Citation
Feats on the fjord

Material Information

Title:
Feats on the fjord a tale
Series Title:
Temple classics for young people
Cover title:
Feats on the fiord
Creator:
Martineau, Harriet, 1802-1876
Rackham, Arthur, 1867-1939 ( Illustrator )
J. M. Dent & Co ( Publisher )
Ballantyne, Hanson and Co ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
J.M. Dent & Company
Manufacturer:
Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
viii, 237 p., [12] leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Country life -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Superstition -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Pirates -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Social life and customs -- Fiction -- Norway ( lcsh )
Marriage customs and rites -- Fiction -- Norway ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre:
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh

Notes

General Note:
Published originally as one of her series entitled The playfellow.
General Note:
Frontispiece and t.p. printed in colors.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Harriet Martineau ; with twelve illustrations by A. Rackham.

Record Information

Source Institution:
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:
026867479 ( ALEPH )
ALH4354 ( NOTIS )
03288216 ( OCLC )

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Full Text




The Baldwin Library

ay,
RGD ti





THE
TEMPLE
CLASSICS



FOR
YOUNG
PEOPLE







HARRIET MARTINEAU |

Ken

SR!

WITH TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS yy
BY

LONDON:
J.M.DENT & COMPANY
ALDINE HOUSE, BEDFORD STREET,
COVENT GARD EN.





CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE
I. ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” A , I
Il. ODDO’S WALK . 6 : : i ey
Ill. OLAF AND HIS NEWS é f ek
IV. ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE = 60
V. THE WATER-SPRITES DOINGS . teen 72
VI. SPRING . 5 5 : : : 86

Vil. VOGEL ISLET . ; : z = 102

VII. A SUMMER APARTMENT . : IX. HUND’S REPORT : Z ; 2 6
X. SEEKING THE UPLANDS : : . 138
XI, DAIRY-MAIDS’ TALK .- . Rematch

XI. PEDER ADROAD : 3 Fi TOT

XUI. PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT . : LTO

XIV. MIDNIGHT : : : 3 2104:

XV. MOUNTAIN FARE. 3 i <= 5205

XVI. OLD TALES AND BETTER TIDINGS . 218

XVI. THE WATCH ON THE HILL ; - 226

XVII. TO CHURCH . ; : : e232)






LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Quicxty anD SILENTLY HE ENTERED THE
Boat anp TIED THE SKIFF To ITs
Srern (Chap. v.) . : . Frontispiece

PAGE
ERLINGSEN AND SOME OF HIS SERVANTS STOOD

with Licutrep Ping-tTorcues To Re-

CEIVE THEIR GUESTS . : i i II

It came Nzarer anp Nearer, AND AT LAST

QUITE UP TO THE Can or ALE . ees

In tHe Porcu sHe FrounpD Oppo £aTING
SOMETHING WHICH CAUSED HIM TO MAKE

Faces. : ; : . een. 7
Tue Poor Antmat Strucciep VIOLENTLY. 63

AND THAT VESSEL, HE KNEW, WAS THE Pirate

ScHOONER x , ‘ "i See LONG

He sometimes HamMereD A LITTLE AT HIS

SKIFF. 5 . s : De 12h

No oruer roan THE Mountam-Demon . 143
es *

5 vii



viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Art tHe Enp or a LEpGE HE FOUND THE
Remains or 4 Lapper MADE OF BircH-
POLES. : 3 5 is A

In Desperation Hunp, uNARMED AS HE WAS,

THREW HIMSELF UPON THE PiraTE °

It was Hunn, wir wis Fert TIED UNDER
His Horse, AND THE BripLE HELD BY A

Man on EACH SIDE . 4 : A

As pretty A Boat Procession ON THE STILL
Warers of THE FiorD AS HAD EVER

BEFORE GLIDED OVER ITS SURFACE :

PAGE

173

187

215

235



FEATS ON THE FIORD

Cuap. I
Erlingsen’s ‘‘At Home”

FVERY one who has looked at the map of

Norway must have been struck with the
singular character of its coast. On the map it
looks so jagged, such a strange mixture of land
and sea, that it appears as if there must be a
perpetual struggle between the two—the sea
striving to inundate the land, and the land pushing
itself out into the sea, till it ends in their dividing
the region between them. On the spot, however,
this coast is very sublime. The long straggling
promontories are mountainous, towering ridges of
rock, springing up in precipices from the water;
while the bays between them, instead of being
rounded with shelving sandy shores, on which the
sea tumbles its waves, as in bays of our coast, are,
in fact, long narrow valleys, filled with sea, instead
of being laid out in fields and meadows. The
high rocky banks shelter these deep bays (called
fiords) from almost every wind; so that their
waters are usually as still as those of a lake. For
days and weeks together, they reflect each separate
tree-top of the pine-forests which clothe the



2 FEATS ON THE FIORD

mountain sides, the mirror being broken only by
the leap of some sportive fish, or the oars of the
boatman as he goes to inspect the sea-fowl from
islet to islet of the fiord, or carries out his nets or
his rod to catch the sea-trout, or char, or cod,
or herrings, which abound, in their seasons, on the
coast of Norway.

It is difficult to say whether these fiords are
the most beautiful in summer or in winter. In
summer, they glitter with golden sunshine; and
purple and green shadows from the mountain and
forest lie on them; and these may be more lovely
than the faint light of the winter noons of those
latitudes, and the snowy pictures of frozen peaks
which then show themselves on the surface: but
before the day is half over, out come the stars—
the glorious stars, which shine like nothing that
we have ever seen. ‘There, the planets cast a faint
shadow, as the young moon does with us; and
these planets and the constellations of the sky, as
they silently glide over from peak to peak of these
rocky passes, are imaged on the waters so clearly
that the fisherman, as he unmoors his boat for his
evening task, feels as if he were about to shoot
forth his vessel into another heaven, and to cleave
his way among the stars.

Still as everything is to the eye, sometimes for
a hundred miles together along these deep sea-
valleys, there is rarely silence. The ear is kept
awake by a thousand voices. In the summer,
there are cataracts leaping from ledge to ledge of
the rocks; and there is the bleating of the kids
that browse there, and the flap of the great eagle’s
wings, as it dashes abroad from its eyrie, and the
cries of whole clouds of sea-birds which inhabit



ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 3

the islets; and all these sounds are mingled ana
multiplied by the strong echoes, till they become
a din as loud as that of a city. Even at night,
when the flocks are in the fold, and the birds at
roost, and the echoes themselves seem to be asleep,
there is occasionally a sweet music heard, too soft
for even the listening ear to catch by day. Every
breath of summer wind -that steals through the
pine-forests wakes this music as it goes. The
stiff spiny leaves of the fir and pine vibrate with
the breeze, like the strings of a musical instrument,
so that every breath of the night-wind, in a
Norwegian forest, wakens a myriad of tiny harps;
and this gentle and mournful music may be heard
in gushes the whole night through. This music,
of course, ceases when each tree becomes laden
with snow; but yet there is sound, in the midst
of the longest winter night. There is the rumble
of some avalanche, as, after a drifting storm, a mass
of snow too heavy to keep its place slides and
tumbles from the mountain peak. There is also,
now and then, a loud crack of the ice in the
nearest glacier; and, as many declare, there is a
crackling to be heard by those who listen when
the northern lights are shooting and blazing across
the sky. Nor is this all. Wherever there is a
nook between the rocks on the shore, where a man
may build:a house, and clear a field or two ;—
wherever there is a platform beside the cataract
where the sawyer may plant his mill, and make
a path from it to join some great road, there is a
human habitation, and the sounds that belong to
it. Thence, in winter nights, come music and
laughter, and the tread of dancers, and the hum
of many voices. The Norwegians are a social



4 .FEATS.ON THE FIORD

and hospitable people; and they hold their gay
meetings, in defiance of their Arctic climate,
through every season of the year.

