office
in the morning, in betrothing Rolf and Erica; he was
now resting from his business as a guest at that table;
and he would, of course, allow that the direction of the
festivity rested with the host and hostess, whose desire
it was that everything should be done which was
agreeable to the feelings and habits of the greater
number of the guests.
It was settled in a moment that Nipen should have
his cake; which so shocked and annoyed M. Kollsen
that he declared he would not remain to sanction any-
thing so impious, and requested that his boatmen
might be called from their suppers, and desired to have
his boat ready immediately. No entreaties would
soften him: go he would.
It appeared, however, that he could not go. Not a
man would row him, after what he had just said of
Nipen. All were sure that a gust would blow the boat
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
over, the minute she was out of reach of land; or that
a rock would spring up in deep water, where no rock
was before; or that some strong hand would grasp the
boat from below, and draw it down under the waters.
A shudder went round as these things were prophesied,
and, of course, M. Kollsen's return home that night
was out of the question, unless he would row himself.
At first, he declared he should do this; but he was so
earnestly entreated to attempt nothing so rash, that he
yielded the point, with a supercilious air which perhaps
concealed more satisfaction than he chose to avow to
himself. He insisted w retiring immediately, however,
and was shown to his chamber at once by Erlingsen
himself, who found, on his return, that the company
were the better for the pastor's absence, though unable
to recover the mirth which he had put to flight. Erica
had been shedding a few tears, in spite of strong efforts
to restrain them. Here was a bad omen already,-on
the very day of her betrothment; and she saw that
Hund thought so; for there was a gloomy satisfaction
in his eye, as he sat silently watching all that passed.
She could not help being glad that Oddo renewed
his request to be allowed to carry out Nipen's cake and
ale. She eagerly put the ale-can into his hand, and
the cake under his arm; and Oddo was going out,
when his blind grandfather, hearing that he was to be
the messenger, observed that he should be better
pleased if it were somebody else; for Oddo, though a
good boy, was inquisitive, and apt to get into mischief
by looking too closely into everything,-having never
a thought of fear. Everybody knew this to be true,
though Oddo himself declared that he was as frightened
as anybody sometimes. Moreover, he asked what there
was to pry into, on the present occasion, in the middle
of the night, and appealed to the company whether
Nipen was not best pleased to be served by the youngest
of a party. This was allowed, and he was permitted to
go, when Peder's consent was obtained, his mistress
going to the door with him, and seeing him off, putting
aim in mind that the dancing could not begin again
till he returned to take up his clarionet.
THE place where Nipen liked to find his offerings was
at the end of the barn, below the gallery which ran
round the outside of the building. There, in the sum-
mer, lay a plot of green grass, and in the winter a
sheet of pure frozen snow. Thither Oddo shuffled on,
over the slippery surface of the yard, and across the
paddock, along the lane made by the snow-plough be-
tween high banks of snow; and he took prodigious
pains, between one slip and another, not to spill the
ale. He looked more like a prowling cub than a boy,
wrapped as he was in his wolf-skin coat and his fox-
skin cap doubled down over his ears.
As may be supposed from Oddo's declaring that he
was sometimes frightened, he was a brave boy. A
cowardly boy would not have said it; a cowardly boy
would not have offered to go at all; a cowardly boy
would, if he had been sent, have wished that the house.
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
door might be left open, that he might see the cheer.
ful yellow light from within; whereas Oddo begged
his mistress to shut the door, that his grandfather
might not be made to feel his rheumatism by any
draught, as he sat at table. A cowardly boy would
have run as fast as he could, perhaps slipping or fall-
ing, and spilling the ale; and when his errand was
done, he would have fled home, without looking behind
him, fancying everything he saw and heard a spirit or
a wild beast. Oddo did very differently from this.
As usual, he was too busy finding out how everything
happened to feel afraid, as a less inquisitive boy would.
The cake steamed up in the frosty air under his nose,
so warm, and spicy, and rich, that Oddo began to wonder
what so very superior a cake could be like. He had
never tasted any cake so rich as this, nor had any one
in the house tasted such: for Nipen would be offended
if his cake was not richer than anybody's else. Oddo
wondered more and more how this would taste, till,
before he had crossed the yard, he wondered no longer.
He broke a piece off, and ate it; and then wondered
whether Nipen would mind his cake being just a little
smaller than usual. After a few steps more, the wonder
was how far Nipen's charity would go, for the cake
was now a great deal smaller, and Oddo next wondered
whether anybody could stop eating such a cake when
it was once tasted. He was surprised to see, where.
he came out into the starlight, at the end of the barn,
how small a piece was left. He stood listening whether
Nipen was coming in a gust of wind, and when he
heard no breeze stirring, he looked about for a cloud
where Nipen might be. There was no cloud, as far as
he could see. The moon had set, but the stars were
so bright as to throw a faint shadow from Oddo's form
upon the snow. There was no sign of any spirit being
angry at present: but Oddo thought Nipen would
certainly be angry at finding so very small a piece of
cake. It might be better to let the ale stand by it-
self, and Nipen would perhaps suppose that Madame
Erlingsen's stock of groceries had fallen short; at
least, that it was in some way inconvenient to make
the cake on the present occasion. So, putting down
his can upon the snow, and holding the last fragment
of the cake between his teeth, he seized a birch pole
which hung down from the gallery, and by its help
climbed one of the posts, and got over the rails into
the gallery, whence he could watch what would happen.
To remain on the very spot where Nipen was expected
was a little more than he was equal to; but he thought
he could stand in the gallery, in the shadow of th6
broad eaves of the barn, and wait for a little while
He was so very curious to see Nipen, and to leari,
how it liked its ale!
There he stood in the shadow, hearing nothing but
his own munching; though there was not much of
that: for as he came near the end, he took only a
little crumb at a time, to spin out the treat; for never
was anything so good! Then he had nothing to do
but listen: but the waterfall was frozen up; and the
mill stood as still as if it was not made to move. If
the wheel should creak, it would be a sign that Nipen
Presently he heard something.
Music!" thought he. I never heard that it liked
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
music; and I don't think it can know much about
music, for this is not at all sweet. There again! That
was a sort of screech. O, how stupid I am !" thought
he again. So much for my head being full of Nipen!
It is only Hund, tuning his violin, because they have
all done supper. They will be waiting for me. I
wish this Nipen would make haste. It can't be very
hungry ;-that is clear."
He grew more and more impatient as the minutes
passed on, and he was aware that he was wanted in the
house. Once or twice he walked slowly away, looking
behind him, and then turned again, unwilling to miss
this opportunity of seeing Nipen. Then he called the
spirit,-actually begged it to appear. His first call
was almost a whisper; but he called louder and louder
by degrees, till he was suddenly stopped by hearing an
The call he heard was soft and sweet. There was
nothing terrible in the sound itself; yet Oddo grasped
the rail of the gallery with all his strength, as he' heard
it. The strangest thing was, it was not a single cry;
others followed,-all soft and sweet; but Oddo thought
that Nipen must have many companions: and he had
not prepared himself to see more spirits than one. As
usual, however, his curiosity grew more intense, from
the little he had heard; and he presently called again.
Again he was answered, by four or five voices in
"Was ever anybody so stupid!" cried the boy, now
stamping with vexation. It is the echo, after all!
As if there was not always an echo here, opposite the
rock! It is not Nipen at all. I will just wait another
He leaned in silence on his folded arms; and had
not so waited for many seconds before he saw some-
thing moving on the snow at a little distance. It
came nearer and nearer, and at last quite up to the can
"I am glad I stayed," thought Oddo. "Now I can
say I have seen Nipen. It is much less terrible than
I expected. Grandfather told me that it sometimes
came like an enormous elephant or hippopotamus; and
never smaller than a large bear. But this is no bigger
than-let me see-I think it is most like a fox. I
should like to make it speak to me. They would
think so much of me at home, if I had talked with
So he began gently,
"Is that Nipen ?"
The thing moved its bushy tail, but did not answer.
There is no cake for you to-night, Nipen. I hope
the ale will do. Is the ale good, Nipen?"
Off went the dark creature, without a word, as quick
as it could go.
"Is it offended?" thought Oddo: "or is it really
what it looks like,-a fox ? If it does not come back,
I will go down presently, and see whether it has drunk
the ale. If not, I shall think it is only a fox."
He presently let himself down to the ground by the
way he had come up, and eagerly laid hold of the ale-
can. It would not stir. It was as fast on the ground
" as if it was enchanted, which Oddo did not doubt was
the case; and he started back, with more fear than he
had yet had. The cold he felt on this exposed spot
soon reminded him, however, that the can was pro.
EATS ON THE FIORD.
bably frozen to the snow,-which it might well be,
after being brought warm from the fire-side. It was so.
The vessel had sunk an inch into the snow, and was
there fixed by the frost.
None of the ale seemed to have been drunk ; and so
cold was Oddo by this time, that he longed for a sup of
it. He took first a sup, and then a draught: and then
he remembered that the rest would be entirely spoiled
by the frost if it stood another hour. This would be a
pity, he thought; so he finished it, saying to himself
that he did not believe Nipen would come that night.
At that very moment he heard a cry so dreadful that
it shot, like sudden pain, through every nerve of his
body. It was not a shout of anger: it was something
between a shriek and a wail,-like what he fancied
would be the cry of a person in the act of being
murdered. That Nipen was here now, he could not
doubt; and at length Oddo fled. He fled the faster,
at first, for hearing the rustle of wings; but the curio-
sity of the boy even now got the better of his terror,
and he looked up at the barn where the wings were
rustling. There he saw, in the starlight, the glitter of
two enormous round eyes, shining down upon him
from the ridge of the roof. But it struck him at once
that he had seen those eyes before. He checked his
speed, stopped, went back a little, sprang up once more
into the gallery, hissed, waved his cap, and clapped his
hands, till the echoes were all awake again; and, as he
had hoped, the great white owl spread its wings,
sprang off from the ridge, and sailed away over the
Oddo tossed up his cap, cold as the night was, so
delighted was he to have scared away the bird which
had for a moment scared him. He hushed his mirth,
however, when he perceived that lights were wandering
in the yard, and that there were voices approaching.
He saw that the household were alarmed about him,
and were coming forth to search for him. Curious to
see what they would do, Oddo crouched down in the
darkest corner of the gallery to Watch and listen.
First came Rolf and his master, carrying torches,
with which they lighted up the whole expanse of snow
as they came. They looked round them without any
fear, and Oddo heard Rolf say-
"If it were not for that cry, sir, I shouHl think
nothing of it. But my fear is that some beast has got
Search first the place where the cake and ale ought
to be," said Erlingsen. Till I see blood, I shall hope
"You will not see that," said Hund, who followed,
his gloomy countenance now distorted by fear, looking
ghastly in the yellow light of the torch he carried.
You will see no blood. Nipen does not draw blood."
"Never tell me that any one that was not wounded
and torn could send out such a cry as that," said Rolf.
"Some wild brute seized him, no doubt, at the very
moment that Erica and I were standing at the door
Oddo repented his prank when he saw, in the flicker-
ing light behind the crowd of guests who seemed to
hang together like a bunch of grapes, the figures of his
grandfather and Erica. The old man had come out in
the cold for his sake; and Erioa, who looked as white
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
as the snow, had no doubt come forth because the
old man wanted a guide. Oddo now wished himself
out of the scrape. Sorry as he was, he could not help
being amused, and keeping himself hidden a little
longer, when he saw Rolf discover the round hole in
the snow where the can had sunk, and heard the dif-
ferent opinions of the company as to what this por-
tended. Most were convinced that his curiosity had
been his destruction, as they had always prophesied.
