Citation
Jon of Iceland

Material Information

Title:
Jon of Iceland : a story of the far north, and other tales
Creator:
Blackie & Son ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
London
Glasgow
Edinburgh
Publisher:
Blackie & Son
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
128 p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 18 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Europe, Northern ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1889 ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1889 ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1889
Genre:
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) ( rbprov )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Glasgow
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Ireland -- Dublin
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Date of publication from prize inscription.
General Note:
Frontispiece printed in colors.
Funding:
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 (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026829067 ( ALEPH )
ALH2691 ( NOTIS )
70658181 ( OCLC )

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BIRMINGHAM

SCHOOL BOARD.

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(Signed)
Head Teacher.

GEORGE B. DAVIS,

Clerk of the Board.











The Baldwin Library

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“Jon’s STRENGTH AT LAST FAILED,”

PAGE 36,



JON OF ICELAND:

STORY OF THE FAR NORTH

AND OTHER TALES.



LONDON:
BLACKIE & SON, 49 OLD BAILEY, EC.;

GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.






CONTENTS.

Page

Jon or IcELAND,. . 2. 2... eee ee ee

PHILIP OF GREENLAND, . 1... 0... we ee 83
How tum ANcrENT SWEDES THOUGHT THE WoRLD was

MADE, 2... ee eee ee ee we ee 109

Tue Lanp of Pluck, . . . .. -. .. e121








JON OF ICHLAND.

CHAPTER I,

JON’S FATHER-—HIS HOUSE—HIS SISTER—HIMSELT—
HIS LEARNING AND HIS IGNORANCE.

iv
1?

et

a

Sie boys of Iceland must be content with
meg Vly few acquaintances or playmates. The
a valleys which produce grass enough for
the farmers’ ponies, cattle, and sheep are gener-
ally scattered wide apart, divided by ridges
of lava so hard and cold that only a few wild
flowers succeed in growing in their cracks and
hollows. Then, since the farms must be all the
larger, because the grass is short and grows slowly
in such a severe northern climate, the dwellings

are rarely nearer than four or five miles apart;





JON OF ICHLAND.

CHAPTER I,

JON’S FATHER-—HIS HOUSE—HIS SISTER—HIMSELT—
HIS LEARNING AND HIS IGNORANCE.

iv
1?

et

a

Sie boys of Iceland must be content with
meg Vly few acquaintances or playmates. The
a valleys which produce grass enough for
the farmers’ ponies, cattle, and sheep are gener-
ally scattered wide apart, divided by ridges
of lava so hard and cold that only a few wild
flowers succeed in growing in their cracks and
hollows. Then, since the farms must be all the
larger, because the grass is short and grows slowly
in such a severe northern climate, the dwellings

are rarely nearer than four or five miles apart;



6 JON OF ICELAND.

and were it not for their swift and nimble ponies,
the people would see very little of each other
except on Sundays, when they ride long dis-
tances to attend worship in their little wooden
churches.

But of all boys in the island, not one was so
lonely in his situation as Jon Sigurdson. His
father lived many miles beyond that broad,
grassy plain which stretches from the Geysers
to the sea, on the banks of the swift river Thiorva.
On each side there were mountains so black and
bare that they looked like gigantic piles of coal,
but the valley opened to the southward as if to
let the sun in, and far away, when the weather
was clear, the snowy top of Mount Hecla shone
against the sky. The farmer, Sigurd, Jon’s
father, was a poor man, or he would not have
settled so far away from any neighbours; for he
was of a cheerful and social nature, and there
were few at Kyrkedal who could vie with him
in knowledge of ancient history and also of
Iceland.

The house was built on a knoll, under a eliff



JON OF ICELAND. 7

which sheltered it from the violent west and
north-west winds. The walls, of lava stones and
turf, were low and broad; and the roofs over
dwelling, storehouses, and stables were covered
deep with earth, upon which grew such excellent
grass that the ponies were fond of climbing up
the sloping corners of the wall in order to get at
it. Sometimes they might be seen, cunningly
balanced on the steep sides of the roof, grazing
along the very ridge-poles, or looking over the
end of the gable, when some member of the
family came out of the door, as much as to say:
“Get me down if you can!”

Around the buildings there was a square wall
of inclosure, giving the place the appearance of a
fortress. On one side of the knoll a hot spring
bubbled up. In the morning or evening, when
the air was cool, quite a little column of steam
rose from it, whirling and broadening as it melted
away; but the water was pure and wholesome as
soon as it became cold enough for use. In front
of the house, where the sun shone warmest,

Sigurd had laid out a small garden. It was a



8 JON OF ICELAND.

great labour for him to remove the large stones
and roll them into a protecting wall, to carry
good soil from the places where the mountain
rills had gradually washed it down from above,
and to arrange it so that frosts and cold rains
should do the least harm; and the whole family
thought themselves suddenly rich one summer
when they pulled their first radishes, saw the
little bed of potatoes coming into blossom, and
the cabbages rolling up their leaves in order to
make at least baby-heads before the winter came.

Within the house all was low, and dark, and
dismal. The air was very close and bad, for the
stables were only separated from the dwelling-
room by a narrow passage, and bunches of dry
salt fish hung on the walls. Besides, it was
usually full of smoke from the fire of peat, and
after a vain, of steam from Sigurd’s and Jon’s
heavy woollen coats. But to the boy it was a
delightful, a comfortable home, for within it he
found shelter, warmth, food, and instruction.
The room for visitors seemed to him the most
splendid place in the world, because it had a



JON OF ICELAND. 9

wooden floor, a window with six panes of glass,
a coloured print of the King of Denmark, and a
geranium ina pot. This was so precious a plant
that Jon and his sister Gudrid hardly dared to
touch its leaves. They were almost afraid to
smell it, for fear of sniffing away some of its life;
and Gudrid, after seeing a leaf of it laid on her
dead sister's bosom, insisted that some angel,
many hundred years ago, had brought the seed
straight down from heaven,

These were Sigurd’s only children. There had
been several more, but they had died in infancy,
from the want of light and pure air, and the
great distance from help when sickness came.
Gudrid was still pale and slender, except in
summer, when her mild, friendly face took
colour from the sun; but Jon, who was now
fourteen, was a sturdy, broad-breasted boy, who
promised to be as strong as his father in a few
years more. He had thick yellow hair, curling
a little round his forehead; large, bright blue
eyes; and a mouth rather too broad for beauty,
if the lips had not been so rosy, and the teeth so



10 JON OF ICELAND.

white and firm. He had a serious look, but it
was only because he smiled with his eyes oftener
than with his mouth. He was naturally true
and good, for he hardly knew what evil was.
Except his parents and his sister, he saw no one
for weeks at a time; and when he met other
boys after church at Kyrkedal, so much time
always was lost in shyly looking at each other,
and shrinking from the talk which each wanted
to begin, that no very intimate acquaintance fol-
lowed.

But, in spite of his lonely life Jon was far
from being ignorant. There were the long
winter months, when the ponies, and sometimes
the sheep, pawed holes in the snow in order to
reach the grass on the bottoms beside the river;
when the cows were warmly stabled and content
with their meals of boiled hay; when the needful
work of the day could be done in an hour or two,
and then Sigurd sat down to teach his children,
while their mother spun or knitted beside them
and from time to time took part in the instruc-
tion. Jon could already read and write so well



JON OF ICELAND. 11

that the pastor at Kyrkedal lent him many an
old Icelandic legend to copy; he knew the history
of the island, as well as that of Norway and Den-
mark, and could answer (with a good deal of
blushing) when he was addressed in Latin. He
also knew something of the world, and its differ-
ent countries and climates; but this knowledge

seemed to him like a strange dream, or like
. something that happened long ago and never
could happen again. He was accustomed to hear
a little birch-bush, four or five feet high, called
a “tree,” but he could not imagine how any tree
could be a hundred feet high, or bear flowers and
fruit.

Once a trader from Rejkiavik—the chief sea-
port of Iceland—brought a few oranges to Kyrke-
dal, and Sigurd purchased one for Jon and
Gudrid. The children kept it, day after day,
never tired of enjoying the splendid colour and
strange delightful perfume; so that when they
decided to cut the rind at last, the pulp was
dried up and tasteless. A city was something of
which Jon could form no conception, for he had



12 JON OF ICELAND.

never seen even Rejkiavik; he imagined that pal-
aces and cathedrals were like large Icelandic
farm-houses, with very few windows, and turf

growing on the roofs.







CHAPTER IL

JON’S OCCUPATION—THE VALLEY OF THE THIORVA—THE

TROLLS-—-THE DROUGHT—THE RESOLVE—THE START.

aes
iy ours wealth, if it could be called so,
==é was ina small flock of sheep, the pasture
© for which was scattered in patches for
miles up and down the river. The care of these
sheep had been intrusted chiefly to Jon ever
since he was eight years old, and he had learned
their natures and ways—their simple animal
virtues and silly animal vices—so thoroughly
that they acquired a great respect for him, and
very rarely tried to be disobedient. Tiven Thor,
the ram, although he sometimes snorted and
tossed his horns in protest, or stamped impatiently
with his fore-feet, heeded his master’s voice. In
fact the sheep became Jon’s companions in the ab-



14 JON OF ICELAND.

sence of human ones; he talked to them so much
during the lonely days that it finally seemed as
if they understood a great deal of his speech.

There was a rough bridle-path leading up the
valley of the Thidrvd, but it was rarely travelled,
for it struck northward into the cold, windy,
stony desert which fills all the central part of
Iceland. For a hundred and fifty miles there
was no dwelling, no shelter from the fierce and
sudden storms, and so little grass that the tra-
vellers who sometimes crossed the region ran
the risk of losing their ponies from starvation.
There were lofty plains of black rocks as hard
as iron; groups of bare, snowy-headed mountains;
and often at night a pillar of fire could be seen
in the distance, showing that one of the many
volcanoes was in action. Beyond this terrible
wilderness the grassy valleys began again, and
there were houses and herds, increasing as the
road approached downwards to the bright bays
along the northern shore of the island.

More than once a trader or government mes-

senger, after crossing the desert, had rested for



JON OF ICELAND. 15

a night under Sigurd’s roof; and many were
the tales of their adventures which Jon had
treasured up in his memory. Sometimes they
_spoke of the trolls, or mischievous fairies, who
came over with the first settlers from Norway,
and were still supposed by many persons to lurk
among the dark glens of Iceland. Both Sigurd
and the pastor at Kyrkedal had declared that
there were no such creatures, and Jon believed
them faithfully; yet he could not help wondering,
as he sat _upon* some: rocky knoll overlooking
his sheep, wheth&-a strange little figure might
not come out: of the chasm opposite and speak
to him. The more he heard of the terrors and
dangers of the desert to the northward, the more
he longed to see them with his own eyes, and
know them through his own experience. He
was not the least afraid; but he knew that his
father would never allow him to go alone, and
to disobey a father was something of which he
had never heard, and could not have believed it
to be possible.

When he was in his fifteenth year, however



16 JON OF ICELAND.

(it was summer, and he was fourteen in April),
there came several weeks during which no rain
fell in the valley. It was a lovely season for
the garden; even the geranium in the window
put forth twice as many scarlet blossoms as
before. Only the sheep began to hunger; for
the best patch of grass in front of the house was
carefully kept for hay, and the next best, farther
down the river, for the ponies. Beyond the
latter the land belonged to another. So Jon
was obliged to lead his flock to.a narrow little
dell which came down to the Thisrvd, three or
four miles to the northward. Here, for a week
they nibbled diligently wherever anything green
showed itself at the foot of the black rocks; and
when the pasture grew scanty again they began
to stare at Jon in a way which many persons
might have thought stupid. Te understood
them; they meant to say: “We've nearly finished
this; find us something more!”

That evening as he was leading his flock
into the little inclosure beside the dwelling he

heard his father and mother talking. He thought
(124)



JON OF ICELAND. 17

it no harm to listen, for they never said anything
that was not kind and friendly. It seemed,
however, that they were speaking of him, and
the very first words he heard made his heart
beat more rapidly.

“Two days’ journey away, said Sigurd;
“and excellent pastures that belong to nobody.
There is no sign of rain yet, and if we could
send Jon with the sheep—”

“Are you sure of it?” his wife asked,

“Kyvindur stopped to talk with me,” he
answered, “and he saw the place yesterday. He
says there were rains in the desert, and indeed
I’ve thought so myself, because the river has not
fallen; and he never knew as pleasant a season
to cross the country.”

“Jon might have to stay out a week or two;
but as you say, Sigurd, we should save our flock.
The boy may be trusted, I’m sure; only, if any-
thing should happen to him?”

“T don’t think he’s fearsome,” said Sigurd;
“and what should happen to him there, that

might not happen nearer home?”
(124) B



18 JON OF ICELAND.

They moved away, while Jon clasped the
palms of his hands hard against each other, and
stood still for a minute to repeat to himself all
he had heard. He knew Eyvindur, the tall,
strong man, with the dark curling hair, who
rode the swift cream-coloured pony with the
black mane and tail. He knew what his father
meant—nothing else than that he, Jon, should
take the sheep two days’ journey away, to the
very edge of the terrible wilderness, and pasture
them there, alone, probably, for many days!
Why, Columbus, when he set sail from Palos
could not have had a brighter dream of unknown
lands! Jon went in to supper in such a state of
excitement that he hardly touched the dried fish
and hard oaten bread; but he drank two huge
bowls of milk and still felt thirsty. When, at
last, his father opened his lips and spake, and
the mother sat silent with her eyes fixed upon
her son’s face, and Gudrid looked frightened,
Jon straightened himself up as if he were
already a man, and quietly said:

“TH do it!”



JON OF ICELAND. 19

He wanted to shout aloud for joy; but Gudrid
began to cry.

However, when a thing had once been decided
in the family that was the end of any question
or remonstrance, and even Gudrid forgot her
fears in the interest of preparing a supply of
food for Jon during his absence. They slept
soundly for a few hours; and then, at two o'clock
in the morning, when the sun was already
shining on the snowy tops of the Arne Moun-
tains, Jon hung the bag of provisions over his
shoulder, kissed his parents and sister, and started
northward, driving the sheep before him.









CHAPTER III.

THE JOURNEY—THE DISAPPOINTMENT—THE SEARCH—
THE SUCCESS—-GUDRIDSDALE—THE EXPLORATION.

a a couple of hours Jon reached the farthest
“= point of the valley which he had ever
c. visited, and all beyond was an unknown
region. But the scenery as he went onward was
similar in character. The mountains were higher
and more abrupt, the river more rapid and
foamy, and the patches of grass more scanty—
that was all the difference. It was the Arctic
summer, and the night brought no darkness;
yet he knew when the time for rest came, by
watching the direction of the light on the black
mountains above. When the sheep lay down,
he sought a sheltered place under a rock, and
slept also. .

Next day the country grew wilder and more



JON OF ICELAND. 21

forbidding. Sometimes there was hardly a blade
of grass to be seen for miles, and Jon drove the
sheep at full speed, running and shouting after
them, in his eagerness to reach the distant
pasture which Eyvindur had described. In the
afternoon the valley seemed to come suddenly to
an end, The river rushed out of a deep cleft
between the rocks, only a few feet wide, on
the right hand; in front there was a long stony
slope, reaching so high that the clouds brushed
along its summit. In the bottom there was
some little grass, but hardly enough to feed the
flock for two days.

Jon was disappointed, but not much discour-
aged. He tethered Thor securely to a rock,
knowing that the other sheep would remain
near him, and set out to climb the slope. Up
and up he toiled; the air grew sharp and cold;
there was snow and ice in the shaded hollows on
either side, and the dark, strange scenery of
Iceland grew broader below him. Finally he
gained the top; and now, for the first time, felt
that he had found a new world. In front,



22 JON OF ICELAND.

towards the north, there was a plain stretching
as far as he could see; on the right and left
there were groups of dark, frightful, inaccessible
mountains, between the sharp peaks of which
sheets of blue ice plunged downward like cata-
racts, only they were silent and motionless.
The valley behind him was a mere cleft in the
stony, lifeless world; his sheep were little white
dots, no bigger, apparently, than flowers of ever-
lasting. He could only guess, beyond the dim
ranges in the distance, where his father’s dwelling
lay; and for a single moment the thought came
into his mind and made him tremble,—should
he ever see it again?

The pasture, he reflected, must be sought for
in the direction from which the river came.
Following the ridge to the eastward it was not
long before he saw a deep basin, a mile in
diameter, opening among the hills. The bottom
was quite green, and there was a sparkle here
and there, where the river wound its way through
it This was surely the place, and Jon felt
proud that he had so readily discovered it.



JON OF ICELAND. 23

There were several glens which furnished easy
paths down from the table-land, and he had no
difficulty the next morning in driving, or rather
leading, his flock over the great ridge. In fact
they skipped up the rocks as if they knew what
was coming, and did not wait for Jon to show
them the way into the valley.

The first thing the boy did, after satisfying
himself that the sheep were not likely to stray
away from such excellent pasturage, was to seek
for a cave or hollow among the rocks, where -
he could find shelter from storms. There were
several such places; he selected the most con-
venient, which had a natural shelf for his store
of provisions, and having dried enough grass
to make a warm, soft bed, he found himself
very comfortably established. For three or four
days he was too busy to feel his loneliness. The
valley belonged to nobody; so he considered it
his own property, and called it Gudridsdale,
after his sister. Then, in order to determine the
boundaries of this new estate he climbed the

heights in all directions, and fixed the forms of



24 JON OF ICELAND.

every crag and hollow firmly in his memory.
He was not without the secret hope that he
might come upon some strange and remarkable
object,—a deserted house, a high tree, or a hot
fountain shooting up jets like the Great Geyser,
—but there was nothing. Only the black and
stony wilderness near at hand, and a multitude
of snowy peaks in the distance.

Thus ten days passed. The grass was not yet
exhausted, the sheep grew fat and lazy, and Jon
had so thoroughly explored the neighbourhood
of the valley that he could have found his way
in the dark. He knew that there were only
barren, uninhabitable regions to the right and -
left; but the great, bare table-land stretching
to the northward was a continual temptation,
for there were human settlements beyond. As
he wandered farther and farther in that direction
he found it harder to return; there was always
a ridge in advance, the appearance of a mountain
pass, the sparkle of a little lake,—some promise
of something to be seen by going just a little
beyond his turning-point. He was so careful



JON OF ICELAND. 25

to notice every slight feature of the scenery,—
a jutting rock here, a crevice there,—in case
mist or rain should overtake him on the way,
that the whole region soon became strangely
familiar.

Jon’s desire to explore the road leading to the
northward grew so strong that he at last yielded
to it. But first he made every arrangement for
the safety of the sheep during his absence. He
secured the ram Thor by a long tether and an
abundance of cut grass, concealed the rest of
his diminishing supply of provisions, climbed
the nearest heights and overlooked the country
on all sides without discovering a sign of life,
and then, after a rest which was more like
a waking dream than a slumber, began his
strange and solitary journey.

The sun had just become visible again, low in
the north-east, when he reached the level of the
table-land, There were few clouds in the sky,
and but little wind blowing; yet a singular
brownish haze filled the air, and spots of strong

light soon appeared on either side of the sun.



26 JON OF ICELAND.

Jon had often seen those “mock suns” before,
they are frequent in northern latitudes, and are
supposed to denote a change in the weather.
This phenomenon, and a feeling of heaviness in
the air, led him to study the landmarks very
keenly and cautiously as he advanced. In two
or three hours he had passed the limits of his
former excursions; and now, if a storm should
arise, his very life might depend on his being
able to find his way back.

During the day, however, there was no change
in the weather. The lonely, rugged mountains,
the dark little lakes of melted snow lying at
their feet, the stony plain, with its great irregular
fissures where the lava had cracked in cooling—
all these features of the great central desert of
Iceland lay hard and clear before his eyes. Like
all persons who are obliged to measure time
without a watch or clock, he had a very correct
sense of the hours of .the day, and of the
distances he walked from point to point. Where
there was no large or striking object near at

hand, he took the trouble to arrange several



JON OF ICELAND. 27

stones in a line pointing to the next landmark
behind him, as a guide in case of fog.

It was an exciting, a wonderful day in his
life, and Jon never forgot it. He never once
thought of the certain danger which he incurred.
Instead of fear, he was full of a joyous, inspiring
courage; he sang and shouted aloud as some
new peak or ridge of hills arose far in front, or
some other peak, already familiar, went out of
sight far behind him. He scarcely paused to
eat or rest until nearly twelve hours had passed,
and he had walked nearly thirty miles. By
that time the sun was low in the west, and
barely visible through the gathering haze. The
wind moaned among the rocks with a dreary,
melancholy sound, and only the ery of a wild
swan was heard in the distance. To the north
the mountains seemed higher, but they were
divided by deep gaps which indicated the com-
mencement of valleys. There, perhaps, there
might be running streams, pastures, and the
dwellings of men!

Jon had intended to return to his flock on the



28 JON OF ICELAND.

morrow, but now the temptation to press onward
for another day became very great. His limbs,
however, young and strong as they were, required
rest; and he speedily decided what to do next.
A lighter streak in the rocky floor of the plain
led his eye towards a low, broken peak—in
reality, the crater of a small extinct volcano—
some five miles off, and lying to the right of
what he imagined to be the true course. On
the left there were other peaks, but immediately
in front nothing which would serve as a land-
mark. The crater, therefore, besides offering
him some shelter in its crevices, was decidedly
the best starting-point, either for going on or for
returning. The lighter colour of the rock came
from some difference in the lava of an old erup-
tion, and could easily be traced throughout the
whole intervening distance. He followed it
rapidly, now that the bearings were laid down,
and reached the ruins of the volcano a little
after sunset.