On a January night, a hundred years ago, there
was great merriment in the house of a farmer who
had fixed his abode within the Arctic circle, in
Nordland, not far from the foot of Sulitelma, the
highest mountain in Norway. This dwelling, with
its few fields about it, was in a recess between the
rocks, on the shore of the fiord, about five miles
from Saltdalen, and two miles from the junction
of the Salten’s Elv (river) with the fiord. It
was but little that Erlingsen’s fields would produce,
though they were sheltered from the coldest winds,
and. the summer sunshine was reflected from the
rocks, so as to make this little farm much more
productive than any near, which were in a more
exposed situation. A patch of rye was grown,
and some beans and oats; and there was a strip
of pasture, and a garden in which might be seen
turnips, radishes, potatoes, lettuce, and herbs, and
even some fruits—a few raspberries, and a great
many cherries. ‘There were three or four horses
on the farm, five cows, and a small flock of goats.
In summer, the cattle and flock were driven up
the mountain, to feed on the pastures there; and
during the seven months of winter, they were
housed and fed on the hay grown at home, and
that which was brought from the mountain, and
on a food which appears strange enough to us, but
of which cows in Norway are extremely fond—
fish-heads boiled into a thick soup with horse-dung.
At one extremity of the little beach of white
sand which extended before the farmer’s door
was his boat-house; and on his boat he and his



ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 5

family depended, no less than his cows, for a prin-
cipal part of their winter subsistence. Except a kid or
a calf now and then, no meat was killed on the farm.
Cod in winter, herrings in spring, trout and salmon in
summer, and salted fish in winter, always abounded.
Reindeer meat was regularly purchased from the
Lapps who travelled round among the settlements
for orders, or drove their fattened herds from farm
to farm. Besides this, there was the resource of
game. Erlingsen and his housemen brought home
from their sporting rambles, sometimes a young
bear, sometimes wild ducks, or the noble cock-of-
the-woods, as big as a turkey, or a string of snipes,
or golden plovers, or ptarmigan. The eggs of sea-
birds might be found in every crevice of the islets in
the fiord, in the right season; and they are excellent
food. Once a year, too, Erlingsen wrapped him-
self in furs, and drove himself in his sledge, followed
by one of his housemen on another and a larger, to
the great winter fair at Tronyem, where the Lapps
repaired to sell their frozen reindeer meat, their
skins, and few articles of manufacture, and where
travelling Russian.merchants came with the produc-
tions of other climates, and found eager customers
in the inhabitants who thronged to this fair, to make
their purchases. Here, in exchange for the salt-
fish, feathers, and eider- down which had been
prepared by the industry of his family, Erlingsen
obtained flax and wool wherewith to make cloth-
ing for the household, and those luxuries which no
Norwegian thinks of going without—corn-brandy,
coffee, tobacco, sugar, and spices. Large mould
candles were also sold so cheap by the Russians
that it was worth while to bring them home for the
use of the whole family—even to burn in the stables



6 FEATS ON THE FIORD

and stalls, as the supply of bear’s fat was precarious,
and the pine-tree. was too precious, so far north, to
be split up into torches, while it even fell so short
occasionally, as to compel the family to burn peat,
which they did not like nearly so well as pine-logs.
It was Madame Erlingsen’s business to calculate how
much of all these foreign articles would be required
for the use of her household for a whole year ; and,
trusting to her calculations, which were never found
to be wrong, her husband came home from the
winter fair heavily enough laden with good things.
Nor was it only what was required for his own
every-day household that he brought. The quan-
tity of provisions, especially corn-brandy, tobacco,
coffee, and sugar, consumed in hospitality in Norway,
is almost incredible; and, retired as the Erlingsens
might appear to dwell, they were as hospitable,
according to their opportunities, as any inhabitant of
Bergen or Christiania. They gave feasts at Christ-
mas, and on every occasion that they could devise.
The occasion, on the particular January day men-
tioned above, was the betrothment of one of the
house-maidens to a young farm-servant of the estab-
lishment. I do not mean that this festival was
anything like a marriage. It was merely an engage-
ment to be married; but this engagement is a much
more formal and public affair in Norway (and indeed
wherever the people belong to the Lutheran church)
than with us. According to the rites of the Lutheran
church, there are two ceremonies—one when a
couple become engaged, and another when they are
married. In Norway, this betrothment gives the
couple a certain dignity beyond that of the unengaged,
and more liberty of companionship, together with
certain rights-in law. This makes up to them for



ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 7

being obliged to wait so long as they often must
before they can marry. Ina country scattered over
with farmers, like Norway, where there are few
money transactions, because people provide for their
own wants on their own little estates, servants do
not shift their places, and go from master to master,
as with us. A young man and woman have to
wait long—probably till some houseman dies or
removes, before they can settle; and then they are
settled for life—provided for till death, if they
choose to be commonly industrious and honest.
The story of this betrothment at Erlingsen’s will
explain what I have just said.

As Madame Erlingsen had two daughters grow-
ing up, and they were no less active than the girls
of a Norwegian household usually are, she had
occasion for only two maidens to assist in the busi-
ness of the dwelling and the dairy.

Of these two, the younger, Erica, was the maiden
betrothed to-day. No one perhaps rejoiced so much
at the event as her mistress, both for Erica’s sake,
and on account of her own two young daughters.
Erica was not the best companion for them; and
the servants of a Norwegian farmer are necessarily
the companions of the daughters of the house.
There was nothing wrong in Erica’s conduct or
temper towards the family. She had, when con-
firmed,* borne so high a character that many places

* The rite of confirmation is thought much more of in
Norway than with us. The preparation for it is longer
and more strict ; and the destiny of young people for life
depends much on how they pass through it. A person
who has not been confirmed is looked upon as one with-
out a character and without knowledge; while those
who pass well stand high in credit; and, if they have to



8 FEATS ON THE FIORD

were offered her, and Madame Erlingsen had
thought herself very fortunate in obtaining her ser-
vices. But, since then, Erica had sustained a shock
which hurt her spirits, and increased a weakness
which she owed to her mother. Her mother, a
widow, had brought up her child in all the super-
stitions of the country, some of which remain in
full strength even to this day, and were then very
powerful; and the poor woman’s death at last con-
firmed the lessons of her life. She had stayed too
long, one autumn day, at the Erlingsen’s; and,
being benighted on her return, and suddenly seized
and bewildered by the cold, had wandered from
the road, and was found frozen to death in a recess
of the forest which it was surprising that she should
have reached. Erica never believed that she did
reach this spot of her own accord, Having had
some fears before of the Wood-Demon having
been offended by one of the family, Erica regarded
this accident as a token of his vengeance. She said
this when she first heard of her mother’s death ;
and no reasonings from the zealous pastor of the
district, no soothing from her mistress, could shake
her persuasion. She listened with submission, wiping
away her quiet tears as they discoursed ; but no one
could ever get her to say that she doubted whether
there was a Wood-Demon, or that she was not
afraid of what he would do if offended.

Erlingsen and his wife always treated her super-

earn their living, are sure of good situations. In the
newspapers in Norway you may see among the advertise-
ments, ‘* A contin shop-boy wants a place.” « Wanted,
a confirmed girl who can cook;” which means that their
having been confirmed proves that they are considered
respectable, and not deficient in capacity or knowledge.



ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 9

stition as a weakness ; and when she was not present,
they ridiculed it. Yet they saw that it had its effect
on their daughters. Erica most strictly obeyed their
wish that she should not talk about the spirits of
the region with Orga and Frolich; but the girls
found plenty of people to tell them what they
could not learn from Erica. Besides what every-
body knows who lives in the rural districts of Nor-
way—about Nipen, the spirit that is always so busy
after everybody’s affairs—about the Water-Sprite,
an acquaintance of every one who lives beside a
river or lake—and about the Mountain- Demon,
familiar to all who lived so near Sulitelma; besides
these common spirits, the girls used to hear of a
multitude of others from old Peder, the blind house-
man, and from all the farm-people, down to Oddo,
the herd-boy. Their parents hoped that this taste
of theirs might die away if once Erica, with her
sad, serious face and subdued voice, were removed
to.a house of her own, where they would see her
supported by her husband’s unfearing mind,. and
occupied with domestic business more entirely than
in her mistress’s house. So Madame Erlingsen was
well pleased that Erica was betrothed ; and she could
only have been better satisfied if she had been married
at once.