"What could be clearer by this hole than that the ale
had stood there, and been carried off with the cake,
and Oddo with it, because he chose to stay and witness
what is forbidden to mortals ?
I wonder where he is now ?" said a shivering youth,
the gayest dancer of the evening.
"0, there is no doubt about that; any one can tell
you that," replied the elderly and experienced M. Hol-
berg. "He is chained upon a wind, poor fellow, like all
Nipen's victims. He will have to be shut up in a cave
all the hot summer through, when it is pleasantest to
be abroad; and when the frost and snow come again,
he will be driven out with a lash of Nipen's whip, and
he must go flying wherever his wind flies without rest-
ing or stopping to warm himself at any fire in the
country. Every winter now, when Erlingsen hears a
moaning above his chimney, he may know it is poor
Oddo, foolish boy!"
Foolish boy! but one can't help pitying him," said
another. "Chained astride upon the wind, and never
to be warm again!"
Oddo had thus far kept his laughter to himself, but
now he could contain himself no longer. He laughed
aloud, and then louder and louder as he heard the
echoes all laughing with him. The faces below, too,
were so very ridiculous-some of the people staring up
in the air, and others at the rock where the echo
came from; some having their mouths wide open,
others their eyes starting, and all looking unlike them-
selves in the torchlight. His mirth was stopped by
"Come down, sir," cried Erlingsen, looking up at
the gallery. "Come down this moment. We shall
make you remember this night as well perhaps as Nipen
could do. Come down, and bring my can and the ale
and the cake. The more pranks you play to-night the
more you will repent it."
Most of the company thought Erlingsen very bold
to talk in this way; but he was presently justified by
Oddo's appearance on the balustrade. His master
seized him as he touched the ground, while the others
"Where is my ale-can?" said Erlingsen.
Here, sir;" and Oddo held it up dangling by the
And the cake ? I bade you bring down the cake
So I did, sir."
And to his master's look of inquiry the boy answered
by pointing down his throat with one finger, and laying
the other hand upon his stomach. It is all here, sir."
And the ale in the same place?"
Oddo bowed, and Erlingsen turned away without
speaking. He could not have spoken without laughing.
" Bring this gentleman home," said Erlingsen, pre.
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
gently to Rolf; and do not let him out of your hands.
Let no one ask him any questions till he is in the
house." Rolf grasped the boy's arm, and Erlingsen
went forward to relieve Peder, though it was not very
clear to him at the moment whether such a grandchild
was better safe or missing. The old man made no such
question, but hastened back to the house with many
expressions of thanksgiving.
As the search-party crowded in among the women,
and pushed all before them into the large warm room,
M. Kollsen was seen standing on the stair-head, wrap-
ped in the bear-skin coverlid.
Is the boy there ?" he inquired.
Oddo showed himself.
"How much have you seen of Nipen, hey ?"
Nobody ever had a better sight of it, sir. It was
as plain as I see you now, and no farther off."
"Nonsense,-it is a lie," said M. Kollsen.
Do not believe a word he says," advised the pastor,
speaking to the listeners. There is the folly of
giving such an opportunity to a child of making
himself important. If he had had his share of the
cake, with the rest of us at table, he would have
taken it quietly, and been thankful. As it is, it will
be harder work than ever to drive out these wicked
superstitions. Go, get along!" he cried to Oddo; "I
do not want to hear a word you have got to say."
Oddo bowed, and proceeded to the great room, where
he took up his clarionet, as if it was a matter of course
that the dancing was to begin again immediately. He
blew upon his :In i L .- L however, observing that they were
too stiff with cold to do their duty well. And when
ODDO S WALK. 39
he turned towards the fire, everyone made way for
him, in a very different manner from what they would
have dreamed of three hours before. Oddo had his
curiosity gratified as to how they would regard one
who was believed to have seen something super-
Erlingsen saw that something must be done on the
spot, to clear up the affair. If his guests went home with-
out having heard the mysteries of the night explained,
the whole country would presently be filled with wild
and superstitious stories. He requested Peder to ex
amine the boy, as Oddo stood more in awe of his
grandfather than of anyone else; and also because
Peder was known to be so firm a believer in Nipen,
that his judgment would be more readily received than
that of an unbeliever. When seriously questioned,
Odde had no wish to say anything but the truth; and
he admitted the whole,-that he had eaten the entire
cake, drunk all the ale, seen a fox and an owl, and
heard the echoes in answer to himself. As he finished
his story, Hund, who was perhaps the most eager
listener of all, leaped thrice upon the floor, snapping
his fingers, as if in a passion of delight. Ho met
Erlingsen's eye full of severity, and was quiet; but his
countenance still glowed with exultation.
The rest of the company was greatly shocked at
these daring insults to Nipen: and none more so than
Peder. The old man's features worked with emotion,
as he said in a low voice that he should be very thank.
ful if all the mischief that might follow upon this
adventure might be borne by the kin of him who had
provoked it. If it should fall upon those who were
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
innocent, never surely had boy been so miserable as his
poor lad would then be. Oddo's eyes filled with tears,
as he heard this; and he looked up at his master and
mistress, as if to ask whether they had no word of
comfort to say.
"Neighbour," said Madame Erlingsen to Podor, "is
there any one here who does not believe that God is
over all, and that he protects the innocent ?"
"Is there any one who does not feel," added Erling-
Ten, that the innocent should be gay, safe as they are
in the good-will of God and man? Come, neighbours,
-to your dancing again! You have lost too much
time already. Now, Oddo, play your best,-and you,
"I hope," said Oddo, "that if any mischief is to
come, it will fall upon me. We'll see how I shall bear
Mischief enough will befall you, boy,-never doubt
it," said his master, as long as you trifle with people's
feelings as you have done to-night. Go. Make up for
it all you can."
The dancing was spiritless, and there was little more
of it. The mirth of the meeting was destroyed. The
party broke up at three, instead of five or six; and it
might have been earlier still, but for the unwillingness
of every family present to be the first to go upon the
lake, or to try the road. At last, all understood one
another's feelings by their own; and the whole com-
pany departed at once in two bands,-one by water,
and the other by land. Those who went in sleighs
took care that a heavy stone was fastened by a rope to
the back of eacb carriagn, that its bobbing and dancing
on the road might keep off the wolves. Glad would
they have been of any contrivance by which they might
as certainly distance Nipen. Rolf then took a parting
kiss from Erica in the porch, pushed Oddo on before,
and followed with Peder. Erica watched them quite
to the door of their own house, and then came in, and
busied herself in making a clearance of some of the
confusion which the guests had left behind.
Oddo could not get a word from you, Erica," ob-
served her mistress; not even a look in answer to his
"I could not, madam," answered Erica, tears and
sobs breaking forth. When I think of it all, I am so
Nipen has been so favourable to us to-day, madam!
not a breath of wind stirring all the morning, so that
nobody was disappointed of coming! And then to
serve it in this way! To rob it, and mock it, and
brave it as we have done!-So ungrateful!-so very
"We are very sorry for Oddo's trick,-your master
and I," said Madame Erlingsen; but we are not in the
least afraid of any further harm happening. You know
we do not believe that God permits his children to be
at the mercy of evil or capricious spirits. Indeed,
Erica, we could not love God as we should wish to love
him, if we could not trust in him as a just and kind
protector. Go to rest now, Erica. You have done
quite enough since you left your bed. Go to rest now.
Rest your heart upon Him who has blessed you exceed!.
inaly this day, Whatever others do, do not you be
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
ungrateful to Him. Good sleep to you, Erica! Sleep
off your troubles, that Rolf may see nothing of them in
Erica smiled; and when Orga and Frolich saw the
effect of what their mother had said, they too went to
rest without trembling at every one of the noises with
which a house built of wood is always resounding.
OLAF AND HIS NEWS.
WHEN M. Kollsen appeared the next morning, the
household had so much of its usual air that no stranger
would have imagined how it had been occupied the day
before. The large room was fresh strewn with ever-
green sprigs; the breakfast-table stood at one end,
where each took breakfast, standing, immediately on
coming downstairs. At the bottom of the room was a
busy group. The shoemaker, who travelled this way
twice a-year, had appeared this morning, and was al-
ready engaged upon the skins which had been tanned
on the farm, and kept in readiness for him. He was
instructing Oddo in the making of the tall boots of the
country; and Oddo was so eager to have a pair in which
he might walk knee-deep in the snow when the frosts
should be over, that he gave all his attention to the
work. Peder was twisting strips of leather, thin and
narrow, into whips. Rolf and Hund were silently in-
tent upon a sort of work which the Norwegian peasant
delights in,-carving wood. They spoke only to an-
OLAF AND HIS HEWS. 43
swer Peder's questions about the progress of the work.
Peder loved to hear about their carving, and to feel it;
for he had been remarkable for his skill in the art, as
long as his sight lasted.
Erlingsen was reading the newspaper, which must go
away in the pastor's pocket. Madame was spinning;
and her daughters sat busily plying their needles with
Erica, in a corner of the apartment. The three were
putting the last stitches to the piece of work which the
pastor was also to carry away with him, as his fee for
his services of yesterday. It was an eider-down cover-
lid, of which Rolf had procured the down, from the
islets in the fiord frequented by the eider-duck, and Erica
had woven the cover and quilted it, with the assistance
of her young ladies, in an elegant pattern. The other
house-maiden was in the chambers, hanging out the
bedding in an upper gallery to air, as she did on all
days of fair weather.
The whole party rose when M. Kollsen entered the
room, but presently resumed their employment, except
Madame Erlingsen, who conducted the pastor to the
breakfast-table, and helped him plentifully to rein-
deer ham, bread-and-butter, and corn-brandy,-the
usual breakfast. M. Kollsen carried his plate and ate,
as he went round to converse with each group. First,
he talked polities a little with his host, by the fire-side;
in the midst of which conversation Erlingsen managed
to intimate that nothing would be heard of Nipen to-
day, if the subject was let alone by themselves: a hint
which the clergyman was willing to take, as he sup-
posed it meant in deference to his views. Then he
complimented Madame Erlingsen on the excellence of
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
her ham, and helped himself again; and next drew
near the girls.
Erica blushed, and was thinking how she should ex-
plain that she wished his acceptance of her work, when
Frolich saved her the awkwardness by saying,
We hope you will like this coverlid, for we have
made an entirely new pattern on purpose for it. Orga,
you have the pattern. Do show M. Kollsen how pretty
it looks on paper."
M. Kollsen did not know much about such things;
but he admired as much as he could.
That lily of the valley, see, is mamma's idea; and
the barberry, answering to its is mine. That tree in
the middle is all Erica's work-entirely; but the
squirrel upon it, we never should have thought of. It
was papa who put that in our heads; and it is the most
original thing in the whole pattern. Erica has worked
it beautifully, to be sure."
I think we have said quite enough about it," ob-
served Erica, smiling and blushing. "I hope M.
Kollsen will accept it. The down is Rolf's present."
Rolf rose, and made his bow, and said he had had
pleasure in preparing his small offering.
"And I think," said Erlingsen, "it is pretty plain
that my little girls have had pleasure in their part of
the work. It is my belief that they are sorry it is so
M. Kollsen graciously accepted the gift,-took up
the coverlid and weighed it in his hand, in order to ad-
mire its lightness, compared with its handsome size;
and thou bent over the carvers, to seo what work waq
under their hands,
OLAF AND HIS NEWS. 45
"A bell-collar, sir," said Hund, showing his piece of
wood. "I am making a complete set for our cows,
against they go to the mountain, come summer."