There was no better bed to be found than
the bottom of a narrow cleft, where the winds,



JON OF ICELAND. 29

after blowing for centuries, had deposited a thin
layer of sand. Before he lay down, Jon arranged
a line of stones, pointing towards the light streak
across the plain, and another line giving the
direction of the valleys to the northward. To
the latter he added two short, slanting lines at
the end, forming a figure like an arrow-head,
and then, highly satisfied with his ingenuity, he
lay down in the crevice to sleep. But his brain
was so excited that for a long time he could do
nothing else than go over in memory the day’s
journey. The wind seemed to be rising, for it
whistled like a tremendous fife through the
rocky erevice; father and mother, and Gudrid,
seemed to be far, far away in a distant land;
he wondered at last whether he was the same
Jon Sigurdson who drove the flock of sheep up
the valley of the Thidrvé—and then, all at once
he stopped wondering and thinking, for he was

too soundly asleep to dream,even of a roasted
potato.





CHAPTER IV.

THE STORM—THE STRANGERS—LEADING THE WAY—
THE BREAK-DOWN—SUCCESS !



i ow much time passed in the sleep Jon

a
a
d

seemed to be icy-cold rats’ feet scampering over

never could exactly learn; probably six
or seven hours. He was aroused by what

his face, and as he started and brushed them
away with his hand his ears became alive to a
terrible roaring sound. He started up, alarmed,
at first bewildered, then suddenly wide awake.
The cold feet upon his face were little threads of
water trickling from above; the fearful roaring
came from a storm—a hurricane of mixed rain,
wind, cloud, and snow. It was day, yet still
darker than the Arctic summer night, so dense
and black was the tempest. When Jon crept
out of the erevice he was nearly thrown down by



JON OF ICELAND. 31

the force of the wind. The first thing he did
was to seek the two lines of stones he had
arranged for his guidance. They had not been
blown away, as he feared; and the sight of the
arrow-head made his heart leap with gratitude
to the Providence which had led him, for with-
out that sign he would have lost his way at the
very start. Returning to the cleft, which gave a
partial shelter, he ate the greater part of his
remaining store of food, fastened his thick coat
thickly about his breast and throat, and set out
on the desperate homeward journey, carefully
following the lighter streak of rock across the
plain.

He had not gone more than a hundred yards
when he fancied he heard a sharp hammering
sound through the roar of the tempest, and
paused to listen. The sound came rapidly
nearer; it was certainly that which is ordinarily
produced by the hoofs of horses when they are
trotting on hard ground. Nothing could be
seen; the noise came from the west, passed in
front of Jon, and began to die away in the



32 JON OF ICELAND.

eastward. His blood grew chill for a moment.
It was all so sudden, and strange, and ghostly,
that he did not know what to think; and his
first impulse was to push forward and get out of
the regions where such things happened, when
he heard, very faintly, the cry which the Ice-
landers use when they drive their baggage ponies.
Then he remembered the deep gorge he had
seen to the eastward, before reaching the crater;
the invisible travellers were apparently riding
towards it, probably having lost their way, and
unaware of their danger.

This thought passed through Jon’s mind like
a flash of lightning, and he shouted with all the
strength of his voice.

He waited for a reply, but there was no
answer. Then he shouted again, while the wind
seemed to tear the sound from his lips, and
throw it away—but on the course the hoofs had
taken.

This time a cry came in return: it seemed far
off, because the storm beat against the sound. Jon
shouted a third time, and the answer was now



JON OF ICELAND. 33

more distinct. Presently he distinguished words:

“Come here to us!”

“T cannot!” he cried.

In a few minutes more he heard the sounds
returning, and listened more attentively than
ever. As he hearkened to the approaching
sounds the forms of ponies became visible,
presenting themselves dimly in the stormy
atmosphere. The ponies and their riders
appeared to halt, and formed a semicircle in
front of him; and then one of three dim, spectral
riders, leaning forward, again cried, “Come here!”

“Y cannot,” was Jon’s reply to the order.

Thereupon another of the horsemen rode close
to him, and stared down upon him. He said
something which Jon understood to be:

“ Erik, it is a little boy!” but he was not quite
sure, for the man’s manner of talking was strange.
He seemed to put the words in the wrong places,
and pronounced them curiously.

The man who had first spoken leaped from his
horse. Holding the bridle, he came forward and

said in good, plain Icelandic:
(124) c



34 JON OF ICELAND.

“Why couldn’t you come when I called you?”

“Tam keeping the road back,” replied Jon; “if
T move, I might lose it.”

«Then why did you call to us?”

“T was afraid you had lost your way, and
might get into the chasm: the storm is so bad
you could not see it.”

“What's that?” exclaimed the first man who
had spoken.

Jon deseribed the situation as well as he could,
and the stranger at last said, in his queer, broken
speech:

“Lost way—we; can guide—you—know—
how?”

The storm raged so furiously that it was with
great difficulty Jon heard the words at all; but
he thought he understood the meaning. So he
looked the man in the face, and nodded, silently.

“ Krik—pony!” eried the latter.

Erik caught one of the loose ponies, drew it
forward, and said to Jon:

“ Now, boy, mount and show us the way!”

“T cannot,” replied Jon: “I will guide you; I



JON OF ICELAND. 35

was on my way already, but [ must walk just as
I came, so as to find the places and know the
distances.”

“Sir,” said Erik, turning to the other traveller,
“we must let him have his own way. It is our
only chance of safety. The boy is strong and
fearless, and we can surely follow where he is
willing to go alone.”

“Take the lead, boy,” replied the other; “more
quick, more money.”

Jon walked rapidly in advance, keeping: his
eyes on the lighter coloured streak in the plain.
He saw nothing, but every little sign and land-
mark was fixed so clearly in his mind that he did
not feel the least fear or confusion. He could
hardly see, in fact, the foremost of the ponies
behind him, but he caught now and then a word
as the men talked with each other. They had
come from the northern shore of the island; they
were lost; they were chilled, weary; their ponies
were growing weak from hunger and exposure to
the terrible weather; and they followed him, not
so much because they trusted his guidance, as



36 JON OF ICELAND.

because there was really nothing else left for
them to do.

In an hour and a half they reached the first
landmark; and when the men saw Jon examining
the line of stones he had laid, and then striking
boldly off through the whirling clouds, they
asked no questions, but urged their ponies after
him. Thus several hours went by. Point after
point was discovered, although no object could
be seen until it was reached; but Jon’s strength,
which had been sustained by his pride and his
anxiety, at last began to fail. The poor boy had
been so long exposed to the wind, snow, and icy
rain that his teeth chattered in his head, and his
legs trembled as he walked. About noon, fortu-
nately, there was a lull in the storm; the rain
slackened, and the clouds lifted themselves so
that one could see about him for a mile or more.
He caught sight of the rocky corner for which
he was steering, stopped, and pointed towards one
of the loose ponies.

Erik leaped from his saddle and threw his
arms around Jon, whose senses were fast vanish-



JON OF ICELAND. 37

ing. He felt that something was put to his lips,
that he was swallowing fire, and that his icy
hands were wrapped in a soft, delicious warmth.
In a minute he found that Erik had thrust them
under his jacket, while the other two men were
bending over him with anxious faces. The
stranger who spoke so curiously held a cake
to his mouth, saying:

“Eat, eat!”

It was wonderful how his strength came back!
Very soon he was able to mount the pony and
take the lead. Sometimes the clouds fell dark
and dense around them; but when they lifted
only for a second it was enough for Jon. Men
and ponies suffered alike, and at last Erik
said:

“Unless we get out of the desert in three
hours we must all perish!”

Jon’s face brightened. “In three hours,” he
exclaimed, “there will be pasturage, and water,
and shelter.”

He was already approaching the region which

he knew thoroughly, and there was scarcely a



38 JON OF ICELAND.

chance of losing the way. They had more than
one furious gust to encounter—more than one
moment when the famished and exhausted ponies
halted and refused to move; but towards evening
the last ridge was reached, and they saw below
them, under a dark roof of clouds, the green
valley-basin, the gleam of the river, and the
scattered white specks of the grazing sheep.







CHAPTER V.

THE BANQUET—THE ENGLISHMAN-—-THE JOURNEY HOME —
THE MEETING—-THE REWARD-~-THE DEPARTURE.



= his master. Jon was almost too weary to
be able to move hand or foot, but he first

visited every sheep, and examined his rough

shelter under the rock and his few remaining
provisions, before he sat down to rest. By this
time the happy ponies had been unsaddled, and
were appeasing their hunger; Erik and his com-
panion had pitched a white tent, and a fire had
been kindled. The owner of the tent said some-
thing which Jon could not hear, but Erik pres-
ently shouted,

“The English gentleman asks you to come and
take supper with us!”

Jon obeyed, almost as much from curiosity as



40 JON OF ICELAND.

from hunger. The stranger had a bright friendly
face, and held out his hand as the boy entered
the tent.

“Good guide—eat!” was all he could say in
Icelandic, but the tone of his voice meant a great
deal more.

There was a lamp hung to the tent-pole, an
india-rubber blanket spread on the ground, with
cups and plates, which shone like silver, in
readiness for the meal. Jon was amazed to
see Erik boiling three or four tin boxes in a
kettle of water; but when they had been opened,
and the contents poured into basins, such a
fragrant steam arose from them as he had never
smelt before in his life. There was pea-soup,
and Irish stew, and minced collops, and beef, and
tea—with no limit to the lumps of sugar—and
sweet biscuits, and currant jelly! Never had he
sat down to such a rich, such a wonderful ban-
quet. He was almost afraid to take enough of
the dishes, but the gentleman filled his plate as
fast as he emptied it, patted him on the back, and
repeated the words,



JON OF ICELAND. 41

“Good guide—eat!”

Then he lighted a cigar, while Erik and the
other Icelander pulled out their horns of snuff,
threw back their heads, and each poured nearly
a teaspoonful into his nostrils. They offered
the snuff to Jon, but he refused both it and a
cigar. He was warm and comfortable to the
ends of his toes, and his eyelids began to fall,
in spite of all his efforts to hold them up,
after so much fatigue and exposure as he had
endured.

In fact, his senses left him suddenly, although
he seemed to be aware that somebody lifted and
laid him down again—that something soft came
under his head, and something warm came over
his body—that he was safe, and sheltered, and
happy.

When he awoke it was bright day. He started
up, striking his head against a white wet canvas,
and sat a moment, bewildered, trying to recall
what had happened. He could scarcely believe
that he had slept all night in the tent beside
the friendly Englishman; but he heard Evik



42 JON OF ICELAND.

talking outside, and the crackling of a fire, and
the shouting of some one at a distance. The sky
was clear and blue; the sheep and ponies were
nibbling sociably together, and the Englishman,
standing on a rock beside the river, was calling
attention to a big salmon which he had just
caught. Gudridsdale, just then, seemed the
brightest and liveliest place in Iceland.

Jon knew that he had probably saved the
party from death; but he thought nothing of
that, for he had saved himself along with them.
He was simply proud and overjoyed at the
chance of seeing something new—of meeting
with a real Englishman, and eating (as he sup-
posed) the foreign, English food. He felt no
longer shy, since he had slept a whole night
beside the traveller. The two Icelandic guides
were already like old friends; even the pony he
had ridden appeared to recognize him. His
father had told him that Latin was the language
by which all educated men were able to com-
municate their ideas; so as the Englishman

came up, with his salmon for their breakfast. he



JON OF ICELAND, 43

said, in Latin: “To-day is better than yesterday,
sir.”

The traveller laughed, shook hands heartily,
and answered in Latin, with—to Jon’s great sur-
prise—two wrong cases in the nouns:

“ Both days are better for you than forme. [
have learned less at Oxford.”

But the Latin and Icelandic together were a
great help to conversation, and almost before he
knew what he was doing, Jon had told My.
Lorne—such was the name of the traveller—
all the simple story of his life, even his claim
to the little valley-basin wherein they were
encamped, and the giving it his sister’s name.
Mr. Lorne had crossed from the little town of
Akureyri, on the northern shore of Iceland, and
was bound down the valley of the Thidrva to
the Geysers, thence to Hekla, and finally to
Rejkiavik, where he intended to embark for
England. As Jon’s time of absence had expired,
his provisions being nearly consumed, and as it
was also necessary to rest for a day for the sake

of the travellers’ ponies, it was arranged that



44 JON OF ICELAND.

all should return in company to the house of
Jon’s father.

That last day in Gudridsdale was the most
delightful of all. They feasted sumptuously on
the stores which they had brought with them,
and when night came, the dried grass from Jon’s
hollow under the rock was spread within the
tent, making a soft and pleasant bed for the
whole party.

Mounted on one of the ponies Jon led the way
up the long ravine, cheerily singing as he drove
the full-fed sheep before him. They reached the
level of the desert table-land, and he gave one
more glance at the black, scattered mountains
to the northward, where he had passed two such
adventurous days. In spite of all he had seen
aud learned in that time he felt a little sad that
he had not succeeded in crossing the wilderness.
When they reached the point where their way
descended by a long, steep slope to the valley
of the Thidrva, he turned for yet another fare-
well view. Far off, between him and the nearest

peak, there secmed to be a moving speck. He



JON OF ICELAND. 45

pointed it out to Erik, who, after gazing steadily
for a moment, said:

“Jt is a man on horseback.”

“Perhaps another lost traveller!” exclaimed
the Englishman: “let us wait for him.”

Tt was quite safe to let the sheep and loose
ponies take their way in advance; for they saw
the pasture below them. In a quarter of an
hour the man and horse could be easily distin-
guished. The former had evidently seen them
also, for he approached much more rapidly than
at first.

All at once Jon cried out:

“Té is our pony, Heindal! It must be my
father!”

He sprang from the saddle as he spoke, and
ran towards the strange horseman. The latter
presently galloped up, walked a few steps, and
sat down upon a stone. But Jon’s arms were
around him, and as they kissed each other the
father burst into tears.

“T thought thou wert lost, my boy,” was all he
could say.



46 JON OF ICELAND.

“But here I am, father!” Jon proudly ex-
claimed.

“ And the sheep?”

“Fat and sound every one of them.”

Sigurd rose and mounted his horse, and as
they all descended the. slope together Jon and
Erik told him all that had happened. Mr.
Lorne, to whom the occurrence was explained,
shook hands with him, and, pointing to Jon, said
in his broken way:

“Good son—little man!” whereupon they all
laughed, and Jon could not help observing the
proud and happy expression of his father’s face.

On the afternoon of the second day they
reached Sigurd’s farm-house; but the mother
and Gudrid, who had kept up an anxious look-
out, met them nearly a mile away. After the
first joyous embrace of welcome, Sigurd whispered
a few words to his wife, and she hastened back
to put the ‘ouest-room’ in order. Mr. Lorne
found it so pleasant to get under a roof again,
that he ordered another halt of two days before

going on to the Geysers and Hekla. No beverage



JON OF ICELAND. 47

ever tasted so sweet to him as the great bowl of
milk which Gudrid brought as soon as he had
taken his seat; and the radishes from the garden
seemed a creat deal better than the little jars of
jelly and orange marmalade which he insisted on
giving in exchange for them.

“ Oh, is it indeed orange?” said Gudrid. “Jon,
Jon, now we shall know what the taste is!”

Their mother gave them a spoonful apiece,
and Mr. Lorne smiled as he saw their wondering,
delighted faces.

“ Does it really grow on a tree?—and how high
is the tree?—and what does it look like?—like a
birch ?—like a potato plant?” asked Jon, in his
eagerness, without waiting for replies. It was
very difficult for him to imagine what he had
never seen, even in pictures, or anything resem-
bling it. The English traveller endeavoured to
explain how different are the productions of
nature in warmer climates, and the children
listened as if they could never hear enough of
the wonderful story. At last Jon said, in his
firm quiet way:



48 JON OF ICELAND.

“Some day I will go there!”

“You will, my boy,” replied Mr. Lorne; “you
certainly appear to have strength and courage
enough to carry out your will.”

Jon had never imagined that he had more
strenoth and courage than any other boy, but he
knew that the Englishman meant to praise him,
so he shook hands with him as he had been
taught to do whenever he received a gift.

The two days went by only too quickly. The
guest furnished food both for himself and the
family, for he shot a score of plovers, and caught
half-a-dozen fine salmon. He was so frank and
cheerful that they soon became accustomed to his
presence, and were heartily sorry when Erik and
the other Icelandic guide went out to drive the
ponies together, and load them for the journey.
Mr. Lorne called Sigurd and Jon into the “guest-
room,” untied a buckskin pouch, and counted out
fifty silver rix-dollars upon the table.

“For my little guide,” he said, placing his hand
on Jon’s thick curls.

Father and son uttered a ery of astonishment



JON OF ICELAND. 49

at the same moment, and neither knew what to
say. But, brokenly as the Englishman expressed
himself, they understood him when he said that
Jon had probably saved his life, that he was a
brave boy, and would make a good, brave man,
and that if the father did not require the money
for his farm expenses he could apply it to the
education of his son Jon.

The tears were running down Sigurd’s cheeks.
He took the hand of Mr. Lorne, gave it a power-
ful grip, and simply said:

“Ji shall be used for Jon’s benefit and for no
other purpose.”

Jon was so strongly moved that, without
stopping to think, he did the one thing which
his heart suggested. He walked up to Mr. Lorne,
threw his arms round his neck, and kissed him
very tenderly.

“All is ready, sir!” cried Erik at the door.
The last packages were carried out and fastened
upon the baggage-ponies, farewells were said
once more, and the little caravan took its way

down the valley. The family stood in front
(124) D



50 JON OF ICELAND.

of the house, and watched until the ponies
turned round the first cape of the hills and
disappeared; then they could only sit down
and talk of all the unexpected things that had
happened. There was no work done upon the

farm that day.



ey
Ne





CHAPTER VI.

THE CONSULTATION—-THE LETTER—-THE QUESTION—



THE ANSWER—MISFORTUNE.



cere Was So injurious to the pastures igi near
S the southern coast, wrought fortune to Sig-
urd’s farm. The price of wool ran much higher
than usual, and owing to Jon’s excursion into the
mountains the sheep were in the best possible
condition. They had never raised such a crop of
potatoes, nor such thickheaded firm cabbages;
and by great care and industry a sufficient supply
of hay had been secured for the winter.

“T am afraid something will happen to us,”
said Sigurd one day to his wife; “the good luck
comes too fast.”

“Do not say that, husband!” she exclaimed,
“Tf we were to lose Jon—”



52 JON OF ICELAND.

“Jon!” interrupted Sigurd. “Oh, no; look at
his eyes, his breast, his arms and legs—there are
a great many years of life in them yet!” He
ought to have a chance in the school at Rej-
kiavik, but we can hardly do without him this
year.”

“Perhaps brother Magnus would take him,”
she said.

“Not while I live!” Sigurd replied, as he left
the room, while his wife turned with a sigh to
her household duties.

Her family, and especially her elder brother,
Magnus, who was a man of wealth and influence,
had bitterly opposed her marriage with Sigurd,
on account of the latter’s poverty, and she had
seen none of them since she came to live on the
lonely farm. Through great industry and fru-
gality they had gradually prospered; and now she
began to long for a reconciliation, chiefly for the
sake of her husband and children. It would be
much better, she thought, for Jon if he could find
a home in his uncle’s house when they were able
to send him to school.



JON OF ICELAND. 53

So when they next rode over to Kyrkedal on
a Sunday in the late autumn, she took with her
a letter to Magnus, which she had written with-
out the knowledge of her husband, for she wished
to save him the pain of a slight, in case her
brother should refuse to answer, or should reply
in an unfriendly manner. It was a pleasant day
for all of them, for Mr. Lorne had stopped a day
at Kyrkedal, and Erik had told the story of Jon’s
piloting them through the wilderness; so the
pastor after service came up at once to them
and patted Jon on the head, saying, “ Bene
fecisti, filt!”+ And the other boys, forgetting
their usual shyness, crowded round and said:

“Tell us all about it.”

Everything was as wonderful to them as it still
seemed to Jon in his memory, and when each one
had said:

“Tf I had gone there I should have done the
same thing,” Jon wondered that he and the boys
should ever have felt so awkward and bashful
when they came together. Now it was all

1 “Be happy, my son!”



54 JON OF ICELAND,

changed; they talked and joked like old com-
panions, and cordially promised to visit each
other during the winter, if their parents were
willing.

On the way home Sigurd found that he had
dropped his whip, and sent Jon back to look for
it, leaving his wife and Gudrid to ride onward
up the valley. Jon rode at least half-a-mile
before he found it, and then came galloping
back, cracking it joyously. But Sigurd’s face
was graver and wearier than usual.

“Ride a little with me, Jon,” he said, “I want
to ask thee something.” Then, as they rode
together in the narrow track which the hoots
of the ponies had cut through the turf, Sigurd
said:

“Jon, the. boys at Kyrkedal seemed to make
much of thee; I hope thy head is not turned by
what they said to thee.”

“Qh, father,” cried Jon, “they were so kind, so
friendly!”

“T do not doubt it, my son,” answered his
father. “Thou did well, and I see thou art older



JON OF ICELAND. 55

than thy years. But suppose there were a

heavier task in store for thee—suppose that



I should be called away—couldst thou do a
man’s part, and care properly for thy mother and
thy sister?”

Jon’s eyes filled with tears, and he knew not
what to say.

“Canst thou not answer me, Jon?” demanded
Sigurd sternly.

“T have never thought of that, father,” replied
Jon, in a trembling voice; “but if I were to do
my best, would not God help me?”

“He would,” exclaimed Sigurd, with energy.
“All strength comes from Him, and all fortune.
Enough, I can trust thee, my son; ride on to
Gudrid, and tell her not to twist herself in the
saddle, looking back!”