For this marrying, however, the young people
must wait. There was no house, or houseman’s
place, vacant for them at present. There was a
prospect, however. ‘T'he old houseman Peder, who
had served Erlingsen’s father and Erlingsen himself
for fifty-eight years, could now no longer do the
weekly work on the farm which was his rent for
his house, field, and cow. - He was blind and old.
His aged wife Ulla could not leave the house; and



10 FEATS ON THE FIORD

it was the most she could do to’ keep the. dwelling
in order, with occasional help from one and another.
Housemen who make this sort of contract with
farmers in. Norway are never ‘turned out.. They
have their dwelling and field for. their own life and
that of their wives. What they do, when-disabled,
is to take in a deserving young man to do their
work for the farmer, on the understanding that he
succeeds to the ‘houseman’s place on the death or
the old people. Peder and Ulla had made this
agreement with. Erica’s lover, Rolf; and it. was
understood that his marriage with Erica should
take place whenever the old people should die.
It was impossible for- Erica herself to fear that
Nipen was offended, at the outset of this. festival
day. If he had chosen to send a wind, the guests
could not have come; for no human frame can
endure travelling in a wind in Nordland on a
January day. Happily, the air was so calm that
a flake of snow, or a lock of eider-down, would
have. fallen straight to the ground.. At two
o’clock, when the short daylight was gone, the
stars were ‘shining so brightly, that the company
who came by the fiord would be sure to have an
easy voyage. Almost all came by the fiord, for
the only road from Erlingsen’s house led to so few
habitations, and was so narrow, ‘steep, and rocky,
that an arrival by that way was'a rare event. The
path- was now, however, so smooth with frozen
snow, that more than one sledge attempted and
performed the descent. Erlingsen and some ot
his servants went out to the porch, on hearing
music from the water, and stood with lighted pine-
torches to receive their guests, when, approaching
from behind, they heard the sound of the sleigh-













#Rereedam



35

ERLINGSEN AND SOME OF HIS SERVANTS STOOD WITH LIGHTED

PINE-TORCHES TO RECEIVE THEIR GUESTS.






ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 13

bells, and found that company was arriving both
by sea and land.

It was a pretty sight, such an arrival. In front
there was the head of a boat driving up upon the
white beach, and figure after figure leaping out and
hastening to be welcomed in the porch; while in
the midst of the greeting the quick and regular
beat of a horse’s feet was heard on the frozen
ground, and the active little animal rushed into
the light, shaking his mane and jingling his bells,
till suddenly checked by the driver, who stood
upright at the back of the sledge, while the ladies
reclined, so wrapped in furs that nothing could
be seen of them till they had entered the house,
and issued forth from the room where they threw
off their pelisses and cloaks. Glad had the visitors
been, whether they came by land or water, to
arrive in sight of the lighted dwelling, whose
windows looked like rows of yellow stars, con-
trasting with the blue ones overhead; and more
glad still were they to be ushered into the great
room, where all was so light, so warm, so cheerful.
Warm it was to the farthest corner; and too warm
near the roaring and crackling fires, for the fires
were of pinewood. Rows upon rows of candles
were fastened against the walls above the heads
of the company: the floor was strewn with juniper
twigs, and the spinning-wheels, the carding-boards,
every token of household labour was removed ex-
cept a loom, which remained in one corner. In
another corner was a welcome sight, a platform
of rough boards two feet from the floor, and on it
two stools. ‘This was a token that there was to
be dancing; and indeed, Oddo, the herd-boy,
old Peder’s grandson, was seen to have his clarionet

B



14 FEATS ON THE FIORD

in his belt, as he ran in and out on the arrival of
fresh parties.
Before four o’clock the whole company, con-
sisting of about forty, had arrived. They walked
about the large room, sipping their strong coffee,
and helping one another to the good things on the
trays which were carried round—the slices of
bread and butter with anchovies, or shreds of
reindeer ham or tongue, or thin slices of salt
cheese. When these trays disappeared, and the
young women who had served them returned into
the room, Oddo was seen to reach the platform
with a hop, skip, and jump, followed by a dull-
looking young man with a violin. The oldest men
lighted their pipes, and sat down to talk, two or
three together. Others withdrew to a smaller
room, where card-tables were set out, while the
younger men selected their partners, and handed
them forth for the gallopade. The dance was
led by the blushing Erica, whose master was her
partner. It had never occurred to her that she
was not to take her usual place; and she was
greatly embarrassed, not the less so that she knew
that her mistress was immediately behind, with
Rolf for her partner. Erica might, however, have
led the dance in any country in Europe. All the
women in Norway dance well, being practised in
it from their infancy, as an exercise for which the
leisure of their long winter, and the roominess of
their houses, afford scope. Every woman present
danced well; but none better than Erica.
‘Very well! very pretty! very good
observed the pastor, M. Kollsen, as he sat, with
his pipe in his mouth, looking on. M. Kollsen
was a very young man; but the men in Norway

12?



ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 15

smoke as invariably as the women dance. “ Very
pretty indeed! They only want double the number
to make it as pretty a dance as any in Tronyem.”’

«¢ What would you have, sir?”’ asked old Peder,
who sat smoking at his elbow. ‘* Are there not
eleven couple? Oddo told me there were eleven
couple; and I think I counted so many pairs of
feet as they passed.”

«« Let me see ;—yes, youare right, Peder. There
are eleven couples.”

«¢ And what would you have more, sir? In this
young man’s father’s time a

« Rolf’s father’s ?”’

“No, sir, Erlingsen’s. Ah! I forgot that Er-
lingsen may not seem to you or any stranger to be
young; but Ulla and I have been used to call him
so, and I fear I always shall, as I shall never see the
furrows in his face. It will be always smooth and
young to me. My Ulla says there is nothing to
be sorry for in that, and she does not object to my
thinking so of her face. But, as I was saying, in
the elder Erlingsen’s time we thought we did well
when we set up nine couples at Yule; and since
then the Holbergs and Thores have each made out
a new farm within ten miles, and we are accustomed
to be rather proud of our eleven couples. Indeed
I once knew it twelve, when they got me to stand
up with little Henrica, the pretty little girl whose
grave lies behind, just under the rock. But I sup-
pose there is no question but there are finer doings
at Tronyem.”

“Of course, of course,” said the young clergy-
man. ‘But there are many youths in T'ronyem
that would be glad of so pretty a partner as M.
Erlingsen has, if she would not look so frightened.”





16 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“Pretty she is,”’ said Peder. ‘‘ As I remember
her complexion, it looks as if it was made by the re-
flection of our snows in its own clearness. And when
you do get a full look into her eyes, how like the
summer sky they are, as deep as the heavens in a
midsummer noon. Did you say she looks frightened,
sir?”

«Yes. When does she not? Some ghost from
the grave has scared her, I suppose, or some spirit
that has no grave to lie still in, perhaps. It is a
great fault in her that she has so little faith. I
never met with such a case; I hardly know howto
conduct it. I must begin with the people about
her—abolish their superstitions—and then there
may be a chance for her. Meanwhile I have but
a poor account to give to the bishop * of the religion
of the district.”’

‘Did you say, sir, that Erica wants faith? It
seems to me that I never knew any one who had so
much.”’

«You think so, because there is no idea in this
region of what faith is. A prodigious work indeed
my bishop has given me to do. He himself cannot
be aware what it is till I send him my report. One
might suppose that Christianity had never been heard
of here, by the absurd credulity one meets with in
the best houses, the multitude of good and evil
spirits one hears of at every turn. I will blow
them all to the winds presently; I will root out
every superstition in a circle of twenty miles.”