"A pulpit, sir," explained Rolf, showing his work in
"A pulpit! Really And who is to preach in it ?"
"You, sir, of course," replied Erlingsen. "Long
before you came, -from the time the new church was
begun, we meant it should have a handsome pulpit.
Six of us, within a round of twenty miles, undertook
the six sides; and Rolf has great hopes of having the
basement allotted to him afterwards. The best work-
man is to do the basement, and I think Rolf bids fair
to be the one. This is good work, sir."
"Exquisite," said the pastor. "I question whether
our native carvers may not be found to be equal to any
whose works we hear so much of in Popish churches,
in other countries. And there is no doubt of the su-
periority of their subjects. Look at these elegant
twining flowers, and that fine brooding eagle! How
much better to copy the beautiful works of God that
are before our eyes, than to make durable pictures of
the Popish idolatries and superstitions, which should
all have been forgotten as soon as possible! I hope
that none of the impious idolatries which, I am
ashamed to say, still linger among us, will find their
way into the arts by which future generations will
The pastor stopped, on seeing that his hearers looked
at one another, as if conscious. A few words, he
judged, would be better than more; and he went on to
Peder, passing by Oddo without a word of notice. The
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
party had indeed glanced consciously at each other;
for it so happened that the very prettiest piece Rolf
had ever carved was a bowl on which he had shown the
water-sprite's hand (and never was hand so delicate as
the water-sprite's) beckoning the heron to come and
fish when the river begins to flow.
When Erica heard iM. Kollsen inquiring of Peder
about his old wife, she started up from her work, and
said she must run and prepare Ulla for the pastor's
visit. Poor Ulla would think herself forgotten this
morning, it was growing so late, and nobody had been
over to see her.
Ulla, however, was far from having any such thoughts.
There sat the old woman, propped up in bed, knitting
as fast as fingers could move, and singing, with her
soul in her song, though her voice was weak and un-
steady. She was covered with an eider-down quilt,
like the first lady in the land; but this luxury was a
consequence of her being old and ill, and having friends
who cared for her infirmities. There was no other
luxury. Her window was glazed with thick flaky
glass, through which nothing could be seen distinctly.
The shelf, the table, the clothes-chest, were all of rough
fir-wood; and the walls of the house were of logs, well
stuffed with moss in all the crevices, to keep out the
cold. There are no dwellings so warm in winter and
cool in summer as well-built log-houses; and this house
had everything essential to health and comfort: but
there was nothing more, unless it was the green sprink-
ling of the floor, and the clean appearance of everything
the room contained, from Ulla's cap to the wooden
platters on the shelf.
OLAP ATD HIS NEWS.
I thought you would come," said Ulla. "I knew
you would come, and take my blessing on your betroth-
ment, and my wishes that you may soon be seen with
the golden crown.* I must not say that I hope to see
you crowned, for we all know,-and nobody so well as
I,-that it is I that stand between you and your
crown. I often think of it, my dear-"
"Then I wish you would not, Ulla: you know that."
"I do know it, my dear, and I would not be for
hastening God's appointments. Let all be in His own
time. And I know, by myself, how happy you may
be,-you and Rolf,-while Peder and I are failing and
dying. I only say that none wish for your crowning
more than we. O, Erica! you have a fine lot in having
"Indeed I know it, Ulla."
Do but look about you, dear, and see how he keeps
the house. And if you were to see him give me my
cup of coffee, and watch over Peder, you would con-
sider what he is likely to be to a pretty young thing
like you, when he is what he is to two worn-out old
creatures like us."
Erica did not need convincing about these things,
but she liked to hear them.
Where is he now ?" asked Ulla. "I always ask
where everybody is, at this season; people go about
staring at the snow, as if they had no eyes to lose.
That is the way my husband did. Do make Rolf take
care of his precious eyes, Erica. Is he abroad to-day,
my dear ?"
Peasant brides in Norway wear, on their wedding-day, a oro-
net of pasteboard, covered with gilt paper.
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
"By this time ho is," replied Erica, "I left him at
work at the pulpit--"
Ay! trying his eyes with fine carving, as Peder
But," continued Erica, there was news this morn-
ing of a lodgment of logs at the top of the foss;* and
they were all going, except Peder, to slide them down
the gully to the fiord. The gully is frozen so slip-
pery, that the work will not take long. They will
make a raft of the logs in the fiord, and either Rolf or
Hund will carry them out to the islands when the tide
Will it be Rolf, do you think, or Hund, dear ?"
I wish it may be Hund. If it be Rolf, I shall go
with him. 0, Ulla! I cannot lose sight of him, after
what happened last night. Did you hear? I do wish
Oddo would grow wiser."
Ulla shook her head, and then nodded, to intimate
that they would not talk of Nipen; and she began to
speak of something else.
How did Hund conduct himself yesterday? I
heard my husband's account: but you know Peder
could say nothing of his looks. Did you mark his
"Indeed there was no helping it, any more than one
can help watching a storm-cloud as it comes up."
"So it was dark and wrathful, was it,-that ugly
Waterfall. Pine-trunks felled in the forest are drawn over
the frozen snow to the banks of a river, or to the top of a waterfall,
whence they may be either slid down over the ice, or left to be car-
ried down by the floods, at the melting of the snows in the spring.
OLAP AND HIS NEWh.
face of his ? Well it might be, dear; well it might
"The worst was,-worse than all his dark looks to-
gether,-O, Ulla! the worst was his leap and cry of
joy when he heard what Oddo had done, and that
Nipen was made our enemy. He looked like an evil
spirit when he fixed his eyes on me, and snapped his
Ulla shook her head mournfully, and then asked Ericr.
to put another peat on the fire.
"I really should like to know," said Erica, in a low
voice, when she resumed her seat on the bed, "I am
sure you can tell me if you would, what is the real
truth about Hund, what it is that weighs upon his
"I will tell you," replied Ulla. "You are not one
that will go babbling it, so that Hund shall meet
with taunts, and have his sore heart made sorer. I will
tell you, my dear, though there is no one else but our
mistress that I would tell, and she, no doubt, knows it
already. Hund was born and reared a good way to the
south, not far from Bergen. In mid-winter four years
since, his master sent him on an errand of twenty
miles, to carry some provisions to a village in the upper
country. He did his errand, and so far all was well.
The village people asked him for charity to carry three
orphan children on his sledge some miles on the way tc
Bergen, and to leave them at a house he had to pass on
his road, where they would be taken care of till they
could be fetched from Bergen. Hund was an obliging
young fellow then, and he made no objection. He took
the little things, and saw that the two elder were well
FEATR ON THET FIORD.
wrapped up from the cold. The third lie took within his
arms and on his knee as he drove, clasping it warm
against his breast. So those say who saw them set off;
and it is confirmed by one who met the sledge on the
road, and heard the children prattling to Hund, and
Hund laughing merrily at their little talk. Before
they had got half-way, however, a pack of hungry
wolves burst out upon them from a hollow to the right
of the road. The brutes followed close at the back of
the sledge, and- "
"0, stop !" cried Erica; "I know that story. Is it
possible that Hund is the man? No need to go on,
But Ulla thought there was always need to finish a
story that she had begun, and she proceeded.
"Closer and closer the wolves pressed, and it is
thought Hund saw one about to spring at his throat.
It was impossible for the horse to go faster than it did,
for it went like the wind; but so did the beasts. Hund
snatched up one of the children behind him, and threw
it over the back of the sledge, and this stopped the pack
for a little. On galloped the horse, but the wolves
were soon crowding round again, with the blood freezing
on their muzzles. It was easier to throw the second
child than the first, and Hund did it. It was harder to
give up the third-the dumb infant that nestled to his
breast, but Hund was in mortal terror; and a man
beside himself with terror has all the cruelty of a pack
of wolves. Hund flung away the infant, and just saved
himself. Nobody at home questioned him, for nobody
knew about the orphans, and he did not tell. But he
was unsettled and looked wild; and his talk, whenever
he did speak, night or day, was of wolves, for the three
OLAF AND HIS NEWS.
aays that he remained after his return. Then thero
was a questioning along the road about the orphan
children; and Hund heard of it, and started off into the
woods. By putting things together-what Hund had
dropped in his agony of mind, and what had been seen
and heard on the road, the whole was made out, and
the country rose to find Hund. He was hunted like
a bear in the forest and on the mountain; but he had
got to the coast in time, and was taken in a boat, it is
thought, to Hammerfest. At any rate, he came here
as from the north, and wishes to pass for a northern
And does Erlingsen know all this?"
"Yes. The same person who told me told him.
Erlingsen thinks he must meet with mercy, for that
none need mercy so much as the weak; and Hund's act
was an act of weakness."
"Weakness !" cried Erica, with disgust.
"He is a coward, my dear; and death stared him in
"I have often wondered," said Erica, where on the
face of the earth that wretch was wandering: and it is
Hund! And he wanted to live in this very house,"
she continued, looking round the room.
"And to marry you, dear. Erlingsen would never
have allowed that. But the thought has plunged the
poor fellow deeper, instead of saving him, as he hoped.
He now has envy and jealousy at his heart, besides the
remorse which he will carry to his grave."
"And revenge!" said Erica, shuddering. "I tell
you he leaped for joy that Nipen was offended. Here is
some one coming," she exclaimed, 'starting from her
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
seat, as a shadow flitted over the thick window-pane,
and a hasty knock was heard at the door.
"You are a coward, if ever there was one," said
Ulla, smiling. "Hund never comes here, so you need
not look so frightened. What is to be done if you look
so at dinner, or the next time you meet him? It will
be the ruin of some of us. Go,-open the door, and do
not keep the pastor waiting."
There was another knock before Erica could reach
the door, and Frolich burst in.
"Such news!" she cried; "you never heard such
I wish there never was any news," exclaimed Erica,
Good or bad?" inquired Ulla.
0, bad,-very bad," declared Frolich, who yet
looked as if she would rather have it than none.
" Here is company. Olaf, the drug-merchant, is come.
Father did not expect him these three weeks."
This is not bad news, but good," said Ulla. "Who
knows but he may bring me a cure ?"
"We will all beg him to cure you, dear Ulla," said
Frolich, stroking the old woman's white hair smooth
upon her forehead. But he tells us shocking things.
There is a pirate vessel among the islands. She was
seen off Soroe, some time ago; but she is much nearer
to us now. There was a farm-house seen burning on
Alten fiord, last week; and as the family are all gone,
and nothing but ruins left, there is little doubt the
pirates lit the torch that did it. And the cod has been
carried off from the beach, in the few places where any
has been caught yet."
OLAF AND HIS NEWS.
"They have not found out our fiord yet ?" inquired
0, dear! I hope not. But they may, any day.
And father says, the coast must be raised, from Ham-
merfest to Tronyem, and a watch set till this wicked
vessel can be taken or driven away. He was going to
send a running message both ways; but here is some-
thing else to be done first."
Another misfortune ?" asked Erica, faintly.
No: they say it is a piece of very good fortune ;-
at least, for those who like bears' feet for dinner.
Somebody or other has lighted upon the great bear
that got away in the summer, and poked her out of her
den, on the fjelde. She is certainly abroad, with her
two last year's cubs; and their traces have been found
just above, near the foss. Olaf had heard of her being
roused; and Rolf and Hund have found her traces.
Oddo has come running home to tell us: and father
says he must get up a hunt before more snow falls, and
we lose the tracks, or the family may establish them-
selves among us, and make away with our first calves."
Does he expect to kill them all ?"
I tell you, we are all to grow stout on bears' feet.