Sigurd attended to his farm for several days
longer, but in a silent dreamy way, as if his
mind were busy with other thoughts. His wife
was so anxiously awaiting the result of her letter
to Magnus that she paid less attention to his

condition than she otherwise would have done.



56 JON OF ICELAND.

But one evening, on returning from the stables
he passed by the table where their frugal supper
was waiting, entered the bed-room, and sank
down, saying:

“All my strength has left me; I feel as if I
shall never rise again.”

They then saw that he had been attacked by
a dangerous fever, for his head was hot, his eyes
glassy, and he began to talk in a wild incoherent
manner. They could only do what the neigh-
bours were accustomed to do in similar cases—
which really was worse than doing nothing at all
would have been. Jon was despatched next
morning on the best pony to summon the physi-
cian from Skalholt; but even with the best luck
three days must elapse before the latter could
arrive. The good pastor of Kyrkedal came the
next day and bled Sigurd, which gave a little
temporary relief, while it also reduced his vital
foree. The physician was absent, visiting some
farms far to the eastward—in fact, it was a full
week before he made his appearance. During
this time Sigurd wasted away, his fits of delirium



JON OF ICELAND. 57

became more frequent, and the chances of his re-
covery grew less and less. Jon recalled, now, his
father’s last conversation, and it gave him both
fear and comfort. He prayed, with all the fervour
of his boyish nature, that his father’s life might
be spared; yet he determined to do his whole
duty, if the prayer should not be granted.







CHAPTER VII.

DEATH—THE FARM—UNCLE MAGNUS—* GOOD-BYE”~-
THE JOURNEY—REJELAVIK.



‘
df

ae
Grrelexeo
i

4 T the end of a fortnight Sigurd’s wife re-
YES ceived a letter from her brother, and it
was better than she had dared to hope-
Maenus wrote that his wife was dead, his son was a
student in Copenhagen, and he was all alone in
the big house at Rejkiavik. He was ready to
give Jon a home, even to take herself and her
husband, provided the latter could sell his farm
to advantage, and find some employment which
would add to his means.

“He must neither live an idle life, nor depend
on my help,” said Magnus in his letter; and his
sister felt that he was right, although he told
the truth in rather a hard, unfriendly way.

She read the letter to her husband next



JON OF ICELAND, 59

morning, as he was lying very weak and quiet,
but in his right mind. His eyes slowly bright-
ened, and he murmured at last with difficulty:

“Sell the farm to Thorsten, for his eldest son,
and go to Magnus. Jon will take my place.”

Jon, who had entered the room in time to
hear these words, sat down on the bed and held
his father’s hand in both of his own. The latter
smiled faintly, opened his lips to speak again,
and then a sudden quivering passed over his
face, and he lay strangely still. It was a long
time before the widow and children could believe
that he was dead. They said to each other,
over and over again, amid their tears:

“He was happy; the trouble for our sakes
was taken away from his heart;’—and Jon
thought to himself:

“If I do my best, as I promised, he would be
still happier in heaven.”

When the death of Sigurd became known,
the neighbours came and helped the family until
the funeral was over, and the sad little household

resumed, as far as possible, its former way of



60 JON OF ICELAND.

life. Thorsten, a rich farmer of Kyrkedal, whose
son was to be married in the spring, came a few
weeks later to make an offer for the farm. No
doubt he hoped to get it at a low price; for
money has a greater value in Iceland, where
there is so little of it. But the widow said at
once:

“I shall make no bargain unless Jon agrees
with me;” and then Jon spoke up, looking a
great deal more like a full-grown, honest man
than he supposed.

“We only want the fair value of the farm,
neighbour Thorsten. We want it because we
need it, and everybody will say it is just and
right that we should have it. If we cannot get
that, I shall try to go on, and do my father’s
work. I am only a boy now, but I shall get
bigger and stronger every year.”

“Thy father could not have spoken better
words,” said Thorsten. :

He made what he considered a fair offer, and
it was very nearly as much as Jon and his
mother had reckoned upon; the latter, however,



JON OF ICELAND. 61

insisted on waiting until she had consulted with
her brother Magnus.

Not many days after that, Magnus himself
arrived at the farm. He was a tall man, with
dark hair, large gray eyes, a thin, hard mouth,
and an important, commanding air. It was a
little hard for Jon to say “Uncle” to this man,
whom he had never seen, and of whom he had
heard so little. Magnus, although stern, was not
unfriendly, and when he had heard of all that
had been said and done he nodded his head and
said:

“Very prudent; very well, so far!”

It was perhaps as well that the final settle-
ment of affairs was left to Uncle Magnus, for he
not only obtained an honest price for the farm,
but sold the ponies, sheep, and cows to much
better advantage than the family could have
done. He had them driven to Kyrkedal, and
sent messengers to Skalholt and Myrdal, and
even to Thingvalla, so that quite a number of
farmers assembled, and they had dinner in the
church. Some of the women and children also



62 JON OF ICELAND.

came to say “good-bye” to the family; but when
the former whispered to Jon:

“You will come back to us some day as a
pastor or skald” (author), Magnus frowned and
shook his head.

“The boy is in a fair way to make an honest,
sensible man,” he said. “Don’t you spoil him
with your nonsense!”

When they all set out together for Rejkiavik,
Jon reproached himself for feeling so light-
hearted, while his mother and Gudrid wept for
miles of the way. He was going to see a real
town, to enter school, to begin a new and
wonderful life; and just beyond Kyrkedal there
came the first strange sight. They rode over
the grassy plain towards the Geysers, the white
steam of which they had often seen in the
distance; but now, as they drew near a gray
cone, which rose at the foot of the hill on the
west, a violent agitation began in the earth
underneath their feet. .

“He is going to spout!” cried the guide, and

he had hardly spoken when the basin in the top



JON OF ICELAND, 63

‘of the cone boiled over furiously, throwing huge
volumes of steam into the air. Then there was
a sudden, terrible jar, and a pillar of water, six
feet in diameter, shot up to the height of nearly
a hundred feet, sparkling like liquid gold in the
low pale sunshine. It rose again and again,
until the subterranean force was exhausted;
then the water fell back into the basin with a
dull sound, and all was over.

They could think or talk of nothing else for
a time, and -when they once more looked about
them the landscape had changed. All was new
to Jon and his sister, and only dimly remembered
by their mother. The days were very short and
dark, for winter was fast coming on; it was
often difficult to make the distance from one
farm-house to another, and they slept twice in
the little churches, which are always hospitably
opened for travellers, because there are no inns
in Iceland. After leaving the valley they had a
bitterly cold and stormy journey over a high
field of lava, where little piles of stones, a few

yards apart, are erected to guide the traveller.



64 JON OF ICELAND.

Beyond this, they crossed the Raven's Cleft, a
deep, narrow chasm, with a natural bridge in
one place, where the rocks have fallen together
from either side; then, at the bottom of the last
slope of the lava-plains, they entered the Thing-
valla Forest.

Jon was a little disappointed; still he had
never seen anything like it. There were willow
and birch bushes, three or four feet high, srowing
here and there out of the cracks among the
rocks, He could look over the tops of them
from his pony, as he rode along, and the largest
trunk was only big enough to make a club.
But there is no other “forest” in Iceland; and
the people must have something to repre-
sent one, or they would have no use for the
word!

It was fast growing dark when they reached
Thinevalla, and the great shattered walls of rock
which inclose the valley appeared much loftier
than by day. On the right, a glimmering water-
fall plunged from the top of the cliff, and its
roar filled the air. Magnus pointed out on the



JON OF ICELAND, 65

left the famous “Hill of the Law,” where, for
nearly nine hundred years, the people of Iceland
had assembled together to discuss their political
matters. Jon knew all about the spot from the
many historical legends and poems he had read,
and there was scarcely another place in the
whole world which he could have had greater
interest in seeing. The next morning, when it
was barely light enough to travel, they rode up
a kind of rocky ladder, through a great fissure
called the Aliémannagjé, or “People’s Chasm,”
and then pushed on more rapidly across the
barren table-land. It was still forty miles to
Rejkiavik,—a good two days’ journey at that
season,—and the snows which already covered
the mountains were beginning to fall on the
lower country. .

On the afternoon of the second day, after they
had crossed the Salmon River, Magnus said:

“Tn an hour we shall see the town!”

But the first thing that came in sight was
only a stone tower, or beacon, which the students

had built upon a hill.
(124) E



66 JON OF ICELAND.

“Ts that a town?” asked Gudrid; whereupon
the others laughed heartily.

Jon discreetly kept silent, and waited until
they had reached the foot of the beacon, when—
all at once—Rejkiavik lay before them! Its
two or three hundred houses stretched for half
a mile over a belt of land between the sea and a
large lake. There was the prison, built all of
cut stone; the old wooden cathedral, with its
square spire; the large snow-white governor’s
house, and a long row of stores and warehouses,
fronting the harbour,—all visible at once! To
a boy who had never before seen a comfortable
dwelling, nor more than five houses near each
other, the little town appeared to be a grand
magnificent capital. Each house they passed
was a new surprise to him; the doors, windows,
chimneys, and roofs were all so different, so
large and fine. And there were more people in
the streets than he had ever before seen together.

At last Magnus stopped before one of the
handsomest dwellings, and assisted his sister to

alight from her pony. The door opened, and



JON OF ICELAND. 67

an old servant came forth. Jon and Gudrid,
hand in hand, followed them into a room which
seemed to them larger and handsomer than the
church at Kyrkedal, with still other rooms
opening out of it, with wonderful chairs, and
pictures, and carpets upon which they were
afraid to walk. This was their new home.







CHAPTER VIII

JON’S NEW HOME—THREE YEARS—THE ENGLISHMAN AGAIN
—A LONG JOURNEY—THE VOYAGE—SCOTLAND—THE
RETURN—CONCLUSION,



cee that his uncle Magnus was a man who

«said little, but took good notice of what was
uttered and performed by other people. The
way to gain his favour, therefore, was to accept
and discharge his new duties in life as they
should arise. Having adopted the resolution to
do this, it was surprising how soon these duties
became familiar and easy. He entered the
school, where he was by no means the lowest
or least promising scholar; assisted his mother
and Gudrid wherever it was possible; and was so
careful a messenger that Magnus by degrees
intrusted him with matters of some importance.
The household, in a little while, became well-



JON OF ICELAND. 69

ordered and harmonious, and although it lacked
the freedom and home-like feeling of the lonely
farm on the Thiorvd, all were contented and
happy.

Jon had a great deal to learn, but his eager-
ness helped him. His memory was naturally
excellent, and he had been obliged to exercise it
so constantly—having so few books, and those
mostly his own written copies—that he was able
to repeat correctly large portions of the native
sagas, or poetical histories. He was so well
advanced in Latin that the continuance of the
study became simply a delight; he learned
Danish, almost without an effort, from his uncle’s
commercial partner and the Danish clerk in the
warehouse; and he took up the study of English
with a zeal which was heightened by his remem-
brance of the English traveller whom he had
rescued from the storm, and who had rewarded
him so liberally.

We cannot follow him step by step, during
this period, although many things in his life

might instruct and encourage other earnest,



70 JON OF ICELAND.

struggling boys. It is enough to say that he
was always patient and cheerful, always grateful
for his opportunity of education, and never
neglectful of his proper duties to his uncle, his
mother, and his sister. Sometimes, it is true, he
was called upon to give up hours of sport, days
of recreation, desires which were right in them-
selves, but could not be conveniently gratified,—
and it might have gone harder with him to do so
if he had not constantly thought: “How would
my father have acted in such a case?” And had
he not promised to take the place of his father?

So three years passed away. Jon was eighteen,
and had attained his full stature He was
strong and healthy, and almost handsome; and
he had seen so much of the many strangers who
every summer came to Rejkiavik,—French fisher-
men, Spanish and German sailors, English and
American travellers, and Danish traders,—that
all his old shyness had disappeared. He was able
to look any man in the face, and ask or answer
a question.

It was the beginning of summer, and the



JON OF ICELAND. 71

‘school had just closed. Jon had been assisting
the Danish clerk in the warehouse; but towards
noon, when they had an idle hour, a sailor
announced that there was a new arrival in the
harbour; so he walked down the beach of sharp
lava-sand to the wooden jetty where strangers
landed. A little distance from the shore a yacht
was moored; the English flag was flying at the
stern, and a boat was already pulling towards
the landing-place. Jon rubbed his eyes, to be
sure he saw clearly; but no! the figure remained
the same; and now, as the stranger leaped
ashore, he could no longer restrain himself.
He rushed across the beach, threw his arms
round the man’s neck, and cried out:

“Mr. Lorne, Mr. Lorne!”

The latter was too astonished to recognize him
immediately.

“Don’t you know me?” Jon asked; and then,
half laughing, half crying, said in Latin:

“To-day is better than yesterday.”

“Why, can this be my little guide?” exclaimed

My. Lorne. “But to be sure it is! There are no



72 JON OF ICELAND.

such wise eyes in so young a head anywhere else
in the world.”

Before night the English traveller was in-
stalled in the “guest-room” in Uncle Magnus’s
house; and then they truly found that he had
not forgotten them. After supper he opened a
box, and took from it a silver watch for Jon; a
necklace, that could not be told from real pearls,
for Gudrid; and what a shawl for the mother!
Even Uncle Magnus was touched, for he brought
up a very old, dusty bottle of Portugal wine,
which he had never been known to do before,
except one day when the Governor came to see
him.

“And now,” said Mr. Lorne, when he was a
little tired of being thanked so much. . “I want
something in return. JI am going, by the way of
the Broad Fiord to the northern shore of Ice-
land, and back through the desert; and I shall
not feel safe unless Jon goes with me.”

“Oh!” cried Jon.

“T am not afraid this time,” said Gudrid.

Magnus looked at his sister, and then nodded.



JON OF ICELAND. 73

“Take the boy,” he said. “He can get back
before school begins again; we are as ready to trust
him with you, as you are to trust yourself with
him.”

What a journey that was! They had plenty
of ponies, and a tent,'and provisions in tin cans.
Sometimes it rained and snowed, and they were
wet and chilly enough at the end of the day, but
then the sun shone again, and the black moun-
tains became purple and violet, and their snows
and icefields sparkled in the blue of the air. They
saw many a wild and desolate landscape, but also
many a soft green plain and hay-meadow along
the inlets of the northern shore; and in the little
town of Akureyri Jon at last found a tree—the
only tree in Iceland! It is a mountain-ash, about
twenty feet high, and the people are so proud of
it that every autumn they wrap the trunk and
boughs, and even the smallest twigs, in woollen
cloth, lest the severity of the Icelandic winter
should kill it!

They visited the Myvatw (Mosquito Lake)
in the north-eastern part of the island, saw the



74 JON OF ICELAND.

voleanoes which a few years ago occasioned such
terrible devastation, and then crossed the great
central desert to the valley of the Thidrvd. So
it happened that Jon saw Gudridsdale again, but
vader pleasanter aspects than before, for it was a
calm sunny day when they reached the edge
of the table-land and descended into the lovely
green valley. It gave him a feeling of pain to
find strangers in his father’s house, and perhaps
Mr. Lorne suspected this, for he did not stop at
the farm, but pushed on to Kyrkedal, when the
good old pastor entertained them both as welcome
guests. At the end of six weeks they were back
in Rejkiavik, hale and ruddy after their journey,
and closer friends than ever.

Each brought back his own gain—Mr. Lorne
was able to speak Icclandic tolerably well, and
Jon was quite proficient in English. The former
had made the trip to Iceland especially to collect
old historical legends and acquire new information
concerning them. To his great surprise, he found
Jon so familiar with the subject, that, during the

journey, he conceived the idea of taking him to



JON OF ICELAND. 75

Scotland for a year, as an assistant in his studies
and literary labours; but he said nothing of this
until after their return to Rejkiavik. Then first
he proposed the plan to Magnus and Jon’s mother,
and prudently gave them time to consider it. It
was hard for both to consent, but the advantages
were too evident to be rejected. To Jon, when
he heard of it, it seemed simply impossible, yet
the preparations went on—his mother and Gud-
rid wept as they helped, Uncle Magnus looked
erave—and at last the morning came when he
had to say farewell.

The yacht had favourable winds at first. They
ran along the southern shore to Ingolf’s Head,
saw the high inaccessible suminits of the Skaptur
Jokull fade behind them, and then Iceland
dropped below the sea. A misty gale began to
blow from the south-west, forcing them to pass
the Faroe Islands on the east, and afterwards the
Shetland Isles; but, after coming nearly in sight
of Norway, the wind changed to the opposite
quarter, and the yacht spread her sails directly

for Leith. One night, when Jon awoke in his



76 JON OF ICELAND.

berth, he missed the usual sound of waves
against the vessel’s side, and the cries of the
sailors on deck—everything seemed strangely
quiet; but he was too good a sleeper to puzzle
his head about it, so merely turned over on his
pillow. When he got up in the morning the
quiet was still there. He dressed in haste and
went on deck. The yacht lay at anchor in front
of buildings larger than a hundred Rejkiaviks
put together.

“This is Leith,” said Mr, Lorne coming up to
him.

“Leith!” exclaimed Jon: “it seems like Rome
or Jerusalem! Those must be the queen’s
palaces.”

“No, no, Jon,” replied Mr. Lorne, “they are
only warehouses.”

“But what are those queer green hills behind
the houses? They are so steep and round that I
don’t see how anybody can climb them.”

“ Hills!” exclaimed Mr. Lorne. “O,I see now!
Why, Jon, those are trees!”

Jon was silent. He dared not doubt his



JON OF ICELAND. 77

friend’s word, but he could not yet wholly
believe it. When they had landed, and he saw
the great trunks, the spreading boughs, and the
millions of green leaves, such a feeling of awe
and admiration came over him that he began to
tremble. A wind was blowing, and the long,
flexible boughs of the elms swayed up and
down.

“Qh, Mr, Lorne!” he cried. “See! they are
praying! Let us wait awhile; they are saying
something—I hear their voices. Is it English ?—
can you understand it?”

There is one little rough cart in Rejkiavik, and
that is the only vehicle in Iceland. What, then,
must have been Jon’s feelings when he saw scores
of elegant carriages (for so cabs and omnibuses
appeared in his eyes) driving about, and great
wagons drawn by giant horses? When they got
into a cab; it seemed to him like sitting on a
moving throne. He had read and heard of all
these things, and thought he had a clear idea of
what they were; but he was not prepared for the
reality. He was so excited, as they drove up Leith



78 JON OF ICELAND.

Walk to the historically famous and magnificent
city of Edinburgh, that Mr. Lorne, sitting beside
him, almost fancied he could hear the beating of
his heart. The new wonders never ceased; there
was an apple-tree, with fruit; rose-bushes in
bloom; whole beds of geraniums in the little
gardens; windows filled with fruit, or brilliant
silks, or gold and silver ware; monuments and
spires that seemed to touch the clouds, and
endless multitudes of people! As they reached
the hotel, all he could say in a faltering voice
was:

“Poor old Iceland!”

The next day they took the train for a small
town in Lanarkshire, in the neighbourhood of
which Mr. Lorne had an estate. When Jon saw
‘the bare, heather-covered hills, and the swift
brooks that came leaping down their glens, he
laughed and said:

“Oh! you have a little Iceland even here! If
there were trees along the Thidrvé, it would look
like yonder valley.”

“T have some moorland of my own,” remarked
d



JON OF ICELAND. 79

Mr. Lorne; “and if you ever get to be home-sick,
I will send you out upon it to recover.”

But when Jon reached the house, and was so
cordially welcomed by Mrs. Lorne, and saw the
park and gardens where he hoped to become
familiar with trees and flowers, be thought there
would be as much likelihood of being home-sick
in heaven as in such a place.

Everything he saw tempted him to visit and
examine it. During the first few days he could
scarcely sit still in the library and take part in
Mr. Lorne’s studies. But his strong sense of duty,
his long habits of patience and self-denial, soon
made the task easy, and even enabled him to take
afew more hours daily for his own improvement.
His delight in all strange and beautiful natural
objects was greatly prolonged by this course.
He enjoyed everything far more than if he had
rapidly exhausted its novelty. Mr. Lorne saw
this quality of Jon’s nature with great satisfac-
tion, and was ever ready to give advice and
information which he knew would be earnestly

prized and judiciously exercised.



80 JON OF ICELAND.

It was avery happy year; but I do not believe
that it was the happiest of Jon’s life, Having
learned to overcome the restlessness and impa-
tience which are natural to boyhood, he laid the
basis for greater content in lifeasa man. When
he returned to Rejkiavik, in his twentieth year,
with 4 hundred pounds in his pocket, and a rich
store of knowledge in his head—having visited
nearly all the important places in Great Britain,
Ireland, and the Continent—all other tasks
seemed easy. It was a great triumph for his
mother, and especially for Gudrid, now a bright,
blooming maiden of sixteen. Uncle Magnus
brought up another dusty bottle of wine to
welcome him, although there were only six more
left; and all the neighbours were invited to
welcome him. Even the Governor stopped and
shook hands with him in the street on the day
after his arrival. His mother, who was with
him, said, after the Governor had passed:

“TI hope, Jon, thy father sees thee now!” and
the same thought was in Jon’s own heart.

And now, as Jon is no longer a boy, and is still



JON OF ICELAND. 81

living at the time we are writing, we must say
“good-bye” to him. We have no fears for his
future life; he will always be brave, and manly,
and truthful. He settled down in Rejkiavik,
and rapidly became a most successful teacher ‘in
the most important town in his native country.
The lessons of Jon’s life are so pregnant with
much good and usefulness, and speak so plainly
for themselves, that we would only weaken them

by enlarging upon them,



(128 Fr








PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

TS ONWIEST

CHAPTER I.