“You will, sir?’

“T will. Such is my duty as a Christian pastor.”

“ Do you suppose you can, sir?”

* A hundred years ago Nordland was included in the
diocese of Tronyem.



ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 17

“Certainly. No doubt of that. What sort of
pastor must he be who cannot vindicate his own
religion ?”’

“These beliefs, sir, were among us long before
you were born; and I fancy they will last till some
time after you are dead. And, what is more—I
should not wonder if your bishop was to tell you
the same thing, when you send him your report
of us.”

“T thought you had had more faith, Peder. I
thought you had been a better Christian.”

‘< Flowever that may be,”’ said Peder, “I have
some knowledge of the people about us, having
lived nearly fourscore years in the parish ; and per-
haps, sir, as you are young, and from a distance, you
would allow me to say a word. May I?”

“Oh, certainly.”

But while M. Kollsen gave this permission, he
took his pipe from his mouth, and beat time with it
upon his knee, and with his foot upon the ground,
to carry off his impatience at being instructed.

« you,” said Peder, ‘that you should lead the people
. into everything that you think true and good, and
pass over quietly whatever old customs and notions
you do not understand or like. I have so much belief
in the religion you are to teach as to feel sure that
whatever will not agree with it will die off out of its
way, if let alone. But if religion is brought in to
hurt the people’s feelings and notions, that religion
will be the thing to suffer.”

“ course,” said M. Kollsen. He was meditating a
change of place, to escape further lecturing about
his duty, when Peder saved him the trouble of



18 FEATS ON THE FIORD

leaving his comfortable seat by rising and moving
away towards the fire. Peder’s pipe was smoked
out, and he was going for more tobacco to the place
where tobacco was always to be found—in a little
recess above the fireplace. He felt his way care-
fully, that he might not interfere with the dancers,
or be jostled by them; but he had not far to go.
One friend begged to be sent for anything he wanted;
another, with a quicker eye, brought him tobacco ;
and a third led him to his seat again. All looked
with wonder at M. Kollsen, surprised that he,
Peder’s companion at the moment, young and blessed
with eyesight, could let the blind old man leave his
seat for such a reason. M. Kollsen whiffed away,
however, quite unconscious of what everybody was
thinking.

«‘T his waltz,”’ said Peder, when the dancers had
begun again, “‘does not seem to go easily. There
is something amiss. I think it is in the music that
the fault lies. My boy’s clarionet goes well enough ;
no fear of Oddo’s being out. Pray, sir, who plays
the violin at this moment ?”’

«A fellow who looks as if he did not like his
business. He is frowning with his red brows, as if
he would frown out the lights.”

«‘His red brows! Oh, then it is Hund. I
was thinking it would be hard upon him, poor
fellow, if he had to play to-night. Yet not so
hard as if he had to dance. It is weary work
dancing with the heels when the heart is too heavy
to move. You may have heard, sir, for every one
knows it, that lund wanted to have young Rolf’s
place ; and, some say, Erica herself. Is she dancing,
sir, if I may ask?”

“Yes, with Rolf. What sort of a man is Rolf



ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 19

—with regard to these superstitions, I mean? Is
he as foolish as Erica—always frightened about
something ?”’

“©No, indeed. It is to be wished that Rolf was
not so light as he is, so inconsiderate about these
matters. Rolf has his troubles and his faults, but
they are not of that kind.”

“Enough,” said M. Kollsen with a voice of
authority. ‘I rejoice to hear that he is superior
to the popular delusions. As to his troubles and
his faults, they may be left for me to discover, all
in good time.”

“With all my heart, sir. They are nobody’s
business but his own; and, may be, Erica’s. Rolf
has a good heart; and I doubt not Ulla and I
shall have great comfort in him. He lives with
us, sir, from this night forwards. There is no
fear that he will wish us in our graves, though we
stand between him and his marriage.”

«That must be rather a painful consideration to

ou.”

“Not at all, sir, at present. Ulla and I were
all the happier, we think to this day, for having had
four such years as these young people have before
them, to know one another in, and grow suitable
in notions and habits, and study to please one
another. By the time Rolf and Erica are what
we were, one or both of us will be under ground,
and Rolf will have, I am certain, the pleasant feel-
ing of having done his duty by us. It is all as it
should be, sir, and I pray that they may live to
say, at our age, what Ulla and I can say of the
same season of our lives.”’

The pastor made no answer. He had not heard
the last few words; for what Peder said of being



20 FEATS ON THE FIORD

under ground had plunged him into a reverie about
Peder’s funeral sermon, which he should, of course,
have to preach. He was pondering how he should
at once do justice to Peder’s virtues, and mark his
own disapprobation of the countenance Peder gave
to the superstitions of the region in which he
lived. He must keep in view. the love and respect
in which the old man was held by everybody, and
yet he must bear witness against the great fault
above mentioned. He composed two or three
paragraphs in his imagination, which he thought
would do, and then committed them to memory.
He was roused from this employment by a loud
laugh from the man whose funeral he was medi-
tating, and saw that Peder was enjoying life, at
present, as much as the youngest—with a glass of
punch in his hand, and a group of old men and
women round him, recalling the jests of fifty years
ago.

‘Flow goes it, Rolf?’ said his master, who,
having done his duty in the dancing-room, was
now making his way to the card-tables, in another
apartment, to see how his guests there were enter-
tained. Thinking that Rolf looked very absent
as he stood, in the pause of the dance, in silence
by Erica’s side, Erlingsen clapped him on the
shoulder and said, « How goes it? Make your
friends merry.”

Rolf bowed and smiled, and his master passed on.

“‘ How goes it?”’ repeated Rolf to Erica, as he
looked earnestly into her face. «Is all going on
well, Erica? ”’

“Certainly. I suppose so. Why not?” she
replied. «If you see anything wrong—anything
omitted, be sure and tell me. Madame Erlingsen



ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 21

would be very sorry. Is there anything forgotten,
Rolf?”

“T think you have forgotten what the day is,
that is all. Nobody that looked at you, love,
would fancy it to be your own day. You look
anything but merry. Hardly a smile from you
to-night. And that is a great omission.”

“O Rolf, there is something so much better
than merriment ! ”’

“Yes, love, but where is it? Not in your heart
to-night, Erica.”

“Yes, indeed, Rolf.”

“You look as dull, as sad, you and Hund,
as if. i

«Hund! ” repeated Erica, glancing around the
room for Hund, and not seeing him till her lover
reminded her that Hund was the musician.
‘‘Hund does seem dull enough, to be sure,’’ said
she, smiling. ‘I hope I do not often look like
that.”

« said Rolf, brightening when he found how entirely
Hund had been absent from her thoughts. «I am
more sorry for Elund than you are, and with good
reason, for I know what the happiness is that he
has missed, poor fellow! But yet I think you
might feel a little more for him. It would show
that you know how to value love.”

«Indeed I am very sorry for him, but more
for his disappointment about the house than any
other. ‘To-day once over, he will soon fix his
love on somebody else. Perhaps we shall be
dancing on his betrothment-day before the year
is out.”

«Then I hope his girl will look merrier than





22 FEATS ON THE FIORD

you do to-night,”’ muttered Rolf, with a sigh.
“O Erica! I wish you would trust me. I could
take care of you, and make you quite happy, if
you would only believe it. Ah! I know what
that look means. I know you love me, and all
that, but you are always tormenting yourself _—_”’

“I think I know one who is cleverer still at
tormenting himself,” said Erica, with a smile.
Come, Rolf, no more tormenting of ourselves
or one another! No more of that after to-day !
What is to-day worth, if it is not to put an end
to all doubts of one another ?”?

“But where is the use of that, if you still will
not believe that I can keep off all trouble from
you—that nothing in the universe shall touch you
to your hurt, while 5

“Oh, hush! hush!” said Erica, turning pale
and red at the presumption of this speech. « See,
they are waiting for us. One more round before
supper.”

