The Ericksons

Material Information

The Ericksons
Gall & Inglis ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
Edinburgh ;
Gall & Inglis
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
94 p., [2] leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 15 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Farm life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Fatherless families -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Charity -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Inheritance and succession -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Norway ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1883 ( local )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1883 ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1883
Family stories ( local )
Prize books (Provenance) ( rbprov )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
Scotland -- Edinburgh
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


General Note:
Date of publication from prize inscription.
General Note:
Frontispiece printed in colors.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026680918 ( ALEPH )
ALG6102 ( NOTIS )
62726149 ( OCLC )


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"It was their mother they saw spinning slowly under the poplar
tree."-Page 92.


Bi(nburg : i 1 onbonT

OST of my young friends have prob-
ably heard of Norway, and may know
that it is a large country on the
extreme north-west of Europe; so situated,
that its southern side is nearly opposite the
northern coast of Scotland, with part of the
great German Ocean and all the Orkney and
Shetland Isles between them. They may
have read too, how, in old barbarous times,
when no books were printed, and none but
clergymen could either write' or read, there
came out of that country a fierce fighting
people, who called themselves Normands, or
Northmuen; that they conquered many coun-
tries,-among the rest, a part of France, which
is still called Normandy, because they settled
there; and at last Englnnd, where their prince.


William the Norman, was crowned king, and
built the tower of London almost 800 years
ago. The Norwegians were wild and war-
like then; they and the Danes, whose country
is separated from theirs only by an arm of
the North Sea, called the Cattegat, were
mostly governed by the same kings; and
used to come with ships and soldiers to rob
and ruin the seaports and villages along the
western coasts of Europe, killing the inhabit-
ants, and carrying off their goods. But those
times are long past, and the people of Nor-
way have been for many generations civilized
and peaceable men, working in their houses
and fields, and attending their schools and
churches,-with some good and some bad
among them, just like ourselves in Britain.
Norway is, however, a country by no means
like ours. The winters are much longer, and
the summers much shorter,-with very long
nights in the one, and very long days in the
other. It is of far greater extent; but has
not half so many towns, nor quarter as many
people in them. The mountains are far higher,
the valleys far deeper. There are scarcely
any plains ; and the mountain sides are either


made of bare rock, or covered with immense
forests of fir and pine, from which the tim-
ber that builds our largest ships is cut down,
and brought to England. These hills are so
high and cold, that the people live mostly in
the valleys between them, where their houses
are sheltered from the terrible storms of their
long winter, and they can cultivate fields and
gardens easier than among the rocks and for-
ests; but into most of these valleys run long
arms of the sea, which they call Fiords,-a
word meaning the same as our Firth; and
on the banks of one of them lived the people
of my story.
In the district of Eidswold, which is con-
sidered the most fertile and cultivated part of
Southern Norway, there lies a deep winding
bay, or rather salt water lake, called by the
natives Gamle Fiord. This name in English,
means the Old Firth; and old enough is its
fame for shoals of mackerel and herrings,
which, as regularly as their seasons arrive,
make their way up its calm blue waters, to
the joy of the expectant fisherman; yet the
way is long from the North Sea, of which the
Gamle Fiord is but a branch. It enters


the land through a contracted passage, which
seamen call a sound.
The Gamle Fiord valley lay wide and wild,
covered with cranberry and juniper bushes,
tall fern, and heath, and thyme, and many a
hardy plant that bloomed in the northern
summer; hares, and squirrels, and foxes found
refuge among them, and large birds, such as
sometimes, though but seldom, appear in the
remotest parts of Britain,-the black-cock,
the ptarmigan, and the gier-falcon. Seals
and sea-otters lived among the rocks and
shallows of the fiord; and at times there came
down from the mountain forests a herd of
reindeer, or a great elk, as large as an Eng-
lish dray-horse, with antlers like young trees
upon its head. These visitors were, how-
ever, unwelcome; for their coming, which
generally occurred at the approach of au-
tumn, was believed to indicate that the
winter had set in with unusual severity in
the far northern quarters from which they
migrated, and might be expected to follow
them. It was on this account that the whole
family of the Ericksons looked astonished
and somewhat grave on their way to church,

I I-

_. -.-- r -_ ,..

The elk come already, mother, and our hay not cut I' said
Oiof."-See pae 9.


one Sunday morning, when little Clotilde
pointed out the footprints of the huge crea-
ture close beside the outer fence of their
The elk come already, mother, and our
hay not cut !" said Olof, a tall, thoughtful-
looking boy of seventeen, addressing the wi-
dow, a pale sickly woman, who, the neigh-
bours said, had begun to look more strong
and cheerful since her eldest son grew tall
enough for her to take his arm.
Well, Olof," said his next sister, Frede-
rika,-she was a robust girl of fifteen, with a
ruddy pleasant face, and long fair hair,-" the
days are long yet."
"And the sun is warm, I'm sure," said
little Clotilde, the youngest of the family, a
child of seven, whom she led along by the
hand, and they called her sister's picture.
Hadn't we better cut it down on Monday,
mother ?" chimed in a breath Christian and
Clodimar, the two middle boys; for the Erick-
sons were just six in number. Christian
was thirteen, and Clodimar only eleven; but
they stood in age between Frederika and Clo-
tilde, and always walked and worked together.


The widow made no reply to her eldest son
but she cast a doubtful glance on the thin
stunted grass of their meadow, and the hall-
blighted barley field beyond, and then looked
round on the trees and sky, as if inquiring
from them what chance they had yet with
the season.
It was a glorious day, such as the Norwe-
gian summer often presents, especially to-
wards its close;-there was not a breath in
the air, nor a cloud in the sky, but a light
hazy mist, like the autumnal gossamer of
England, hung far away on the summits of
the high crags and the tops of the tall pines.
The morning was yet early, being scarcely
eight o'clock; but all along the valley, emerg-
ing from paths among the hills, and cross-
ing the sands of the firth, were to be seen
groups of peasants-some on foot, carrying
little children-some mounted by whole fami-
lies at once in light carts, drawn by small
shaggy horses not unlike our Shetlands, as
most of them had a journey of several hours
from the most distant parts of that extensive
parish; but all were in their Sunday clothes,
and bound for the old church,-the copper


cine of which could be seen through the
clear air gleaming in the distance.
The Ericksons still stood by their meadow
fence; and hard by was their cottage, under
the shadow of two tall poplar trees, now in
full foliage. It was exactly like the rest I
have described in all its appurtenances, but
that the farm was of smaller dimensions, the
heap of firewood in the court-yard less, the
turned up sledge older, the living dependencies
of the household fewer, and everything about
it indicating more of care and poverty.
It stood on a little knoll or rising ground
overlooking the firth. Stretched out at its
threshold in the sun lay their house dog,
Haco, a large Danish mastiff, who was called
from one of the old kings of Norway, and had
often drawn their sledge along the smooth ice
in winter to church or merry-making, when
a horse could not be borrowed for the pur-
pose. Clotilde's squirrel gambolled round the
dog, but he was used to it; and, though appa-
rently asleep, kept a watchful eye on half-a-
dozen poultry, who sunned themselves around
him. Within sight, browsing on the sward
on that wild common, was their Norwegian


sow,-my readers, very unlike the cows of
England, having long hair and strange horns,
but a tame, sagacious creature,-turned out
in the summer days, with a bell about her
neck, to seek her food on the slopes and
dingles, and come home again at night. Be-
sides, the Ericksons had their sheep,-but
Hans, the shepherd, had taken them over the
firth to graze on the hills; and these were
almost their entire possessions, including a
small garden, the barley field, and the meadow,
on the cutting of which they speculated,-
till the widow recollected that it was Sunday,
and they would be late for church. So the
whole family moved on with a unanimous
resolution to begin their hay-making on the
following day.
Widow Erickson had once been a prospe-
rous and well-to-do dame, as any in the val-
ley. Her husband had been a kind-hearted,
hard-working man, noted for an expert far-
mer, and a daring fisher,-as his fields, though
small, bore thti best crops, and his boat could
take more herrings than any two in the sea-
son. He and his wife had lived happily to-
gether till one night, about six years before


the period of my story,-when all the children
were young, and Clotilde but a baby,-news
came up the firth that the mackerel had
stopped in a great shoal at the narrowest
part, and the tide was right against them.
It was a night at the beginning of au-
tumn, breezy but clear; and every man who
heard the intelligence launched his boat,
expecting a glorious take. Poor Christian-
such was Erickson's baptismal name-made
ready his light skiff also, kissed his wife and
children, and started, with the eldest son of
his brother Hereward, promising to return by
noon next day, with fish enough to serve both
families for the winter. The father of young
Hereward was at first unwilling that he should
go ; for mackerel fishing was considered dan-
gerous, and besides being the only grown
boy in his family, his mother was dead, and
he was said to resemble her. But the youth
was anxious to have part in the enterprise,
and Christian persuaded his father to consent.
The hopes of the fishermen were, however,
doomed to disappointment ;-the tide was
against them as well as the mackerel, and
before they reached their destination, it had


turned, and the fish were going out to sea.
A few were taken with much trouble in the
creeks and shallows; but Christian said it
was hard to go home with so little, and when
the rest of the boatmen agreed to return, he
and his companion were seen steering down
to the mouth of the firth in full pursuit of the
mackerel. How they fared there was never
precisely known. The night grew dark, anu
the wind rose to one of those sudden tem-
pests which rend the woods of Norway in the
autumnal months, and end only in days of
incessant rain. It was believed, from the di-
rection of the storm, that it must have driven
them out into the North Sea; the other fisher-
men all returned in safety; but after weeks
of fruitless inquiry, an unusually high tide
left on one of the rocks of the firth the rem.
nants of a shattered boat, on which the word
Christian could be discerned; and from that
day the family were known to the neighboure
as that of Widow Erickson.
Little comfort was their nearest neighbour
to them, though a near relation too. From
the widow's house there could be seen on a
clear evening the smoke of Hereward's, her


husband's eldest brother. His dwelling and
saw-mill stood side by side on the banks
of a brawling stream, never known to have
been dry, and seldom frozen. Hereward was
accounted rich in the valley; he had twice
as much land as ever Christian cultivated,
besides seven cows. fifteen sheep, a couple of
horses, and the saw-mill, which, in a country
like Norway, where timber abounds, and one-
fourth of the people live by wood-cutting,
is itself a valuable possession. Hereward's
cottage was large, and there was din and
bustle without and within it from morning
till night, for half the parish came to his mill
and sent him apprentices whom he made use-
ful in harvest and herring time. He had
still seven children, and among them two
grown-up daughters, so notable for manage-
ment and house-keeping, that young girls
were sent to learn from them by everybody
within twenty miles who could pay the fees.
My young friends, this is a custom peculiar to
Norway, and not a bad one, as useful work
is always worth learning; but it served to
increase at once the wealth of Hereward, and
the number of his household. He was, in