WHICH TELLS HOW GREENLAND WAS DISCOVERED, AND
HOW IT CAME ABOUT THAT THE COUNTRY WAS 50

NAMED.
cA.

rarer
eno

. F the reader will open his atlas at the map

om of North America, and will follow the map
i far up towards the top of it, where the north
pole is marked down, he will find there shown a
large country with “Greenland” printed over it.
Perhaps he would like to know how it came
about that this country was discovered, and how
it received its name. He must first look at his
map again. There isa large island a little to the
right of Greenland, and over this is printed the
word “Iceland.” Now we need hardly say that





PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

TS ONWIEST

CHAPTER I.

WHICH TELLS HOW GREENLAND WAS DISCOVERED, AND
HOW IT CAME ABOUT THAT THE COUNTRY WAS 50

NAMED.
cA.

rarer
eno

. F the reader will open his atlas at the map

om of North America, and will follow the map
i far up towards the top of it, where the north
pole is marked down, he will find there shown a
large country with “Greenland” printed over it.
Perhaps he would like to know how it came
about that this country was discovered, and how
it received its name. He must first look at his
map again. There isa large island a little to the
right of Greenland, and over this is printed the
word “Iceland.” Now we need hardly say that



84 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

the name Iceland was given to this island because
of the great quantity of ice there; but there is a
great deal more ice in Greenland than there is in
Iceland, and it seems strange that any person
should have thought of calling such a place green.
Listen to the reason.

The first settlers in Iceland went there from
Norway in the ninth century, and they were
called Northmen or Norsemen, and sometimes
Vikings, and notwithstanding that the country
was very cold they prospered greatly, cultivating
the land and hunting and fishing, without caring
much for the cold or for the ice; and the people
became very numerous.

After Iceland had been.settled about a hun-
dred years, it came to pass that a certain
powerful man offended the king and was obliged
to flee from the country to save his life. Now
to flee from his country he had, of course, to get
into a ship and go to sea, for we have seen that
Iceland is surrounded on all sides by water.
This took place in the year A.D. 982.

The name of this man was Eric Raude, or Eric



PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 85

Rufus, which means simply Eric the Red; but
whether this name was given to him on account
of the crimes he had committed, and meant Eric
with the Red Hand, or whether it was given to
-him on account of his having red hair, and meant
Evie with the Red Head, nobody knows, for there
were no printed books in those days.

Eric the Red put to sea in his ship, with a few
hardy followers, very hastily, but where to go’
the unhappy man did not well know. He
thought there might be land to the west of
Iceland, for the people in the latter island gener-
ally believed so; but of this he was very uncer-
tain, and he would probably not have sought it
entirely of his own free-will; but, happily for
Eric, a storm set in from the east, and his ship
was driven to the west before he had fairly
made up his mind what he should do; but having
been driven so far, he thought he would venture
still farther—and he came at length in sight of
land.

At this discovery Eric and his followers were
much rejoiced, and they approached the land as



86 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

rapidly as they could, their ship being propelled
by sails, and partly with oars. When they
had come into smooth water between an island
and the mainland they anchored their vessel and
went on shore, and took possession of the country.
The place where they landed was a broad valley,
on both sides of which rose great high mountains,
whose sides and tops were covered with snow
and ice. But it was midsummer, and the valley
wa’ covered with green grass and sparkling with
bright flowers. Some low bushes grew here and
there, and there were also some little pine or fir
trees about half as high as their bodies. A
great many reindeer were browsing in the valley,
and little birds were hopping about in the little
trees and flying through the air, rejoicing in the
sunshine and singing merrily.

The reindeer were very tame, and Hric and his
followers killed many of them with their strong
bows and arrows, so that they were able to live
there for some time without any trouble. Then
Eric said to his followers:

“For so valuable a discovery as this the king



PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 87

will surely pardon us if we go back to Iceland;
and if we give the country a good name, people
will come and settle here.”

So Eric called the country GREENLAND, and
by that name it has been known ever since.

The place where Eric had brought his ship to
anchor was named Eric’s Sound, and when he
had fully satisfied himself that people could live
there he returned in his ship, with nearly all his
followers, to Iceland.





CHAPTER II.

WHICH RELATES HOW PEOPLE CAME TO SETTLE IN GREEN-
LAND, AND SOME OTHER USEFUL THINGS TO KNOW,

as

@T turned out as Eric had predicted; for no

ae

sooner had he told the king of the new
L land he had discovered than the king par-
doned him and all his followers, and gave him
twenty-five ships and a great number of people
to go out and settle and occupy this new country;
and when the people heard the fine stories which
Eric told of it, and the fine name which he had
given to it, they were very curious, and very
eager indeed to go there.

When Eric arrived in Greenland with his
twenty-five ships he found that the country
was already inhabited by a race of people of
short stature, whom he called Schraellings, which



PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 89

means small or puny men; but they have since
come to be known as Greenlanders, or more
usually Eskimo. They lived together by hunting
and fishing, and dressed wholly in the skins of
animals. The colour of their complexion was
very dark, a sort of copper-colour. They roamed
about from place to place along the sea-shore,
living in the summer in tents made of seal-skins,
and in winter either in hovels made of stones or
in huts made of snow. At first they were kind
to the white men, and received them hospitably;
but after a time they began to quarrel with each
other, and many severe and bloody fights ensued
between the Eskimo and the Northmen.

But notwithstanding all obstacles, several
colonies were soon established in Greenland,
and many more people coming over from Ice-
land, these colonies rapidly increased, and were
extended round Cape Farewell (which is the
southern port of Greenland), and thence far up
the west side of the country, that is, on the
- side where Baffin’s Bay is marked down on the
map.



90 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

These Northmen were always a very restless
and discontented people, and a son of Eric named
Lief, growing tired of hunting and fishing, took
one of his father’s ships, while he was yet a very
young man, and with thirty men as bold as him-
self set out westward from Greenland to see
what more could be found. They came upon
the land which is now called Labrador, and
further down they discovered the island now
called Newfoundland, and then they came to
Nova Scotia, and it is thought that they even
reached as far south as where the city of Boston
in the United States now stands. This was in
the year A.D. 1001, nearly five hundred years
before Christopher Columbus discovered America.
This new land which Lief had discovered was
called Vinland, meaning “The Land of Wine,”
because of the great numbers of wild grapes
which grew there, and from which they made
wine.

These Northmen remained in Vinland many
years, but went away at last, and the name also
passed away. .



PHILIP OF GREENLAND, 91

The colonies which the Northmen founded in
Greenland continued to flourish for nearly four
hundred years, and finally, from being pagans and
worshippers of the heathen god Odin, the people
became Christians, and a cathedral and several
churches were built there, and the pope even
sent a bishop to reside there. But at length,
partly because of quarrels among themselves and
with the Eskimo, and partly because of a pesti-
lence called the “Black Death,” the Northmen
all died, and for a long time afterwards people
spoke about the “lost colonies of Greenland,”
but no person visited that country until about
two hundred and fifty years afterwards (that is
in the year 1721), when Hans Egede, a very
pious and worthy man, thought that he would
go out there and look after the conversion of the
Eskimo. °

Hans Egede was a Dane, and the King of
Denmark sent this pious missionary in a ship to
Greenland, and he landed at a place which he
called Godthaab (which means Good Hope), and
began not only to convert the Eskimo, but to



92 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

colonize the country again; ‘and from that day
to this the resettlement of Greenland has gone
on. There are now a great many little colonies
along the coast, nearly all the Eskimo are
Christians, and many of them are very good ones
too, most of them being able to read and write
like any other people.

The old Northmen used to cultivate the land
in some of the valleys, but from the time they
first went there the climate seems to have grown
colder and colder, until at this day there is no
land cultivated there at all. The Northmen had
altogether about two hundred farms, but now
neither the Danes nor the Eskimo have any
other means of subsistence than hunting and
fishing, except the food which they get from
Denmark; for it must not be supposed that
Greenland is wholly shut out from the rest of
the world, even if it has a name that it has no
business with, and is shut up in ice. Ships go
out there from Denmark every summer, and
altogether there are from fifteen to twenty of
them; and they carry out to the people bread



PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 93

and coffee and sugar and tea, and coal to make
fire with, and blankets and civilized clothing,
and indeed everything that the people want,
taking back on their return to Denmark the oil,
dried cod-fish, furs, whalebone, eider-down, and
other things which the people have collected
during the year, all of which are sold in the
city of Copenhagen.

All of these little colonies or settlements are |
situated close by the sea. Some of them are
on the islands, which are very numerous every-
where along the Greenland coast, and some of
them are on the mainland; but none of them are
in the interior of the country.

If the reader will follow on the map the west
coast of Greenland up towards the north pole,
his eye will light directly upon the spot where
the very last of the Greenland colonies is marked
down. He will observe that it is very far up,
nearer to the north pole than any other civilized
settlement on the face of the earth. This colony
‘is called Upernavik, and this name means “The

Summer Place,” from wpernak, the Eskimo word



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The Baldwin Library

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“Jon’s STRENGTH AT LAST FAILED,”

PAGE 36,
JON OF ICELAND:

STORY OF THE FAR NORTH

AND OTHER TALES.



LONDON:
BLACKIE & SON, 49 OLD BAILEY, EC.;

GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.
CONTENTS.

Page

Jon or IcELAND,. . 2. 2... eee ee ee

PHILIP OF GREENLAND, . 1... 0... we ee 83
How tum ANcrENT SWEDES THOUGHT THE WoRLD was

MADE, 2... ee eee ee ee we ee 109

Tue Lanp of Pluck, . . . .. -. .. e121


JON OF ICHLAND.

CHAPTER I,

JON’S FATHER-—HIS HOUSE—HIS SISTER—HIMSELT—
HIS LEARNING AND HIS IGNORANCE.

iv
1?

et

a

Sie boys of Iceland must be content with
meg Vly few acquaintances or playmates. The
a valleys which produce grass enough for
the farmers’ ponies, cattle, and sheep are gener-
ally scattered wide apart, divided by ridges
of lava so hard and cold that only a few wild
flowers succeed in growing in their cracks and
hollows. Then, since the farms must be all the
larger, because the grass is short and grows slowly
in such a severe northern climate, the dwellings

are rarely nearer than four or five miles apart;
6 JON OF ICELAND.

and were it not for their swift and nimble ponies,
the people would see very little of each other
except on Sundays, when they ride long dis-
tances to attend worship in their little wooden
churches.

But of all boys in the island, not one was so
lonely in his situation as Jon Sigurdson. His
father lived many miles beyond that broad,
grassy plain which stretches from the Geysers
to the sea, on the banks of the swift river Thiorva.
On each side there were mountains so black and
bare that they looked like gigantic piles of coal,
but the valley opened to the southward as if to
let the sun in, and far away, when the weather
was clear, the snowy top of Mount Hecla shone
against the sky. The farmer, Sigurd, Jon’s
father, was a poor man, or he would not have
settled so far away from any neighbours; for he
was of a cheerful and social nature, and there
were few at Kyrkedal who could vie with him
in knowledge of ancient history and also of
Iceland.

The house was built on a knoll, under a eliff
JON OF ICELAND. 7

which sheltered it from the violent west and
north-west winds. The walls, of lava stones and
turf, were low and broad; and the roofs over
dwelling, storehouses, and stables were covered
deep with earth, upon which grew such excellent
grass that the ponies were fond of climbing up
the sloping corners of the wall in order to get at
it. Sometimes they might be seen, cunningly
balanced on the steep sides of the roof, grazing
along the very ridge-poles, or looking over the
end of the gable, when some member of the
family came out of the door, as much as to say:
“Get me down if you can!”

Around the buildings there was a square wall
of inclosure, giving the place the appearance of a
fortress. On one side of the knoll a hot spring
bubbled up. In the morning or evening, when
the air was cool, quite a little column of steam
rose from it, whirling and broadening as it melted
away; but the water was pure and wholesome as
soon as it became cold enough for use. In front
of the house, where the sun shone warmest,

Sigurd had laid out a small garden. It was a
8 JON OF ICELAND.

great labour for him to remove the large stones
and roll them into a protecting wall, to carry
good soil from the places where the mountain
rills had gradually washed it down from above,
and to arrange it so that frosts and cold rains
should do the least harm; and the whole family
thought themselves suddenly rich one summer
when they pulled their first radishes, saw the
little bed of potatoes coming into blossom, and
the cabbages rolling up their leaves in order to
make at least baby-heads before the winter came.

Within the house all was low, and dark, and
dismal. The air was very close and bad, for the
stables were only separated from the dwelling-
room by a narrow passage, and bunches of dry
salt fish hung on the walls. Besides, it was
usually full of smoke from the fire of peat, and
after a vain, of steam from Sigurd’s and Jon’s
heavy woollen coats. But to the boy it was a
delightful, a comfortable home, for within it he
found shelter, warmth, food, and instruction.
The room for visitors seemed to him the most
splendid place in the world, because it had a
JON OF ICELAND. 9

wooden floor, a window with six panes of glass,
a coloured print of the King of Denmark, and a
geranium ina pot. This was so precious a plant
that Jon and his sister Gudrid hardly dared to
touch its leaves. They were almost afraid to
smell it, for fear of sniffing away some of its life;
and Gudrid, after seeing a leaf of it laid on her
dead sister's bosom, insisted that some angel,
many hundred years ago, had brought the seed
straight down from heaven,

These were Sigurd’s only children. There had
been several more, but they had died in infancy,
from the want of light and pure air, and the
great distance from help when sickness came.
Gudrid was still pale and slender, except in
summer, when her mild, friendly face took
colour from the sun; but Jon, who was now
fourteen, was a sturdy, broad-breasted boy, who
promised to be as strong as his father in a few
years more. He had thick yellow hair, curling
a little round his forehead; large, bright blue
eyes; and a mouth rather too broad for beauty,
if the lips had not been so rosy, and the teeth so
10 JON OF ICELAND.

white and firm. He had a serious look, but it
was only because he smiled with his eyes oftener
than with his mouth. He was naturally true
and good, for he hardly knew what evil was.
Except his parents and his sister, he saw no one
for weeks at a time; and when he met other
boys after church at Kyrkedal, so much time
always was lost in shyly looking at each other,
and shrinking from the talk which each wanted
to begin, that no very intimate acquaintance fol-
lowed.

But, in spite of his lonely life Jon was far
from being ignorant. There were the long
winter months, when the ponies, and sometimes
the sheep, pawed holes in the snow in order to
reach the grass on the bottoms beside the river;
when the cows were warmly stabled and content
with their meals of boiled hay; when the needful
work of the day could be done in an hour or two,
and then Sigurd sat down to teach his children,
while their mother spun or knitted beside them
and from time to time took part in the instruc-
tion. Jon could already read and write so well
JON OF ICELAND. 11

that the pastor at Kyrkedal lent him many an
old Icelandic legend to copy; he knew the history
of the island, as well as that of Norway and Den-
mark, and could answer (with a good deal of
blushing) when he was addressed in Latin. He
also knew something of the world, and its differ-
ent countries and climates; but this knowledge

seemed to him like a strange dream, or like
. something that happened long ago and never
could happen again. He was accustomed to hear
a little birch-bush, four or five feet high, called
a “tree,” but he could not imagine how any tree
could be a hundred feet high, or bear flowers and
fruit.

Once a trader from Rejkiavik—the chief sea-
port of Iceland—brought a few oranges to Kyrke-
dal, and Sigurd purchased one for Jon and
Gudrid. The children kept it, day after day,
never tired of enjoying the splendid colour and
strange delightful perfume; so that when they
decided to cut the rind at last, the pulp was
dried up and tasteless. A city was something of
which Jon could form no conception, for he had
12 JON OF ICELAND.

never seen even Rejkiavik; he imagined that pal-
aces and cathedrals were like large Icelandic
farm-houses, with very few windows, and turf

growing on the roofs.




CHAPTER IL

JON’S OCCUPATION—THE VALLEY OF THE THIORVA—THE

TROLLS-—-THE DROUGHT—THE RESOLVE—THE START.

aes
iy ours wealth, if it could be called so,
==é was ina small flock of sheep, the pasture
© for which was scattered in patches for
miles up and down the river. The care of these
sheep had been intrusted chiefly to Jon ever
since he was eight years old, and he had learned
their natures and ways—their simple animal
virtues and silly animal vices—so thoroughly
that they acquired a great respect for him, and
very rarely tried to be disobedient. Tiven Thor,
the ram, although he sometimes snorted and
tossed his horns in protest, or stamped impatiently
with his fore-feet, heeded his master’s voice. In
fact the sheep became Jon’s companions in the ab-
14 JON OF ICELAND.

sence of human ones; he talked to them so much
during the lonely days that it finally seemed as
if they understood a great deal of his speech.

There was a rough bridle-path leading up the
valley of the Thidrvd, but it was rarely travelled,
for it struck northward into the cold, windy,
stony desert which fills all the central part of
Iceland. For a hundred and fifty miles there
was no dwelling, no shelter from the fierce and
sudden storms, and so little grass that the tra-
vellers who sometimes crossed the region ran
the risk of losing their ponies from starvation.
There were lofty plains of black rocks as hard
as iron; groups of bare, snowy-headed mountains;
and often at night a pillar of fire could be seen
in the distance, showing that one of the many
volcanoes was in action. Beyond this terrible
wilderness the grassy valleys began again, and
there were houses and herds, increasing as the
road approached downwards to the bright bays
along the northern shore of the island.

More than once a trader or government mes-

senger, after crossing the desert, had rested for
JON OF ICELAND. 15

a night under Sigurd’s roof; and many were
the tales of their adventures which Jon had
treasured up in his memory. Sometimes they
_spoke of the trolls, or mischievous fairies, who
came over with the first settlers from Norway,
and were still supposed by many persons to lurk
among the dark glens of Iceland. Both Sigurd
and the pastor at Kyrkedal had declared that
there were no such creatures, and Jon believed
them faithfully; yet he could not help wondering,
as he sat _upon* some: rocky knoll overlooking
his sheep, wheth&-a strange little figure might
not come out: of the chasm opposite and speak
to him. The more he heard of the terrors and
dangers of the desert to the northward, the more
he longed to see them with his own eyes, and
know them through his own experience. He
was not the least afraid; but he knew that his
father would never allow him to go alone, and
to disobey a father was something of which he
had never heard, and could not have believed it
to be possible.

When he was in his fifteenth year, however
16 JON OF ICELAND.

(it was summer, and he was fourteen in April),
there came several weeks during which no rain
fell in the valley. It was a lovely season for
the garden; even the geranium in the window
put forth twice as many scarlet blossoms as
before. Only the sheep began to hunger; for
the best patch of grass in front of the house was
carefully kept for hay, and the next best, farther
down the river, for the ponies. Beyond the
latter the land belonged to another. So Jon
was obliged to lead his flock to.a narrow little
dell which came down to the Thisrvd, three or
four miles to the northward. Here, for a week
they nibbled diligently wherever anything green
showed itself at the foot of the black rocks; and
when the pasture grew scanty again they began
to stare at Jon in a way which many persons
might have thought stupid. Te understood
them; they meant to say: “We've nearly finished
this; find us something more!”

That evening as he was leading his flock
into the little inclosure beside the dwelling he

heard his father and mother talking. He thought
(124)
JON OF ICELAND. 17

it no harm to listen, for they never said anything
that was not kind and friendly. It seemed,
however, that they were speaking of him, and
the very first words he heard made his heart
beat more rapidly.

“Two days’ journey away, said Sigurd;
“and excellent pastures that belong to nobody.
There is no sign of rain yet, and if we could
send Jon with the sheep—”

“Are you sure of it?” his wife asked,

“Kyvindur stopped to talk with me,” he
answered, “and he saw the place yesterday. He
says there were rains in the desert, and indeed
I’ve thought so myself, because the river has not
fallen; and he never knew as pleasant a season
to cross the country.”

“Jon might have to stay out a week or two;
but as you say, Sigurd, we should save our flock.
The boy may be trusted, I’m sure; only, if any-
thing should happen to him?”

“T don’t think he’s fearsome,” said Sigurd;
“and what should happen to him there, that

might not happen nearer home?”
(124) B
18 JON OF ICELAND.

They moved away, while Jon clasped the
palms of his hands hard against each other, and
stood still for a minute to repeat to himself all
he had heard. He knew Eyvindur, the tall,
strong man, with the dark curling hair, who
rode the swift cream-coloured pony with the
black mane and tail. He knew what his father
meant—nothing else than that he, Jon, should
take the sheep two days’ journey away, to the
very edge of the terrible wilderness, and pasture
them there, alone, probably, for many days!
Why, Columbus, when he set sail from Palos
could not have had a brighter dream of unknown
lands! Jon went in to supper in such a state of
excitement that he hardly touched the dried fish
and hard oaten bread; but he drank two huge
bowls of milk and still felt thirsty. When, at
last, his father opened his lips and spake, and
the mother sat silent with her eyes fixed upon
her son’s face, and Gudrid looked frightened,
Jon straightened himself up as if he were
already a man, and quietly said:

“TH do it!”
JON OF ICELAND. 19

He wanted to shout aloud for joy; but Gudrid
began to cry.

However, when a thing had once been decided
in the family that was the end of any question
or remonstrance, and even Gudrid forgot her
fears in the interest of preparing a supply of
food for Jon during his absence. They slept
soundly for a few hours; and then, at two o'clock
in the morning, when the sun was already
shining on the snowy tops of the Arne Moun-
tains, Jon hung the bag of provisions over his
shoulder, kissed his parents and sister, and started
northward, driving the sheep before him.






CHAPTER III.