And in the whirl of the waltz she tried to
forget the last words Rolf had spoken; but they
rang in her ears; and before her eyes were images
of Nipen overhearing this defiance—and the Water-
Sprite planning vengeance in_ its palace under
the ice—and the Mountain-Demon laughing in
scorn, till the echoes shouted again—and the
Wood-Demon waiting only for summer to see
how he could beguile the rash lover. Erica
finished her dance; but when the company and
the men of the household were seated at the supper=
table, and she had to help her mistress and the
young ladies to wait upon them, she trembled so
that she could scarcely stand. It was so very
wrong of Rolf to be always defying the spirits!





ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 23

Long was the supper, and hearty was the mirth
round the table: People in Norway have universally
a hearty appetite—such an appetite as we English
have no idea of. Whether it is owing to the
sharp climate, or to the active life led by all,
whatever may be the cause, such is the fact. This
night, piles of fish disappeared first, and then joint
after joint of reindeer venison. The fine game of the
country was handed round, cut up, and little but
the bones was left of a score of birds. Then there
were preserved fruits, and berries eaten with thick
cream—almost every dish that could be thought of
made of the rich cream of the north. Erica
recovered herself as the great business went on;
and while her proud lover watched her, forgetting
his supper, he thought to himself that no one of
the fair attendants trod so lightly as Erica, no
one carved so neatly, no one handed the dishes
so gracefully, or was so quick at seeing to
whom the most respect and attention were owing.
Perhaps this last thought was suggested by
Rolf’s perceiving that, either by her own hand or
another’s, the hottest dishes and the nicest bits
were found, all supper-time, close to his elbow.
Madame Erlingsen, he decided, with all her
experience, did not do the duties of the table so
well, and the young ladies, kind and good-tempered
as they were, would never, by any experience, be-
come so graceful as Erica.

At last appeared the final dish of the long feast,
the sweet cake, with which dinner and supper in
Norway usually conclude. While this was sliced
and handed round, Rolf observed that Erica looked
anxiously towards him. He took no notice, hoping
that she would come and speak to him, and that



24 FEATS ON THE FIORD

he should thus be the gainer of a few of her sweet
words. She did come, and just said—

“The cake and ale are here, Rolf. Will you
carry them ?”’

“Qh, the treat for old Nipen. Yes, I will
carry them,” replied Rolf, rising from his seat.

It is the custom in the country regions of Nor-
way to give the spirit Nipen a share at festival
times. His Christmas cake is richer than that pre-
pared for the guests, and before the feast is finished
it is laid in some place out of doors, where, as
might be expected, it is never to be found in the
morning. Everybody knew, therefore, why Rolf
rose from his seat, though some were too far off to
hear him say that he would carry out the treat for
old Nipen.

«Now, pray do not speak so; do not call him
those names,” said Erica anxiously. It is quite
as easy to speak so as not to offend him. Pray,
Rolf, to please me, do speak respectfully. And
promise me to play no tricks, but just set the
things down, and come straight in, and do not look
behind you. Promise me, Rolf.’

Rolf did promise, but he was stopped by two
voices calling upon him. Oddo, the herd-boy,
came running to claim the office of carrying out
Nipen’s cake; and M. Kollsen, from his seat,
declared that he could not countenance any super=
stitious observances, would not indeed permit any
so gross as this in his presence. He requested
that the company might have the benefit of the
cake, and made a speech in ridicule of all spirits
and fairies so very bold and contemptuous that all
present who had to go home that night looked in
consternation at their host. If such language as



ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 25

M. Kollsen’s were allowed, they looked for nothing
less than to have their way beset by offended spirits,
so that Erlingsen might hear in the morning of
some being frozen, some being lost in the fiord,
and others tumbled from precipices. M. Erlingsen
made haste to speak. He did not use any scruples
with the young clergyman. He told him that
every one present would be happy at all times to
hear him speak on the matters belonging to his
office. He had discharged his office in the morn-
ing in betrothing Rolf and Erica, he was now rest-
ing from his business, as a guest at that table, and
he would, of course, allow that the direction of the
festivity rested with the host and hostess, whose
desire it was that everything should be done which
was agreeable to the feelings and habits of the
greater number of the guests.

It was settled in a moment that Nipen should
have his cake; which so shocked and annoyed M.
Kollsen that he declared he would not remain to
sanction anything so impious, and requested that
his boatmen might be called from their suppers, and
desired to have his boat ready immediately. No
entreaties would soften him: go he would.

It appeared, however, that he could not go.
Not a man would row him, after what he had just
said of Nipen. All were sure that a gust would
blow the boat over, the minute she was out of
reach of land; or that a rock would spring up in
deep water, where no rock was before; or that
some strong hand would grasp the boat from below,
and draw it down under the waters. A shudder
went round as these things were prophesied; and,
of course, M. Kollsen’s return home that night
was out of the question, unless he would row him-



26 FEATS ON THE FIORD

self. At first he declared he should do this; but
he was so earnestly entreated to attempt nothing so
rash, that he yielded the point, with a supercilious
air which perhaps concealed more satisfaction than
he chose to avow to himself. He insisted on re-
tiring immediately, however, and was shown to his
chamber at once, by Erlingsen himself, who found,
on his return, that the company were the better for
the pastor’s absence, though unable to recover the
mirth which he had put to flight. Erica had been
shedding a few tears, in spite of strong efforts to
restrain them. Here was a bad omen already—on
the very day of her betrothment ; and she saw that
Hund thought so; for there was a gloomy satis-
faction in his eye, as he sat silently watching all
that passed.

She could not help being glad that Oddo re-
newed his request to be allowed to carry out Nipen’s
cake and ale. She eagerly put the ale-can into his
hand, and the cake under his arm; and Oddo was
going out, when his blind grandfather, hearing that
he was to be the messenger, observed that he should
be better pleased if it were somebody else ; for Oddo,
though a good boy, was inquisitive, and apt to get
into mischief by looking too closely into everything,
having never a thought of fear. Everybody knew
this to be true; though Oddo himself declared that
he was as frightened as anybody sometimes. More-
over, he asked what there was to pry into, on the
present occasion, in the middle of the night; and
appealed to the company whether Nipen was not
best pleased to be served by the youngest of a
party. This was allowed; and he was per-
mitted to go, when Peder’s consent was obtained,
his mistress going to the door with him, and



ODDO’S WALK 27

seeing him off, putting him in mind that the
dancing could not begin again till he returned to
take up his clarionet.

Cuap, II
Oddo’s Walk

‘THE place where Nipen liked to find his offer-

ings was at the end of the barn, below the
gallery which ran round the outside of the building.
There, in the summer, lay a plot of green grass ;
and, in the winter, a sheet of pure frozen snow.
Thither Oddo shuffled on, over the slippery surface
of the yard, and across the paddock, along the lane
made by the snow-plough between high banks of
snow; and he took prodigious pains, between one
slip and another, not to spill the ale. He looked
more like a prowling cub than a boy, wrapped as
he was in his wolf-skin coat, and his fox-skin cap
doubled down over his ears.

As may be supposed from Oddo’s declaring that
he was sometimes frightened, he was a brave boy.
A cowardly boy would not have said it, A
cowardly boy would not have offered to go at all.
A. cowardly boy would, if he had been sent, have
wished that the house-door might be left open, that
he might see the cheerful yellow light from within :
whereas Oddo begged his mistress to shut the door,
that his grandfather might not be made to feel his
rheumatism by any draught, as he sat at table. A
cowardly boy would have run as fast as he could,
perhaps slipping or falling, and spilling the ale; and
when his errand was done, he would have fled home,



28 FEATS ON THE FIORD

without looking behind him, fancying everything he
saw and heard a spirit, or a wild beast. Oddo did
very differently from this. As usual, he was too
busy finding out how everything happened to feel
afraid, as a less inquisitive boy would.