consequence, a man of some importance; but
unfortunately riches do not always make
people liberal, and Hereward was of a hard,
penurious disposition. The more goods he
gathered about him, the less willing he be-
came to spare anything, telling people who
asked assistance from him that he was a poor
man, who had a large family to provide for,
and couldn't afford it. It was believed that
all the family were as niggardly as himself,
except the poor boy who perished with
Christian Erickson. His loss was a terrible
stroke to the miller, for hard as the man was,
he loved his son, and his other four boys
were yet but children; but there are silly and
selfish people everywhere, and Hereward was
one of these even in his sorrow. He could
never forgive Christian for taking, as he said,
his boy to be drowned in the North Sea; and
on that account absolutely refused to hold
any communication with the Ericksons,
forgetting, that if he had lost his son, the
widow had lost her husband, and the young
children their father. Besides, they were not
in fault; but some people said the churlish
miller made it an excuse to do nothing for


his brother's family; and the poor mother
seemed to think so, for she never went near
him, nor took any means to overcome his
resolution. She had searched and inquired
for tidings of her husband from one end of the
firth to the other; and when, at length, that
miserable token of his loss turned up, she
refused to believe it, saying there were more
Christians in the world who had boats than
her brave Erickson. Some ship might have
picked him up at sea, and he might come
back. The neighbours said that hope kept
up her heart, but he never came. She had
been at the best but a weak, slender woman;
her eldest boy and girl were then only eleven
and nine years old, and the long cold winter
of Norway was coming on; but many to
whom Christian had been kind and helpful
when their cattle were in danger in the wilds,
and their boats at sea, did what they could
for the Ericksons. Some cut down their
barley, others hewed fire-wood for them in
the forest, and all sent them presents of fish
when they had a good take. The pastor
and his wife were most forward in these
operations, in addition to which he promised


to teach the children gratuitously; for, as in
many parts of the north, Pastor Henrick was
the schoolmaster of his parish. This was
kind; but every one had families of their own
to provide for, and the widow told her children
that she and they must endeavour to do
something for themselves, and depend on no
one but Providence.
The winter of Norway, even in the southern
parts, is generally eight months in length; and
during the greater portion of that time, such
is the intensity of the frost, and the shortness
of the daylight, that no out-door work can be
done. The Norwegian peasant is therefore
as busy as a bee during the four summer
months, which also include his spring and
autumn. In that period every product of the
soil must be sown, ripened, and reaped, proven-
der for cattle must be secured, fuel provided,
fish caught, and all kinds of clothing and
provisions laid up against the cold season.
The summer begins in May, and ends at
September, and its latter weeks are always
the busiest; for after then heavy rains come
on, which would destroy the crops; they are
succeeded by snow storms which cover the


country sometimes to the depth of six feet,
and then the frost converts the surface into
solid ice, which thaws only about the end of
In summer everybody in Norway works
very hard, except the very rich, and they are
few in all countries. Think, then, with all the
help they received, how many matters pressed
on the Ericksons,-living in that thinly
inhabited valley, and no house within sight
but that of their harsh and penurious uncle.
It is wonderful how much most people could
do for themselves if they only set about it in
earnest. Young as they were, the children
had been brought up to be industrious, and
now their mother found them all useful in
some way. While Christian and Clodimal
took care of their little sister, looked after the
drying of the hay, and gathered great heaps
of boughs and sticks to increase the fire-
wood, Olof and Frederika assisted her in
gathering in the turnips, beans, and potatoes
grown in their garden, housing the barley,
and afterwards thrashing it with a little flail,
which the one took up when the other was
tired. It was slow work, but finished at last,


and they winnowed it in the same fashion;
then collected fir bark where the woodcutting
had been in the forest, and sent it, together
with the barley, on the good pastor's cart to
grind at the parish mill, and make more of
their winter meal.
It was a wise remark, that nothing gets
through the day like business; so to the
grieved and troubled, whose days seem long,
hard work may be a sort of relief as well as
a necessity. Christian Erickson never came
back to his wife and children; and though
they missed him sore as the nights grew
long, and wept over his loss often when they
gathered round the evening fire, yet even the
mother bore up better through her busy days
than those who have more time to spend in
mourning. Their first winter was indeed
dreary and desolate. They heard the waves
thunder on the beach, and the winds roar
through the woods, with a strange terror in
their solitary cottage, when the man was gone
who used to cheer them in the storms. Then
came the snow, and shut them up for weeks,
covering the very windows till the daylight
couldn't enter; but Olof wove nets, Christian


and Clodimar knitted stockings, and Frederika
spun with her mother, who told them all
stories of their father and her when they
were young ;-how they lived in a distant
valley, and were at school together; what a
brave boy he was, and had but two brothers,
Hereward and Karl; but the last went to
be a soldier, and never returned nor sent them
any news, though a traveller once told them
he was living, and had grown rich in Dron-
theim. At last the storms were over; the
still clear frost came, and the elder children
went with their young companions on the
long nights, skating along to Pastor Hen-
rick's school, while neighbours made kind
visits to the lonely widow.
Thus things went on till the lengthening
days and strengthening sun brought back the
pleasant spring. The ice broke in the firth;
the streams came foaming from the moun-
tains; the snow cleared away from their
garden and fields, and the Ericksons got
ready their tools in full preparation for what
farmers call getting down the crop. This is
no easy task in Norway; almost over the
whole country, the soil or mould in which
vegetables grow is remarkably shallow, beinc


rarely more than a few inches above tne hard
gravel, into which great forest trees strike
their roots, but no weaker plant can penetrate.
Hence, the plough, so useful in turning up
the deep soil of Britain with its long share, is
scarcely known to the Norwegian farmer, who
employs, instead of it, the spade and hoe,-a
much slower and more laborious method; but
to work the Ericksons went with one accord.
It was Olof's boast that he could do as much
as his mother and Frederika both; Christian
and Clodimar found out that they could dig;
and little Clotilde, now a winter older, got
an imitation hoe, and kept herself wonderfully
out of harm's way among the garden mould
in sunny days. Their neighbours helped
them the more cheerfully for appearing so
willing to help themselves; and the business
of the seed-time was managed as that of the
harvest had been. Everybody pitied widow
Erickson, because she had to work in the
fields, which is not usual for women to do in
Norway; but she said it was all she could do
for her children, and with the help of Pro-
vidence, she would do it till the boys grew up,
or Christian came back again.
Perhaps they caught the hope from their


mother, but none of the family would ever
believe that he was drowned. They prayed
together for his safe return every night before
retiring to rest. They paused at their work
to cast long looks down the firth if ever a
boat came in sight. And when a fence was
repaired, or a bad corner cultivated, it was a
common remark among the children, "How
pleased our father will be to see what we have
done 1"
So season after season passed. Every year
made the Ericksons more independent, as the
children grew tall and strong; useful exertion
and fresh air kept them all in health; the
springs were favourable and the harvests good.
Their kind neighbours who had all enough of
their own to do, saw them gradually able to
dispense with their assistance; and long be-
fore the time at which my story opens, their
affairs were entirely left to their own manage-
ment. Though poor, they owed nobody any-
thing but thanks for the past; and none in
the valley were more respected than the widow
and her children.
I left the Ericksons taking their way to
church on that bright Sabbath morning. A


long way it was; but as they proceeded, keep-
ing as far as possible from their harsh uncle',
house,-for none of the family cared to look
that way, though the sun was shining on its
well-thatched roof, gilding the great silent
mill, and lighting up the stream in front,
which that day, at least, ran free from saw-
dust,-one acquaintance after another joined
their company with many a warm shake-
hands and kind inquiry after their affairs.
Among those scattered people, the path to
church was almost the only meeting place
for friends and acquaintances during the busy
months of summer; there they exchanged
civilities and the gossip of their glens; but, on
the present occasion, the talk was all of a
melancholy character, every one spoke of the
summer passing away and the crops not yet
ripened. The season had been unusually cold;
one old peasant had already seen frost on the
hill streams; and it was mentioned, as almost
equally ominous to the parish, that Pastor
Henrick's wife had fallen sick of a fever.
Rounding the top of the firth, at last they
came upon the church. It stood in a nook
formed by projecting hills, which sheltered it


on the north and east. To the southward
sloped up a broad heath now in purple bloom,
and on the west extended the long vista of
Gamle Fiord. The building was of wood,
painted dark red like the peasants' cottages,
surmounted by a copper vane; yet it was an
ancient edifice, being built before Luther
preached in Germany. Many a generation
of the parishioners had worshipped there, and
many a tempest it had weathered. Round
it lay the parish cemetery, full of old trees and
graves; and between that and the heath, the
pastor's farm and cottage. Two of the good
man's sons were pulling away at the bell,
suspended between two large elms close by
the churchyard gate, and himself was just
coming out of the cottage with his Bible
under one arm, and his youngest child, who
carried the prayer-book with no little pride,
by the hand,-while a stranger accompanied
him; and the rest of his family-all except
the mother and eldest girl-followed close be-
hind. As the good clergyman paced up the
gravel walk leading to the church-door, his
congregation ranged themselves on either side.
A strange sight they would have been for the


church-goers of an English village. Dressed
according to the custom of their country,-the
women in blue or white linen gowns, with
bright coloured handkerchiefs and crimson
cotton caps, from beneath which the hair of the
young girls fell in long braids, fastened at the
end with knots of brilliant ribbon; the men
in large coats of blue frieze, with scarlet
leather belts, and caps of white hare-skin,
which each pulled off while the pastor and his
family passed; and all were ready with salut-
ations, and inquiries regarding the Frau, his
wife, and the Jon Frau, his daughter,-such
being the words for Mrs. and Miss in Nor-
way. He had preached among them for more
than twenty years, and assisted many a family
in their difficulties, as well as the Ericksons.
No wonder that Pastor Henrick and his pious
active dame were loved and respected by the
whole parish. Now he had a kind reply and
a friendly question for every one in turn ;-the
substance of the former was, that his wife was
very ill indeed, and his daughter had remained
at home to wait upon her; and his parishion-
ers followed him into the church,-some, it is
to be hoped, thinking of their prayers; some