THE JOURNEY—THE DISAPPOINTMENT—THE SEARCH—
THE SUCCESS—-GUDRIDSDALE—THE EXPLORATION.

a a couple of hours Jon reached the farthest
“= point of the valley which he had ever
c. visited, and all beyond was an unknown
region. But the scenery as he went onward was
similar in character. The mountains were higher
and more abrupt, the river more rapid and
foamy, and the patches of grass more scanty—
that was all the difference. It was the Arctic
summer, and the night brought no darkness;
yet he knew when the time for rest came, by
watching the direction of the light on the black
mountains above. When the sheep lay down,
he sought a sheltered place under a rock, and
slept also. .

Next day the country grew wilder and more
JON OF ICELAND. 21

forbidding. Sometimes there was hardly a blade
of grass to be seen for miles, and Jon drove the
sheep at full speed, running and shouting after
them, in his eagerness to reach the distant
pasture which Eyvindur had described. In the
afternoon the valley seemed to come suddenly to
an end, The river rushed out of a deep cleft
between the rocks, only a few feet wide, on
the right hand; in front there was a long stony
slope, reaching so high that the clouds brushed
along its summit. In the bottom there was
some little grass, but hardly enough to feed the
flock for two days.

Jon was disappointed, but not much discour-
aged. He tethered Thor securely to a rock,
knowing that the other sheep would remain
near him, and set out to climb the slope. Up
and up he toiled; the air grew sharp and cold;
there was snow and ice in the shaded hollows on
either side, and the dark, strange scenery of
Iceland grew broader below him. Finally he
gained the top; and now, for the first time, felt
that he had found a new world. In front,
22 JON OF ICELAND.

towards the north, there was a plain stretching
as far as he could see; on the right and left
there were groups of dark, frightful, inaccessible
mountains, between the sharp peaks of which
sheets of blue ice plunged downward like cata-
racts, only they were silent and motionless.
The valley behind him was a mere cleft in the
stony, lifeless world; his sheep were little white
dots, no bigger, apparently, than flowers of ever-
lasting. He could only guess, beyond the dim
ranges in the distance, where his father’s dwelling
lay; and for a single moment the thought came
into his mind and made him tremble,—should
he ever see it again?

The pasture, he reflected, must be sought for
in the direction from which the river came.
Following the ridge to the eastward it was not
long before he saw a deep basin, a mile in
diameter, opening among the hills. The bottom
was quite green, and there was a sparkle here
and there, where the river wound its way through
it This was surely the place, and Jon felt
proud that he had so readily discovered it.
JON OF ICELAND. 23

There were several glens which furnished easy
paths down from the table-land, and he had no
difficulty the next morning in driving, or rather
leading, his flock over the great ridge. In fact
they skipped up the rocks as if they knew what
was coming, and did not wait for Jon to show
them the way into the valley.

The first thing the boy did, after satisfying
himself that the sheep were not likely to stray
away from such excellent pasturage, was to seek
for a cave or hollow among the rocks, where -
he could find shelter from storms. There were
several such places; he selected the most con-
venient, which had a natural shelf for his store
of provisions, and having dried enough grass
to make a warm, soft bed, he found himself
very comfortably established. For three or four
days he was too busy to feel his loneliness. The
valley belonged to nobody; so he considered it
his own property, and called it Gudridsdale,
after his sister. Then, in order to determine the
boundaries of this new estate he climbed the

heights in all directions, and fixed the forms of
24 JON OF ICELAND.

every crag and hollow firmly in his memory.
He was not without the secret hope that he
might come upon some strange and remarkable
object,—a deserted house, a high tree, or a hot
fountain shooting up jets like the Great Geyser,
—but there was nothing. Only the black and
stony wilderness near at hand, and a multitude
of snowy peaks in the distance.

Thus ten days passed. The grass was not yet
exhausted, the sheep grew fat and lazy, and Jon
had so thoroughly explored the neighbourhood
of the valley that he could have found his way
in the dark. He knew that there were only
barren, uninhabitable regions to the right and -
left; but the great, bare table-land stretching
to the northward was a continual temptation,
for there were human settlements beyond. As
he wandered farther and farther in that direction
he found it harder to return; there was always
a ridge in advance, the appearance of a mountain
pass, the sparkle of a little lake,—some promise
of something to be seen by going just a little
beyond his turning-point. He was so careful
JON OF ICELAND. 25

to notice every slight feature of the scenery,—
a jutting rock here, a crevice there,—in case
mist or rain should overtake him on the way,
that the whole region soon became strangely
familiar.

Jon’s desire to explore the road leading to the
northward grew so strong that he at last yielded
to it. But first he made every arrangement for
the safety of the sheep during his absence. He
secured the ram Thor by a long tether and an
abundance of cut grass, concealed the rest of
his diminishing supply of provisions, climbed
the nearest heights and overlooked the country
on all sides without discovering a sign of life,
and then, after a rest which was more like
a waking dream than a slumber, began his
strange and solitary journey.

The sun had just become visible again, low in
the north-east, when he reached the level of the
table-land, There were few clouds in the sky,
and but little wind blowing; yet a singular
brownish haze filled the air, and spots of strong

light soon appeared on either side of the sun.
26 JON OF ICELAND.

Jon had often seen those “mock suns” before,
they are frequent in northern latitudes, and are
supposed to denote a change in the weather.
This phenomenon, and a feeling of heaviness in
the air, led him to study the landmarks very
keenly and cautiously as he advanced. In two
or three hours he had passed the limits of his
former excursions; and now, if a storm should
arise, his very life might depend on his being
able to find his way back.

During the day, however, there was no change
in the weather. The lonely, rugged mountains,
the dark little lakes of melted snow lying at
their feet, the stony plain, with its great irregular
fissures where the lava had cracked in cooling—
all these features of the great central desert of
Iceland lay hard and clear before his eyes. Like
all persons who are obliged to measure time
without a watch or clock, he had a very correct
sense of the hours of .the day, and of the
distances he walked from point to point. Where
there was no large or striking object near at

hand, he took the trouble to arrange several
JON OF ICELAND. 27

stones in a line pointing to the next landmark
behind him, as a guide in case of fog.

It was an exciting, a wonderful day in his
life, and Jon never forgot it. He never once
thought of the certain danger which he incurred.
Instead of fear, he was full of a joyous, inspiring
courage; he sang and shouted aloud as some
new peak or ridge of hills arose far in front, or
some other peak, already familiar, went out of
sight far behind him. He scarcely paused to
eat or rest until nearly twelve hours had passed,
and he had walked nearly thirty miles. By
that time the sun was low in the west, and
barely visible through the gathering haze. The
wind moaned among the rocks with a dreary,
melancholy sound, and only the ery of a wild
swan was heard in the distance. To the north
the mountains seemed higher, but they were
divided by deep gaps which indicated the com-
mencement of valleys. There, perhaps, there
might be running streams, pastures, and the
dwellings of men!

Jon had intended to return to his flock on the
28 JON OF ICELAND.

morrow, but now the temptation to press onward
for another day became very great. His limbs,
however, young and strong as they were, required
rest; and he speedily decided what to do next.
A lighter streak in the rocky floor of the plain
led his eye towards a low, broken peak—in
reality, the crater of a small extinct volcano—
some five miles off, and lying to the right of
what he imagined to be the true course. On
the left there were other peaks, but immediately
in front nothing which would serve as a land-
mark. The crater, therefore, besides offering
him some shelter in its crevices, was decidedly
the best starting-point, either for going on or for
returning. The lighter colour of the rock came
from some difference in the lava of an old erup-
tion, and could easily be traced throughout the
whole intervening distance. He followed it
rapidly, now that the bearings were laid down,
and reached the ruins of the volcano a little
after sunset.

There was no better bed to be found than
the bottom of a narrow cleft, where the winds,
JON OF ICELAND. 29

after blowing for centuries, had deposited a thin
layer of sand. Before he lay down, Jon arranged
a line of stones, pointing towards the light streak
across the plain, and another line giving the
direction of the valleys to the northward. To
the latter he added two short, slanting lines at
the end, forming a figure like an arrow-head,
and then, highly satisfied with his ingenuity, he
lay down in the crevice to sleep. But his brain
was so excited that for a long time he could do
nothing else than go over in memory the day’s
journey. The wind seemed to be rising, for it
whistled like a tremendous fife through the
rocky erevice; father and mother, and Gudrid,
seemed to be far, far away in a distant land;
he wondered at last whether he was the same
Jon Sigurdson who drove the flock of sheep up
the valley of the Thidrvé—and then, all at once
he stopped wondering and thinking, for he was

too soundly asleep to dream,even of a roasted
potato.


CHAPTER IV.

THE STORM—THE STRANGERS—LEADING THE WAY—
THE BREAK-DOWN—SUCCESS !



i ow much time passed in the sleep Jon

a
a
d

seemed to be icy-cold rats’ feet scampering over

never could exactly learn; probably six
or seven hours. He was aroused by what

his face, and as he started and brushed them
away with his hand his ears became alive to a
terrible roaring sound. He started up, alarmed,
at first bewildered, then suddenly wide awake.
The cold feet upon his face were little threads of
water trickling from above; the fearful roaring
came from a storm—a hurricane of mixed rain,
wind, cloud, and snow. It was day, yet still
darker than the Arctic summer night, so dense
and black was the tempest. When Jon crept
out of the erevice he was nearly thrown down by
JON OF ICELAND. 31

the force of the wind. The first thing he did
was to seek the two lines of stones he had
arranged for his guidance. They had not been
blown away, as he feared; and the sight of the
arrow-head made his heart leap with gratitude
to the Providence which had led him, for with-
out that sign he would have lost his way at the
very start. Returning to the cleft, which gave a
partial shelter, he ate the greater part of his
remaining store of food, fastened his thick coat
thickly about his breast and throat, and set out
on the desperate homeward journey, carefully
following the lighter streak of rock across the
plain.

He had not gone more than a hundred yards
when he fancied he heard a sharp hammering
sound through the roar of the tempest, and
paused to listen. The sound came rapidly
nearer; it was certainly that which is ordinarily
produced by the hoofs of horses when they are
trotting on hard ground. Nothing could be
seen; the noise came from the west, passed in
front of Jon, and began to die away in the
32 JON OF ICELAND.

eastward. His blood grew chill for a moment.
It was all so sudden, and strange, and ghostly,
that he did not know what to think; and his
first impulse was to push forward and get out of
the regions where such things happened, when
he heard, very faintly, the cry which the Ice-
landers use when they drive their baggage ponies.
Then he remembered the deep gorge he had
seen to the eastward, before reaching the crater;
the invisible travellers were apparently riding
towards it, probably having lost their way, and
unaware of their danger.

This thought passed through Jon’s mind like
a flash of lightning, and he shouted with all the
strength of his voice.

He waited for a reply, but there was no
answer. Then he shouted again, while the wind
seemed to tear the sound from his lips, and
throw it away—but on the course the hoofs had
taken.

This time a cry came in return: it seemed far
off, because the storm beat against the sound. Jon
shouted a third time, and the answer was now
JON OF ICELAND. 33

more distinct. Presently he distinguished words:

“Come here to us!”

“T cannot!” he cried.

In a few minutes more he heard the sounds
returning, and listened more attentively than
ever. As he hearkened to the approaching
sounds the forms of ponies became visible,
presenting themselves dimly in the stormy
atmosphere. The ponies and their riders
appeared to halt, and formed a semicircle in
front of him; and then one of three dim, spectral
riders, leaning forward, again cried, “Come here!”

“Y cannot,” was Jon’s reply to the order.

Thereupon another of the horsemen rode close
to him, and stared down upon him. He said
something which Jon understood to be:

“ Erik, it is a little boy!” but he was not quite
sure, for the man’s manner of talking was strange.
He seemed to put the words in the wrong places,
and pronounced them curiously.

The man who had first spoken leaped from his
horse. Holding the bridle, he came forward and

said in good, plain Icelandic:
(124) c
34 JON OF ICELAND.

“Why couldn’t you come when I called you?”

“Tam keeping the road back,” replied Jon; “if
T move, I might lose it.”

«Then why did you call to us?”

“T was afraid you had lost your way, and
might get into the chasm: the storm is so bad
you could not see it.”

“What's that?” exclaimed the first man who
had spoken.

Jon deseribed the situation as well as he could,
and the stranger at last said, in his queer, broken
speech:

“Lost way—we; can guide—you—know—
how?”

The storm raged so furiously that it was with
great difficulty Jon heard the words at all; but
he thought he understood the meaning. So he
looked the man in the face, and nodded, silently.

“ Krik—pony!” eried the latter.

Erik caught one of the loose ponies, drew it
forward, and said to Jon:

“ Now, boy, mount and show us the way!”

“T cannot,” replied Jon: “I will guide you; I
JON OF ICELAND. 35

was on my way already, but [ must walk just as
I came, so as to find the places and know the
distances.”

“Sir,” said Erik, turning to the other traveller,
“we must let him have his own way. It is our
only chance of safety. The boy is strong and
fearless, and we can surely follow where he is
willing to go alone.”

“Take the lead, boy,” replied the other; “more
quick, more money.”

Jon walked rapidly in advance, keeping: his
eyes on the lighter coloured streak in the plain.
He saw nothing, but every little sign and land-
mark was fixed so clearly in his mind that he did
not feel the least fear or confusion. He could
hardly see, in fact, the foremost of the ponies
behind him, but he caught now and then a word
as the men talked with each other. They had
come from the northern shore of the island; they
were lost; they were chilled, weary; their ponies
were growing weak from hunger and exposure to
the terrible weather; and they followed him, not
so much because they trusted his guidance, as
36 JON OF ICELAND.

because there was really nothing else left for
them to do.

In an hour and a half they reached the first
landmark; and when the men saw Jon examining
the line of stones he had laid, and then striking
boldly off through the whirling clouds, they
asked no questions, but urged their ponies after
him. Thus several hours went by. Point after
point was discovered, although no object could
be seen until it was reached; but Jon’s strength,
which had been sustained by his pride and his
anxiety, at last began to fail. The poor boy had
been so long exposed to the wind, snow, and icy
rain that his teeth chattered in his head, and his
legs trembled as he walked. About noon, fortu-
nately, there was a lull in the storm; the rain
slackened, and the clouds lifted themselves so
that one could see about him for a mile or more.
He caught sight of the rocky corner for which
he was steering, stopped, and pointed towards one
of the loose ponies.

Erik leaped from his saddle and threw his
arms around Jon, whose senses were fast vanish-
JON OF ICELAND. 37

ing. He felt that something was put to his lips,
that he was swallowing fire, and that his icy
hands were wrapped in a soft, delicious warmth.
In a minute he found that Erik had thrust them
under his jacket, while the other two men were
bending over him with anxious faces. The
stranger who spoke so curiously held a cake
to his mouth, saying:

“Eat, eat!”

It was wonderful how his strength came back!
Very soon he was able to mount the pony and
take the lead. Sometimes the clouds fell dark
and dense around them; but when they lifted
only for a second it was enough for Jon. Men
and ponies suffered alike, and at last Erik
said:

“Unless we get out of the desert in three
hours we must all perish!”

Jon’s face brightened. “In three hours,” he
exclaimed, “there will be pasturage, and water,
and shelter.”

He was already approaching the region which

he knew thoroughly, and there was scarcely a
38 JON OF ICELAND.

chance of losing the way. They had more than
one furious gust to encounter—more than one
moment when the famished and exhausted ponies
halted and refused to move; but towards evening
the last ridge was reached, and they saw below
them, under a dark roof of clouds, the green
valley-basin, the gleam of the river, and the
scattered white specks of the grazing sheep.




CHAPTER V.

THE BANQUET—THE ENGLISHMAN-—-THE JOURNEY HOME —
THE MEETING—-THE REWARD-~-THE DEPARTURE.



= his master. Jon was almost too weary to
be able to move hand or foot, but he first

visited every sheep, and examined his rough

shelter under the rock and his few remaining
provisions, before he sat down to rest. By this
time the happy ponies had been unsaddled, and
were appeasing their hunger; Erik and his com-
panion had pitched a white tent, and a fire had
been kindled. The owner of the tent said some-
thing which Jon could not hear, but Erik pres-
ently shouted,

“The English gentleman asks you to come and
take supper with us!”

Jon obeyed, almost as much from curiosity as
40 JON OF ICELAND.

from hunger. The stranger had a bright friendly
face, and held out his hand as the boy entered
the tent.

“Good guide—eat!” was all he could say in
Icelandic, but the tone of his voice meant a great
deal more.

There was a lamp hung to the tent-pole, an
india-rubber blanket spread on the ground, with
cups and plates, which shone like silver, in
readiness for the meal. Jon was amazed to
see Erik boiling three or four tin boxes in a
kettle of water; but when they had been opened,
and the contents poured into basins, such a
fragrant steam arose from them as he had never
smelt before in his life. There was pea-soup,
and Irish stew, and minced collops, and beef, and
tea—with no limit to the lumps of sugar—and
sweet biscuits, and currant jelly! Never had he
sat down to such a rich, such a wonderful ban-
quet. He was almost afraid to take enough of
the dishes, but the gentleman filled his plate as
fast as he emptied it, patted him on the back, and
repeated the words,
JON OF ICELAND. 41

“Good guide—eat!”

Then he lighted a cigar, while Erik and the
other Icelander pulled out their horns of snuff,
threw back their heads, and each poured nearly
a teaspoonful into his nostrils. They offered
the snuff to Jon, but he refused both it and a
cigar. He was warm and comfortable to the
ends of his toes, and his eyelids began to fall,
in spite of all his efforts to hold them up,
after so much fatigue and exposure as he had
endured.

In fact, his senses left him suddenly, although
he seemed to be aware that somebody lifted and
laid him down again—that something soft came
under his head, and something warm came over
his body—that he was safe, and sheltered, and
happy.

When he awoke it was bright day. He started
up, striking his head against a white wet canvas,
and sat a moment, bewildered, trying to recall
what had happened. He could scarcely believe
that he had slept all night in the tent beside
the friendly Englishman; but he heard Evik
42 JON OF ICELAND.

talking outside, and the crackling of a fire, and
the shouting of some one at a distance. The sky
was clear and blue; the sheep and ponies were
nibbling sociably together, and the Englishman,
standing on a rock beside the river, was calling
attention to a big salmon which he had just
caught. Gudridsdale, just then, seemed the
brightest and liveliest place in Iceland.

Jon knew that he had probably saved the
party from death; but he thought nothing of
that, for he had saved himself along with them.
He was simply proud and overjoyed at the
chance of seeing something new—of meeting
with a real Englishman, and eating (as he sup-
posed) the foreign, English food. He felt no
longer shy, since he had slept a whole night
beside the traveller. The two Icelandic guides
were already like old friends; even the pony he
had ridden appeared to recognize him. His
father had told him that Latin was the language
by which all educated men were able to com-
municate their ideas; so as the Englishman

came up, with his salmon for their breakfast. he
JON OF ICELAND, 43

said, in Latin: “To-day is better than yesterday,
sir.”

The traveller laughed, shook hands heartily,
and answered in Latin, with—to Jon’s great sur-
prise—two wrong cases in the nouns:

“ Both days are better for you than forme. [
have learned less at Oxford.”

But the Latin and Icelandic together were a
great help to conversation, and almost before he
knew what he was doing, Jon had told My.
Lorne—such was the name of the traveller—
all the simple story of his life, even his claim
to the little valley-basin wherein they were
encamped, and the giving it his sister’s name.
Mr. Lorne had crossed from the little town of
Akureyri, on the northern shore of Iceland, and
was bound down the valley of the Thidrva to
the Geysers, thence to Hekla, and finally to
Rejkiavik, where he intended to embark for
England. As Jon’s time of absence had expired,
his provisions being nearly consumed, and as it
was also necessary to rest for a day for the sake

of the travellers’ ponies, it was arranged that
44 JON OF ICELAND.

all should return in company to the house of
Jon’s father.

That last day in Gudridsdale was the most
delightful of all. They feasted sumptuously on
the stores which they had brought with them,
and when night came, the dried grass from Jon’s
hollow under the rock was spread within the
tent, making a soft and pleasant bed for the
whole party.

Mounted on one of the ponies Jon led the way
up the long ravine, cheerily singing as he drove
the full-fed sheep before him. They reached the
level of the desert table-land, and he gave one
more glance at the black, scattered mountains
to the northward, where he had passed two such
adventurous days. In spite of all he had seen
aud learned in that time he felt a little sad that
he had not succeeded in crossing the wilderness.
When they reached the point where their way
descended by a long, steep slope to the valley
of the Thidrva, he turned for yet another fare-
well view. Far off, between him and the nearest

peak, there secmed to be a moving speck. He
JON OF ICELAND. 45

pointed it out to Erik, who, after gazing steadily
for a moment, said:

“Jt is a man on horseback.”

“Perhaps another lost traveller!” exclaimed
the Englishman: “let us wait for him.”

Tt was quite safe to let the sheep and loose
ponies take their way in advance; for they saw
the pasture below them. In a quarter of an
hour the man and horse could be easily distin-
guished. The former had evidently seen them
also, for he approached much more rapidly than
at first.

All at once Jon cried out:

“Té is our pony, Heindal! It must be my
father!”

He sprang from the saddle as he spoke, and
ran towards the strange horseman. The latter
presently galloped up, walked a few steps, and
sat down upon a stone. But Jon’s arms were
around him, and as they kissed each other the
father burst into tears.

“T thought thou wert lost, my boy,” was all he
could say.
46 JON OF ICELAND.

“But here I am, father!” Jon proudly ex-
claimed.

“ And the sheep?”

“Fat and sound every one of them.”

Sigurd rose and mounted his horse, and as
they all descended the. slope together Jon and
Erik told him all that had happened. Mr.
Lorne, to whom the occurrence was explained,
shook hands with him, and, pointing to Jon, said
in his broken way:

“Good son—little man!” whereupon they all
laughed, and Jon could not help observing the
proud and happy expression of his father’s face.