The cake steamed up in the frosty air under his
nose, so warm and spicy and rich, that Oddo began
to wonder what so very superior a cake could be
like. He had never tasted any cake so rich as
this; nor had any one in the house tasted such, for
Nipen would be offended if his cake was not richer
than anybody’s else. Oddo wondered more and
more how this would taste, till before he had
crossed the yard he wondered no longer. He
broke a piece off and ate it, and then wondered
whether Nipen would mind his cake being just a
little smaller than usual. After a few steps more
the wonder was how far Nipen’s charity would go,
for the cake was now a great deal smaller; and
Oddo next wondered whether anybody could stop
eating such a cake when it was once tasted. He
was surprised to see when he came out into the
starlight, at the end of the barn, how small a piece
was left. He stood listening whether Nipen was
coming in a gust of wind; and when he heard no
breeze stirring, he looked about for a cloud where
Nipen might be. There was no cloud, as far as
he could see. The moon had set; but the stars
were so bright as to throw a faint shadow from
Oddo’s form upon the snow. There was no sign
of any spirit being angry at present; but Oddo
thought Nipen would certainly be angry at finding
so very small a piece of cake. It might be better
to let the ale stand by itself, and Nipen would per-
haps suppose that Madame Erlingsen’s stock of



ODDO’S WALK 29

groceries had fallen short, at least that it was in
some way inconvenient to make the cake on the
present occasion. So putting down his can upon
the snow, and holding the last fragment of the
cake between his teeth, he seized a birch pole which
hung down from the gallery, and by its help climbed
one of the posts and got over the rails into the
gallery, whence he could watch what would happen.
To remain on the very spot where Nipen was ex-
pected was a little more than he was equal ta; but
he thought he could stand in the gallery, in the
shadow of the broad eaves of the barn, and wait
for a little while. He was so very curious to see
Nipen, and to learn how it liked its ale!

There he stood in the shadow, hearing nothing
but his own munching, though there was not much
of that; for as he came near the end, he took only
a little crumb at a time, to spin out the treat, for
never was anything so good! ‘Then he had
nothing to do but listen; but the waterfall was
frozen up, and the mill stood as still as if it was
not made to move. If the wheel should creak,
it would be a sign that Nipen was passing.

Presently he heard something.

“Music!” thought he. ‘I never heard that it
liked music, and I don’t think it can know much
about music, for this is not at all sweet. There
again; that was a sort of screech. Oh, how stupid
I am,”’ thought he again. ‘So much for my head
being full of Nipen. It is only Hund tuning his
violin, because they have all done supper. They
will be waiting for me. I wish this Nipen would
make haste. It can’t be very hungry, that is
clear.”

He grew more and more impatient as’ the

c



30 FEATS ON THE FIORD

minutes passed on, and he was aware that he was
wanted in the house. Once or twice he walked
slowly away, looking behind him, and then turned
again, unwilling to miss this opportunity of seeing
Nipen. ‘Then he called the spirit—actually begged
it to appear. His first call was almost a whisper ;
but he called louder and louder by degrees, till he
was suddenly stopped by hearing an answer.

The call he heard was soft and sweet. There
was nothing terrible in the sound itself; yet Oddo
grasped the rail of the gallery with all his strength
as he heard it. The strangest thing was, it was
not a single cry: others followed it, all soft and
sweet; but Oddo thought that Nipen must have
many companions, and he had not prepared him-
self to see more spirits than one. As usual, how-
ever, his curiosity grew more intense from the
little he had heard, and he presently called again.
Again he was answered by four or five voices in
succession.

«« Was ever anybody so stupid! ” cried the boy,
now stamping with vexation. ‘It is the echo,
after all. As if there was not always an echo
here opposite the rock. It is not Nipen at all.
I will just wait another minute, however.”’

He leaned in silence on his folded arms, and
had not so waited for many seconds before he saw
something moving on the snow at a little distance.
It came nearer and nearer, and at last quite up to
the can of ale.

‘“«T am glad I stayed,” thought Oddo. «Now
I can say I have seen Nipen. It is much less
terrible than I expected. Grandfather told me
that it sometimes came like an enormous elephant
or hippopotamus, and never smaller than a large



iy

iM Nea ARNIS

Ir CAME NEARER AND NEARER, AND AT LAST QUITE UP TO
THE Can OF ALE,

ee
AD








ODDO’S WALK 33

bear. But this is no bigger than—let me see—
I think it is most like a fox. I should like to
make it speak to me. They would think so much
of me at home if I had talked with Nipen.”

So he began gently—

“Ts that Nipen?”

The thing moved its bushy tail, but did not
answer.

«There is no cake for you to-night, Nipen.
I hope the ale will do. Is the ale good, Nipen?”

Off went the dark creature without a word, as
quick as it could go.

«Is it offended?” thought Oddo; “or is it
really what it looks like, a fox? If it does not
come back, I will go down presently and see
whether it has drunk the ale. If not, I shall
think it is only a fox.”

He presently let himself down to the ground
by the way he had come up, and eagerly laid hold
of the ale can. It would not stir. It was as fast
on the ground as if it was enchanted, which Oddo
did not doubt was the case; and he started back
with more fear than he had yet had. The cold
he felt on this exposed spot soon reminded him,
however, that the can was probably frozen to the
snow, which it might well be, after being brought
warm from the fireside. It was so. The vessel
had sunk an inch into the snow, and was there
fixed by the frost.

None of the ale seemed to have been drunk ;
and so cold was Oddo by this time, that he longed
for a sup of it. He took first a sup and then a
draught; and then he remembered that the rest
would be entirely spoiled by the frost if it stood
another hour. This would be a pity, he thought ;



34 FEATS ON THE FIORD

so he finished it, saying to himself that he did not
believe Nipen would come that night.

At that very moment he heard a cry so dreadful
that it shot, like sudden pain, through every nerve
of his body. It was not a shout of anger: it was
something between a shriek and a wail—like what
he fancied would be the cry of a person in the act
of being murdered. ‘That Nipen was here now,
he could not doubt; and, at length, Oddo fled.
He fled the faster, at first, for hearing the rustle
of wings; but the curiosity of the boy even now
got the better of his terror, and he looked up at
the barn where the wings were rustling. There
he saw in the starlight the glitter of two enormous
round eyes, shining down upon him from the ridge
of the roof. But it struck him at once that he
had seen those eyes before. He checked his
speed, stopped, went back a little, sprang up once
more into the gallery, hissed, waved his cap, and
clapped his hands, till the echoes were all awake
again; and, as he had hoped, the great white owl
spread its wings, sprang off from the ridge, and
sailed away over the fiord.

Oddo tossed up his cap, cold as the night was,
so delighted was he to have scared away the bird
which had, for a moment, scared him. He hushed
his mirth, however, when he perceived that lights
were wandering in the yard, and that there were
voices approaching. He saw that the household
were alarmed about him, and were coming forth
to search for him. Curious to see what they
would do, Oddo crouched down. in the darkest
corner of the gallery to watch and listen.

First came Rolf and his master, carrying torches,
with which they lighted up the whole expanse of



ODDO’S WALK 35

snow as they came. They looked round them
without any fear, and Oddo heard Rolf say—

“Tf it were not for that cry, sir, I should think
nothing of it. But my fear is that some beast has
got him.”’

“Search first the place where the cake and ale
ought to be,” said Erlingsen. «Till I see blood,
I shall hope the best.”

«¢ You will not see that,’’ said Hund, who fol-
lowed; his gloomy countenance, now distorted by
fear, looking ghastly in the yellow light of the torch
he carried. ** You will see no blood. Nipen does
not draw blood.”

‘ Never tell me that any one that was not wounded
and torn could send out such a cry as that,”’ said
Rolf. Some wild brute seized him, no doubt, at
the very moment that Erica and I were standing at
the door listening.”