For my part, I like bears' feet best on the other side
"You will change your mind, Miss Frolich, when
you see them on the table," observed Ulla.
That is just what father said. And he asked how
I thought Erica and Stiorna would like to have a den
in their neighbourhood when they go up to the moun.
tain for the summer. 0, it will be all right when the
hunt is well over, and all the bears dead. Meantime.,
FEATS ON THE TIORD.
I thought they were at my heels as I crossed the
"And that made you burst in as you did. Did
Olaf say anything about coming to see me ? Has he
plenty of medicines with him ?"
0, certainly. That was the thing I came to say.
He is laying out his medicines, while he warms him-
self; and then he is coming over, to see what he
can do for your poor head. He asked about you,
directly; and he is frowning over his drugs, as if he
meant to let them know that they must not trifle with
Ulla was highly pleased, and gave her directions
very briskly about the arrangement of the room. If it
had been the grandest apartment of a palace, she could
not have been more particular as to where everything
should stand. When all was to her mind, she begged
Erica to step over, and inform Olaf that she was
When Erica opened the door, she instantly drew
back, and shut it again.
What now ?" asked Frolich. Are all the bears
in the porch ?"
"' Olaf is there," replied Erica, in a whisper, "talk-
ing with Hund."
Hund wants a cure for the heart-ache," Frolich
whispered in return; or a charm to make some girl
betroth herself to him;-a thing which no girl will do,
but under a charm: for I don't believe Stiorna would
when it came to the point, though she likes to be
When Olaf entered, and Hund walked away, Frolich
OLAF AND HIS NEWS.
ran home, and Erica stood by the window, ready to re-
ceive the travelling doctor's opinion and directions if
he should vouchsafe any.
"So I am not the first to consult you to-day," said
Ulla. It is rather hard that I should not have the
best chance of luck, having been so long ill."
Olaf assured her that he would hear no complaints
from another till he had given her the first-fruits of
his wisdom in this district of his rounds. Hund was
only inquiring of him where the pirate-schooner was,
having slid down from the height, as fast as his snow-
skaits would carry him, on hearing the news from
Oddo. He was also eager to know whence these
pirates came,-what nation they were of, or whether a
crew gathered from many nations. Olaf had advised
Hund to go and ask the pirates themselves all that he
wanted to know; for there was no one else who could
satisfy him. Whereupon Hund had smiled grimly,
and gone back to his work.
Erica observed that she had heard her master say that
it was foolish to boast that Norway need not mind
when Denmark went to war, because it would be car-
ried on far out of sight and hearing. So far from this,
Erlingsen had said, that Denmark never went to war
but pirates came to ravage the coast, from the North
Cape to the Naze. Was not this the case now ? Den-
mark had gone to war; and here where the pirates come
to make her poor partner suffer.
Olaf said this explained the matter: and he feared
the business of the coast would suffer till a time of
peace. Meanwhile, he must mind his business. When
he had heard all Ulla's complaints, and ordered exactly
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
what she wished-large doses of camphor and corn-
brandy to keep off the night-fever and daily cough, he
was ready to hear whatever else Erica had to ask, for
Ulla had hinted that Erica wanted advice.
I do not mind Ulla hearing my words," said Erica.
"She knows my trouble."
"It is of the mind," observed Olaf, solemnly, on dis-
covering that Erica did not desire to have her pulse
Yesterday was -- I was Erica began.
"She was betrothed yesterday," said Ulla, "to the
man of her heart. Rolf is such a young man -"
Olaf knows Rolf," observed Erica. "An unfortu-
nate thing happened at the end of the day, Olaf. Nipen
was insulted." And she told the story of Oddo's prank,
and implored the doctor to say if anything could be
done to avert bad consequences.
No doubt," replied Olaf. Look here! This will
preserve you from any particular evil that you dread."
And he took from the box he carried under his arm a
round piece of white paper, with a hole in the middle,
through which a string was to be passed, to tie the
.*harm round the neck. Erica shook her head. Such
a charm would be of no use, as she did not know under
what particular shape of misfortune Nipen's displeasure
would show itself. Besides, she was certain that nothing
would make Rolf wear a charm; and she disdained to
use any security which he might not share. Olaf could
not help her in any other way; but inquired with sym-
pathy when the next festival would take place. Then,
all might be repaired by handsome treatment of Nipen.
Till then, he advised Erica to wear his charm, as her
OLAF AND nl[ dEWS.
lover could not be the worse for her being so far safe.
Erica blushed: she knew, but did not say, that harm
would be done which no charm could repair if her lover
saw her trying to save herself from dangers to which
he remained exposed: and she did not know what their
betrothment was worth, if it did not give them the pri-
vilege of suffering together. So she put back the charm
into its place in the box, and, with a sigh, rose to return
to the house.
In the porch she found Oddo, eating something which
caused him to make faces. Though it was in the open
air, there was a strong smell of camphor, and of some-
thing else less pleasant.
"What are you doing, Oddo?" asked Erica: the
question which Oddo was asked every day of his life.
Oddo had observed Olaf's practice among his patients
of the household, and perceived that, for all complaints,
of body or mind, he gave the two things, camphor and
asafoetida,-sometimes together, and sometimes sepa-
rately; and always in corn-brandy. Oddo could not
refrain from trying what these drugs were like; so he
helped himself to some of each; and, as he could get no
corn-brandy till dinner-time, he was eating the medi-
cines without. Such was the cause of his wry faces.
If he had been anything but a Norway boy, he would
have been the invalid of the house to-day, from the
quantity of rich cake he had eaten: but Oddo seemed
to share the privilege, common to Norwegians, of being
able to eat anything; in any quantity, without injury.
His wry faces were from no indigestion, but from the
savour of asafcetida, unrelieved by brandy.
"Wooden dwellings resound so much as to be incon-
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
venient for those who have secrets to tell. In the porch
of Peder's house, Oddo had heard all that passed within.
It was good for him to have done so. He became more
sensible of the pain he had given, and more anxious to
"Dear Erica," said he, "I want you to do a very
kind thing for me. Do get leave ior me to go with
Rolf after the bears. If I get one stroke at them,-if
I can but wound one of them, I shall have a paw for
my share; and I will lay it out for Nipen. You will:
will you not ?"
It must be as Erlingsen chooses, Oddo: but I fancy
you will not be allowed to go just now. The bears will
think the doctor's physic-sledge is coming through the
woods, and they will be shy. Do stand a little fur-
ther off. I cannot think how it is that you are not
Suppose you go for an airing," said the doctor, who
now joined them. If you must not go in the way of
the bears, there is a reindeer, "
"0 where ?" cried Oddo.
"I saw one,-all alone,-on the Salten heights. If
you run that way, with the wind behind you, the deer
will give you a good run ;-up Sulitelma, if you like,
and you will have got rid of the camphor before you
come back. And be sure you bring me some Iceland
moss, to pay me for what you have been helping your-
When Oddo had convinced himself that Olaf really
had seen a reindeer on the heights, three miles off, he
said to himself, that if deer do not like camphor, they
are fond of salt; and he was presently at the salt-box,
ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE.
and then quickly on his way to the hills with his bait.
He considered his chance of training home the deer
much more probable.than that Erlingsen and his grand-
father would allow him to hunt the bears: and he
doubtless judged rightly.
ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE.
THE establishment was now in a great hurry and
bustle for an hour, after which time it promised to be
M. Kollsen began to be anxious to be on the other
side of the fiord. It was rather inconvenient, as the
two men were wanted to go in different directions,
while their master took a third, to rouse the farmers
for the bear-hunt. The hunters were all to arrive
before night within a certain distance of the thickets
where the bears were now believed to be. On calm
nights it was no great hardship to spend the dark
hours in the bivouac of the country. Each party
was to shelter itself under a bank of snow, or in a pit
dug out of it, an enormous fire blazing in the midst,
and brandy and tobacco being plentifully distributed
on such occasions. Early in the morning the director
of the hunt was to go his rounds, and arrange the
hunters in a ring enclosing the hiding-place of the
ears, so that all might be prepared, and no waste
made of the few hours of daylight which the season
afforded. As soon as it was light enough to see dis-
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
tinctly among the trees, or bushes, or holes of the
rocks where the bears might be couched, they were to
be driven from their retreat, and disposed of as quickly
as possible. Such was the plan, well understood in
such cases throughout the country. On the present
occasion it might be expected that the peasantry would
be ready at the first summons, as Olaf had told his
story of the bears all along the road. Yet, the more
messengers and helpers the better; and Erlingsen was
rather vexed to see Hund go with alacrity to unmoor
the boat, and offer officiously to row the pastor across
the fiord. His daughters knew what he was thinking
about, and, after a moment's consultation, Frolich
asked whether she and the maid Stiorna might not be
Nobody would have objected if Hund had not. The
girls could row, though they could not hunt bears;
and the weather was fair enough; but Hund shook his
head, and went on preparing the boat. His master
spoke to him, but Hund was not remarkable for giving
up his own way. He would only say that there would
be plenty of time for both affairs, and that he could
follow the hunt when he returned, and across the lake
Erlingsen and Rolf presently departed, accompanied
by Olaf, who was glad of an escort for a few miles,
though nothing was further from his intention than
going near the bears. The women and Peder were
thus left behind.
They occupied themselves to keep away anxious
thoughts. One began some new nets, for the ap-
proaching fishing season; another sat in the loom, and
ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE.
the girls appealed to their mother, very frequently,
about the beauties of a new quilting pattern they were
drawing. Old Peder sang to them, too; but Peder's
songs were rather melancholy, and they had not the
effect of cheering the party. Hour after hour they
looked for Hund. His news of his voyage, and the
sending him after his master, would be something to do
and to think of; but Hund did not come. Stiorna at
last let fall that she did not think he would come yet,
for that he meant to catch some cod before his return;
he had taken tackle with him for that purpose, she
knew, and she should not wonder if he did not appear
till the morning.
Every one was surprised, and Madame Erlingsen
highly displeased. At the time when her husband
would be wanting every strong arm that could be
mustered, his servant chose to be out fishing, instead
of obeying orders. The girls pronounced him a coward,
and Peder observed that to a coward, as well as a
sluggard, there was ever a lion in the path. Erica
doubted whether this act of disobedience arose from
cowardice, for there were dangers in the fiord, for such
as went out as far as the cod. She supposed Hund
She stopped short, as a sudden flash of suspicion
crossed her mind. She had seen Hund inquiring of
Olaf about the pirates, and his strange obstinacy about
this day's boating looked much as if he meant to learn
"Danger in the fiord!" repeated Orga. "0, you
mean the pirates; they are far enough from our fiord,
I suppose. If ever they do come, I wish they would
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
catch Hund, and carry him off. I am sure we could
spare them nothing they would be so welcome to."
Madame Erlingsen saw that Erica was turning red
and white, and resolved to ask, on the first good op-
portunity, what was in her mind about Hund, for no
one was more disposed to distrust and watch him than
the lady herself.
The first piece of amusement that occurred was the
return of Oddo, who passed the windows, followed at a
short distance by a wistful-looking deer, which seemed
afraid to come quite up to him, but kept its branched
head outstretched towards the salt which Oddo dis-
played, dropping a few grains from time to time. At
the sight all crowded to the windows but Frolich, who
left the room on the instant. Before the animal had
passed the servants' house (a separate dwelling in the
yard), she appeared in the gallery which ran round the
outside of it, and showed to Oddo a cord which she
held; he nodded, and threw down some salt on the
snow immediately below where she stood. The rein-
deer stooped its head, instead of looking out for enemies
above, and thus gave Frolich a good opportunity to
throw her cord over its antlers. She had previously
wound one end round the balustrade of the gallery, so
that she had not with her single strength to sustain
the animal's struggles.