On the afternoon of the second day they
reached Sigurd’s farm-house; but the mother
and Gudrid, who had kept up an anxious look-
out, met them nearly a mile away. After the
first joyous embrace of welcome, Sigurd whispered
a few words to his wife, and she hastened back
to put the ‘ouest-room’ in order. Mr. Lorne
found it so pleasant to get under a roof again,
that he ordered another halt of two days before

going on to the Geysers and Hekla. No beverage
JON OF ICELAND. 47

ever tasted so sweet to him as the great bowl of
milk which Gudrid brought as soon as he had
taken his seat; and the radishes from the garden
seemed a creat deal better than the little jars of
jelly and orange marmalade which he insisted on
giving in exchange for them.

“ Oh, is it indeed orange?” said Gudrid. “Jon,
Jon, now we shall know what the taste is!”

Their mother gave them a spoonful apiece,
and Mr. Lorne smiled as he saw their wondering,
delighted faces.

“ Does it really grow on a tree?—and how high
is the tree?—and what does it look like?—like a
birch ?—like a potato plant?” asked Jon, in his
eagerness, without waiting for replies. It was
very difficult for him to imagine what he had
never seen, even in pictures, or anything resem-
bling it. The English traveller endeavoured to
explain how different are the productions of
nature in warmer climates, and the children
listened as if they could never hear enough of
the wonderful story. At last Jon said, in his
firm quiet way:
48 JON OF ICELAND.

“Some day I will go there!”

“You will, my boy,” replied Mr. Lorne; “you
certainly appear to have strength and courage
enough to carry out your will.”

Jon had never imagined that he had more
strenoth and courage than any other boy, but he
knew that the Englishman meant to praise him,
so he shook hands with him as he had been
taught to do whenever he received a gift.

The two days went by only too quickly. The
guest furnished food both for himself and the
family, for he shot a score of plovers, and caught
half-a-dozen fine salmon. He was so frank and
cheerful that they soon became accustomed to his
presence, and were heartily sorry when Erik and
the other Icelandic guide went out to drive the
ponies together, and load them for the journey.
Mr. Lorne called Sigurd and Jon into the “guest-
room,” untied a buckskin pouch, and counted out
fifty silver rix-dollars upon the table.

“For my little guide,” he said, placing his hand
on Jon’s thick curls.

Father and son uttered a ery of astonishment
JON OF ICELAND. 49

at the same moment, and neither knew what to
say. But, brokenly as the Englishman expressed
himself, they understood him when he said that
Jon had probably saved his life, that he was a
brave boy, and would make a good, brave man,
and that if the father did not require the money
for his farm expenses he could apply it to the
education of his son Jon.

The tears were running down Sigurd’s cheeks.
He took the hand of Mr. Lorne, gave it a power-
ful grip, and simply said:

“Ji shall be used for Jon’s benefit and for no
other purpose.”

Jon was so strongly moved that, without
stopping to think, he did the one thing which
his heart suggested. He walked up to Mr. Lorne,
threw his arms round his neck, and kissed him
very tenderly.

“All is ready, sir!” cried Erik at the door.
The last packages were carried out and fastened
upon the baggage-ponies, farewells were said
once more, and the little caravan took its way

down the valley. The family stood in front
(124) D
50 JON OF ICELAND.

of the house, and watched until the ponies
turned round the first cape of the hills and
disappeared; then they could only sit down
and talk of all the unexpected things that had
happened. There was no work done upon the

farm that day.



ey
Ne


CHAPTER VI.

THE CONSULTATION—-THE LETTER—-THE QUESTION—



THE ANSWER—MISFORTUNE.



cere Was So injurious to the pastures igi near
S the southern coast, wrought fortune to Sig-
urd’s farm. The price of wool ran much higher
than usual, and owing to Jon’s excursion into the
mountains the sheep were in the best possible
condition. They had never raised such a crop of
potatoes, nor such thickheaded firm cabbages;
and by great care and industry a sufficient supply
of hay had been secured for the winter.

“T am afraid something will happen to us,”
said Sigurd one day to his wife; “the good luck
comes too fast.”

“Do not say that, husband!” she exclaimed,
“Tf we were to lose Jon—”
52 JON OF ICELAND.

“Jon!” interrupted Sigurd. “Oh, no; look at
his eyes, his breast, his arms and legs—there are
a great many years of life in them yet!” He
ought to have a chance in the school at Rej-
kiavik, but we can hardly do without him this
year.”

“Perhaps brother Magnus would take him,”
she said.

“Not while I live!” Sigurd replied, as he left
the room, while his wife turned with a sigh to
her household duties.

Her family, and especially her elder brother,
Magnus, who was a man of wealth and influence,
had bitterly opposed her marriage with Sigurd,
on account of the latter’s poverty, and she had
seen none of them since she came to live on the
lonely farm. Through great industry and fru-
gality they had gradually prospered; and now she
began to long for a reconciliation, chiefly for the
sake of her husband and children. It would be
much better, she thought, for Jon if he could find
a home in his uncle’s house when they were able
to send him to school.
JON OF ICELAND. 53

So when they next rode over to Kyrkedal on
a Sunday in the late autumn, she took with her
a letter to Magnus, which she had written with-
out the knowledge of her husband, for she wished
to save him the pain of a slight, in case her
brother should refuse to answer, or should reply
in an unfriendly manner. It was a pleasant day
for all of them, for Mr. Lorne had stopped a day
at Kyrkedal, and Erik had told the story of Jon’s
piloting them through the wilderness; so the
pastor after service came up at once to them
and patted Jon on the head, saying, “ Bene
fecisti, filt!”+ And the other boys, forgetting
their usual shyness, crowded round and said:

“Tell us all about it.”

Everything was as wonderful to them as it still
seemed to Jon in his memory, and when each one
had said:

“Tf I had gone there I should have done the
same thing,” Jon wondered that he and the boys
should ever have felt so awkward and bashful
when they came together. Now it was all

1 “Be happy, my son!”
54 JON OF ICELAND,

changed; they talked and joked like old com-
panions, and cordially promised to visit each
other during the winter, if their parents were
willing.

On the way home Sigurd found that he had
dropped his whip, and sent Jon back to look for
it, leaving his wife and Gudrid to ride onward
up the valley. Jon rode at least half-a-mile
before he found it, and then came galloping
back, cracking it joyously. But Sigurd’s face
was graver and wearier than usual.

“Ride a little with me, Jon,” he said, “I want
to ask thee something.” Then, as they rode
together in the narrow track which the hoots
of the ponies had cut through the turf, Sigurd
said:

“Jon, the. boys at Kyrkedal seemed to make
much of thee; I hope thy head is not turned by
what they said to thee.”

“Qh, father,” cried Jon, “they were so kind, so
friendly!”

“T do not doubt it, my son,” answered his
father. “Thou did well, and I see thou art older
JON OF ICELAND. 55

than thy years. But suppose there were a

heavier task in store for thee—suppose that



I should be called away—couldst thou do a
man’s part, and care properly for thy mother and
thy sister?”

Jon’s eyes filled with tears, and he knew not
what to say.

“Canst thou not answer me, Jon?” demanded
Sigurd sternly.

“T have never thought of that, father,” replied
Jon, in a trembling voice; “but if I were to do
my best, would not God help me?”

“He would,” exclaimed Sigurd, with energy.
“All strength comes from Him, and all fortune.
Enough, I can trust thee, my son; ride on to
Gudrid, and tell her not to twist herself in the
saddle, looking back!”

Sigurd attended to his farm for several days
longer, but in a silent dreamy way, as if his
mind were busy with other thoughts. His wife
was so anxiously awaiting the result of her letter
to Magnus that she paid less attention to his

condition than she otherwise would have done.
56 JON OF ICELAND.

But one evening, on returning from the stables
he passed by the table where their frugal supper
was waiting, entered the bed-room, and sank
down, saying:

“All my strength has left me; I feel as if I
shall never rise again.”

They then saw that he had been attacked by
a dangerous fever, for his head was hot, his eyes
glassy, and he began to talk in a wild incoherent
manner. They could only do what the neigh-
bours were accustomed to do in similar cases—
which really was worse than doing nothing at all
would have been. Jon was despatched next
morning on the best pony to summon the physi-
cian from Skalholt; but even with the best luck
three days must elapse before the latter could
arrive. The good pastor of Kyrkedal came the
next day and bled Sigurd, which gave a little
temporary relief, while it also reduced his vital
foree. The physician was absent, visiting some
farms far to the eastward—in fact, it was a full
week before he made his appearance. During
this time Sigurd wasted away, his fits of delirium
JON OF ICELAND. 57

became more frequent, and the chances of his re-
covery grew less and less. Jon recalled, now, his
father’s last conversation, and it gave him both
fear and comfort. He prayed, with all the fervour
of his boyish nature, that his father’s life might
be spared; yet he determined to do his whole
duty, if the prayer should not be granted.




CHAPTER VII.

DEATH—THE FARM—UNCLE MAGNUS—* GOOD-BYE”~-
THE JOURNEY—REJELAVIK.



‘
df

ae
Grrelexeo
i

4 T the end of a fortnight Sigurd’s wife re-
YES ceived a letter from her brother, and it
was better than she had dared to hope-
Maenus wrote that his wife was dead, his son was a
student in Copenhagen, and he was all alone in
the big house at Rejkiavik. He was ready to
give Jon a home, even to take herself and her
husband, provided the latter could sell his farm
to advantage, and find some employment which
would add to his means.

“He must neither live an idle life, nor depend
on my help,” said Magnus in his letter; and his
sister felt that he was right, although he told
the truth in rather a hard, unfriendly way.

She read the letter to her husband next
JON OF ICELAND, 59

morning, as he was lying very weak and quiet,
but in his right mind. His eyes slowly bright-
ened, and he murmured at last with difficulty:

“Sell the farm to Thorsten, for his eldest son,
and go to Magnus. Jon will take my place.”

Jon, who had entered the room in time to
hear these words, sat down on the bed and held
his father’s hand in both of his own. The latter
smiled faintly, opened his lips to speak again,
and then a sudden quivering passed over his
face, and he lay strangely still. It was a long
time before the widow and children could believe
that he was dead. They said to each other,
over and over again, amid their tears:

“He was happy; the trouble for our sakes
was taken away from his heart;’—and Jon
thought to himself:

“If I do my best, as I promised, he would be
still happier in heaven.”

When the death of Sigurd became known,
the neighbours came and helped the family until
the funeral was over, and the sad little household

resumed, as far as possible, its former way of
60 JON OF ICELAND.

life. Thorsten, a rich farmer of Kyrkedal, whose
son was to be married in the spring, came a few
weeks later to make an offer for the farm. No
doubt he hoped to get it at a low price; for
money has a greater value in Iceland, where
there is so little of it. But the widow said at
once:

“I shall make no bargain unless Jon agrees
with me;” and then Jon spoke up, looking a
great deal more like a full-grown, honest man
than he supposed.

“We only want the fair value of the farm,
neighbour Thorsten. We want it because we
need it, and everybody will say it is just and
right that we should have it. If we cannot get
that, I shall try to go on, and do my father’s
work. I am only a boy now, but I shall get
bigger and stronger every year.”

“Thy father could not have spoken better
words,” said Thorsten. :

He made what he considered a fair offer, and
it was very nearly as much as Jon and his
mother had reckoned upon; the latter, however,
JON OF ICELAND. 61

insisted on waiting until she had consulted with
her brother Magnus.

Not many days after that, Magnus himself
arrived at the farm. He was a tall man, with
dark hair, large gray eyes, a thin, hard mouth,
and an important, commanding air. It was a
little hard for Jon to say “Uncle” to this man,
whom he had never seen, and of whom he had
heard so little. Magnus, although stern, was not
unfriendly, and when he had heard of all that
had been said and done he nodded his head and
said:

“Very prudent; very well, so far!”

It was perhaps as well that the final settle-
ment of affairs was left to Uncle Magnus, for he
not only obtained an honest price for the farm,
but sold the ponies, sheep, and cows to much
better advantage than the family could have
done. He had them driven to Kyrkedal, and
sent messengers to Skalholt and Myrdal, and
even to Thingvalla, so that quite a number of
farmers assembled, and they had dinner in the
church. Some of the women and children also
62 JON OF ICELAND.

came to say “good-bye” to the family; but when
the former whispered to Jon:

“You will come back to us some day as a
pastor or skald” (author), Magnus frowned and
shook his head.

“The boy is in a fair way to make an honest,
sensible man,” he said. “Don’t you spoil him
with your nonsense!”

When they all set out together for Rejkiavik,
Jon reproached himself for feeling so light-
hearted, while his mother and Gudrid wept for
miles of the way. He was going to see a real
town, to enter school, to begin a new and
wonderful life; and just beyond Kyrkedal there
came the first strange sight. They rode over
the grassy plain towards the Geysers, the white
steam of which they had often seen in the
distance; but now, as they drew near a gray
cone, which rose at the foot of the hill on the
west, a violent agitation began in the earth
underneath their feet. .

“He is going to spout!” cried the guide, and

he had hardly spoken when the basin in the top
JON OF ICELAND, 63

‘of the cone boiled over furiously, throwing huge
volumes of steam into the air. Then there was
a sudden, terrible jar, and a pillar of water, six
feet in diameter, shot up to the height of nearly
a hundred feet, sparkling like liquid gold in the
low pale sunshine. It rose again and again,
until the subterranean force was exhausted;
then the water fell back into the basin with a
dull sound, and all was over.

They could think or talk of nothing else for
a time, and -when they once more looked about
them the landscape had changed. All was new
to Jon and his sister, and only dimly remembered
by their mother. The days were very short and
dark, for winter was fast coming on; it was
often difficult to make the distance from one
farm-house to another, and they slept twice in
the little churches, which are always hospitably
opened for travellers, because there are no inns
in Iceland. After leaving the valley they had a
bitterly cold and stormy journey over a high
field of lava, where little piles of stones, a few

yards apart, are erected to guide the traveller.
64 JON OF ICELAND.

Beyond this, they crossed the Raven's Cleft, a
deep, narrow chasm, with a natural bridge in
one place, where the rocks have fallen together
from either side; then, at the bottom of the last
slope of the lava-plains, they entered the Thing-
valla Forest.

Jon was a little disappointed; still he had
never seen anything like it. There were willow
and birch bushes, three or four feet high, srowing
here and there out of the cracks among the
rocks, He could look over the tops of them
from his pony, as he rode along, and the largest
trunk was only big enough to make a club.
But there is no other “forest” in Iceland; and
the people must have something to repre-
sent one, or they would have no use for the
word!

It was fast growing dark when they reached
Thinevalla, and the great shattered walls of rock
which inclose the valley appeared much loftier
than by day. On the right, a glimmering water-
fall plunged from the top of the cliff, and its
roar filled the air. Magnus pointed out on the
JON OF ICELAND, 65

left the famous “Hill of the Law,” where, for
nearly nine hundred years, the people of Iceland
had assembled together to discuss their political
matters. Jon knew all about the spot from the
many historical legends and poems he had read,
and there was scarcely another place in the
whole world which he could have had greater
interest in seeing. The next morning, when it
was barely light enough to travel, they rode up
a kind of rocky ladder, through a great fissure
called the Aliémannagjé, or “People’s Chasm,”
and then pushed on more rapidly across the
barren table-land. It was still forty miles to
Rejkiavik,—a good two days’ journey at that
season,—and the snows which already covered
the mountains were beginning to fall on the
lower country. .

On the afternoon of the second day, after they
had crossed the Salmon River, Magnus said:

“Tn an hour we shall see the town!”

But the first thing that came in sight was
only a stone tower, or beacon, which the students

had built upon a hill.
(124) E
66 JON OF ICELAND.

“Ts that a town?” asked Gudrid; whereupon
the others laughed heartily.

Jon discreetly kept silent, and waited until
they had reached the foot of the beacon, when—
all at once—Rejkiavik lay before them! Its
two or three hundred houses stretched for half
a mile over a belt of land between the sea and a
large lake. There was the prison, built all of
cut stone; the old wooden cathedral, with its
square spire; the large snow-white governor’s
house, and a long row of stores and warehouses,
fronting the harbour,—all visible at once! To
a boy who had never before seen a comfortable
dwelling, nor more than five houses near each
other, the little town appeared to be a grand
magnificent capital. Each house they passed
was a new surprise to him; the doors, windows,
chimneys, and roofs were all so different, so
large and fine. And there were more people in
the streets than he had ever before seen together.

At last Magnus stopped before one of the
handsomest dwellings, and assisted his sister to

alight from her pony. The door opened, and
JON OF ICELAND. 67

an old servant came forth. Jon and Gudrid,
hand in hand, followed them into a room which
seemed to them larger and handsomer than the
church at Kyrkedal, with still other rooms
opening out of it, with wonderful chairs, and
pictures, and carpets upon which they were
afraid to walk. This was their new home.




CHAPTER VIII

JON’S NEW HOME—THREE YEARS—THE ENGLISHMAN AGAIN
—A LONG JOURNEY—THE VOYAGE—SCOTLAND—THE
RETURN—CONCLUSION,



cee that his uncle Magnus was a man who

«said little, but took good notice of what was
uttered and performed by other people. The
way to gain his favour, therefore, was to accept
and discharge his new duties in life as they
should arise. Having adopted the resolution to
do this, it was surprising how soon these duties
became familiar and easy. He entered the
school, where he was by no means the lowest
or least promising scholar; assisted his mother
and Gudrid wherever it was possible; and was so
careful a messenger that Magnus by degrees
intrusted him with matters of some importance.
The household, in a little while, became well-
JON OF ICELAND. 69

ordered and harmonious, and although it lacked
the freedom and home-like feeling of the lonely
farm on the Thiorvd, all were contented and
happy.

Jon had a great deal to learn, but his eager-
ness helped him. His memory was naturally
excellent, and he had been obliged to exercise it
so constantly—having so few books, and those
mostly his own written copies—that he was able
to repeat correctly large portions of the native
sagas, or poetical histories. He was so well
advanced in Latin that the continuance of the
study became simply a delight; he learned
Danish, almost without an effort, from his uncle’s
commercial partner and the Danish clerk in the
warehouse; and he took up the study of English
with a zeal which was heightened by his remem-
brance of the English traveller whom he had
rescued from the storm, and who had rewarded
him so liberally.

We cannot follow him step by step, during
this period, although many things in his life

might instruct and encourage other earnest,
70 JON OF ICELAND.

struggling boys. It is enough to say that he
was always patient and cheerful, always grateful
for his opportunity of education, and never
neglectful of his proper duties to his uncle, his
mother, and his sister. Sometimes, it is true, he
was called upon to give up hours of sport, days
of recreation, desires which were right in them-
selves, but could not be conveniently gratified,—
and it might have gone harder with him to do so
if he had not constantly thought: “How would
my father have acted in such a case?” And had
he not promised to take the place of his father?

So three years passed away. Jon was eighteen,
and had attained his full stature He was
strong and healthy, and almost handsome; and
he had seen so much of the many strangers who
every summer came to Rejkiavik,—French fisher-
men, Spanish and German sailors, English and
American travellers, and Danish traders,—that
all his old shyness had disappeared. He was able
to look any man in the face, and ask or answer
a question.

It was the beginning of summer, and the
JON OF ICELAND. 71

‘school had just closed. Jon had been assisting
the Danish clerk in the warehouse; but towards
noon, when they had an idle hour, a sailor
announced that there was a new arrival in the
harbour; so he walked down the beach of sharp
lava-sand to the wooden jetty where strangers
landed. A little distance from the shore a yacht
was moored; the English flag was flying at the
stern, and a boat was already pulling towards
the landing-place. Jon rubbed his eyes, to be
sure he saw clearly; but no! the figure remained
the same; and now, as the stranger leaped
ashore, he could no longer restrain himself.
He rushed across the beach, threw his arms
round the man’s neck, and cried out:

“Mr. Lorne, Mr. Lorne!”

The latter was too astonished to recognize him
immediately.

“Don’t you know me?” Jon asked; and then,
half laughing, half crying, said in Latin:

“To-day is better than yesterday.”

“Why, can this be my little guide?” exclaimed

My. Lorne. “But to be sure it is! There are no
72 JON OF ICELAND.

such wise eyes in so young a head anywhere else
in the world.”

Before night the English traveller was in-
stalled in the “guest-room” in Uncle Magnus’s
house; and then they truly found that he had
not forgotten them. After supper he opened a
box, and took from it a silver watch for Jon; a
necklace, that could not be told from real pearls,
for Gudrid; and what a shawl for the mother!
Even Uncle Magnus was touched, for he brought
up a very old, dusty bottle of Portugal wine,
which he had never been known to do before,
except one day when the Governor came to see
him.

“And now,” said Mr. Lorne, when he was a
little tired of being thanked so much. . “I want
something in return. JI am going, by the way of
the Broad Fiord to the northern shore of Ice-
land, and back through the desert; and I shall
not feel safe unless Jon goes with me.”

“Oh!” cried Jon.

“T am not afraid this time,” said Gudrid.

Magnus looked at his sister, and then nodded.
JON OF ICELAND. 73

“Take the boy,” he said. “He can get back
before school begins again; we are as ready to trust
him with you, as you are to trust yourself with
him.”

What a journey that was! They had plenty
of ponies, and a tent,'and provisions in tin cans.
Sometimes it rained and snowed, and they were
wet and chilly enough at the end of the day, but
then the sun shone again, and the black moun-
tains became purple and violet, and their snows
and icefields sparkled in the blue of the air. They
saw many a wild and desolate landscape, but also
many a soft green plain and hay-meadow along
the inlets of the northern shore; and in the little
town of Akureyri Jon at last found a tree—the
only tree in Iceland! It is a mountain-ash, about
twenty feet high, and the people are so proud of
it that every autumn they wrap the trunk and
boughs, and even the smallest twigs, in woollen
cloth, lest the severity of the Icelandic winter
should kill it!