Oddo repented of his prank when he saw, in the
flickering light behind the crowd of guests, who
seemed to hang together like a bunch of grapes, the
figures of his grandfather and Erica. The old man
had come out in the cold, for his sake; and Erica,
who looked as white as the snow, had no doubt
come forth because the old man wanted a guide.
Oddo now wished himself out of the scrape. Sorry
as he was, he could not help being amused, and
keeping himself hidden a little longer, when he saw
Rolf discover the round hole in the snow where
the can had sunk, and heard the different opinions
of the company as to what this portended. Most
were convinced that his curiosity had been his de-
struction, as they had always prophesied. What
could be clearer, by this hole, than that the ale had
stood there, and been carried off with the cake ;



36 FEATS ON THE FIORD

and Oddo with it, because he chose to stay and
witness what is forbidden to mortals?

‘“‘I wonder where he is now,” said a shivering
youth, the gayest dancer of the evening.

“Oh, there is no doubt about that; any one can
tell you that,”’ replied the elderly and experienced
M. Holberg. <« He is chained upon a wind, poor
fellow, like all Nipen’s victims. He will have to
be shut up in a cave all the hot summer through,
when it is pleasantest to be abroad ; and when the
frost and snow come again, he will be driven out,
with a lash of Nipen’s whip, and he must go flying,
wherever his wind flies, without resting, or stopping
to warm himself at any fire in the country. Every
winter now, when Erlingsen hears a moaning above
his chimney, he may know it is poor Oddo, foolish
boy!”’

. Foolish boy! but one can’t help pitying him,”’
said another. ‘Chained astride upon the wind,
and never to be warm again.”

Oddo had thus far kept his laughter to himself ;
but now he could contain himself no longer. He
laughed aloud—and then louder and louder as he
heard the echoes all laughing with him. The faces
below, too, were so very ridiculous—some of the
people staring up in the air; and others at the rock
where the echo came from; some having their
mouths wide open, others their eyes starting, and
all looking unlike themselves in the torchlight. His
mirth was stopped by his master.

“Come down, sir,”’ cried Erlingsen, looking up
at the gallery. ‘Come down this moment. We
shall make you remember this night, as well per-
haps as Nipen could do. Come down, and bring
my can, and the ale and the cake. The more



ODDO’S WALK 37

pranks you play to-night, the more you will re-
pent it.”

Most of the company thought Erlingsen very
bold to talk in this way; but he was presently
justified by Oddo’s appearance on the balustrade.
His master seized him as he touched the ground,
while the others stood aloof.

«© Where is my ale can?”’ said Erlingsen.

«Here, sir;”’ and Oddo held it up dangling by
the handle.

«And the cake—I bade you bring down the
cake with you.”

“Sol did, sir.”

And to his master’s look of inquiry, the boy
answered by pointing down his throat with one
finger, and laying the other hand upon his stomach.
‘Tt isall here, sir.”

«« And the ale in the same place?”

Oddo bowed, and Erlingsen turned away with-
out speaking. He could not have spoken without
laughing.

“Bring this gentleman home,” said Erlingsen
presently to Rolf; ‘and do not let him out of your
hands. Let no one ask him any questions till he is
in the house.’”? Rolf grasped the boy’s arm, and
Erlingsen went forward to relieve Peder, though it
was not very clear to him at. the moment whether
such a grandchild was better safe or missing. The
old man made no such question, but hastened back
to the house, with many expressions of thanks-
giving.

As the search-party crowded in among the
women, and pushed all before them into the large
warm room, M. Kollsen was seen standing on the
stair-head, wrapped in the bear-skin coverlid.



38 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“Ts the boy there ?”’ he inquired.

Oddo showed himself.

“Flow much have you seen of Nipen, hey?”

“ Nobody ever had a better sight of it, sir. It
was as plain as I see you now, and no farther off.’’

« Nonsense—it is a lie,” said M. Kollsen. “Do
not believe a word he says,’ advised the pastor,
speaking to the listeners. “There is the folly of
giving such an opportunity to a child of making him-
self important. If he had had his share of the
cake, with the rest of us at table, he would have
taken it quietly, and been thankful. As it is, it
will be harder work than ever to drive out these
wicked superstitions. Go, get along!’ he cried
to Oddo; «I do not want to hear a word you have
got to say.”’

Oddo bowed, and proceeded to the great room,
where he took up his clarionet, as if it was a matter
of course that the dancing was to begin again imme-
diately. He blew upon his fingers, however, observ-
ing that they were too stiff with cold to do their
duty well. And when he turned towards the fire,
every one made way for him, in a very different
manner from what they would have dreamed of three
hours before. Oddo had his curiosity gratified as
to how they would regard one who was believed
to have seen something supernatural.

Erlingsen saw that something must be done on
the spot to clear up the affair. If his guests. went
home without having heard the mysteries of the
night explained, the whole country would presently
be filled with wild and superstitious stories. He re-
quested Peder to examine the boy, as Oddo stood
more in awe of his grandfather than of any one else ;
and also because Peder was known to be so firm a



ODDO’S WALK 39

believer in Nipen, that his judgment would be more
readily received than that of an unbeliever. When
seriously questioned, Oddo had no wish to say any-
thing but the truth; and he admitted the whole—
that he had eaten the entire cake, drunk al] the
ale, seen a fox and an owl, and heard the echoes,
in answer to himself. As he finished his story,
Hund, who was perhaps the most eager listener of
all, leaped thrice upon the floor, snapping his fingers,
as if ina passion of delight. He met Erlingsen’s
eye, full of severity, and was quiet ; but his counte-
nance still glowed with exultation.

The rest of the company were greatly shocked
at these daring insults to Nipen: and none more so
than Peder. The old man’s features worked with
emotion, as he said in a low voice that he should
be very thankful if all the mischief that might
follow upon this adventure might be borne by the
kin of him who had provoked it. If it should fall
upon those who were innocent, never surely had
boy been so miserable as his poor lad would then
be. Oddo’s eyes filled with tears as he heard
this; and he looked up at his master and mistress,
as if to ask whether they had no word of comfort
to say.

“Neighbour,” said Madame Erlingsen to Peder,
“is there any one here who does not believe that
God is over all, and that He protects the innocent?”

“Is there any one who does not feel,’ added
Erlingsen, “that the innocent should be gay, safe
as they are in the goodwill of God and man?
Come, neighbours—to your dancing again! You
have lost too much time already. Now, Oddo,
play your best—and you, Hund.”

«J hope,’’ said Oddo, * that, if any mischief is



40 FEATS ON THE FIORD

to come, it will fall upon me. We’ll see how I
shall bear it.”

‘Mischief enough will befall you, boy, never
doubt it,”’ said his master, «as long as you trifle
with people’s feelings as you have done to-night.
Go. Make up for it, all you can.”

The dancing was spiritless, and there was little
more of it. ‘The mirth of the meeting was de-
stroyed. The party broke up at three, instead of
five or six; and it might have been earlier still, but
for the unwillingness of every family present to be
the first to go upon the lake, or to try the road.
At last, all understood one another’s feelings by
their own; and the whole company departed at
once in two bands, one by water and the other by
land. Those who went in sleighs took care that a
heavy stone was fastened by a rope to the back of
each carriage, that its bobbing and dancing on the
road might keep off the wolves. Glad would they
have been of any contrivance by which they might
as certainly distance Nipen. Rolf then took a part-
ing kiss from Erica in the porch, pushed Oddo on
before, and followed with Peder. Erica watched
them quite to the door of their own house, and then
came in, and busied herself in making a clearance
of some of the confusion which the guests had left
behind.

“Oddo could not get a word from you, Erica,”
observed her mistress ; “not even a look in answer
to his ‘ good-night.’ ””

“‘T could not, madam,’ answered Erica, tears
and sobs breaking forth. ‘When I think of it all,
I am so shocked—so ashamed ! ””

‘«« Flow ashamed?”