of Frau Henrick; and many wondering who
the stranger could be; for strangers seldom
visited Gamle Fiord. When they did come,
Pastor Henrick considered it his duty to
entertain them, as no inn had ever been heard
of in the parish; but they were all informed
concerning this traveller as soon as worship
concluded,-the pastor introducing him to
them as the tax-gatherer of the district, who
had come on his annual round to collect the
Government dues, and remained at his house
as usual.
Now that the fever had found entrance
there, it was no longer safe to accommodate
the stranger; and he requested that some of
the congregation would take him home with
them, and shew him all hospitality, as be-
came good Christians and people of Norway.
The officer was unluckily disliked in the
valley, on account of his peculiar duties.
Nobody likes to pay taxes, neither did the
parishioners of Eidswold ; and they were
displeased with him for coming to collect them.
Notwithstanding their pastor's recommenda-
tion, all remained silent and sullen. No hand
was stretched to the traveller with the ex-


pected invitation, till at length Widow Erick-
son whispered to her eldest boy, "Perhaps
the man cannot help being a tax-gatherer
he looks pious and civil, and poor as we are
it is a shame to see a stranger neglected in
our valley."
The congregation had by this time risen,
and stepping quickly up to the traveller, she
said, Sir, the day is clear, and our cottage
not far off,-will you please to come home
with us ?" Everybody knew that widow
Erickson was the poorest in the church, and
her invitation fairly took them by surprise.
The pastor said nothing, but he looked thank-
ful. Old Hereward muttered something to
his daughters about pride and poverty; and
Thurkill, the blacksmith, who thought him-
self quite as rich as the miller, exclaimed
half aloud, with a sort of remonstrating look,
" He will eat the widow out of house and
home. No, Dame Erickson," he added in a
higher key, with your leave the stranger
will go home with me."
The blacksmith's invitation was followed
by half-a-dozen more from the wealthier part
of the audience, either moved by a similar


feeling, or put to shame by the widow's ex-
ample; but it was now the tax-gatherer's
turn to shew his spirit. Thank you, good
friends," said he; but as this kind dame
has asked me first, I prefer going to her cot-
tage;" and taking the hand of Clotilde, who
fearlessly offered to conduct him, he accom-
panied the Ericksons home.
It was evening before they reached it; but
that was a great time in the cottage: small
as were the family means, they had barley-
bread and cheese, eggs, milk, and butter,
with some garden vegetables; and the best
were made ready to set before the stranger.
He was a large, weather-beaten man, sens-
ible, serious, and somewhat beyond middle
age, for his auburn hair was already sprinkled
with grey.
Books and newspapers are yet scarce in
Norway, and at the time of my story they
were still more so in Gamle Fiord. I have
said that a stranger rarely visited that soli-
tary vale. It was at least forty miles from
the nearest market town, had no trade, and
very few inhabitants; but when it was known
that a chance traveller had arrived, t-,3:I.iJL'2


in the winter season when their work was
over, the peasants were accustomed to bring
out their skates and sledges, and hurry in
groups to the house in which he lodged, to
learn from him what they thought the news
and knowledge of the world. Now it was
summer time, and no one cared to come near
the tax-gatherer, particularly after the re-
ception they had given him. So the Erick-
sons had all his chat to themselves. When
Ihe evening meal was over, and the long twi-
light lingered on for hours, they sat about
the hearth, that blazed and crackled with dry
pine boughs, and cast a cheerful ruddy light
on the family sitting-room;-it served them
for kitchen, parlour, and all, as the old song
has it,-yet the apartment was not without
neatness and comfort. It had two windows
looking into the garden, which almost en-
closed the cottage ; both were open, just
enough to admit the odours of the thyme
and northern rose that grew thick below; the
hard earthen floor was clean swept, and strewn
with the young tops of the fir and juniper.
In the centre stood a deal table, white as
sand couldqmake it; there was a long bench,


a large chest to contain the Sunday clothes
of the family, two chairs for guests, and many
stools for family service, all of the same de-
scription, besides a row of shelves, the upper-
most appropriated to their single Bible, a
Norwegian prayer-book, and a chronicle of
the province. These included the Ericksons'
entire library; and close beside them, as if
waiting for his return, was laid up a drinking
horn, which their lost father had inherited a,
an heirloom, made from the trunk antler of
the great elk, and trimmed with silver.
Wooden and pewter vessels, for domestic use,
covered the rest. Close beside the fire was
the door of the family sleeping-room,-oppo-
site to it one which led to the court-yard,
through a passage partitioned off from the
cow-house ; and through the third, which was
not quite on the latch, could be heard the
twitterings of innumerable swallows and
starlings returning to their rest in the yet
empty granary, where they had built their
nests by scores, and brought up their young
undisturbed,-slits in the walls being left
open all summer for their reception, in the
fashion of the good Norwegians.


The Ericksons sat about their fire, and
the taxman talked to them; his business had
made him a traveller for many years through
every part of Norway, and he had seen and
heard much that was new and strange to
them. He told them of Christiania, the
capital city,-of its great churches, its fine
shops, and the ships from far countries that
filled its harbour. The Ericksons were amazed
to hear that the town then contained eighteen
thousand inhabitants; but the tax-gatherer
said he had conversed with seamen, who spoke
of towns much larger in England and Ger-
many, though he could not credit their tales.
Then he described the brown dwarfish peo-
ple, with herds of reindeer, amongst whom
he had journeyed far away in Lapland; how
they lived in tents in summer, and in caves
in winter, but sowed no grain, and cultivated
neither fields nor gardens, because in that
province nothing would grow but the fir tree
and the reindeer's moss;-how the winter
had set in there already, and the long night
of six weeks' duration was fast coming on;
that the day in summer was of equal length;
and he had stood on the North Cape,--a grey


rocky promontory, which runs far into the
sea, and is the most northerly point, not only
of Norway, but all Europe,-and saw the
great ocean stretching away till it seemed to
meet the cold blue sky, while the sun shone
brightly on it from the northward, at the
hour of twelve, which southern men call
The family were charmed with his dis-
course. Olof's grave face became lighted up
with wonder and curiosity. Little Clotilde
sat on the stranger's knee, and looked silently
up in his face, Frederika leant forward to catch
every word, and Christian and Clodimar
stopped him every minute to ask questions.
Dame Erickson herself was interested ; but at
last a notion crossed her, that a man who had
travelled so far must have heard something
of her Christian. Doubtless it was a foolish
thought of the simple widow; but hope, they
say, will hold by straws, and she immediately
inquired if in all the taxman's travels he had
heard anything of a man and a youth from
Gamle Fiord, who had been driven out to
sea in the mackerel fishing time, about six
years before.


Was his name Karl Erickson?" said the
man, musing a moment.
No, no, it was Christian!" shouted all the
children at once. Just the image of my
brother Christian there," said Frederika.
" Only handsomer," rejoined her mother; "a
brave good man; you would know my Christ-
ian again, stranger, if you had ever seen him."
"He was a little like that boy," said the
tax-gatherer, gazing at young Christian till
he reddened, and Clodimar looked angry.
",' But I am sure they called him Karl whel
he and I got acquainted at Drontheim."
"At Drontheim!" said the widow, sudden-
ly recollecting. That was my husband's
brother;-what did you know of him?"
He had been a soldier," said the taxman,
"in the army of our King Frederick, when
he made war on Sweden." (Reader, Norway
was governed by the king of Denmark then,
though, as your geography will tell you, it is
subject to the crown of Sweden now.)
"Aye!" said dame Erickson, "he never
cared for staying quietly at home, but always
wished to grow great and see the world."
He saw some of the world," rejoined the


tax-gatherer, in King Frederick's army, and
rose to be a sergeant, till one of his comrades,
with whom he quarrelled, stole the colonel's
silver fork, and hid it in his knapsack, where
it was discovered, and for the supposed theft
Karl was dismissed the regiment, and sen-
tenced to serve two years in the government
mines. Some months after, the man who had
brought all this upon him fell sick, and being
afraid to die with that burden on his con-
science, he confessed the whole truth. Karl
was in consequence liberated from the mines,
and would have been re-instated in his rank,
but that misfortune made him tired of the
army; and with the sum of money which was
given him by way of compensation, he went
to trade and fish at Drontheim. In that
business he was successful, and had, when I
knew him, a good provision shop of his own,
besides, it was said, some hundred dollars in
the bank. He never married, but kept a
careful old housekeeper. Drontheim lies far
to the north, and its long winters were wearing
down his health; yet he told me he could
never go back to Eidswold, nor meet his
relations, after the disgrace he had suffered."


Ah! that was poor pride," sighed the
widow; "yet he was always kinder than
I tried to reason him out of it," continued
the taxman. "But it is now more than a
year since I saw him; and when I was at
Christiania three months ago, a ship captain
brought me intelligence of his death, and also
said that his property was kept in trust for
his brother Christian's family by an old
lawyer with whom he had been intimate; but
somehow the place of their residence had been
forgotten in Karl's will, and with all the law-
yer's advertisements they couldn't be found.'
"That's money for us, mother!" said the
open-hearted Frederika, who had never seen
her uncle, and did not pretend to lament him.
" I hope he has left nothing to the Herewards
for all their spite."
"The money is far off and uncertain, my
girl," answered her mother; and you ought
to remember, that the Herewards are your
cousins. Karl dead I" she added sorrowfully.
" Well, he was once a good brother-in-law;
but, ohl sir, did you hear no word of Chris-


Nothing but what I tell you," said the
tax-gatherer. As you say, dame, the money
is rather out of reach; but I have heard that
the lawyer is a just man, though something
of the hardest. A legacy is worth looking
after these times; and, with your leave, on
my next journey to Drontheim, I will inquire
all about it, and let him know where you live."
"If we could all go, mother," said Olof.
"But it is far away, and the harvest must be
got in."
"Clodimar and I will go I" cried Christian
starting up; "and you, sir," addressing the
taxman, "will shew us the way. Just wait
"till the hay is cut!"
"I cannot stay so long, my little man, and
the way is far; but something must be done,"
replied the tax-gatherer.
Over that something, the group round the
fire deliberated till it was quite dark; and the
result of their council was, that as the widow
and her eldest son had neither time nor money
sufficient for the journey, Pastor Henrick
should be requested to write a letter on their
behalf to the legal gentleman at Drontheim,
which the tax-gatherer undertook to deliver


safe,-such a thing as a post-office being yet
undreamt of at Gamle Fiord.
The family said their evening prayer, and
retired to rest by the light of dry fir splinters,
-the candles of the Norwegian peasantry.
Christian and Clodimar resigned their bed to
the stranger; but took care he should not know
it, and laid themselves quietly down on a
bundle of fern, shaken out beside the hearth.
Early next morning, when the woodlark was
singing in the topmost boughs of the old
poplar, they were all in the meadow, and the
tax-gatherer on his way to collect dues for the
king. By noon he returned for Olof and his
mother, who accompanied him to Pastor
Henrick's house, where they told the news
he had brought, and requested the letter.
Glad was the pastor to hear of the promised
good fortune; and, saying that Providence
had rewarded the widow for her hospitality to
one without friends, the good man penned the
following primitive epistle *-

To the Respected Counsellor who holds in
trust the Property of Karl Erickson.
HONOURED SmR,-Having heard from the


bearer, whom I believe to be an honest tax-
man, that you have cause to inquire for the
family of Christian Erickson, brother of Karl,
deceased, I certify, that they and their mother
are yet residing in my parish,-Christian
himself being supposed drowned, though his
widow will not believe it. For further particu-
lars, please apply to the bearer, and accept
the good wishes of yours faithfully,
PASTOR HENRICK of Gamle Fiord.