The poor animal struggled violently when it found
its head no longer at liberty, and, by throwing out its
legs, gave Oddo an opportunity to catch and fasten it
by the hind leg, so as to decide its fate completely. It
could now only start from side to side, and threaten
with its head when the household gathered round to
ROVTIG HERE AND ROVING THERE.
congratulate Oddo and Frolich on the success of their
hunting. The women durst only hastily stroke the
palpitating sides of the poor beast ; but Peder, who had
handled many scores in his lifetime, boldly seized its
head, and felt its horns and the bones from whence they
grew, to ascertain its age.
"Do you fancy you have made a prize of a wild deer,
boy ?" he asked of his grandson.
To be sure," said Oddo.
I thought you had had more curiosity than to take
such a thing for granted, Oddo. See here! Is notthis
car slit ?"
"Why, yes," Oddo admitted; "but it is not a slit
of this year or last. It may have belonged to the Lapps
once upon a time; but it has been wild for so long that
it is all the same as if it had never been in a fold. It
will never be claimed."
I am of your opinion there, boy. I wish you joy
of your sport."
You may: for I doubt whether anybody will do
better to-day. Hund will not, for one, if it is he who
has gone out with the boat; and I think I cannot be
mistaken in the handling of his oar."
Have you seen him ? Where ? What is he doing ?"
asked one and another.
Before Oddo could answer, Madame Erlingsen desired
that he would go home with his grandfather, and tell
Ulla about the deer, while he warmed himself. She
did not wish her daughters to hear what he might have
to tell of Hund. Stiorna too was better out of the way.
Oddo had not half told the story of the deer to his
grandmother, when his mistress and Erica entered.
6EATS ON THE FIORD.
Did you not see M. Kollsen in the boatwith Hund?"
"No. Hund was quite alone, pulling with all his
might down the fiord. The tide was with him, so that
he shot along like a fish."
How do you know that it was Hund you saw ?"
"Don't I know our boat? And don't I know his
"pall? It is no more like Rolf's than Rolf's is like
"Perhaps he was making for the best fishing-ground
as fast as he could."
"We shall see that by the fish he brings home."
"True. By supper-time we shall know."
"Hund will not be home by supper-time," said
"Why not ? Come, say out what you mean."
"Well, I will teli you what I saw. I watched him
rowing as fast as his arm and the tide would carry him.
It was so plain that there was a plan in his head, that
I forgot the deer in watching him; and I followed on,
from point to point, catching a sight now and then, till
I had gone a good stretch beyond Salten heights. I
was just going to turn back when I took one more look,
and he was then pulling in for the land."
On the north shore or south ?" asked Feder.
The north-just at the narrow part of the fiord,
where one can see into the holes of the rocks opposite."
The fiord takes a wide sweep below there," observed
"Yes; and that was why he landed," replied Oddo.
"He was then but a little way from the fishing-ground,
if he had wanted fish. But he drove up the boat into
ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE.
a little cove, a narrow dark creek, where it will lie safe
enough, I have no doubt, till he comes back: if he
means to come back."
Why, where should he go? What should he do
but come back ?" asked Madame Erlingsen.
He is now gone over the ridge to the north. I saw
him moor the boat, and begin to climb; and I watched
his dark figure on the white snow, higher and higher,
till it was a speck, and I could not make it out."
That is the way you will lose your eyes," exclaimed
Ulla. How often have I warned you,-and many
others as giddy as you! When you have lost your
eyes, you will think you had better have minded my
advice, and not have stared at the snow after a run-
away that is better there than here."
What do you think of this story, Peder ?" askea
I think Hund has taken the short cut over the pro-
montory, on business of his own at the islands. He is
not on any business of yours, depend upon it, madam."
"And what business can he have among the is,
I could say that with more certainty if I knew
exactly where the pirate vessel is."
"That is your idea, Erica," said her mistress. "I saw
what your thoughts were, an hour ago, before we knew
"I was thinking then, madam, that if Hund was
gone to join the pirates, Nipen would be very ready to
give them a wind just now. A baffling wind would be
our only defence; and we cannot expect that much
"from Nipen to-day."
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
"I will do anything in the world," cried Oddo, ea-
gerly. "Send me anywhere. Do think of something
that I can do."
What must be done, Peder ?" asked his mistress.
" There is quite enough to fear, Erica, without a word
of Nipen. Pirates on the coast, and one farm-house
seen burning already !"
"I will tell you what you must let me do, madam,"
said Erica. Indeed you must not oppose me. My
mind is quite set upon going for the boat,-immediately
-this very minute. That will give us time-it will
give us safety for this night. Hund might bring seven
or eight men upon us over the promontory: but if they
find no boat, I think they can hardly work up the
windings of the fiord in their own vessel to-night;-
unless, indeed," she added, with a sigh, "they have a
most favourable wind."
All this is true enough," said her mistress; but
how will you go ? Will you swim ?"
The raft, madam."
And there is the old skiffon Thor islet," said Oddo.
"It is a rickety little thing, hardly big enough for
two; but it will carry down Erica and me, if we go
before the tide turns."
"But how will you get to Thor islet ?" inquired
Madam Erlingsen. I wish the scheme were not such
a wild one."
A wild one must serve at such a time, madam," re-
plied Erica. "Rolf had lashed several logs before he
went. I am sure we can get over to the islet. See,
madam, the fiord is as smooth as a pond."
Let her go," said Peder. She will never repent."
ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE.
Then come back, I charge you, if you find the least
danger," said her mistress. No one is safer at the
oar than you; but if there is a ripple in the water, or a
gust on the heights, or a cloud in the sky, come back.
Such is my command, Erica."
"Wife," said Peder, "give her your pelisse; that
will save her seeing the girls before she goes. And she
shall have my cap, and then there is not an eye along
the fiord that can tell whether she is man or woman."
Ulla lent her deerskin pelisse willingly enough; but
she entreated that Oddo might be kept at home. She
folded her arms about the boy with tears; but Peder
decided the matter with the words, Let him go ; it is
the least he can do to make up for last night. Equip,
Oddo equipped willingly enough. In two minutes
he and his companion looked like two walking bundles
of fur. Oddo carried a frail-basket, containing rye.
bread, salt fish, and a flask of corn-brandy; for in Nor-
way no one goes on the shortest expedition without
Surely it must be dusk by this time," said Peder.
It was dusk; and this was well, as the pair could
steal down to the shore without being perceived from
the house. Madame Erlingsen gave them her blessing,
saying that if the enterprise saved them from nothing
worse than Hund's company this night, it would be a
great good. There could be no more comfort in hav-
ing Hund for an inmate; for some improper secret he
certainly had. Her hope was that, finding the boat
gone, he would never show himself again.
"One would think," continued the lady. when she
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
returned from watching Erica and Oddo disappear in
the dusk-" one would think Erica had never known
fear. Her step is as firm and her eye as clear as if she
had never trembled in the course of her life."
She knows how to act to-night," said Peder; and
she is going into danger for her lover, instead of wait-
ing at home while her lover goes into danger for her. A
hundred pirates in the fiord would not make her tremble
as she trembled last night. Rather a hundred pirates
than Nipen angry, she would say."
There is her weakness," observed her mistress.
Can we speak of weakness after what we have just
seen-if I may say so, madam ?"
"I think so," replied Madame Erlingsen. I think
it a weakness in those who believe that a just and tender
Providence watches over us all, to fear what any power
in the universe can do to them."
M. Kollsen does not make progress in teaching the
people what you say, madam. He only gets distrusted
"When M. Kollsen has had more experience, he will
find that this is not a matter for displeasure. He will
not succeed while he is displeased at what his people
think sacred. When he is an older man, he will pity
the innocent for what they suffer from superstition ; and
this pity will teach him how to speak of Providence to
such as our Erica.-But here are my girls coming to
seek me. I must meet them, to prevent their missing
"Get them to rest early, madam."
Certainly; and you will watch in this house, Peder,
and I at home."
THE WATER SPRITES' DOINGS.
"Trust me for hearing the oar at a furlong off,
That is more than I can promise," said the lady;
but the owl shall not be more awake than I."
TIE WATER SPRITES' DOINGS.
ERICA now profited by her lover's industry in the
morning. He had so far advanced with the raft that,
though no one would have thought of taking it in its
present state to the mouth of the fiord for shipment, it
would serve as a conveyance in still water for a short
distance safely enough.
And still, indeed, the waters were. As Erica and
Oddo were busily and silently employed in tying moss
round their oars to muffle their sound, the ripple of the
tide upon the white sand could scarcely be heard, and
it appeared to the eye as if the lingering remains of the
daylight brooded on the fiord, unwilling to depart. The
stars had, however, been showing themselves for some
time; and they might now be seen twinkling below
almost as clearly and steadily as overhead. As Erica
and Oddo put their little raft off from the shore, and
then waited, with their oars suspended, to observe
whether the tide carried them towards the islet they
must reach, it seemed as if some invisible hand was
pushing them forth to shiver the bright pavement of
constellations as it lay. Star after star was shivered,
and its bright fragments danced in their wake; and
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
those fragments reunited and became a star again as
the waters closed over the path of the raft, and subsided
into perfect stillness.
The tide favoured Erica's object. A few strokes of
the oar brought the raft to the right point for landing
on the islet. They stepped ashore, and towed the
raft along till they came to the skiff, and then they
fastened the raft with the boat-hook which had been
fixed there for the skiff. This done, Oddo ran to turn
over the little boat, and examine its condition: but he
found he could not move it. It was frozen fast to the
ground. It was scarcely possible to get a firm hold of
it, it was so slippery with ice; and all pulling and
pushing of the two together was in vain, though the
boat was so light that either of them could have lifted
and carried it in a time of thaw.
This circumstance caused a good deal of delay: and,
what was worse, it obliged them to make some noise.
They struck at the ice with sharp stones; but it was
long before they could make any visible impression;
and Erica proposed, again and again, that they should
proceed on the raft. Oddo was unwilling. The skiff
would go so incomparably faster, that it was worth
spending some time upon it: and the fears he had had
of its leaking were removed, now that he found what a
sheet of ice it was covered with,-ice which would not
melt to admit a drop of water while they were in it.
So he knocked and knocked away, wishing that the
echoes would be quiet for once, and then laughing as he
imaginedd the ghost-stories that would spring up all
round the fiord to-morrow, from the noise he was then
THE WATER SPRITES' DOINGS.
Erica worked hard too; and one advantage of their
labour was that they were well warmed before they
put off again. The boat's icy fastenings were all
broken at last: and it was launched: but all was not
ready yet. The skiff had lain in a direction east and
west; and its north side had so much thicker a coating
of ice than the other, that its balance was destroyed.
It hung so low on one side as to promise to upset with
We must clear off more of the ice," said Erica.
"But how late it is growing!"
"No more knocking, I say," replied Oddo. There
is a quieter way of trimming the boat."
He fastened a few stones to the gunwale on the
lighter side, and took in a few more for the purpose of
shifting the weight, if necessary, while they were on
They did not leave quiet behind them, when they
departed. They had roused the multitude of eider-
ducks, and other sea-fowl, which thronged the islet,
and which now, being roused, began their night-feeding
and flying, though at an earlier hour than usual.
When their discordant cries were left so far behind as
to be softened by distance, the flapping of wings and
swash of water, as the fowl plunged in, still made the
air busy all round.