They visited the Myvatw (Mosquito Lake)
in the north-eastern part of the island, saw the
74 JON OF ICELAND.

voleanoes which a few years ago occasioned such
terrible devastation, and then crossed the great
central desert to the valley of the Thidrvd. So
it happened that Jon saw Gudridsdale again, but
vader pleasanter aspects than before, for it was a
calm sunny day when they reached the edge
of the table-land and descended into the lovely
green valley. It gave him a feeling of pain to
find strangers in his father’s house, and perhaps
Mr. Lorne suspected this, for he did not stop at
the farm, but pushed on to Kyrkedal, when the
good old pastor entertained them both as welcome
guests. At the end of six weeks they were back
in Rejkiavik, hale and ruddy after their journey,
and closer friends than ever.

Each brought back his own gain—Mr. Lorne
was able to speak Icclandic tolerably well, and
Jon was quite proficient in English. The former
had made the trip to Iceland especially to collect
old historical legends and acquire new information
concerning them. To his great surprise, he found
Jon so familiar with the subject, that, during the

journey, he conceived the idea of taking him to
JON OF ICELAND. 75

Scotland for a year, as an assistant in his studies
and literary labours; but he said nothing of this
until after their return to Rejkiavik. Then first
he proposed the plan to Magnus and Jon’s mother,
and prudently gave them time to consider it. It
was hard for both to consent, but the advantages
were too evident to be rejected. To Jon, when
he heard of it, it seemed simply impossible, yet
the preparations went on—his mother and Gud-
rid wept as they helped, Uncle Magnus looked
erave—and at last the morning came when he
had to say farewell.

The yacht had favourable winds at first. They
ran along the southern shore to Ingolf’s Head,
saw the high inaccessible suminits of the Skaptur
Jokull fade behind them, and then Iceland
dropped below the sea. A misty gale began to
blow from the south-west, forcing them to pass
the Faroe Islands on the east, and afterwards the
Shetland Isles; but, after coming nearly in sight
of Norway, the wind changed to the opposite
quarter, and the yacht spread her sails directly

for Leith. One night, when Jon awoke in his
76 JON OF ICELAND.

berth, he missed the usual sound of waves
against the vessel’s side, and the cries of the
sailors on deck—everything seemed strangely
quiet; but he was too good a sleeper to puzzle
his head about it, so merely turned over on his
pillow. When he got up in the morning the
quiet was still there. He dressed in haste and
went on deck. The yacht lay at anchor in front
of buildings larger than a hundred Rejkiaviks
put together.

“This is Leith,” said Mr, Lorne coming up to
him.

“Leith!” exclaimed Jon: “it seems like Rome
or Jerusalem! Those must be the queen’s
palaces.”

“No, no, Jon,” replied Mr. Lorne, “they are
only warehouses.”

“But what are those queer green hills behind
the houses? They are so steep and round that I
don’t see how anybody can climb them.”

“ Hills!” exclaimed Mr. Lorne. “O,I see now!
Why, Jon, those are trees!”

Jon was silent. He dared not doubt his
JON OF ICELAND. 77

friend’s word, but he could not yet wholly
believe it. When they had landed, and he saw
the great trunks, the spreading boughs, and the
millions of green leaves, such a feeling of awe
and admiration came over him that he began to
tremble. A wind was blowing, and the long,
flexible boughs of the elms swayed up and
down.

“Qh, Mr, Lorne!” he cried. “See! they are
praying! Let us wait awhile; they are saying
something—I hear their voices. Is it English ?—
can you understand it?”

There is one little rough cart in Rejkiavik, and
that is the only vehicle in Iceland. What, then,
must have been Jon’s feelings when he saw scores
of elegant carriages (for so cabs and omnibuses
appeared in his eyes) driving about, and great
wagons drawn by giant horses? When they got
into a cab; it seemed to him like sitting on a
moving throne. He had read and heard of all
these things, and thought he had a clear idea of
what they were; but he was not prepared for the
reality. He was so excited, as they drove up Leith
78 JON OF ICELAND.

Walk to the historically famous and magnificent
city of Edinburgh, that Mr. Lorne, sitting beside
him, almost fancied he could hear the beating of
his heart. The new wonders never ceased; there
was an apple-tree, with fruit; rose-bushes in
bloom; whole beds of geraniums in the little
gardens; windows filled with fruit, or brilliant
silks, or gold and silver ware; monuments and
spires that seemed to touch the clouds, and
endless multitudes of people! As they reached
the hotel, all he could say in a faltering voice
was:

“Poor old Iceland!”

The next day they took the train for a small
town in Lanarkshire, in the neighbourhood of
which Mr. Lorne had an estate. When Jon saw
‘the bare, heather-covered hills, and the swift
brooks that came leaping down their glens, he
laughed and said:

“Oh! you have a little Iceland even here! If
there were trees along the Thidrvé, it would look
like yonder valley.”

“T have some moorland of my own,” remarked
d
JON OF ICELAND. 79

Mr. Lorne; “and if you ever get to be home-sick,
I will send you out upon it to recover.”

But when Jon reached the house, and was so
cordially welcomed by Mrs. Lorne, and saw the
park and gardens where he hoped to become
familiar with trees and flowers, be thought there
would be as much likelihood of being home-sick
in heaven as in such a place.

Everything he saw tempted him to visit and
examine it. During the first few days he could
scarcely sit still in the library and take part in
Mr. Lorne’s studies. But his strong sense of duty,
his long habits of patience and self-denial, soon
made the task easy, and even enabled him to take
afew more hours daily for his own improvement.
His delight in all strange and beautiful natural
objects was greatly prolonged by this course.
He enjoyed everything far more than if he had
rapidly exhausted its novelty. Mr. Lorne saw
this quality of Jon’s nature with great satisfac-
tion, and was ever ready to give advice and
information which he knew would be earnestly

prized and judiciously exercised.
80 JON OF ICELAND.

It was avery happy year; but I do not believe
that it was the happiest of Jon’s life, Having
learned to overcome the restlessness and impa-
tience which are natural to boyhood, he laid the
basis for greater content in lifeasa man. When
he returned to Rejkiavik, in his twentieth year,
with 4 hundred pounds in his pocket, and a rich
store of knowledge in his head—having visited
nearly all the important places in Great Britain,
Ireland, and the Continent—all other tasks
seemed easy. It was a great triumph for his
mother, and especially for Gudrid, now a bright,
blooming maiden of sixteen. Uncle Magnus
brought up another dusty bottle of wine to
welcome him, although there were only six more
left; and all the neighbours were invited to
welcome him. Even the Governor stopped and
shook hands with him in the street on the day
after his arrival. His mother, who was with
him, said, after the Governor had passed:

“TI hope, Jon, thy father sees thee now!” and
the same thought was in Jon’s own heart.

And now, as Jon is no longer a boy, and is still
JON OF ICELAND. 81

living at the time we are writing, we must say
“good-bye” to him. We have no fears for his
future life; he will always be brave, and manly,
and truthful. He settled down in Rejkiavik,
and rapidly became a most successful teacher ‘in
the most important town in his native country.
The lessons of Jon’s life are so pregnant with
much good and usefulness, and speak so plainly
for themselves, that we would only weaken them

by enlarging upon them,



(128 Fr


PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

TS ONWIEST

CHAPTER I.

WHICH TELLS HOW GREENLAND WAS DISCOVERED, AND
HOW IT CAME ABOUT THAT THE COUNTRY WAS 50

NAMED.
cA.

rarer
eno

. F the reader will open his atlas at the map

om of North America, and will follow the map
i far up towards the top of it, where the north
pole is marked down, he will find there shown a
large country with “Greenland” printed over it.
Perhaps he would like to know how it came
about that this country was discovered, and how
it received its name. He must first look at his
map again. There isa large island a little to the
right of Greenland, and over this is printed the
word “Iceland.” Now we need hardly say that
84 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

the name Iceland was given to this island because
of the great quantity of ice there; but there is a
great deal more ice in Greenland than there is in
Iceland, and it seems strange that any person
should have thought of calling such a place green.
Listen to the reason.

The first settlers in Iceland went there from
Norway in the ninth century, and they were
called Northmen or Norsemen, and sometimes
Vikings, and notwithstanding that the country
was very cold they prospered greatly, cultivating
the land and hunting and fishing, without caring
much for the cold or for the ice; and the people
became very numerous.

After Iceland had been.settled about a hun-
dred years, it came to pass that a certain
powerful man offended the king and was obliged
to flee from the country to save his life. Now
to flee from his country he had, of course, to get
into a ship and go to sea, for we have seen that
Iceland is surrounded on all sides by water.
This took place in the year A.D. 982.

The name of this man was Eric Raude, or Eric
PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 85

Rufus, which means simply Eric the Red; but
whether this name was given to him on account
of the crimes he had committed, and meant Eric
with the Red Hand, or whether it was given to
-him on account of his having red hair, and meant
Evie with the Red Head, nobody knows, for there
were no printed books in those days.

Eric the Red put to sea in his ship, with a few
hardy followers, very hastily, but where to go’
the unhappy man did not well know. He
thought there might be land to the west of
Iceland, for the people in the latter island gener-
ally believed so; but of this he was very uncer-
tain, and he would probably not have sought it
entirely of his own free-will; but, happily for
Eric, a storm set in from the east, and his ship
was driven to the west before he had fairly
made up his mind what he should do; but having
been driven so far, he thought he would venture
still farther—and he came at length in sight of
land.

At this discovery Eric and his followers were
much rejoiced, and they approached the land as
86 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

rapidly as they could, their ship being propelled
by sails, and partly with oars. When they
had come into smooth water between an island
and the mainland they anchored their vessel and
went on shore, and took possession of the country.
The place where they landed was a broad valley,
on both sides of which rose great high mountains,
whose sides and tops were covered with snow
and ice. But it was midsummer, and the valley
wa’ covered with green grass and sparkling with
bright flowers. Some low bushes grew here and
there, and there were also some little pine or fir
trees about half as high as their bodies. A
great many reindeer were browsing in the valley,
and little birds were hopping about in the little
trees and flying through the air, rejoicing in the
sunshine and singing merrily.

The reindeer were very tame, and Hric and his
followers killed many of them with their strong
bows and arrows, so that they were able to live
there for some time without any trouble. Then
Eric said to his followers:

“For so valuable a discovery as this the king
PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 87

will surely pardon us if we go back to Iceland;
and if we give the country a good name, people
will come and settle here.”

So Eric called the country GREENLAND, and
by that name it has been known ever since.

The place where Eric had brought his ship to
anchor was named Eric’s Sound, and when he
had fully satisfied himself that people could live
there he returned in his ship, with nearly all his
followers, to Iceland.


CHAPTER II.

WHICH RELATES HOW PEOPLE CAME TO SETTLE IN GREEN-
LAND, AND SOME OTHER USEFUL THINGS TO KNOW,

as

@T turned out as Eric had predicted; for no

ae

sooner had he told the king of the new
L land he had discovered than the king par-
doned him and all his followers, and gave him
twenty-five ships and a great number of people
to go out and settle and occupy this new country;
and when the people heard the fine stories which
Eric told of it, and the fine name which he had
given to it, they were very curious, and very
eager indeed to go there.

When Eric arrived in Greenland with his
twenty-five ships he found that the country
was already inhabited by a race of people of
short stature, whom he called Schraellings, which
PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 89

means small or puny men; but they have since
come to be known as Greenlanders, or more
usually Eskimo. They lived together by hunting
and fishing, and dressed wholly in the skins of
animals. The colour of their complexion was
very dark, a sort of copper-colour. They roamed
about from place to place along the sea-shore,
living in the summer in tents made of seal-skins,
and in winter either in hovels made of stones or
in huts made of snow. At first they were kind
to the white men, and received them hospitably;
but after a time they began to quarrel with each
other, and many severe and bloody fights ensued
between the Eskimo and the Northmen.

But notwithstanding all obstacles, several
colonies were soon established in Greenland,
and many more people coming over from Ice-
land, these colonies rapidly increased, and were
extended round Cape Farewell (which is the
southern port of Greenland), and thence far up
the west side of the country, that is, on the
- side where Baffin’s Bay is marked down on the
map.
90 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

These Northmen were always a very restless
and discontented people, and a son of Eric named
Lief, growing tired of hunting and fishing, took
one of his father’s ships, while he was yet a very
young man, and with thirty men as bold as him-
self set out westward from Greenland to see
what more could be found. They came upon
the land which is now called Labrador, and
further down they discovered the island now
called Newfoundland, and then they came to
Nova Scotia, and it is thought that they even
reached as far south as where the city of Boston
in the United States now stands. This was in
the year A.D. 1001, nearly five hundred years
before Christopher Columbus discovered America.
This new land which Lief had discovered was
called Vinland, meaning “The Land of Wine,”
because of the great numbers of wild grapes
which grew there, and from which they made
wine.

These Northmen remained in Vinland many
years, but went away at last, and the name also
passed away. .
PHILIP OF GREENLAND, 91

The colonies which the Northmen founded in
Greenland continued to flourish for nearly four
hundred years, and finally, from being pagans and
worshippers of the heathen god Odin, the people
became Christians, and a cathedral and several
churches were built there, and the pope even
sent a bishop to reside there. But at length,
partly because of quarrels among themselves and
with the Eskimo, and partly because of a pesti-
lence called the “Black Death,” the Northmen
all died, and for a long time afterwards people
spoke about the “lost colonies of Greenland,”
but no person visited that country until about
two hundred and fifty years afterwards (that is
in the year 1721), when Hans Egede, a very
pious and worthy man, thought that he would
go out there and look after the conversion of the
Eskimo. °

Hans Egede was a Dane, and the King of
Denmark sent this pious missionary in a ship to
Greenland, and he landed at a place which he
called Godthaab (which means Good Hope), and
began not only to convert the Eskimo, but to
92 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

colonize the country again; ‘and from that day
to this the resettlement of Greenland has gone
on. There are now a great many little colonies
along the coast, nearly all the Eskimo are
Christians, and many of them are very good ones
too, most of them being able to read and write
like any other people.

The old Northmen used to cultivate the land
in some of the valleys, but from the time they
first went there the climate seems to have grown
colder and colder, until at this day there is no
land cultivated there at all. The Northmen had
altogether about two hundred farms, but now
neither the Danes nor the Eskimo have any
other means of subsistence than hunting and
fishing, except the food which they get from
Denmark; for it must not be supposed that
Greenland is wholly shut out from the rest of
the world, even if it has a name that it has no
business with, and is shut up in ice. Ships go
out there from Denmark every summer, and
altogether there are from fifteen to twenty of
them; and they carry out to the people bread
PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 93

and coffee and sugar and tea, and coal to make
fire with, and blankets and civilized clothing,
and indeed everything that the people want,
taking back on their return to Denmark the oil,
dried cod-fish, furs, whalebone, eider-down, and
other things which the people have collected
during the year, all of which are sold in the
city of Copenhagen.

All of these little colonies or settlements are |
situated close by the sea. Some of them are
on the islands, which are very numerous every-
where along the Greenland coast, and some of
them are on the mainland; but none of them are
in the interior of the country.

If the reader will follow on the map the west
coast of Greenland up towards the north pole,
his eye will light directly upon the spot where
the very last of the Greenland colonies is marked
down. He will observe that it is very far up,
nearer to the north pole than any other civilized
settlement on the face of the earth. This colony
‘is called Upernavik, and this name means “The

Summer Place,” from wpernak, the Eskimo word
94 PHILIP OF GREENLAND. -

for summer, and is pronounced as if the spelling
of it began with a double o, the accent being
upon per.

Upernavik is a very small town. There are
not altogether more than a dozen white people
living there, the remainder of the population,
which varies from one to two hundred, being
Eskimo. The white people are all Danes, and
they live in small wooden houses, the materials
of which are brought in ships from Denmark. The
governor of the place is called the Chief Trader,
and his business is to collect from all the people
of the neighbouring settlements (mostly by traffic
with them) oils and furs, and such other things of
value as he can, before the ship arrives which is
to carry them to Denmark.

On the islands within a large circuit round
Upernavik there are a great number of settle-
ments or hunting stations, at which there usually
reside one Danish hunter and a number of
Eskimo hunters with their families. From all of
these stations the products of the hunt are sent
to Upernavik.
PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 95

One of these little hunting stations is called
Auk-pad-lar-tok, which means “The Place of the
Red Rocks,” for the rocks which compose the cliffs
there are of a reddish-brown colour—no doubt
caused by iron contained in them. These cliffs,
being very lofty, can be seen at a great dis-
tance.

Now our story has much to do with this place
called Auk-pad-lar-tok, where the high red cliffs
are; and since we have come to the end of our
Greenland history, 1t is time for us to make the
acquaintance of Philip the Greenland hunter; so

he will be introduced accordingly.







CHAPTER Il,

IN WHICH PHILIP THE GREENLAND HUNTER IS INTRODUCED
TO THE READER, AND THE READER FINDS OUT WHERE
PHILIP LIVES,




IME forty years ago a young man set out

from Denmark to seek his fortune in
i Greenland. A singular place, one would
think, for anybody to go and seek a fortune; but
this young man was fond of adventure; and as he
did not care for riches so long as he had enough
to eat, and had plenty of clothes, and could be
independent, perhaps going to Greenland to seek
his fortune was not such a bad idea after all.
He was at that time little more than twenty-one
years old, and he worked his passage out in a
Danish ship to Upernavik as a common sailor.

The name of this man was Philip; and it is
PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 97

about his adventures that we are now going to
write,

He was rather a handsome young fellow,
with light blue eyes, and he was also very
strong. He soon made up his mind that he
liked Upernavik, and having also made up his
mind that he liked a fine-looking Eskimo girl
that was there, he married her and _ settled
there, living in a hut which he made with his
own hands.

Philip lived and prospered, and his Eskimo
wife proved good and industrious. A large
family of children soon began to grow up about
him, and Philip found himself at last with eight
mouths to feed, besides those of himself and his
wife. By this time, however, he had been
twenty-two years in Greenland. His eldest
child was nearly twenty years old—a fine active
boy he was, named Peter. The next was eighteen
years old, and was named Carl; there was a
daughter named Christina; and then there were
five others:—Jens, and Marcus, and Maria, and

Christian, and Jacob. The two eldest were good
(124) G
98 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

hunters, like their father, but the other boys
were not yet old enough to do much.

Philip now said to himself, “I will seek some
other place where there are not so many hunters
as there are at Upernavik, and better still, where
there are no hunters at all, for I am growing old
now, and I must look out for myself. I can’t
hunt as I used to do.” So he looked about him,
and he found that Auk-pad-lar-tok was just the
place he wanted, and so when the summer came
he went there with all his family in a boat, for
it is about thirty miles from Upernavik, and
being like it an island, of course it could only be
reached in that way, after the ice had melted and
broken up.

When Philip went to Auk-pad-lar-tok there
was nobody living on the island, and he landed
from his boat with his family in a dreary enough
place. The winter’s snow had not all melted,
and the grass had hardly begun to sprout in the
valleys. There was nothing except rocks where
he landed, but he soon found a place quite close
to the sea, where he said he would build a hut.
PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 99

While he was building his hut he had also to
look out for his family, for the weather was very
chilly, as one may well suppose, at that time of
the year, so near to the north pole.

Before Philip took his family to Auk-pad-lar-
tok he and his boys had taken up in their boat,
as soon as the ice broke, some boards which he
had bought from the chief trader at Upernavik,
and everything that was required for making a
hut, except stones and moss, which were there, as

‘any one would know, plenty enough already.
So when Philip took his entire family up there,
it was a regular “moving,” and everything they
had in the world was there with them on the
little rocky island.

The first thing that Philip did was to put up a
tent to shelter himself and his family. This tent
was made out of seal-skins, which were sewn
tightly together by his Eskimo wife and his half
Eskimo daughters, with sinew thread which they
had obtained from the leg of a reindeer.

It was no easy matter for Philip to build his
hut, for he had to carry the stones and the moss
100 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

with which to make the walls, on his back, and
he had nobody to help him but his boys. They
were the whole summer at work upon it; but
before the cold weather had fairly set in they
had it roofed over, and then they moved into it,
and they found it very tight and comfortable,
although there was but one room in it. One
side was fitted up for a sleeping-place, and this
was divided by thin partitions, something like the
stalls of a stable, and here they rolled themselves
up under great bags full of eider-down and
feathers, when they wanted to sleep.

Neither in this hut nor in the tent did they have
any fireplace or stove, but they were kept warm
and comfortable enough with Eskimo lamps, and
these lamps cooked their food, besides lighting
the hut.

When Philip’s family found how snugly they
were situated at Auk-pad-lar-tol, they were very
happy, as may be supposed.


CHAPTER IV.

WHICH TELLS HOW PHILIP AND HIS SONS CAUGHT A
BEAR, AND PREPARED TO CATCH SEALS,

KYEOW, boys,” said Philip to his sons, “we

have had a hard time all summer with



this hut-building, so we will now
have some hunting, or if the hut is warm with-
out hunting, there is not much in it to eat.
Neither have we any oil for the lamps.” And the
sons all said, “Yes, father,’ very promptly, for
they were tired of the hut-building, which they
had never liked, and were eager for the hunt,
which they liked very much.

Now it was no trifling task to get all their
things together, that they might be ready for
hunting. The sea was by this time all covered
over with ice, and their boat was drawn up out of
the water and secured upon the rocks, and they
102 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

must now hunt with dogs and sledges; but the
sledges had to be repaired, also the harness for
the dogs, and the whips, and this took several
days. When all this was done they had dogs
enough for three sledges; so Philip took one
team for himself, setting apart for his own use
sixteen dogs; and to his eldest son Peter he gave
twelve dogs, and to his son Carl he gave ten.