Furnished with this letter, and the entire
dues of the valley, the taxman took his
departure early the following day. Among
the hospitable Norwegian peasantry, who see
travellers only as news-bringing rarities, it is
considered unbecoming either to offer or accept
anything for a stranger's entertainment. But
the taxman knew that Dame Erickson was
poor,-she had paid her tax with the only
dollar in her possession-long and well had it
been kept for the purpose,-and when parting
from Christian and Clodimar, who conveyed
him some distance to ask questions about
Drontheim, he presented each of them with a
Norwegian song-book; but when the brothers


opened their treasures in full display to the
household, out of every book dropped a dol-
lar note. Reader, the said notes were about
four shillings value, and the brothers had
never seen so much money to call their own;
but they could not help fearing that the
generous taxman had utterly robbed himself,
and Clodimar hoped he did not imagine they
were greedy.
As for Christian, he stood gazing at his
note, and debating with himself, whether it
should be laid out in fine things for his mother
and sisters when the winter traders came up
the valley, or reserved for paying the family
expenses to Drontheim; but at last it occurred
to him, that he and his brother's united wealth
might enable them to go round the world in
search of their father, like the Greek boy,
Telemachus, of whose travels he read at Pastor
Henrick's school. Lay it by, my boy," said
his mother; who knows but it may be the
beginning of your fortune, though the taxman
was too good to part with so much."
Ha! mother, we'll call him the taxman no
more," cried Clodimar, who had been turning
over his book "here is his name:" and the


boy read, Earnest gives this book to Clodi-
mar Erickson, and hopes he will learn to
sing the songs of our Gamle Norge." These
words signify Old Norway, the name by which
all the Norwegians call their country; just
as we say Merry England," and sometimes
"Old England" too. But, speaking of names,
the reader must observe, that though among
us everybody has a surname, such is not
always the case in Norway; and those in use
are, for the most part, formed by adding the
word son, to the Christian name of some
ancestor; as Erickson,-that is, the son of
Erick. Our similar names, Johnson, Thom-
son, and the like, are supposed to have been
brought into Britain long ago by Norwegian
and Danish invaders. Sometimes whole
families are, in a manner, called by their
father's Christian name. The Ericksons
spoke of the Herewards and the Ilenricks,
just as we would discourse of the Smiths and
Browns. But to return to my story.-When
the notes had been sufficiently admired, and
Earnest's generosity praised by all parties,
Christian and Clodimar deposited them safely
at the bottom of their division of the family


chest; and many an evening was enlivened
by reading over the songs, some of which
their mother taught them to sing to sweet old
airs, long known among the valleys.
Weightier concerns, however, demanded
their attention ;-the summer had been brief
and backward, and day by day the signs of
an early winter became more evident; hares
and foxes were observed to grow white, as
many wild birds and quadrupeds do at the
approach of the snow in those northern
climates; delicate plants in the copses and
dingles faded and shed their leaves; flights of
ptarmigan in their winter plumage began to
arrive; and a herd of reindeer were seen in the
early morning passing between the cliffs and
pines; the skies grew darker and threat-
ening; the winds cold and strong; and heavy
fogs came rolling down from the mountains,
like seas of vapour, hours before sunset. The
Ericksons wrought hard with the hay. It
had grown thin and short, and they could not
get it dried in these misty evenings. At last,
the mist changed into rain, long deluging
nights and days, that poured without inter-
mission, leaving the hay one mass of rub-


bish, and beating down their half-ripened
These were troubled days with the family,
though they watched for every fair hour, and
put in practice all the rustic arts they knew
to save the miserable remains of their harvest;
but the fair hours were few and far between,
the days rapidly shortened, and, labour as
they would, neither hay nor barley could be
got sufficiently dry for storage. Their
neighbours, however willing, had no time to
assist them, their own better crops being in
danger; and half the harvest of Eidswold was
lost that year by the continuous rain. It
ceased one evening about the end of Septem-
ber, the sky looked clearly red at sunset, and
Olof said they would have good weather at
last; but the same night, the snow came
down,-not as it comes to us in Britain, in
feathery flakes, but like a flood of dry white
ashes, which continued for days together, and
lay fathoms deep in the hollows. It was a
sad sight for the Ericksons when they rose in
the morning and saw the drifting mass half-
way up their windows.
The snow, mother I" cried Olof, who, being


the eldest, thought it his duty to get up first;
but came back with the intelligence to his
mother's bedside.
Snow !" said the widow. "Then God
help us; for the winter's come, and we have
neither bread nor fish."
Never mind, mother," said Christian, as
he thrust on his clothes,-for the resting-places
of the family were, in old Norwegian fashion,
divided only by a brown woollen curtain;-
"you know the dollar notes are safe in the
chest, and" -
"And there's lots of money for us at
Drontheim," chimed in Frederika.
The widow said nothing to discourage her
children; but her terrors were too true. The
snow was succeeded by frost of such duration
and intensity, that it changed not only the
surface of the ground, but that of the firth, to
firm ice; and when the latter was sufficiently
strong to afford safe passage, the shepherd's
eldest son came skating over to inform the
Ericksons that half of the sheep under his
father's care had perished in the snow storm,
and theirs among the number. He added,
that the bodies might be found when the


snow melted in spring, and all the neighbours
had lost as well as they. Dame Erickson
said it was a fearful season; and after sharing
in their breakfast, the young man went on his
way to communicate a similar piece of news
to old Hereward the miller.
Now that the winter was with them in
earnest, the widow bestirred herself to reckon
up their resources. The remnants of their
garden vegetables had been safely gathered
into the granary; there was also a small
portion of ill-dried hay for the cow; barley
they had none; their last year's meal was
entirely exhausted, and the state of the har-
vest had prevented the boys, as well as many
of their neighbours, from taking part in the
herring fishing, which, indeed, gave but poor
returns in Gamle Fiord that season ; but they
had secured a sufficient stock of fire-wood, and
that, with the garden produce, and especially
the cow, was the only dependance of the
family. A poor dependance; but they tried
to make the most of it. The younger children
dried hay by the fire for poor "Curlycoat," as
they called their shaggy, but useful little cow.
They collected the refuse of their meager


meals, and boiled it up with pounded fir bark,
by way of evening messes for her and Haeo.
Olof took down his father's old gun, and .used
all his arts to put it in repair, in hopes of
finding some game which the frost had driven
from their haunts; and Frederika enlarged on
the probability of his shooting a great elk,
while she and her mother spun the last of
their wool, intending to sell the yarn to the
winter traders.
Readers, winter is the play time of Norway.
When the long frost has fairly set in, with brief
days, and clear, cold nights, all manner of
festive assemblies are held, friends go to visit
each other, taking their way along the frozen
firths and rivers, equipped with skates and
snow-pole. The former are not of our British
shape, but light boards of about six feet long,
pointed at each end, and strapped to the feet
at the middle. The latter is a strong staff,
with a sharp iron point, which they plant
firmly in the snow, to prevent their sliding
backward when ascending a hill;-that must
be done slowly; but over level ground the
Norwegian skater passes like the wind. Hardy
hunters thus provided venture into the great


forests; and traders from the towns come up
the fiords with their sledges, like boats, drawn
by horses, and sometimes reindeer, containing
all manner of foreign commodities, which they
barter with the inhabitants for furs, fish
cheese, or any kind of country produce. These
doings make winter a lively time in the
remotest valley, especially at the days of
Christmas, whose coming the Norwegians
celebrate with all the good cheer and amuse-
ments they can muster. But that was a dull
winter in Eidswold. The failure of their
harvest made every one poor and close; few
had anything to spare, and nobody thought of
the Ericksons.
However the poor family thought of them-
selves, as we have seen, to some purpose; and
hoped to get over the hard times without
asking for help, or telling their losses. Olol
found the gun beyond his skill; but he went
down with it to Thurkill's forge, where all the
hardware work of the parish was done. It
was a busy time there; sledges were to be
repaired, snow-poles pointed, and many a gun
put in order as well as Olof's. Besides, the
roaring fire and the red sparks from the


anvil looked bright and cheerful through the
keen frost; and the blacksmith never wanted
work or company. But he repaired Olofs
weapon completely for reading to him and
his three grown-up sons-who had never gone
to school, because their father could not spare
them-an old saga, or poem, about the ancient
kings of Norway and their wars; and every
peasant that came to the forge laid down his
goods and listened. The blacksmith gave him
a small supply of ammunition also; and, fur-
nished with pole and skates, out went Olof to
try his fortune in hunting. There are young
men in England who go to hunt for sport,-
and a barbarous sport it is, which consists in
inflicting pain and death on any living thing;
but with Olof it was a necessary expedient,
to eke out the scanty provisions of the family.
The game was scarcer than he expected. At
the close of the first day, he brought home
one large white hare, on which the household
feasted, and his mother made the young
hunter a new cap of its skin; the next, he
obtained a prize in the shape of a great black
cock; and rose in high spirits on the third
morning, for the shepherd's sons had told him


that they traced a reindeer on the hills; and
he had arranged to go with them and have a
shot at it. That day all went on as usual in
the cottage; but when the evening was closing
in, there was no sign of Olof. The supper
was kept back for him; the mother left her
wheel, and took long looks from the open door
on the wide white valley and the rising moon;
but still he didn't come. Christian and Clodi-
mar wrapped their cloaks about them, and said
they would go over the firth, and ask for
news from the shepherd; but scarce were they
half-an-hour gone, when the loud bark of poor
Haco was heard at the door, followed by the
sound of a sledge bell, which alone proclaims
the approach of that wheelless vehicle; and
rushing out, the mother and sisters saw by the
broad moonlight the pastor's sledge, in which
some one lay covered with the good man's
lamb-skin cloak, while he acted as driver, and
the shepherd's two sons, with Christian and
Clodimar, brought up the rear.
"My son!" said the widow, as Olof flung
off the cloak with one hand, and tried to rise,
but couldn't. "I'm not hurt; it is nothing
at all." said the brave boy; "only just a fall,