The rowers were so occupied with the management
of their dangerous craft, that they had not spoken
since they left the islet. The skiff would have been
unmanageable by any maiden and boy in our country;
but, on the coast of Norway, it is as natural to per-
sons of all ages and degrees to guide a boat as to
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
walk. Swiftly but cautiously they shot through the
water, till, at length, Oddo uttered a most hideous
"What do you mean ?" asked Erica, hastily glancing
Oddo laughed, and looked upwards as he croaked
again. He was answered by a similar croak, and a
large raven was seen flying homewards over the fiord
for the night. Then the echoes all croaked, till the
whole region seemed to be full of ravens.
Are you sure you know the cove ?" asked Erica, who
wished to put an end to this sound, unwelcome to the
superstitious. Do not make that bird croak so; it
will be quiet if you let it alone. Are you sure you can
find the cove again ?"
Quite sure. I wish I was as sure that Hund would
not find it again before me. Pull away."
How much farther is it ?"
"Farther than I like to think of. I doubt your arm
holding out. I wish Rolf was here."
Erica did not wish the same thing. She thought that
Rolf was, on the whole, safer waging war with bears
than with pirates; especially if Hund was among them.
She pulled her oar cheerfully, observing that there was
no fatigue at present; and that when they were once
%float in the heavier boat, and had cleared the cove,
there need be no hurry,-unless, indeed, they should
see something of the pirate-schooner on the way : and
of this she had no expectation, as the booty that might
be had where the fishery was beginning was worth
more than anything that could be found higher up the
fiords:-to say nothing of the danger of running up
THE WATER SPRITES' DOINGS.
into the country, so far as that getting away again
depended upon one particular wind.
Yet Erica looked behind her after every few strokes
of her oar; and once, when she saw something, her
start was felt like a start of the skiffitself. There was
a fire glancing and gleaming and quivering over the
water, some way down the fiord.
"Some people night-fishing," observed Oddo. "What
sport they will have! I wish I was with them. How
fast we go How you can row when you choose! I
can see the man that is holding the torch. Cannot
you see his black figure ? And the spearman,-see
how he stands at the bow,-now going to cast his
spear I wish I was there."
We must get farther away,-into the shadow some-
where,-or wait," observed Erica. I had rather not
wait,-it is growing so late. We might creep along
under that promontory, in the shadow, if you would be
quiet. I wonder whether you can be silent in the
sight of night-fishing."
"To be sure," said Oddo, disposed to be angry, and
only kept from it by the thought of last night. He
helped to bring the skiff into the shadow of the over-
hanging rocks, and only spoke once more, to whisper
that the fishing-boat was drifting down with the tide,
and that he thought their cove lay between them and
It was so. As the skiff rounded the point of the
promontory, Oddo pointed out what appeared like a
mere dark chasm in the high perpendicular wall of rock
that bounded the waters. This chasm still looked so
narrow, on approaching it, that Erica hesitated to push
EATS ON THE FIORD.
her skiff into it, till certain that there was no one there.
Oddo, however, was so clear, that she might safely do
this, so noiseless was their rowing, and it was so plain
that there was no footing on the rocks by which he
might enter to explore, that in a sort of desperation,
and seeing nothing else to be done, Erica agreed. She
wished it had been summer, when either of them might
have learned what they wanted by swimming. This
was now out of the question; and stealthily therefore
she pulled her little craft into the deepest shadow, and
crept into the cove.
At a little distance from the entrance it widened;
but it was a wonder to Erica that even Oddo's eyes
should have seen Hund moor his boat here from the
other side of the fiord; though the fiord was not more
than a gunshot over in this part. Oddo himself
wondered, till he recalled how the sun was shining
down into the chasm at the time. By starlight the
outline of all that the cove contained might be seen;
the outline of the boat, among other things. There
she lay! But there was something about her which
was unpleasant enough. There were three men in
What was to be done now ? Here was the very
worst danger that Erica had feared-worse than finding
the boat gone-worse than meeting it in the wide fiord.
What was to be done ?
There was nothing for it but to do nothing-to lie
perfectly still in the shadow, ready, however, to push
out on the first movement of the boat to leave the cove;
for, though the canoe might remain unnoticed at pre-
sent, it was impossible that anybody could pass out of
THE WATER SPRITES' DOINGS.
the cove without seeing her. In such a case, there
would be nothing for it but a race-a race for which
Erica and Oddo held themselves prepared, without any
mutual explanation; for they dared not speak. The
faintest whisper would have crept over the smooth
water to the ears in the larger boat.
One thing was certain-that something must happen
presently. It is impossible for the hardiest men to sit
inactive in a boat for any length of time in a January
night in Norway. In the calmest nights the cold is
only to be sustained by means of the glow from strong
exercise. It was certain that these three men could
not have been long in their places, and that they would
not sit many moments more without some change in
They did not seem to be talking; for Oddo, who was
the best listener in the world, could not discover that
a sound issued from their boat. He fancied they were
drowsy; and, being aware what were the consequences
of yielding to drowsiness in severe cold, the boy began
to entertain high hopes of taking these three men pri-
soners. The whole country would ring with such a
feat, performed by Erica and himself.
The men were, however, too much awake to be made
prisoners of at present. One was seen to drink from a
flask, and the hoarse voice of another was heard
grumbling, as far as the listeners could make out, at
being kept waiting. The third then rose to look about
him, and Erica trembled from head to foot. He only
looked upon the land, however, declared he saw nothing
of those he was expecting, and began to warm himself
as he stood, by repeatedly clapping his arms across his
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
breast, in the way that hackney-coachmen and porters
do in England. This was Hund. He could not have
been known by his figure, for all persons look alike in
wolf-skin pelisses ; but the voice and the action were
his. Oddo saw how Erica shuddered. He put his
finger on his lips, but Erica needed no reminding of the
necessity of quietness.
The other two men then rose; and, after a consulta-
tion, the words of which could not be heard, all stepped
ashore one after another, and climbed a rocky pathway.
"Now, now!" whispered Erica. "Now we can get
"Not without the boat," said Oddo. "You would
not leave them the boat!"
No-not if-but they will be back in a moment.
They are only gone to hasten their companions."
I know it," said Oddo. Now two strokes forward."
While she gave these two strokes, which brought the
skiff to the stern of the boat, Erica saw that Oddo had
taken out a knife, which gleamed in the starlight. It
was for cutting the thong by which the boat was fas-
tened to a birch pole, the other end of which was hooked
on shore. This was to save his going ashore to unhook
the pole. It was well for him that boat-chains were
not in use, owing to the scarcity of metal in that region.
The clink oi a chain would certainly have been heard.
Quickly a nd silently he entered the boat and tied the
skiff to its :tern, and he and Erica took their places
where the men had sat one minute before. They used
their own muffled oars to turn the boat round, till
Oddo observed that the boat oars were muffled too.
Then voices were heard again. The men were return-
THE WATER SPRITES' DOINGS.
ing. Strongly did the two companions draw their
strokes till a good breadth of water lay between them
and the shore, and then till they had again entered the
deep shadow which shrouded the mouth of the cove.
There they paused.
"In with you!" some loud voice said, as man after
man was seen in outline coming down the pathway;
"in with you! We have lost time enough already."
"Where is she? I can't see the boat," answered the
"You can't miss her," said one behind, unless the
brandy has got into your eyes."
"So I should have said; but I do miss her. It is
very incomprehensible to me."
Oddo shook with stifled laughter as he partly saw
and partly overheard the perplexity of these men. At
last one gave a deep groan, and another declared that
the spirits of the fiord were against them, and there was
no doubt that their boat was now lying twenty fathoms
deep at the bottom of the creek, drawn down by the
strong hand of an angry water-spirit. Oddo squeezed
Erica's little hand as he heard this. If it had been light
enough, he would have seen that even she was smiling.
One of the men mourned their having no other boat,
so that they must give up their plan. Another said
that if they had a dozen boats, he would not set foot in
one after what had happened. He should go straight
back, the way he came, to their own vessel. Another
said he would not go till he had looked abroad over the
fiord for some chance of seeing the boat. This he per-
sisted in, though told by the rest that it was absurd to
suppose that the boat had loosed itself, and gone out
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
into the fiord, in the course of the two minutes that
they had been absent. He showed the fragment of the
cut thong in proof of the boat not having loosed itself,
and set off for a point on the heights which he said
overlooked the fiord. One or two went with him, the
rest returning up the narrow pathway at some speed-
such speed that Erica thought they were afraid of the
hindmost being caught by the same enemy that had
taken their boat. Oddo observed this too, and he
quickened their pace by setting up very loud the
mournful cry with which he was accustomed to call out
the plovers on the mountain side on sporting days. No
sound can be more melancholy; and now, as it rang
from the rocks, it was so unsuitable to the place, and so
terrible to the already frightened men, that they ran on
as fast as the slipperiness of the rocks would allow, till
they were all out of sight over the ridge.
Now for it, before the other two come out above us
there!" said Oddo; and in another minute they were
again in the fiord, keeping as much in the shadow as
they could, however, till they must strike over to the
Thank God that we came!" exclaimed Erica. We
shall never forget what we owe you, Oddo. You shall
see, by the care we take of your grandfather and Ulla,
that we do not forget what you have done this night.
If Nipen will only forgive, for the sake of this- "
"We were just in the nick of time," observed Oddo.
" It was better than if we had been earlier."
"I do not know," said Erica. "Here are their
brandy-bottles, and many things besides. I had rather
not have had to bring these away."
THE WATER SPRITES' DOINGS.
"But if we had been ea lier, they would not have
had their fright. That is the best part of it. Depend
upon it, some that have not said their prayers for long
will say them to-night."
"That will be good. But I do not like carrying
home these things that are not ours. If they are seen
at Erlingsen's, they may bring the pirates down upon
us. I would leave them on the islet, but that the skiff
has to be left there too, and that would explain our
Erica would not consent to throw the property over-
board. This would be robbing those who had not
actually injured her, whatever their intentions might
have been. She thought that if the goods were left
upon some barren, uninhabited part of the shore, the
pirates would probably be the first to find them; and
that, if not, the rumour of such an extraordinary fact,
spread by the simple country people, would be sure to
reach them. So Oddo carried on shore, at the first
stretch of white beach they came to, the brandy-flasks,
the bearskins, the tobacco-pouch, the muskets and
powder-horns, and the tinder-box. He scattered these
about just above high-water mark, laughing to think
how report would tell of the sprite's care in placing all
these articles out of reach of injury from the water.
Oddo did not want for light while doing this. When
he returned, he found Erica gazing up over the tower-
ing precipices, at the Northern Lights, which had now
unfurled their broad yellow blaze. She was glad that
they had not appeared sooner, to spoil the adventure of
the night; but she was thankful to have the way home
thus illumined, now that the business was done. She
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
answered with so much alacrity to Oddo's question
whether she was not very weary, that he ventured to
say two things which had before been upon his tongue,
without his having courage to utter them.
You will not be so afraid of Nipen any more," ob-
served he, glancing at her face, of which he could see
every feature by the quivering light. "You see how
well everything has turned out."
"0, hush! It is too soon yet to speak so. It is
never right to speak so. There is no knowing till next
Christmas, nor even then, that Nipen forgives; and the
first twenty-four hours are not over yet. Pray do not
speak any more, Oddo."
"Well, not about that. But what was it exactly
that you thought Hund would do with this boat and
those people ? Did you think," he continued, after a
short pause, "that they would come up to Erlingsen's
to rob the place ?"
Not for the object of robbing the place, because
there is very little that is worth their taking, far less
than at the fishing grounds; not but they might have
robbed us, if they took a fancy to anything we have.