Everything now being ready, Philip said to
his sons, “ We will start off to-morrow morning,
boys, and set our nets for seals, and perhaps we
may catch a bear.”

When the morning came, Philip and his sons
were up bright and early, and called up their
dogs, who seemed to be as glad as the hunters
themselves at the change which had taken place
in their manner of life, for they frisked about
and barked, and rubbed themselves against their
masters, and jumped upon them while they were
being harnessed; and when they were attached
to the sledges, and all was ready for the start,
they could hardly be restrained, so eager were
they to be bounding over the ice.
PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 103

By this time the weather had grown very
cold, and the hunters were all dressed in furs
from head to foot. A great deal of snow had
fallen, and the wind had blown it over the sea
in heavy drifts; but the cold and the wind
together had packed it very tightly so that the
sledge glided over it almost without cutting in
at all.

The sledges were soon dashing down the slope
in front of the hut, and each of the hunters, after
steering his sledge among the rough ice which
lay along the shore, sprang upon it, and away
went the three teams at a tremendous pace, al-
niost flying over the frozen sea.

The day was fresh and cold, and the wind
blew rather sharply; but this made the dogs
more lively, so that after they had gone some
miles it was not easy to stop them. But they
halted at last, and the hunters then took from
their sledges some seal-nets, and prepared to set
them. These nets are made with large meshes,
and being dropped in the water underneath the

ice, through holes cut with an axe, are there kept
104 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

upright by stones tied to their lower margin, and
the unsuspecting seals, swimming along under
the ice in search of a hole or crack where they
may breathe (for seals cannot, like other fish, live
long with their heads under the water) get en-
tangled in them, and are soon drowned, and there
they remain until dug out by the hunter.

As soon as they had set one net they jumped
on their sledges, and drove off a mile or two and
then set another, and so on, until they had set
twenty, when being tired, they turned about to
come home; but Peter, being inclined for some-
thing to warm the blood up a little, turned the
heads of his dogs down the fiord, and bantered
the others for a bear-hunt.

They drove about ten miles before they came
upon a single track. As soon as it was seen the
dogs, without waiting to be directed, dashed oft
upon it as fast as they could go, making the
sledges fairly bounce again over the. snow-drifts;
and it was all the hunters could do to keep them-
selves from being tossed off. Philip led the

way; almost close beside him came Peter, while
PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 105

Carl, who could not manage his dogs as well as
his father and brother, brought up the rear.

It would not be an easy matter to describe
this wild race after the bear—the dogs straining
every nerve to get the bear in sight, while their
masters encouraged them to their greatest possible
speed—coaxing them on by crying, “ Nenook!
Nenook!” all the while. Nenook is the Eskimo
name for the bear, and this the dogs knew well
enough, and they pricked up their ears, and
pressed harder and harder into their collars,
and strained their eyes, trying to catch sight of
the prey.

At length, after they had gone at this wild
pace for several miles, the bear was seen running
away over the ice as fast as he possibly could;
and the hunters now gained rapidly upon him,
for the Eskimo dogs, even though they are
dragging a sledge, can run much faster than a
bear.

It was not long before they came almost up
with the huge animal which they were pursuing,
Philip first and Peter next; but Carl could not
106 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

get on so well, and had fallen some distance be-
hind. But the bear never minded who was first,
or who was second or third, but kept on running
for his life.

Philip and Peter now loosened the ends of
their dogs’ traces, and the animals, free from the
sledges, dashed ahead, and overtaking the bear,
fell upon him most fiercely. But Carl was not
so fortunate. His traces had become entangled,
and he could not untie them, neither could he
stop his dogs; so, to keep himself from being
carried on top of the bear, he was obliged to roll
himself off the sledge in a great hurry, and let
his dogs go, sledge and all.

By this time the other dogs had brought the
bear to bay and were having a fierce fight with
him, flying at his sides with their sharp teeth,
while the bear in his turn was trying his best
to strike them with his immense paws.

It was a time of great peril for the bear when
Carl’s dogs came up, for they rushed at him on
both sides, and being all fastened to the sledge

they got tangled up among the bear’s legs, and
PHILIP OF GREENLAND. 107

were unable to get out of his way when he made
a dash at them, so that the first one he aimed at
was mashed down flat in the snow, the next one
was knocked over lifeless, another had all his
ribs broken, and a fourth was caught by the bear
in his mouth, out of which, as may well be
supposed, he did not eome with much life in
him. Besides this, the sledge had struck against
the legs of the bear, and thinking this, too, an
enemy, as well as the dogs, the bear hit it with
his paw and knocked it all to pieces.

Poor Carl would soon have been without dogs
or sledge or anything else, if Philip and Peter
had not quickly got their rifles off their sledges,
and running on as fast as they could, put an end
to the fight by killing the bear. And now there
was nothing more to do but to take off the bear's
skin, and load their sledges with the flesh and
skin, and what was left of Carl’s sledge, and
go home, from which they were a long way off.

Carl was very much cast down by this misad-
venture, and his father and brother never ceased

to make sport of him as they drove back. and in
108 PHILIP OF GREENLAND.

truth it was a long time before poor Carl heard
the last of it.

By and by, however, Carl became as expert a
hunter as his father or Peter; and for several
years past—for the family are yet living—he
has shared creditably in many more exciting
bear-hunts than his first one. Indeed, we should
not wonder if he has a book written all about
himself only, some day soon.


HOW THE ANCIENT SWEDES THOUGHT
THE WORLD WAS MADE.

ao
YsWEDEN has from my earliest childhood

been a very interesting country to me, and



CY
eeu)
x
| whenever the fierce north winds dashed the
waves of the Baltic against the shores of my
dear out-of-the-way Pomerania they seemed to
me howling the war-songs of the stern old Goths,
or singing about the Valhalla of their gods. I
could not long resist the desire to see with my
own eyes the country and the people whose
traditions are so akin to those of my own; so,
without telling any one of my purpose, I quietly
slipped on board a ship one day, bound for
“Gamla Thule” (Old Sweden). Everything was
new, everything full of interest. To be able to

see and read at midnight as well as at midday,
110 HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE.

for example, was a ninth wonder of the world to
me. When tired of walking, I took “skjuts,”!
and in that way it so happened that I one day
arrived in the beautiful province of Dalsland,
and at the pearl of that province, Baldersnis,
situated upon a peninsula in the lansjé (salmon
lake) where Art and Nature, under the direction
of the brukspatron? Waern, had combined to form
a paradise even in so high a latitude as sixty
degrees north. Hospitality, a carcinal virtue of
the Swedes of the present day as well as ot

centuries ago, bade me welcome, and the lady of

1Skjuts—pronounced shuts—corresponding to the postal ar-
rangement in Germany, although expeditious if ordered before-
hand, are rather slow and inconvenient generally. Instead of a
commodious post-chaise, the skjutskiirra is nothing but a wooden
cart upon two wheels, with one seat, without springs or cushions.
The Swedish bonde, or peasant, is compelled by law to furnish,
in rotation, a boy, a horse, and a kirra, to convey any traveller,
at any time, night or day, to the nearest skjutsholl on his route,
at the rate of twenty-four shillings banco per Swedish mile—
equal to about three halfpence per English mile. If the trav-
eller provides himself with a whip he has the right to drive; if
not, the skjuts-gosse drives at his leisure—usually very lei-
surely.

? A title given to large landholders not belonging to the aristoc-
racy.
HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE, 111

the house, one of the rare angels in this world
that are not happy until every being round them
is made to feel so too, provided everything for
the comfort of the invited guest.

The brukspatron had in store for me every
day some new surprise, either of historical
curiosity or natural beanty, as, for example,
the Jattestupa, a steep rock, from which the
heathen heroes precipitated themselves when
feeling that they were growing old, and had no
more chance to fall in battle. They wilfully
killed themselves in this way that they might
come to Odin in Valhalla, believing that those
who died upon sick-beds had to go to Hela, queen
in Helheim, a bleak and tedious place, which the
jolly old Swedes dreaded as much almost as
Nifleheim! itself, preferring fighting and feasting
to making long faces. At one time we would
visit a “runesten,” a slab of stone with figures
graven on it, “Those characters are Runor,” said
my friend, “the letters of our forefathers; their

alphabet contained only sixteen letters to our

1 Corresponding to the hell of the Christians.
112 HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE.

twenty-five.” Another day we went to the
“jattehdgar,” huge earth-hills, heaped by the
people upon urns that contained the ashes of
their kings and heroes.

These and many other curious things created
in me a lively desire to know all that I could
about the ancient Swedes, their legends and
mythology. Learning this, my host offered to
relate some of their traditions in the evening
over a glass of good mead, such as only his wife
knew how to brew. When evening came he
kept his word, and told me how his forefathers
thought the world was made.

Miteard, or the middle yard—our earth—so
called because it was the fifth or middle of the
nine worlds which the Swedes believed to exist—
the first four being the abodes of all that was
good, the last four of all that was bad. The good
beings were the Asar and Elves, the bad the
Giants and Dwarfs.

In the beginning there was nothing but an
immense abyss, devoid of everything, called
“Ginnungagap.” In the north end of the abyss,
HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE. 113

called “Nifleheim,” where it was excessively cold,
there arose, after the lapse of ages, a stream
named “Hoergelmer.” In the south end of the
abyss called “ Muspelheim,” heat slowly began to
generate. The waters of Hoergelmer were filled
with all sorts of poison, and flowing down the
abyss, cooled as they rolled on, decreasing in
speed, and when they reached the centre of the
gap they congealed, and at last, as the river rolled
on, filled the whole pit with ice.

From Muspelheim a stream of heat got in mo-
tion, also towards the centre of the great pit, and
when it had reached the’ ice it melted it. And
when the ice was all gone there arose a great
giant, filling half the space. His name was
Ymer. But so fatigued was this poor giant by
the gigantic labour of shaping himself, that he
fell immediately into a long and sound sleep.
The heat from Muspelheim affected the creature so
much that he perspired heavily in his sleep, and
the large drops under his arms hardened and
took shape, and presently a man sprang from

under his right and a woman from under his left
(124) a
114 HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE.

arm. From this pair sprang the formidable race
of Hrymthunar, “ Frost-giants,” embodying the
principle of evil; they play an important part
in the Northern mythology, carrying on a per-
petual warfare with the Asar.

When Ymer had sweated out these things,
Alfadur (father of all things) took pity on him
lest he should starve for want of nourishment;
so he created an enormous cow, which he called
Adumbla. From the udder of this cow he caused,
four streams of milk to flow, which this giant
baby drank and grew fat. So far this was all
right, but now the cow wanted food; therefore
Alfadur gave her great salt rocks to lick, which
she liked so very much, and licked with such
perseverance, that she cleared in a few days a
huge rock of all its sat. When, lo! a man
sprang from that very rock sleek and well-
formed. Adumbla stared at him as only a
bewildered cow can.when she does not know
what to make of it, and said “Mook!” and ran
away.

This man was called Bure, and he found a
HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE. 115

helpmate somewhere, and had a son called
Borr.

Borr married a granddaughter of Ymer, the
giant that filled the !-alf of Ginnungagap, and he
had three sons, Odin, Vile, and Ve. The boys
were extraordinary prodigies, gifted with re-
markable powers, together with a boyish delight
in investigating and destroying; for when only
. three days old they did no less work than
killing the giant Ymer, their great grandfather.
The enormous flood caused by the streams of
blood issuing from the body of that colossus,
drowned all the frost-giants except Bergelmer
and his wife, who were out in a boat fishing at
the time of this calamity.

When Ymer was dead, the three boys were in
great perplexity what to do with his body, lest
- Alfadur should discover what they had done, and
punish them. There was no room in the uni-
verse to bury him. After a long consultation
Odin proposed that they should plant him in the
middle of great Ginnungagap, the very cradle of
their ancestor. Although no child’s play to drag
116 HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE,

this mammoth down the abyss, they accomplished
it; and having him securely there, they scraped
all the flesh from his bones, kneaded it thoroughly
with their fists, formed a ball of it, and giving it a
kick with their little feet, sent it flying through
the great abyss. They clapped their hands, and
shouted in high glee. That is our earth—noth-
ing but a huge meat-ball. When the ball in its
spherical course came back again, they arrested
its flight, not having completed their work.
Digging deep and spacious holes in the ball, and
drawing furrows of different sizes, they filled them
with Ymer’s blood, and so made oceans, lakes, and
rivers; his bones they planted deep in the ball,
and thus made mountains. The teeth they
scattered broadcast over the whole globe, and
those are the stones that are found everywhere,
and with which we pave our streets. Out of
Ymer’s hair, with great skill, they formed trees,
shrubs, and flowers. After all this was done
they took the giant’s skull, scraped it clean of all
fibres, polished it, and then lifted it high above
the earth, thus forming the sky, to support


HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE. 117

which they caught four dwarfs, named North,
South, East, and West, and placed them at
four corners respectively. These creatures some-
how had saved themselves by stealth from
the great flood, and to serve as perpetual pil-
lars of the heavens was therefore well-deserved
punishment. The brains these ingenious boys
got rid of by throwing them in the air, where
they at once changed into clouds, and sailed
quietly along.

After this work was accomplished, they under-
took a journey to the far South, to Muspelheim,
the land of fire, and eluding the watchfulness of
the fire genii that dwelt there, they succeeded in
carrying off some sparks, at the risk of their lives.
Those they planted in the sky, where they
glittered and sparkled, lighting up their young
creation most beautifully. Afterwards the god-
dess Freya greatly improved it, painting the
whole dome sky-blue.

Thus everything was successfully done, and
viewing it from all sides they thought it was
a beautiful place to live in. But there was no
118 HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE.

one to enjoy all this but themselves, and they
puzzled their brains greatly what to do in this
dilemma.

Engrossed with this idea these three young
gods—as they thought they were—walked arm
in arm, one summer morning, along the shores of
the ocean, discussing their various plans, when
suddenly Odin leaped towards the fantastically
shaped trunk of a decaying ash-tree erying:

“T have it! I have it! I will carve a man from
this tree-trunk!”

“ And I a woman from this elm-tree,” exclaimed
Vile in haste. “Let us see who will succeed
best.”

They cut and carved, chiselled and filed, with
a will and a might, and before sunset the two
statues were finished.

“Brother Vile’s is the handsomest,” said Ve
“But my one is the strongest,” said Odin, rather
vexed; “and now I shall give them both life, and
breathe a soul into them.”

When he had done this the two statues began

to move ‘about. They thumped their heads
HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE. 119

against trees and rocks, and fell into ditches
and bogs.

“Poor things!” cried Ve, “this will never do;”
and walking up to them he gave them sight,
hearing, and speech. The moment they opened
their eyes they were enraptured with each other's
beauty, danced about in antics, making all sorts
of grimaces; and when they found they could
speak, there was no end to their gibbering and
chattering (or, as Ve said, “to their tongues”),
without the least sense or meaning, especially
with the woman.

“Ah!” said Vile, laughing, “nothing but
monkeys after all; they want a gift from me
too;” and placing his hands upon their heads he
said, “Receive from me understanding and
insight.”

This opened their mental eyes, and they ran
off in great haste to make cloth wherewith to
cover their nakedness, build a hut for shelter,
and till the ground.

“What name shall we give them?” asked Ve.

“Mine shall be called Askur,” responded Odin,
120 HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE

“Mine shall bear the name of Embler,” said
Vile.

And thus the ancient Swedes thought the
world was made, and men and women to enjoy
this beautiful earth.




THE LAND OF PLUCK.

a

yn the old, old time, when some of the now-

SEE

called heroes of antiquity were cutting

Le As

their baby-teeth, men commenced quarrel-
ling for the possession of Holland. Why any
one should have wanted it has been a mystery
to many, as ib was then only a low tract of
spongy marsh, a net-work of queer rivers that
seemed never to know where they belonged, but
kept hiding here, running there, and falling
asleep in pleasant places. It was a great land-
_ and-water kaleidoscope, girt about with a rim of
gloomy forest; or a dissected puzzle, with half of
the pieces in soak; and its owners were a scanty,
122 THE LAND OF PLUCK.

savage, fish-eating tribe, living like a on
mounds of their own raising,

Such was Holland at the beginning of its
history.

The first who held possession of Dutch soil
were a branch of the great German race. Driven
by circumstances from their old home, they had
settled upon an empty island in the river Rhine,
which as every one knows, after leaving its
pleasant southern country, straggles through
Holland ina bewildered search for the sea. This
island they called Betaww, or “Good Meadow,”
and so in time came themselves to be called
Batavii or Batavians.

Other portions of the country were held by
various tribes living upon and beyond a great
tract of land, which afterwards, in true Holland
style, was turned into a sea! Most of these
tribes were sturdy and brave, but the Batavii
were braver than all. Fierce, staunch, and

1The Zuyder Zee, formed by successive inundations during the
thirteenth century, In the last of these, in 1287, nearly eighty
thousand persons were drowned,
THE LAND OF PLUCK. 123

defiant, they taught even their little children
only the law of might; and their children grew
up to be mightier than they.

Soon the all-conquering Romans, who with
Cesar at their head had trampled surrounding
nations into subjection, discovered that the
Batavii were not to be vanquished—that their
friendship was worth far more than the wretched
country they inhabited. An alliance was there-
fore formed, and the Batavii were declared to be
exempt from the annual tax or tribute which all
others were forced to pay to the Romans. Cesar
himself was not ashamed to extol their skill in
arms, nor to send their now famous warriors to
fight his battles, and strike terror to the hearts
of his foes.

The Romans called them “friends,” but they
soon discovered that the Batavians were sim-
ply remaining on friendly terms with them
merely for their own convenience, and a contest,
stubborn and tedious, followed between them ;
the result being that both parties were glad to
make terms of peace, which prevailed with few
124 THE LAND OF PLUCK.

interruptions until the decline of the Roman
Empire. . .

After that hordes of barbarians overrun
Europe, and Holland, with other countries, had
a hard time of it. Man to man, the Batavian
could hold his own against any mortal foe, but
he was not always proof against numbers. The
“Good Meadow” grew larger and more valuable,
was conquered and held in turn by several more
powerful enemies, but not until Batavian pluck
stood recorded in many a fearful tale passed
from father to son.

Later, each of the surrounding nations, as it
grew more powerful, tried to wrest Holland from
the holders of the soil. Some succeeded, others
failed; but always and every time the Dutch
gathered their strength for the contest, and went
not to battle but to war. As the Russians burnt
Moscow to prevent it from falling into the hands
of Napoleon, so this staunch people always stood
ready, at the worst, to drown Holland rather
than yield her to the foe. Often they let in the
waters they had so laboriously shut out, laying
THE LAND OF PLUCK. 125

waste thousands of fertile acres, that an avenging
sea might suddenly confound the invaders.
Often they faced famine and pestilence-—men,
women, and little wonder-stricken children,
perishing in the streets of their beleaguered
cities,—all who had breath to say it, still fiercely
refusing to surrender. Now and then, it is true,
under promise of peace and increased prosperity,
they formed a friendly union with a one-time
enemy. But woe to the other side if it carried
ageression and a trust in might too far. Treachery,
oppression, breach of faith, were sure, sooner or
later, to arouse Dutch pluck, and Dutdh pluck
in the end has always beaten.

And so, though Roman, Saxon, Austrian,
Spaniard, Belgian, and Frenchman in turn
flourished a sceptre over them, it comes after all
to be true, that only the Dutch have taken
Holland. It is theirs by every right of inheri-
tanee and strife—theirs to hold, to drain, and to
pump, for ever and ever. They wrested it from
the sea, not ina day, but through long years of
patient toil, through dreary years of suffering
126 THE LAND OF PLUCK.

and sorrow. They have counted their dead, in
their war with the ocean alone, by hundreds of
thousands. Industry, hardihood, and thrift, have
been their allies in a better sense than their old
Batavian forces were to the haughty Czesar.

For ages, it seems, Holland could not
have known an idle moment. Frugal, hardy,
painstaking, and persevering, her spirit was
ever equal to great enterprises. Obstacles that
would have discouraged others, inspired the
Dutch with increased energy. Their land was
only a marsh threatened by the sea. What of
that? So much the more need of labour and
skill, to make it a hailing place among nations,
It was barren and bleak. “Why, then,” said
they, “so much the more need we should become
masters in tilling the soil.” It was a very little
place, scarcely worth giving a name to on the
maps. “So much the more need,” said plucky
Holland, “that we extend our possessions, own
lands in every corner of the earth, and send our
ships far and near, until every nation uncon-
sciously pay us tribute.”
THE LAND OF PLUCK. 127

“Such is the industry of the people, and the
trade they drive,” said a writer of the sixteenth
century, “that, having little or no corn of their
own growth, they do provide themselves else-
where, not only sufficient for their own spending,
but wherewith to supply their neighbours.
Having no timber of their own, they spend more
timber in building ships, and fencing their water-
courses, than any country in the world.

And finally, having neither flax nor wool, they
make more cloth of both sorts than in all the
countries of the world,except Franceand England.”

Writing of Holland, in his exquisite poem
called “The Traveller,’ Oliver Goldsmith thus
comprehensively describes the peculiarities of the
country :—

Methinks her patient sons before me stand,
Where the broad. ocean leans against the land;
And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,

Lift the tall rampart’s artificial pride!
Onward, methinks, and diligently slow,

The firm, compacted bulwark seems to grow;
Spreads its long arms around the watery roar,
Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore:
8

THE LAND OF PLUCK.

While the pent ocean rising o’er the pile

Sees an amphibious world beneath him sinile:
The slow canal, the yellow-blossomed vale,
The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail,

The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,

A new creation rescued from his reign.


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