Help me up, and I will be well enough to-
morrow." But the shepherd's sons carried
him into his bed by the pastor's directions;
and that worthy man explained to his mother
how, in the early part of the day, he had got
a severe fall, by his snow-pole giving way
when in the act of climbing a steep hill, by
which his right arm had been broken on
the ice, and he feared some internal injury
was sustained also. The pastor had, like
many of his brethren in remote Norwegian
parishes, some knowledge of surgery, and
was, indeed, the only physician his people
knew. He had therefore been called to Olof's
assistance, as he was to everybody's; and
having done all he could for the boy, particu-
larly in setting the broken bone, he also
brought him home in his sledge, with a small
present of meal, and many consolatory words
to the family.
It was late before the pastor left them,
Olof insisted that he would be well next day;
and the widow thanked Providence that her
boy's life was spared. But days and nights
passed on; and though Pastor Henrick, who
visited him as regularly as the sun set, said


he was going on as well as one could expect,
poor Olof's recovery was painfully slow.
Times with the family grew more pinching
than ever, though Christian and Clodimar
now went out with the gun, and many pro-
mises to their mother not to venture beyond
the valley. The game was rapidly disap-
pearing; and it was a lucky day in which
they could find a rabbit or a heathfowl. The
best of everything was reserved for Olof; but
he could scarcely be induced to eat anything,
the poor boy was grave and quiet even in
health, and now he spoke little, but fretted
and pined away in his bed, thinking of the
poverty of the family and the burden he was
to them. One morning, about ten days after
his injury, Christian and Clodimar, who now
made it their business to get up first, went,
as usual, to supply Curlycoat" with some
of their well-saved hay; but what was their
surprise to find the creature stretched out in
her place, and positively refusing either to
rise or eat. They offered her a drink, and
many other inducements, but in vain; and
were at last obliged to wake their mother
and Frederika on the subject. The cow was


literally the family's last stake, and every-
thing was done for her that they could think
useful. At last the shepherd, who was
considered an authority in such matters,
was consulted ; but poor Curlycoat's eud had
arrived. Whether owing to inferior food, or
the rigours of the early winter, the shepherd
declared her beyond his skill, and the faithful
creature looked up at her kind mistress, and
died with a low moan, just as Pastor Henrick,
with his good dame, for whose recovery there
had been a general thanksgiving in the parish
some weeks before, came down in their sledge
to visit Olof. The pastor was grieved to hear
of their loss, and took occasion to inquire
more particularly than he had yet done, re-
garding the family supplies. Overwhelmed
by her late misfortune, and the wretched
prospects of her household for the winter,
por Dame Erickson acknowledged, for the
airst time, the whole extent of their poverty:
that they had not a month's provision on the
most meager calculation; but, she added, the
boys might shoot something; besides, they
had each a dollar; and if she and her child-
ren could manage to subsist till the arrival of


the winter traders, they might get news of
the legacy, and some neighbour, perhaps old
Hereward, who was said to have a store,
might give them meal on credit till the spring
came in, and the money could be got from
Kindly and simple as the pastor was, he
could not forbear smiling at the widow's plan.
The traders were indeed the bearers of all
news and letters to those secluded valleys;
but what if the taxman could not succeed in
finding the Drontheim counsellor, whose very
name he did not remember ? or what if the
whole story were a mistake, and there was,
after all, no legacy for the Ericksons ? But
here the frank and prudent Frau Henrick
came to their assistance.
Husband," said she, you know that our
supply of wood is rather scanty this year,
and our garden did not yield well. I have a
lot of wool too on hand, which my daughter
Hilda and I were prevented from spinning
by the fever; now, Dame Erickson, as you
have plenty of firewood, and only some gai-
den vegetables, which would be a poor sup-
port for the children in this cold winter.


bring all with you and come to our house;
you are welcome to share of our roof and
our provisions. The wood will help to keep
us all warm; you and the girls will do what
you can at the wheel; we will nurse Olof
among us; and as I hear their uncle wants
help now, he might be glad to have Christian
and Clodimar; and if that does not please
him, boys," she continued, stroking down
Clodimar's yellow hair, you will be welcome
to stay with us till spring comes again; and
if there be no legacy at Drontheim, perhaps
another cow, and seed for a new harvest,
might be gathered among the neighbours.'
" Do come, dame," rejoined the pastor, who,
though it promised a heavy tax on his own
store, approved of his wife's offer, and wished
to overcome the widow's scruples; the
wool could never be spun in time without
you, and the firewood will be a great help to
The widow was averse to leaving the cot-
tage where she had spent so many happy
years, struggled so bravely with misfortune,
and waited so hopefully for Christian's return:
though a sad suspicion grew up among her


latter calamities, that probably the neigh-
bours were right, and he might never come
back. But the Henricks' proposal was now
their only chance for life; it also promised
better accommodation for her sick boy;
and the good woman was especially recon-
ciled to it by the pastor's last observations,
which held out a prospect of usefulness
rather than dependance. Olof rejoiced over
the arrangement, chiefly because it would
secure a winter's comfort for his poor mother
and sisters; and poured out his thanks to
the good pastor, mingled with many declara-
tions of what would be done on his recovery,
and how soon it should take place.
Eventually it was agreed that their re-
moval would be accomplished on the follow-
ing day,-the pastor promising to summon a
few assistants for that purpose, and accom-
pany the boys to their uncle's house, that old
Hereward might be induced to receive them
the more kindly.
That was a sad night for the Ericksons,
when the pastor and his dame were gone,
and they thought of leaving their own hearth,
for how long none could tell; but there was


no choice: go they must; and the mother
said she trusted that Providence would help
them back again.
The next day all were alert to collect
their goods and chattels. Pastor Henrick's
house was larger and better furnished than
theirs; but crowding up is thought no incon-
venience in the north, and the Ericksons
were proud of how much they could take
with them. Towards evening, the pastor
arrived, true to his promise, with some neigh-
bours and their sledges. The cottage fire
was extinguished, the outer door secured,
and, sad of heart, though thankful, the whole
family, with their entire stock, including old
Haco and the squirrel, which poor Clotilde
carried in her arms, were conveyed to Pastor
IIenrick's house.
As I have said, it was a cottage like their
own, but something larger, and now pretty
well filled, being inhabited by the pastor,
his wife, his mother-in-law, his daughter,
seven sons, two orphan nephews whom he
had adopted, and all the Ericksons. At one
end of the large family sitting-room, which
also did duty for a kitchen, were the wheels


and cards continually at work on the much
talked of wool; and in the other, a few shelves
of books, covered with a dark brown curtain,
having room behind it for the pastor's chair,
a small writing table, and a lamp, constituted
at once his study and library. Moreover, the
good man's school was kept by his own fire-
side on the long winter nights ; and he con-
gratulated Christian and Clodimar on being
now nearer it than ever. Frau Henrick
received them with her wonted kindness;
and Hilda, who had no sister, warmly wel-
comed the girls. The rest of the day was
spent in arranging their goods and quarters.
Next morning, Frederika and her mother
were spinning side by side; Clotilde was
making herself generally useful. Olof, reclin-
ing on a low settle which the aged grand-
mother occupied close beside the fire, was
endeavouring to make her hear an old Nor-
wegian hymn; and Christian and Clodimar,
determined to work for their own living if
possible, set out, with many good advices
from their mother, in the pastor's company,
to the house of old Hereward.
The mill was shut up and silent by its


frozen stream, and the miller sat smoking in
the corner of his wide chimney when they
arrived. A great wood fire blazed before him,
and on the other side were his two notable
daughters, with their apprentices, three young
girls from a distant valley, hard at work, with
cards and wheels, while all the boys sat round
making nets and baskets, a stock of which old
Hereward always sold to the winter traders.
He welcomed the pastor and his nephews
drily; asked them to sit down, and inquired
after the news, which Pastor Henrick imme-
diately gave him in a relation of the Erick-
sons' misfortunes. The rest of the family
have come to live with us," said the good
man, and I hope you have room for your
nephews this hard winter; they are good
boys, and willing to work, I'm sure."
Indeed we are, uncle," cried Christian;
only try us."
"No doubt, no doubt !" interrupted old
Hereward; "but don't depend on me. I'm
a poor man, and have a large family of my
own. You know, pastor," he continued, put-
ting on a rueful countenance, "what I have
lost by the Ericksons already."


The pastor was about to remonstrate, when
the sound of bells came loudly up the valley,
and Hereward's youngest son, who had gone
to the door, rushed in, shouting that the
winter traders were come.
Perhaps they have news for us," thought
the brothers, as they ran out, followed by the
miller's household; for the coming of the
traders was a great event in the valley. Up
the level ice of the firth swept a long line of
sledges, some drawn by horses, some by rein-
deer, but all filled with men, or piled up with
goods. In front of each sat the driver in his
grey wolf-skin cap and cloak, shaking the
reins, from which dozens of small bells were
tinkling, while larger ones about the necks
of the horses sounded at every step. Behind,
groups of men, women, and children, every
one laden with something to sell, came skat-
ing along from distant hamlets. Sledges
scarce less filled than their own brought up
the rear. All the neighbours gathered to the
spot, as the winter traders were known for
many a year to take their station just in front
of the mill. Everybody lent what assistance
they could. In a short time the sledges were


arranged in two long lines on the ice, with a
narrow passage between them, at one end of
which was pitched a large tent for the accom-
modation of the cattle ; at the other, one for
the men, where a large fire was lighted, and
two of their wives, who had accompanied
them, were busy cooking from the provision
sledge. Every man removed the covering
from his own goods, and the market com-
menced as usual.
Business was opened by the master of trade,
such being the title of a sort of captain whom
the traders elected from among themselves to
preside over their long journeys, and take
care of the news' bag. It was a great leather
sack, stuffed with all manner of packets, and
now produced from the bottom of his sledge;
dozens of eager faces, besides those of Pastor
Henrick and the brothers, crowded round the
sturdy trader as he quietly unfastened the
innumerable straps and buckles with which
it was secured, and proceeded to distribute
the contents. Many were the commissions
which those trusty travellers fulfilled by
means of the news' bag. For one, there was
a packet of garden seeds; for another, a