No! I thought, and I still think, that they would
have carried off Rolf, led on by Hund- "
"0, ho carried off Rolf! So here is the secret of
your wonderful courage to-night-you who durst not
look round at your own shadow last night! This is
the secret of your not being tired-you who are out of
breath with rowing a mile sometimes !"
"That is in summer," pleaded Erica; "however,
you have my secret, as you say, a thing which is no
secret at home. We all think that Hund bears such a
THE WATER SPRITES' DOINGBS.
grudge against Rolf, for having got the houseman's
"And for nothing else ?"
"That," continued Erica, "he would be glad to-
"To get rid of Rolf, and be a houseman, and get
betrothed instead of him. Well: Hund is balked
for this time. Rolf must look to himself after to-
Erica sighed deeply. She did not believe that Rolf
would attend to his own safety, and the future looked
very dark,-all shrouded by her fears.
By the time the skiff was deposited where it had
been found, both the rowers were so weary that they
gave up the idea of taking the raft in tow, as for full
security they ought to do. They doubted whether
they could get home, if they had more weight to draw
than their own boat. It was well that they left this
incumbrance behind, for there was quite peril and diffi-
culty enough without it, and Erica's strength and
spirits failed the more the further the enemy was left
A breath of wind seemed to bring a sudden darken-
ing of the friendly lights which had blazed up higher
and brighter, from their first appearance till now. Both
rowers looked down the fiord, and uttered an exclama-
tion at the same moment.
"See the fog!" cried Oddo, putting fresh strength
into his oar.
"0 Nipen! Nipen!" mournfully exclaimed Erica.
"Here it is, Oddo,-the west wind!"
The west wind is, in winter, the great foe of the
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
fishermen of the fiords: it brings in t1ne fog from the
sea, and the fogs of the Arctic Circle are no trifling
mnemy. If Nipen really had the charge of the winds,
he could not more emphatically show his displeasure
towards any unhappy boatman than by overtaking him
with the west wind and fog.
"The wind must have just changed," said Oddo,
pulling exhausting strokes, as the fog marched towards
them over the water, like a solid and immeasurably
lofty wall. The wind must have gone right round
in a minute."
To be sure,-since you said what you did of Nipen,"
replied Erica, bitterly.
Oddo made no answer, but he did what he could.
Erica had to tell him not to wear himself out too
quickly, as there was no saying how long they should
be on the water.
How long they had been on the water, how far they
had deviated from their right course, they could not at
all tell, when, at last, more by accident than skill, they
touched the shore near home, and heard friendly voices,
and saw the light of torches through the thick air.
The fog had wrapped them round so that they could
not even see the water, or each other. They had rowed
mechanically, sometimes touching the rock, sometimes
grazing upon the sand, but never knowing where they
were till the ringing of a bell, which they recognized
as the farm bell, roused hope in their hearts, and
strengthened them to throw off the fatal drowsiness
caused by cold and fatigue. They made towards the
bell, and then heard Peder's shouts, and next saw
the dull light of two torches which looked as if they
THE WATER SPRITES' DOINGS.
could not burn in the fog. The old man lent a strong
hand to pull up the boat upon the beach, and to lift out
the benumbed rowers, and they were presently revived
by having their limbs chafed, and by a strong dose of
the universal medicine-corn-brandy and camphor-
which in Norway, neither man nor woman, young nor
old, sick nor well, thinks of refusing upon occasion.
When Erica was in bed, warm beneath an eider.
down coverlid, her mistress bent over her and whis.
"You saw and heard Hund himself ?"
"Hund himself, madame."
"What shall we do if he comes back before my hus-
band is home from the bear-hunt ?"
If he comes, it will be in fear and penitence, think-
ing that all the powers are against him. But 0,
madame, let him never know how it really was !"
He must not know. Leave that to me, and go to
sleep now, Erica. You ought to rest well, for there is
no saying what you and Oddo have saved us from. I
could not have asked such a service. My husband and
I must see how we can reward it." And her kind and
grateful mistress kissed Erica's cheek, though Erica
tried to explain that she was thinking most of some
one else, when she undertook this expedition.
"Then let him thank you in his own way," replied
Madame Erlingsen. "Meantime, why should not I
thank you in mine ?"
Stiorna here opened her eyes for an instant. When
she next did so, her mistress was gone; and she told
in the morning what an odd dream she had had of her
mistress being in her room, and kissing Erica. It was
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
so distinct a dream that, if the thing had not been so
ridiculous, she could almost have declared that she had
GREAT was Stiorna's consternation at Hund's non-
appearance the next day, seeing as she did, with her
own eyes, that the boat was safe in its proper place.
She had provided salt for his cod, and a welcome for
himself; and she watched in vain for either. She saw
too that no one wished him back. He was rarely
spoken of; and then it was with dislike or fear: and
when she wept over the idea of his being drowned, or
carried off by hostile spirits, the only comfort offered
her was that she need not fear his being dead, or that
he could not come back if he chose. She was, indeed,
obliged to suppose, at last, that it was his choice to
keep away; for amidst the flying rumours that amused
the inhabitants of the district for the rest of the
winter,-rumours of the movements of the pirate-
vessel, and of the pranks of the spirits of the region,
there were some such clear notices of the appearance
of Hund,-so many eyes had seen him in one place or
another, by land and water, by day and night, that
Stiorna could not doubt of his being alive, and free to
come home or stay away as he pleased. She could not
conceal from herself that he had probably joined the
pirates; and heartily as these pirates were feared
throughout the Nordland coasts, they were not more
heartily hated by any than by the jealous Stiorna.
Her salt was wanted as much as if Hund had
brought home a boatful of cod; and she might have
given her welcome to the hunting-party. Erlingsen
and Rolf came home sooner than might reasonably
have been expected, and well laden with bear's flesh.
The whole family of bears had been found and shot.
The flesh of the cubs had been divided among tho
hunters; and Erlingsen was complimented with the
feet of the old bear, as it was he who had roused the
neighbours, and led the hunt. Busy was every farm-
house (and none so busy as Erlingsen's) in salting
some of the meat, freezing some, and cooking a part
for a feast on the occasion.
Erlingsen kept a keen and constant look-out upon
the fiord, in the midst of all the occupations and
gaieties of the rest of the winter. His wife's account
of the adventures of the day of his absence made him
anxious; and he never went a mile out of sight of
home, so vivid in his imagination was the vision of his
house burning, and his family at the mercy of pirates.
Nothing happened, however, to confirm his fears. The
enemy were never heard of in the fiord; and the cod-
fishers who came up, before the softening of the snow,
to sell some of their produce in the interior of the
country, gave such accounts as seemed to show that
the fishing-grounds were the object of the foreign
thieves; for foreign they were declared to be: some
said Russian; and others, a mixture from hostile
nations. This last information gave more impulse to
the love of country for which the Norwegians are re-
markable, than all that had been reported from the
seat of war. The Nordlanders always drank success to
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
their country's arms, in the first glass of corn-brandy
at dinner. They paid their taxes cheerfully; and any
newspaper that the clergyman put in circulation was
read till it fell to pieces; but, the neighbourhood of
foreign pirates proved a more powerful stimulant still.
The standing toast, Gamle Norge (Old Norway), was
drunk with such enthusiasm, that the little children
shouted and defied the enemy; and the baby in its
mother's lap clapped its hands when every voice joined
in the national song, For Norge. Hitherto the war
had gone forward upon the soil of another kingdom;
it seemed now as if a sprinkling of it-a little of its
excitement and danger-was brought to their own
doors; and vehement was the spirit that it roused;
though some thefts of cod, brandy, and a little money,
were all that had really happened yet.
The interval of security gave Rolf a good oppor-
tunity to ridicule and complain of Erica's fears. He
laughed at the danger of an attack from Hund and his
comrades, as that danger was averted. He laughed at
the west wind and fog sent by Nipen's wrath, as Erica
had reached home in spite of it. He contended that,
so far from Nipen being offended, there was either no
Nipen, or it was not angry, or it was powerless; for
everything had gone well; and he always ended with
pointing to the deer-a good thing led to the very
door-and to the result of the bear-hunt-a great event
always in a Nordlander's life, and, in this instance, one
of most fortunate issue. There was no saying how
many of the young of the farm-yard would live and
flourish, this summer, on account of the timely destruc-
tion of this family of bears. So Rolf worked away,
with a cheerful heart, as the days grew longer,-now
mending the boat,-now fishing,-now ploughing, and
then rolling logs into the melting streams, to be carried
down into the river, or into the fiord, when the rush of
waters should come from the heights of Sulitelma.
Hard as lolf worked, he did not toil like Oddo.
Between them, they had to supply Hund's place,-
to do his work. Nobody desired to see Hund back
again; and Erlingsen would willing have taken an,
other in his stead, to make his return impossible; but
there was no one to be had. It was useless to inquire
till the fishing season should be over: and when that
was over, the hay and harvest season would follow so
quickly, that it was scarcely likely that any youth
would offer himself till the first frosts set in. It was
Oddo's desire that the place should remain vacant till
he could show that he, young as he was, was worth as
much as Hund. If any one was hired, he wished that
it might be a herd-boy, under him; and strenuously
did he toil, this spring, to show that he was now be-
yond a mere herd-boy's place. It was he who first
fattened, and then killed and skinned the rein-deer,-a
more than ordinary feat, as it was full two months past
the regular season. It was he who watched the making
of the first eider-duck's nest, and brought home the
first down. All the month of April, he never failed in
the double work of the farm-yard and islet. He tended
the cattle in the morning, and turned out the goats,
when the first patches of green appeared from beneath
the snow: and then he was off to the islet, or to some
one of the breeding stations among the rocks, punctu-
ally stripping the nests of the down, as the poor ducks
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
renewed the supply from their breasts; and as carefully
staying his hand, when he saw, by the yellow tinge of
the down, that the duck had no more to give, and the
drake had now supplied what was necessary for hatch-
ing the eggs. Then he watched for the eggs; and
never had Madame Erlingsen had such a quantity
brought home; though Oddo assured her that he had
left enough in the nests for every duck to have her
brood. Then he was ready to bring home the goats
again, long before sunset,-for, by this time, the sun
set late,-and to take his turn at mending any fence
that might have been injured by the spring-floods; and
then he never forgot to wash and dress himself, and go
in for his grandmother's blessing; and after all, he was
not too tired to sit up as late as if he were a man,-
even till past nine sometimes,-spending the last hour
of the evening in working at the bell collars which
Hund had left half done, and which must be finished
before the cattle went to the mountain: or, if the
young ladies were disposed to dance, he was never too
tired to play the clarionet, though it now and then
happened that the tune went rather oddly; and when
Orga and Frolich looked at him, to see what he was
about, his eyes were shut, and his fingers looked
as if they were moving of their own accord. If this
happened, the young ladies would finish their waltz at
once, and thank him, and his mistress would wish him
good night; and when he was gone, his master would
tell old Peder that that grandson of his was a promis-
ing lad, and very diligent; and Peder would make a
low bow, and say it was greatly owing to Rolf's good
example; and then Erica would blush, and be kinder
that ever to Oddo the next day.
So came on and passed away the spring of this year
at Erlingsen's farm. It soon passed; for spring in
Nordland lasts only a month. In that short time had
the snow first become soft, and then dingy, and then
vanished, except on the heights, and in places where it
had drifted. The streams had broken their long pause
of silence, and now leaped and rushed along, till every
rock overhanging both sides of the fiord was musical
with falling waters, and glittering with silver threads,
-for the cataracts looked no more than this in so vast
a scene. Every mill was going, after the long idle-
ness of winter; and about the bridges which spanned
the falls were little groups of the peasants gathered,
mending such as had burst with the floods, or strength-
ening such as did not seem secure enough for the pas-
sage of the herds to the mountain.