letter from distant friends; locks of guns
pieces of finery, and small valuables sent for
repair in the former season,-all were given to
their respective owners. At last came a book
for the pastor; but no letter for the Erick-
"Have you really no news for us, sir ?
cried Christian as he saw the bag emptied.
" None, my boy," said the master of trade,
who remembered the family. But how is
your mother ? and why is it that we saw no
smoke from your cottage when coming up
the firth ?" It was a sad story for Christian
to relate how they had lost their crop and
their cow; how Olof had been hurt on the
ice, and gone with their mother and sisters
to the kind pastor's house, while he and his
brother came in search of work and shelter
to their hard-hearted uncle; he also explained
to the trader's satisfaction all the taxman had
told them, and their hopes regarding the Dron-
theim legacy. The pastor assisted with all
his might, and every trader seemed interested:
but none of them could give the least intelli-
gence, or had even seen the taxman. Well,
my children," said the master of trade, if


your uncle won't take you, never mind the old
churl ; I have no boys of my own, and want
a couple of smart lads to help me; so if your
mother has no objection to let you travel, I'll
promise to find you food and clothes, and a
dollar apiece every season, if you are faithful,
and deserve it. Besides, we are going to
Drontheim in the course of the winter, and
we'll see about the legacy."
Christian and Clodimar clapped their hands
in concert at this promise; they thanked the
master of trade, and earnestly begged the
pastor to go home with them immediately,
and ask their mother's consent. The poor
boys believed, that not only might they reach
the Drontheim legacy on their travels, but
perhaps find their father, and bring him home
with them to live happily again in their own
old cottage. Pastor Henrick tried to reason
them out of this notion as they proceeded to
his house, saying, that their father was long
at rest, that the traders led a hard life, and
travelling had many dangers; yet he advised
the widow not to oppose their going, as the
boys were anxious for it, and the master of
trade seemed more kindly than old Hereward.


The widow's spirit was wearied, though not
broken, by her many reverses. Now that the
last hope of that winter was gone, she knew
that all either her or the girls could do, would
be but a trifling return to the good pastor for
their maintenance; and as this was the only
prospect her sons had to earn their own living,
after balancing the matter for some minutes
in her mind, and wiping away some large tears
with the corner of her apron, she said she
would speak with the master of trade, and let
them go. The traders generally remained for
a week in the valley, during which a sort of
fair was held; people came from all quarters
to buy and sell with them. On the second
day, the firth was covered for a considerable
distance with tents, fires, and stands of goods;
scores of people were bustling about; friends
were meeting; and every hour there arrived
groups of skaters, or heavily laden sledges;-
among them that of Pastor Henrick, contain-
ing his good dame and the widow Erickson,
with bundles of yarn and other saleable pro-
ductiens heaped round them-the eldest son
acting as driver; and the younger portion of
the household, including Christian and Clodi-


mar, with their two sisters, under the pastor's
own escort, came skating along to the fair.
It was a gay and a bustling scene in that clear
winter day. There was not, indeed, so much
of shows and gingerbread as an English fair
can boast; but besides the things to be bought
and sold, there were tents, where young people
danced to the music of violins; and temporary
tables beside the fires, where old people whose
markets were satisfactory, treated each other
to good dinners, cooked upon the spot, and too
many of them drank brandy. The same fail
had been held, year after year, in Gamle Fiord
as long as its oldest inhabitant could re-
member; and, readers, far greater assemblies
of the kind take place every winter on the
frozen rivers beside large northern towns,-
such as the winter fairs of Germany and
Russia; and the like has occurred even on
British rivers in seasons of extraordinary
That was a pleasant day for the Ericksons
and all their friends. Frau Henrick disposed
of her yarn to her heart's content; the widow
and Frederika realized a helping trifle out
of their industry; and the master of trade


agreed to take Christian and Clodimar on the
terms he had promised, telling their mother
that all the neighbours had given him a good
account of them, and he would consider them
as his own sons till their return to the valley
on the following winter.
The remaining days were passed by Christian
and Clodimar in getting ready their clothes,
with the help of their mother and sisters.
Their stock was neither large nor fine; but
travelling in such intense cold requires a deal
of warm garments; and had my readers seen
them on the morning of their outset-equipped
with large snow boots of untanned deer-skin,
having the hairy side turned in, a couple
of heavy woollen frocks, worn one above
the other, and reaching almost to the ankle,
fur caps, and each a lamb-skin cloak, pre-
sented by the good Frau Henrick-they must
have thought them perfect bundles of clothes;
but all were necessary as a defence against
the frost. Olof wept sore because he could not
accompany his brothers, and entreated Chris-
tian to take his cap, made from the skin of the
white hare he had brought home with so much
triumph just before his accident.


All the Henricks bade them a kind farewell,
and warned the brothers not to forget them
among the great things they should see. The
pastor gave them his blessing, together with
the prayer-book in which he had taught them
to read, many wise and pious counsels, and a
red leather purse containing some Norwegian
coins, which amounted to a few shillings of
our money. Christian sometimes feared it was
wrong, but, by agreement between him and
Clodimar, he placed the said coins, together
with the dollar notes given them by old
Earnest, between the leaves of his mother's
prayer-book where they knew she most fre-
quently read, and took the pastor's purse
empty in his pocket, while the good man got
ready his skates and snow-pole, and set out
with the widow and her daughters, to see
them as far as the starting place. Little
Clotilde held all the way by Clodimar's hand;
Frederika talked to Christian; and the widow
said nothing, but kept looking at her sons.
It was almost mid-winter, and the days
were scarcely five hours long; the sun looked
large and low in the sky, as he looks when
near his setting in English summer evenings;


a cold grey light lay on the glittering ice of
the valley, on the cliffs that seemed like piles
of crystal, and the dark pine woods beyond.
When they reached the fair ground, all the
neighbours had assembled to take leave of the
traders; the latter were harnessing their horses
and reindeer; their tents were struck, and
packed up; their sledges heaped, if possible,
higher than on their arrival, with the goods
they had bought; but the master told Chris-
tian and Clodimar there was room for them
on the top, bid their mother not fear, for he
would bring them safe back, as sure as his
name was Wolfried Knudson.
"Mother dear, don't forget us," said Chris-
tian, when the summer comes, and you and
all the rest go back to our old cottage" The
widow kissed and blessed them; Frederika
and Clotilde took a brave farewell, for all were
determined not to trouble the traders with
their sorrow; and the boys jumped up as
directed, and took their seats, with the leather
bag which held their summer things between
them. The pastor's last words were, that he
hoped they would be good boys; and away
went the sledges with a jingle of bells, and


a shout for good luck from all the neighbours
as they swept down the firth. Their mother
and sisters looked after them till they were
out of sight, and then turned sorrowfully
homeward with the pastor. There they all
fell to work as usual: the pastor taught his
school, the women spun together, and Olof's
broken arm grew stronger day by day. But
let us follow Christian and Clodimar.
Joyful as the young brothers had been to
go, when they could no longer see their people,
and the spire of the old church was fading
in the distance, truth obliges me to confess,
that they covered their faces with their hands,
and wept together like babes. But this did
not last long. Christian recollected that the
traders might see them, and Clodimar thought
that they might find their father; so they
wiped up their tears, and began to look about
On, on went the sledges, without a sound
but that of the chiming bells, and sometimes
a verse of an old Norwegian song from one
of the traders to beguile the way. Wolfried
had told ttem they were bound for Christ-
iania, and the boys speculated largely on


the wonders of the great city; but nothing
could they see around them but the high
wooded mountains, the frozen waters, and,
here and there, the smoke of a distant cottage
rising through the still frosty air. Night
came down as it comes in the Norwegian
winter,-long and bright, with a clear, cold
moon and stars. It was many a mile to the
nearest post-house; but the travellers paused,
as the moon rose, in the shadow of a tall fir
wood, to give a hard barley cake-a stock of
which they carried for the purpose-to each
of their horses and reindeer; and half-a-
dozen men, the boys being helpers, broke the
thick ice from a small spring, to let the cat-
tle drink. A distribution of rye bread and
brandy was then made among tile company.
Those who had driven through the day
resigned that duty to others; and thus they
proceeded, till the solitary post-house was
reached at midnight.
It was a sort of substitute for an inn-a
large cottage situated by the lonely wayside.
The honest peasant to whom it belonged had
retired to rest, with all his family, except the
eldest boy, who sat scouring his gun by the


blazing fire; and he welcomed the travellers
to put up their animals, and supply them
with provender, which they themselves
carried; to cook their own provisions in the
common room, where they had also the
privilege of sleeping under their cloaks on
bundles of barley straw. These hardy doings
were by no means so strange to the brothers
of my story as they would have been to some
young gentlemen of England. Christian and
Clodimar slept soundly on the barley straw
till they were roused by the master's hand-
bell. It was his duty to wake the company
with that instrument in the grey of the
winter dawn. Then they prepared their own
breakfast, mounted the sledge which they
had helped to harness, and were not a little
proud to be entrusted with the reins. Wol-
fried was a frank kindly man, but he specially
liked useful people; and the boys had already
gained his good graces, as well as those of
all the company, by their cheerful obliging
habits. He told them of the terrible snow
storms he had encountered in his many travels;
and how his wife and two young children
had died of the fever in Christiania long ago,


when he was far off on a journey to Finmark.
So they travelled on for two more days and
nights, stopping to sleep at the post-houses,
till, about noon in the fourth day, the lessening
woods, and more frequent cottages, warned
them that they were approaching Christiania.
The capital of Norway is scarcely as large
as an English fourth-rate town, and was still
less at the period of my story; yet, when the
brothers caught sight of its tall spires rising
over the snowy valley, where it stands at the
top of Christian Fiord, a long firth, with many
arms and windings,-when they saw the
great houses which its rich men had built
for themselves on every pleasant spot in the
neighbourhood, and the number of sledges
and travellers that seemed pouring to and
from it, their wonder rose to a height which
greatly amused the traders, and became
almost boundless when fairly within the city.
They had never seen a town before. Per-
haps it has not been so with any of my
readers. Living in our rich and populous
Britain, they have doubtless visited some
great town; yet, even to them, Christiania
would have presented a strange and curious


scene. The houses, many of them built of
wood, with high pointed gables turned to the
street, and very few chimneys, owing to the
use of stoves; the streets smooth with solid
ice, and filled with people in queer winter
dresses; the better classes scarcely shewing
their noses through fur cloaks and wrappers;
and the gaily painted sledges, with merry
companies and sounding bells, meeting one
at every turn, just like our cabs and coaches.
There were also to be seen men from all the
northern nations of Europe, in the dresses of
their respective countries. Small Laplanders,
wrapped in the skins of reindeers; tall, quiet-
looking Finns; Russians, Danes, Swedes, and
Germans; men from Friesland, with the old
Dutch dress and iron skates; and strangers,
whom the traders spoke of as seamen from
the great islands of Britain.
All these the brothers saw, and much
besides that was new and wonderful to them;
-the shops, the warehouses, and the public
buildings, which Wolfried pointed out and
explained as soon as he had his goods stored
up, and they had all refreshed themselves at
the traders' inn. It was a large old timber


house of four stories, with a court-yard at the
side, and the street door in the gable. The
lower flat was entirely stores and stables,
and those above were divided into many
rooms of better and worse quality, which were
charged for accordingly. Wolfried had an
apartment on the attic, with a small stove, a
double skylight, a bed for himself, and a low
settle for the boys. Their meals were taken
in a common room with the traders; but all
day, and part of the long night, they were
hard at work, helping Wolfried in a sort of
cellar below, which served the company for a
general warehouse. There the poorer class
of shopkeepers came to purchase the country
produce they had brought; and the brothers
were kept continually busy, opening bags
and bales, tying up parcels, and running at
every call. All the customers praised their
smartness; and Wolfried said they would
become great traders themselves in time.
It might be that both were too fond of praise,
or that they worked too hard at times to
gain an occasional hour for rambling about
Christiania, and seeing its wonders, to tell at
Gamle Fiord. Perhaps the close atmosphere


of the town, so different from the fresh coun-
try air to which they had been accustomed, told
on the youngest boy; for Clodimar fell sick.
One morning, about a fortnight after their
arrival, when rising, he whispered to Christ-
ian that his head ached dreadfully; but he
went to work as usual. Towards noon the
pain increased; and though the boy tried
to hold out, his master at length observed
that something was wrong. Poor Clodimar
answered to his inquiries, with tears, that he
could no longer sit up.
Well, never mind my boy," said the good
trader; "go to bed, and I'll warrant you'll be
better to-morrow." Hour after hour Christ-
ian stole up to see his brother. He brought
cold water, and even snow, to relieve his
burning head; but all in vain. Clodimar
couldn't sleep, and grew worse and worse till
nightfall, when Wolfried at once sent for a
doctor, who prescribed some medicine; but
said, he feared it was the commencement of
a fever. The innkeeper took alarm at this
news, and said he would not have the busi-
ness of his house endangered by a contagious
disease. There was then no fever hospital


in Christiania,-such charitable institutions
being much scarcer over all Europe than
they are at present; but, by persuasion
of the traders-who were themselves much
afraid of the fever-and the promise of repay-
ment from Wolfried, Clodimar was removed
to an old lumber room, at the end of a long
passage in the lower story, where the only
furniture allowed was a poor bed and an old
stove ; and none but the doctor would venture
to come in.
"I'll take care of my brother," said
Christian; "we'll live and die together, and
they won't forget us at Gamle Fiord."
It was a long sore sickness, and a weary
watch he had in that solitary room. Being
out of sight, the boys were often forgotten; but,
though almost half-starved at times himself,
Christian never allowed his brother to want
for anything that he could either do or find.
The sick-room light was a splinter of pine-
wood, and his bed a bundle of straw beside
the stove, from which the faintest sound
would rouse him; for day-light, there was a
small window looking into a dingy court. But
the doctor came often, and was kind; yet


Clodimar grew worse and worse; and one
night when his mind was wandering, and he
talked strangely of their own people in the
far valley, Wolfried came to the window, and
told Christian that he must set out next
morning with his company for Drontheim;
but he had paid for their maintenance a
month at the inn, and would surely send
them word about the legacy.
Christian's heart sunk within him, and it
was not without some tears that he thanked
his master for all the kindness he had shewn
to them, and begged him not to delay long
in sending them news from Drontheim, anc
advising them what they should do when th(
month was over.-" I will return by thai
time, and the doctor has promised to look
after you and your brother. Should he want
anything besides, buy it with that," said the
trader, raising the sash to slip in a dollar;
" and Providence protect you, my brave boy,"
added Wolfried, running off as fast as he
could for fear of infection.
Christian felt still more desolate when the
traders had departed, though none of them
ever ventured to enter the room. It was


consolatory to think there were some people
he knew in that strange city; but now he and
his brother were alone in Christiania. What
is called the turn in his brother's fever, came
at last. He had been long asleep, and
Christian, worn out with watching, threw
himself down upon the straw about an hour,
when the day began to break, and there
came a sound of bells from every church
in the city. "What's that, Christian?" said
Clodimar feebly;-he hadn't spoken a word
for days.-" 'Tis the bells, dear," said Christ-
ian ; "this is Christmas morning ;"-and the
boys sighed together. They knew how Christ-
mas was welcomed far away by their own
old firth, and how merrily the bell, hung
between the frosted elms, was chiming in the
ears of Olof and their young sisters. "My
mother will mind us when they go to church,"
said Christian; and he listened to the mingled
din of steps and voices that rose from the
streets and lanes. They keep Christmas
merrily in Norway; but the young Ericksons
were poor, and they had no friends to remember
them in the festivity. So the holidays passed
on, and Christian watched by his sick brother


in that dark dull room; yet, in spite of poverty
and miserable accommodation, from that day
Clodimar recovered.
His recovery was slow; and when at last
he could creep out of bed, it grieved Christ-
ian's heart to see how pale and hollow the
once rosy cheek had grown, and how his
yellow hair had fallen away. He escaped the
fever; but many hardships, and attendance on
his brother, had made him almost as thin and
pale; and the two could do little but crouch
about the stove, thinking how rapidly the
month for which Wolfried had paid was
passing away, and still no news or sign ol
his return. As for the doctor, he had many
richer patients, and perhaps forgot his promise
to their master. He came one day and found
Clodinlar up, said he would soon be quite
well, advised him to take care of catching
cold, and never visited them again. How-
ever, things were better with them, as they
had lately found a friend in the inn. Its
owner was a churlish bustling man, who cared
for nothing but his business and the profit it
brought him; his wife was a saving hard-
working woman; and both toiled early and


late to make a fortune for their only son.
Master Frederick. He was a boy about
Clodimar's age, with a discontented look,
and very red hair. His father never expected
him to do anything,-his mother had spoiled
him to such a degree, that he would not go
to school in winter, but idled about the house,
playing with the stable boys, and troubling
the older servants. Christian had lately
assisted him to release his dog from the fangs
of a larger one which had attacked it in
the court-yard, and a sort of friendship grew
up between them. Master Frederick barely
remembered a friend longer than a fortnight,
-there were always new ones to be found at
;he inn; but he told his mother a great deal
bout the Ericksons, and they received more
attention in consequence.
It was now a new year; the days were
lengthening, though the great frost still con-
tinued. Clodimar, wrapped in all the clothes
his brother could spare in addition to his own,
stole out sometimes to breathe the cold fresh
air, and see the gay streets. But the month
expired, and brought no news of Wolfried.
Christian was going to watch for the post


with some faint hope of intelligence, when, on
crossing the court-yard, he observed the inn-
keeper and all his people busy in harnessing
a number of sledges for a party of gentlemen
who seemed impatient to set out. The owner
of the house was in far the greatest hurry,
and seeing he required assistance, Christian
ran up and gave him all the help he could,
while his own son leant lazily out of an
upper window, wrapped in a fur-trimmed
cloak, and smoking a long German pipe.
" What's your name, my active lad ?" said
the innkeeper, as he made his last bow to
the departing customers.
Christian Erickson, sir," said the boy.
"Oh! yes," continued the busy man, I
recollect, you are one of the boys Wolfried
Knudson left at my house. How is your
brother ?"
"Much better, sir," said Christian, who
seldom got an opportunity of speaking to that
great man; "and I wish I could get work
to do, for we are very poor, and our master
has not come back."
Well 'tis a pity you should want employ-
ment," said the innkeeper, and I turned off


two stable boys this morning. The young
rascals made faces at Frederick. Here.
Hans," he continued, addressing a great
rough Finn, who acted as hostler, take this
boy to help you, and his brother too when he
gets strong enough. Let them have their
victuals in the kitchen; and make yourself
useful," said he, with a warning look at Christ-
ian as he turned into the house.
Useful enough was poor Christian made,
and Clodimar too, as soon as he was able. The
boys were willing to work, though it was for no
wages; but they were allowed to sleep in the
old lumber room, to get their meals when the
servants were done, and sit in a spare corner
at the great kitchen fire in the evening. All
about the house found business for them of
every variety, from scrubbing the pots to
scouring the harness; yet the boys grew
gradually strong and healthy as the winter
wore away; Clodimar's hair began to grow,
and his bright colour returned; they did
not forget Gamle Fiord, but sang its songs
together at their work. Everybody liked the
Ericksons; and Master Frederick found no
fault, but that they had no time to play with


him. The language and oaths heard about
the inn-yard at times were, indeed, far differ-
ent from the simple friendly talk of Pastor
Henrick's parishioners; but the brothers re-
membered how their good pastor had warned
them against the evil they might hear, and
their mother prayed that they might learn
only what was good. They had kept Wol-
fried's dollar through many temptations to
spend it on the fine and good things which
everywhere met their eyes; and now every
week added something to the little store, from
rich or liberal travellers, to whom the boys
rendered many a service. All was dropped
into the pastor's purse, to be carried home
to their mother; and happy were they, on
counting the contents one night about the
beginning of spring, to find that the stock had
increased to three dollars and a-quarter.
The frost now broke up, with high winds
and heavy rain; skates and sledges could no
longer be used on the streets of Christiania,-
which looked as if a muddy river had been
turned upon them,-and all the citizens kept
within doors. But those days past, the sun
again shone out, the snow was gone, the trees


oegan to bud, the surrounding fields looked
green, and the brothers knew that spring was
come at Gamle Fiord also. There was bustle
now about the quays and dock-yards; for the
ice was cleared from the harbour, and foreign
ships began to arrive. Clodimar and Christ-
ian went there when they had time, because
the inn-keeper had told them, that some ship
from Drontheim might bring intelligence of
their master. They had got leave to go one
sunny afternoon, which proved the most event-
ful of their days.
Whilst standing together on the pier, gazing
at a great strange vessel,-which a seaman
told them was an English whaler that had been
frozen up all winter in the Greenland seas, and
called at Christiania on its homeward passage,
for repairs and water,-Frederick came run-
ning up with a face full of importance; his
father had just got a letter from Wolfried
Knudson, and he liked to tell news. The
trader and his company had been in trouble
all winter; they could not get their goods
sold; and the whole of their horses and rein-
deer had died of a disease then raging among
the Drontheim cattle. Wolfried was a good