Busy as the maidens were with the cows that
were calving, and with the care of the young kids,
they found leisure to pry into the promise of the
spring. In certain warm nooks, where the sunshine
was reflected from the surrounding rocks, they daily
watched for what else might appear, when once the
grass, of brilliant green, had shown itself from beneath
the snow. There they found the strawberry and the
wild raspberry promising to carpet the ground with
their white blossoms; while in one corner the lily of
the valley began to push up its pairs of leaves; and
from the crevices of the rock, the barberry and the
dwarf birch grew, every twig showing swelling buds,
or an early sprout.
While these cheerful pursuits went on out of doors
during the one busy month of spring, a slight shade of
sadness was thrown over the household within by the
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
decline of old Ulla. It was hardly sadness; it was little
more than gravity; for Ulla herself was glad to go;
Peder knew that he should soon follow; and every one
else was reconciled to one who had suffered so long
going to her rest.
"The winter and I are going together, my dear,"
said she one day, when Erica placed on her pillow a
green shoot of birch which she had taken from out of the
very mouth of a goat. The hoary winter and hoary I
have lived out our time, and we are departing together.
I shall make way for you young people, and give you
your turn, as he is giving way to spring; and let
nobody pretend- to be sorry for it. Who pretends to be
sorry when winter is gone?"
"But winter will come again, so soon and so certainly,
Ulla," said Erica, mournfully: and when it is come
again, we shall still miss you."
"Well, my dear, I will say nothing against that. It
is good for the living to miss the dead, as long as they
do not wish them back. As for me, Erica, I feel as if
I could not but miss you, go where I may."
0, do not say that, Ulla."
"Why not say it if I feel it ? Who could be dis-
pleased with me for grasping still at the hand that has
smoothed my bed so long, when I am going to some
place that will be very good, no doubt, but where
everything must be strange at first? He who gave you
to me, to be my nurse, will not think the worse of me
for missing you, wherever I may be."
There will be little Henrica," observed Erica.
"Ah yes! there is nothing I think of more than that.
That dear child died on my shoulder. Fain would her
mother have had her in her arms at the last; but she
was in such extremity that to move her would have
been to end all at once; and so she died away, with her
head on my shoulder. I thought then it was a sign
that I should be the first to meet her again. But I
shall take care and not stand in the way of her mother's
Here Ulla grew so earnest in imagining her meeting
with Henrica, still fancying her the dependent little
creature she had been on earth, that she was impatient
to be gone. Erica's idea was that this child might
now have become so wise and so mighty in the wisdom
of a better world, as to be no such plaything as Ulla
supposed; but she said nothing to spoil the old woman's
When Peder came in, to sit beside his old com-
panion's bed, and sing her to sleep, she told him that
she hoped to be by when he opened his now dark eyes
upon the sweet light of a heavenly day; and, if she
might, she would meantime make up his dreams for
him, and make him believe that he saw the most
glorious sights of old Norway,-more glorious than are
to be seen in any other part of this lower world. There
should be no end to the gleaming lakes, and dim forests,
and bright green valleys, and silvery waterfalls that he
should see in his dreams, if she might have the making
of them. There was no end to the delightful things
Ulla looked forward to, and the kind things she hoped
to be able to do for those she left behind, when once
she should have quitted her present helpless state: and
she thought so much of these things, that when M.
Kollsen arrived, he found that instead of her needing to
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
be reconciled to death, she was impatient to be gone.
The first thing he heard her say, when all was so dinl
before her dying eyes, and so confused to her failing
ears, that she did not know the pastor had arrived, was
that she was less uneasy now about Nipen's displeasure
against the young people. Perhaps she might be able
to explain and prevent mischief: and if not, the young
people's marriage would soon be taking place now, and
then they might show such attention to Nipen as would
make the spirit forgive and forget.
"Hush, now, dear Ulla!" said Erica. Here is the
"Do not say 'Hush!'" said M. Kollsen, sternly.
"Whatever is said of this kind I ought to hear, that I
may meet the delusion. I must have conversation
with this poor woman, to prevent her very last breath
being poisoned with superstition. You are a member
of the Lutheran Church, Ulla ?"
With humble pleasure, Ulla told of the satisfaction
which the Bishop of Tronyem, of seventy years ago,
had expressed at her confirmation. It was this which
obtained her a good place, and Peder's regard, and all
the good that had happened in her long life since.
Yes: she was indeed a member of the Lutheran
Church, she thanked God.
"And in what part of the Scriptures of our church
do you find mention of of (I hate the very
names of these pretended spirits). Where in the Scrip-
tures are you bidden or permitted to believe in spirits
and demons of the wood and the mountain ?"
Ulla declared that her learning in the Scriptures
was but small. She knew only what she had been
taught, and a little that she had picked up: but she
remembered that the former Bishop of Tronyem him-
self had hung up an axe in the forest, on Midsummer-
eve, for the wood-demon's use, if it pleased.
Peder observed that we all believe so many things
that are not found mentioned in the Scriptures, that
perhaps it would be wisest and kindest, by a dying bed,
where moments were precious, to speak of those high
things which the Scriptures discourse of, and which all
Christians believe. These were the subjects for Ulla
now: the others might be reasoned of when she was in
The pastor was not quite satisfied with this way of
attending the dying; but there was something in the
aged man's voice and manner quite irresistible, as he sat
calmly awaiting the departure of the last companion of
his own generation. M. Kollsen took out his Bible,
and read what Ulla gladly heard, till her husband
knew by the slackened clasp of her hand that she
heard no longer. She had become insensible, and before
sunset had departed.
Rolf had continued his kind offices to the old couple
with the utmost respect and propriety, to the end re-
fusing to go out of call during the last few days of Ulla's
decline: but he had observed, with some anxiety, that
there was certainly a shoal of herrings in the fiord, and
that it was high time he was making use of the sunny
days for his fishing. In order to go about this duty
without any delay, when again at liberty, he had brought
the skiff up to the beach for repair, and had it nearly
ready for use by the day of the funeral. The family boat
was too large for his occasions, now that Hund was not
YEATS ON( THE FIORD4
here to take an oar : and he expected to do great things
alone in the little manageable skiff.
When he had assisted Peder to lay Ulla's head in the
grave, and guided him back to the house, Rolf drew
Erica's arm within his own, and led her away, as if for
a walk. No one interfered with them; for the family
knew that their hearts must be very full, and that they
must have much to say to each other, now that the
event had happened which was to cause their mar-
riage very soon. They would now wait no longer than
to pay proper respect to Ulla's memory, and to improve
the house and its furniture a little, so as to make it fit
for the bride.
Rolf would have led Erica to the beach; but she
begged to go first to see the grave again, while they
knew that no one was there. The grave was dug close
by the little mound beneath which Henrica lay. Hen-
rica's was railed round, with a paling which had been
fresh painted-a task which Erlingsen performed with
his own hands every spring. The forget-me-not, which
the Nordlanders plant upon the graves of those they love,
overran the hillock, and the white blossoms of the wild
strawberry peeped out from under the thick grass; so
that this grave looked a perfect contrast to that of Ulla,
newly-made and bare. The lovers looked at this last
It shall be completely railed in before to-morrow
night," said Rolf.
But cannot we dress it a little now ? I could trans-
plant some flower-roots presently, and some forget-me-
not from Henrica's hillock, if we had sods for the rest.
Never mind spoiling any other nook. The grass will
soon grow again."
Rolf's spadewasbusy presently; andErica planted and
watered till the new grave, if it did not compare with the
child's, showed tokens of care, and promise of beauty.
Now," said Rolf, when they had done, and put away
their tools, and sat down on the pine log from which
the pales were to be made, so that their lengthening
shadows fell across the new grave,-" now, Erica, you
know what she who lies there would like us to be set-
tling. She herself said her burial day would soon be
over; and then would come our wedding-day."
"When everything is ready," replied Erica, "we
will fix; but not now. There is much to be done;-
there are many uncertainties."
"Uncertainties What uncertainties ? I know of
none-except indeed as to --"
Rolf stopped to peel off, and pull to pieces, some of
the bark of the pine trunk on which he was sitting.
Erica looked wistfully at him; he saw it, and went on.
It is often an uncertainty to me, Erica, after all
that has happened, whether you mean to marry me at
all. There are so many doubts, and so many considera-
tions, and so many fears !-I often think we shall never
be any nearer than we are."
That is your sort of doubt and fear," said Erica,
smiling. Who is there that entertains a worse ?"
I do not want any rallying or joking, Erica. I am
Seriously then-are we not nearer than we were a
year ago ? We are betrothed; and I have shown you
that I do believe we are to be married, if--"
Ay, there. 'If' again."
"If it shall please the Powers above us not to sepa-
rate us, by death or otherwise."
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
"Death! at our age! And separation! when we
have lived on the same farm for years! What have we
to do with death and separation ?"
Erica pointed to the child's grave, in rebuke of his
rash words. She then quietly observed that they had
enemies,-one deadly enemy not very far off, if nothing
were to be said of any but human foes. Rolf declared
that he had rather have Hund for a declared enemy
than for a companion. Erica understood this very well;
but she could not forget that Hund wanted to be house-
man in Rolf's stead, and that he desired to prevent their
That is the very reason," said Rolf, why we should
marry as soon as we can. Why not fix the day, and
engage the pastor while he is here ?"
Because it would hurt Peder's feelings. There will
be no difficulty in sending for the pastor when every-
thing is ready. But now, Rolf, that all may go well,
do promise not to run into needless danger."
"According to you," said Rolf, smiling, "one can
never get out of danger. Where is the use of taking
care, if all the powers of earth and air are against us ?
You think me as helpless, under Nipen's breath, as the
poor infant that put out into the fiord the other day in
I am not speaking of Nipen now,-(not because I
do not think of it;)-I am speaking of Hund. Do
promise me not to go more than four miles down the
fiord. After that, there is a long stretch of precipices,
without a single dwelling. There is not a boat that
could put off,-there is not an eye or an ear that could
bear witness what had become of you, if you and Hund
should meet there"
"If Hund and I should meet there, I would bring
him home, to settle what should become of him."
And all the pirates ? You would bring them all in
your right hand, and row home with your left For
shame, Rolf, to be such a boaster Promise me not to
go beyond the four miles."
Indeed I can only promise to go where the shoalis.
Four miles! Suppose you say four furlongs, love."
I will Ongage to catch herrings within four fur-
Pray take me with you; and then I will carry you
four times four miles down, and show you what a shoal
is. Really, love, I should like to prove to you how safe
the fiord is to one who knows every nook and hiding-
place from the entrance up. If fighting would not do,
I could always hide."
And would not Hund know where to look for you ?"
"Not he. He was not brought up on the fiord, to
know its ways, and its holes and corners : and I told him
neither that, nor anything else that I could keep from
him; for I always mistrusted Hund.-Now, I will tell
you, love. I will promise you something, because
I do not wish to hurt you, as you sometimes hurt me
with disregarding what I say,-with being afraid, in
spite of all I can do to make you easy. I will promise
you not to go further down, while alone, than Vogel
islet, unless it is quite certain that Hund and the pi-
rates are far enough off in another direction. I partly
think, as you do, and as Erlingsen does, that they meant
to come for me the night you carried off their boat: so
I will be on the watch, and go no further than where
they cannot hurt me."