sort of a man; but in his own difficulties he
had forgotten the poor strange boys whom he
left in a much worse plight in the inn; and at
last wrote to inquire after them;-saying also,
that he had ascertained the truth of the tax-
man's story; that Earnest himself had been
in the city, but left it three weeks before his
arrival, everybody said, in company with the
lawyer to whom Karl's property had been
entrusted, and no one could give the least
account of what direction they had taken.
Did he not speak of sending for us ?" cried
Christian, in bitter disappointment.
"Not he, indeed I" responded Frederick with
a swagger. "There is quite enough on his
hands, I imagine; but come home, for you're
wanted in the stable."
During the narration, the three had been
moving towards the inn, and at this moment
reached an unoccupied corner near the wharf,
where small traders were in the habit of setting
up their booths in the summer time.
"Come in, my handsome boys; come in,
and try your luck!" cried a shabby-looking
fellow in front of an open shed, where two
cunning Danes had set up a sort of gaming-


table, with the words, "Profit" and "Loss"
alternately chalked on its surface; and the
play consisted in twirling round a piece of
painted wood, in shape resembling an inverted
nine-pin, then allowing it to fall of itself on
the table; and according to the word nearest
the pointed end, the player received double
his stake, or one of the Danes swept it into an
open drawer.
Isn't it beautiful?" cried Frederick; and
just as he spoke, a grown boy of his acquaint-
ance walked out, swinging a silk purse over
his finger.
"Have you won,Wolfgang?" said Frederick.
Only ten dollars," said the boy, giving his
purse another swing; "I have long wished
for a pony, and this will buy it. Won't you
try a turn ?"
"I have no money about me," said Frederick,
searching his pockets, and almost crying with
vexation. "Wolfgang, will you lend me some?
-But no, run to my mother, Christian, and tell
her for any sake to send me a quarter-dollar."
She won't give it for gaming, sure?" said
"Gaming, indeed I" said Frederick. "What


do you know about such matters, who never
had a farthing of money in all your life?"
Oh! yes, look we have," cried Clodimar-
who delighted in carrying the purse-as he
pulled it out; "Christian and I have here
whole three dollars and a-quarter."
"You'll make your fortune, boys I" cried
"Wolfgang; "that will bring just six dollars
and a-half clear profit."
"But we might lose," said Christian.
"No fear of that," answered Wolfgang.
"They say nobody loses," echoed Frederick,
"Nine dollars and three-quarters to take
home," whispered Clodimar. "0 Christian,
that would buy another cow!"
But I don't like to play," said Christian,
half persuaded.
"You must play though, or lend me the
money, and then I'll win it all myself!" cried
the little tyrant of the inn ; and poor Christian
stepped up to the table.
"Room for that handsome young gentleman
who comes to try his luck. There's good for-
tune in his face," said the cunning old Dane,
with his hands on the knob of the drawer.
In full persuasion of carrying home nine


dollars and three-quarters, while Clodimar
debated whether they should buy a cow or
barley with the sum, Christian took up the
nine-pin, deposited the pastor's purse on the
table, and twirled the instrument of fraud.
He watched it, in breathless expectation, spin
round, and veer from one side to another till
it fell.
"There, my fine fellow I" cried the Dane;
"better luck the next time; you see it's lost!"
and he swept the purse into the drawer. Poor
Christian had seen it point to "Loss," and
now he could scarcely see at all with perfect
desperation;-all their savings gone! 'twas a
heavy punishment for his folly.
"OhI sir, sure you won't keep the purse
too ?" cried Clodimar. "We got it from our
pastor; and what would he say, to hear that
it was lost in gaming?"
Stand off and leave room if you wont
take another trial," cried a large rough man,
who smoked at the back of the shed. Your
pastor, indeed! I'll warrant you stole it,
purse and all."
"No, we never stole anything," cried
Clodimar, while his eyes flashed with anger


" and if I were bigger, I would fight you, for
saying such a thing of my brother and me."
Get out this minute, or I'll give you to
the watchman thundered the Dane, while
Frederick and Wolfgang both ran away;
and as he approached to put his threat in
execution, in walked a party of strange-look-
ing seamen.
Noble English gentlemen !" cried the man
of the drawer, "this is the place to make
your fortunes;" and his colleague attempted
to collar Clodimar, but Christian sprang to
the rescue. The fierce Dane struck at him;
but one of the Englishmen caught him by
the neck, and another seized his arm, exclaim-
ing, in good Norwegian, Fie! you wicked
fellow; what have the children done ?"
"They're a couple of young pickpockets,"
said the Dane, still holding Clodimar fast.
" A gentleman cannot walk the street in
peace for them."
It's not true, sir; it's not true!" cried
"Christian. The faces of the two friendly seamen
reminded him of those in his own valley, and
he knew they were not English. We're
honest boys, and work for our own victuals."


"We never picked anybody's pocket!"
shouted Clodimar, with a torrent of tears.
"Ask the innkeeper. Ask the trader Wol-
fried. Ask Pastor Henrick, and all the
neighbours at Gamle Fiord."
Let them go 1" cried the seamen at once,
giving the Dane such a shove as sent him to
the other end of the shed, and all the Eng-
lishmen gathered round them.
"Boys, what do you know about Gamle
Fiord ?" said the elder man.
"Oh sir," said Christian, we were born
there. Our father was Christian Erickson,
a good man, and a brave fisher; but he and
our cousin Hereward went out after the
mackerel, seven long years ago, and never
came back. The neighbours all said he was
drowned; but my mother didn't believe it;
and we wrought hard and lived together till
last winter; but we lost our crop and our
cow, sir; and my brother broke his arm on
the ice. Pastor Henrick took all the rest
home; and as our uncle wouldn't take us,
we came away with the winter traders."
When Christian had reached this part of
the story, he perceived that the seaman's


face was strangely altered, and he kept look-
ing first at him, and then at his brother
At last, throwing an arm round each, he
drew them to him, and said, in a low voice,
" Boys, is your mother alive yet ?"
"She is! she is!" cried the amazed
brothers; and Olof, and Frederika, and
Clotilde. The pastor is kind to them all."
Will none of the noble Englishmen try
their luck ?" cried the old Dane. But the
Englishmen laughed at him, and all walked
out, following the two Norwegians, who
almost carried the boys between them,-the
one exclaiming, "I'm your father I" and the
other, "I'm your cousin Hereward I"
How Christian and Clodimar laughed and
cried,-how they danced, and sung, and told
stories, both at once, about Gamle Fiord, and
all that had happened to them, my readers
may imagine. Also, how they wondered,
when their father told them that Hereward
and he had been carried out to the ocean by
the ebbing tide, and picked up, on the second
day, by a Russian vessel, bound for the Jar
Aleutian isles, where they killed the great
sea-cow for its teeth, and a ship came, once


in the three years, from Archangel, to carry
home the ivory. How they had been seal-
hunters there; and, when at length they
obtained a passage homeward, were ship-
wrecked on the Greenland coast, and spent a
winter among the wild Esquimaux, till the
English whaler came and took them on
board. How they had harpooned the great
black whale off Spitzbergen, and were sur-
rounded by the floating icebergs, when steer-
ing southward with full sail, and ten thousand
barrels of oil; but the ice broke at last, and
the spring came, and they had steered for the
harbour of Christiania, where the ship had
been for some days; and the good English
captain, whom they had served well in the
Greenland seas, promised to pay them both
off, that they might go with a timber-mer-
chant's agent, in his lighter, up their own
firth to the valley.
All the English seamen knew the story of
their Norwegian comrades; so they pressed
them to bring the boys on board, in a boat
which lay close to the pier, and pulled away
to the vessel, giving three cheers for the
prodigal sons, as they called Christian and


Clodimar. The captain heard the noise, and
came up from his own cabin to inquire what
it meant. Hereward was the first to explain.
Bitterly ashamed were the brothers, when
they came to relate how the pastor's purse
had been lost in gambling.
Another day was spent in the purchase of
necessaries for home, and then they took pas-
sage in a small lighter bound for Gamle Fiord.
It was a glorious morning when they sailed
up the firth, but the first flus> of summer
was on the woods and hills. Christian and
Clodimar stood on the deck, with each a hand
of their father, who, after many hardships,
looked still a robust handsome man in his
English sailor's dress. The lighter hauled
up, however, and the father then jumped on
shore, followed, in a rush, by Christian, Clo-
dimar, and Hereward. It was their mother
they saw spinning slowly under the poplar
Mother, dear, we are come home, and we
have found out father !" shouted the boys in
a breath. But, readers, great joy can never
be described; and my story for the juveniles


has reached its close. I will only add, by
way of explanation, that the prosperous state
in which they found their family, was owing
to the fact of their having received the long-
promised legacy. Earnest had been delayed
by sickness on his journey to Drontheim; but
at last recovered, and found out the counsel-
lor, to whom he gave Pastor Henrick's letter,
and told all he knew about the Ericksons.
From his narrative the counsellor learned,
that the pastor had been his fellow-student
and dear friend, years ago, at the University
of Karlstadt, and being independent of busi-
ness, he determined to pay him a visit, as
the winter season makes travelling easy in
Norway. To Gamle Fiord, accordingly, the
counsellor travelled, having engaged Earnest
to escort him, and carried with him Karl's
entire property, in money and necessary
goods for the poor cottagers. He arrived
safe; and all the neighbours assisted in, what
they called, setting up the widow Erickson,
as soon as spring commenced. The coun-
sellor still remained with Pastor Henriek;
and both had been meditating plans of inquiry
after the boys.


What merry-making there was in the
valley of Gamle Fiord to welcome the long
lost fisherman I How the pastor shared their
joy, as he had done all their difficulties; and
even the penurious old miller made a feast
for the return of his son, at which he became
reconciled to his brother's family, and said, he
was sorry he had not taken the boys, as they
would have been useful at the mill when his
last apprentice ran away. All these matters
are still remembered in the valley. Also
how Earnest the taxman settled there, and
Wolfried built a cottage beside his in the
following spring. That the parish of Eids-
wold has gradually grown more populous and
cultivated since, is no less true. And I have
written this tale to shew my young friends
how things go on in Norway, and that it con-
tains, like all other countries, good and bad,
wise and foolish people, and homes to which
sorrow and joy can equally find an entrance,
just like that of THE EaICKSONS.

15 15 L1

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