“‘Nipen has been so favourable to us to-day,



OLAF AND HIS NEWS 41

madam ! not a breath of wind stirring all the morn-
ing, so that nobody was disappointed of coming !
And then to serve it in this way! To rob it, and
mock it, and brave it as we have done !—So un-
grateful !—so very wrong! ”’

«We are very sorry for Oddo’s trick—your
master and I,” said Madame Erlingsen; “but we
are not in the least afraid of any further harm hap-
pening. You know we do not believe that God
permits His children to be at the mercy of evil
or capricious spirits. Indeed, Erica, we could not
love God as we should wish to love Him, if we
could not trust in Him as a just and kind pro-
tector. Go to rest now, Erica. You have done
quite enough since you left your bed. Go to rest
now. Rest your heart upon Him who has blessed
you exceedingly this day. Whatever others do,
do not you be ungrateful to Him. Good sleep to
you, Erica! Sleep off your troubles, that Rolf
may see nothing of them in the morning.’

Erica smiled ; and when Orga and Frolich saw
the effect of what their mother had said, they too
went to rest without trembling at every one of the
noises with which a house built of wood is always
resounding.

Cuap. ITT
Olaf and his News

WHEN M. Kollsen appeared the next morning,

the household had so much of its usual air
that no stranger would have imagined how it had
been occupied the day before. The large room was



42 FEATS ON THE FIORD

fresh strewn with evergreen sprigs; the breakfast-
table stood at one end, where each took breakfast,
standing, immediately on coming downstairs. At
the bottom of the room was a busy group. The
shoemaker, who travelled this way twice a year,
had appeared this morning, and was already en-
gaged upon the skins which had been tanned on the
farm, and kept in readiness for him. He was in-
structing Oddo in the making of the tall boots of
the country; and Oddo was so eager to have a
pair in which he might walk knee-deep in the
snow when the frosts should be over, that he gave
all his attention to the work. Peder was twist-
ing strips of leather, thin and narrow, into whips.
Rolf and Hund were silently intent upon a sort of
work which the Norwegian peasant delights in—
carving wood. They spoke only to answer Peder’s
questions about the progress of the work. Peder
loved to hear about their carving, and to feel it;
for he had been remarkable for his skill in the art,
as long as his sight lasted.

Erlingsen was reading the newspaper, which
must go away in the pastor’s pocket. Madame
was spinning; and her daughters sat busily plying
their needles with Erica, in a corner of the apart-
ment. ‘The three were putting the last stitches to
the piece of work which the pastor was also to
carry away with him, as his fee for his services of
yesterday. It was an eider-down coverlid, of
which Rolf had procured the down from the
islets in the fiord frequented by the eider-duck,
and Erica had woven the cover, and quilted it,
with the assistance of her young ladies, in an
elegant pattern. The other house-maiden was
in the chambers, hanging out the bedding in an



OLAF AND HIS NEWS 43

upper gallery to air, as she did on all days of fair
weather.

The whole party rose when M. Kollsen entered
the room, but presently resumed their employments,
except Madame Erlingsen, who conducted the
pastor to the breakfast-table, and helped him .
plentifully to reindeer ham, bread and butter, and
corn-brandy—the usual breakfast. M. Kollsen
carried his plate, and ate, as he went round to
converse with each group. First, he talked
politics a little with his host, by the fireside ; in
the midst of which conversation Erlingsen managed
to intimate that nothing would be heard of Nipen
to-day, if the subject was let alone by themselves :
a hint which the clergyman was willing to take,
as he supposed it meant in deference to his views.
Then he complimented Madame Erlingsen on the
excellence of her ham, and helped himself again ;
and next drew near the girls.

Erica blushed, and was thinking how she should
explain that she wished his acceptance of her
work, when Frolich saved her the awkwardness
by saying—

“We hope you will like this coverlid, for we
have made an entirely new pattern on purpose for
it. Orga, you have the pattern. Do show M.
Kollsen how pretty it looks on paper.’’

M. Kollsen did not know much about such
things: but he admired as much as he could.

“That lily of the valley, see, is mamma’s idea ;
and the barberry, answering to it, is mine. That
tree in the middle is all Erica’s work—entirely ;
but the squirrel upon it, we never should have
thought of. It was papa who put that into our
heads! and it is the most original thing in the



44 FEATS ON THE FIORD

whole pattern. Erica has worked it beautifully,
to be sure.”

««T think we have said quite enough about it,”’
observed Erica, smiling and blushing. ‘I hope
M. Kollsen will accept it. ‘The down is Rolf’s
present.”

Rolf rose, and made his bow, and said he had
had pleasure in preparing his small offering.

“And I think,” said Erlingsen, “it is pretty
plain that my little girls have had pleasure in their
part of the work. It is my belief that they are
sorry it is so nearly done.”

M. Kollsen graciously accepted the gift—took
up the coverlid, and weighed it in his hand, in
order to admire its lightness, compared with its
handsome size; and then bent over fhe carvers,
to see what work was under their hands.

«A bell-collar, sir,” said Hund, showing his
piece of wood. “I am making a complete set
for our cows, against they go to the mountain,
come summer.”

“A pulpit, sir,’
work in his turn.

“A pulpit! Really! And who is to preach
in it???

“You, sir, of course,’ replied Erlingsen.
“Long before you came—from the time the new
church was begun, we meant it should have a
handsome pulpit. Six of us, within a round of
twenty miles, undertook the six sides; and Rolf
has great hopes of having the basement allotted
to him afterwards. The best workman is to do
the basement; and I think Rolf bids fair to be
the one. This is good work, sir.”’

“Exquisite,” said the pastor. ‘I question

?

explained Rolf, showing his



OLAF AND HIS NEWS 45

whether our native carvers may not be found equal
to any whose works we hear so much of in Popish
churches, in other countries. And there is no
doubt of the superiority of their subjects.. Look
at these elegant twining flowers, and that fine
brooding eagle! How much better to copy the
beautiful works of God that are before our eyes,
than to make durable pictures of the Popish
idolatries and superstitions, which should all have
been forgotten as soon as possible! I hope that
none of the impious idolatries, which, I am ashamed
to say, still linger among us, will find their way into
the arts by which future generations will judge us.”’

The pastor stopped, on seeing that his hearers
looked at ,one another, as if conscious. A few
words, he judged, would be better than more ;
and he went on to Peder, passing by Oddo
without a word of notice. The party had indeed
glanced consciously at each other; for it so
happened that the very prettiest piece Rolf had
ever carved was a bowl on which he had shown
the water-sprite’s hand (and never was hand so
delicate as the water-sprite’s) beckoning the heron
to come and fish when the river begins to flow.

When Erica heard M. Kollsen inquiring of
Peder about his old wife, she started up from her
work, and said she must run and prepare Ulla for
the pastor’s visit. Poor Ulla would think herself
forgotten this morning, it was growing so late, and
nobody had been over to see her.

Ulla, however, was far from having any such
thoughts. There sat the old woman, propped up
in bed, knitting as fast as fingers could move, and
singing, with her soul in her song, though her
voice was weak and unsteady. She was covered

D



46 FEATS ON THE FIORD

with an eider-down quilt, like the first lady in the
land; but this luxury was a consequence of her
being old and ill, and having friends who cared
for her infirmities. ‘There was no other luxury.
Her window was glazed with thick flaky glass,
through which nothing could be seen distinctly.
The shelf, the table, the clothes’ chest, were all
of rough fir-wood; and the walls of the house
were of logs, well stuffed with moss in all the
crevices, to keep out the cold. There are no
dwellings so warm in winter and cool in summer
as well-built log-houses; and this house had every-
thing essential to health and comfort: but there
was nothing more, unless it was the green sprink-
ling of the floor, and the clean appearance of
everything the room contained, from Ulla’s cap
to the wooden platters on the shelf.

“<] thought you would come,” said Ulla. «I
knew you would come, and take my blessing on
your betrothment, and my wishes that you may
soon be seen with the golden crown.* JI must
not say that I hope to see you crowned; for we
all know—and nobody so well as I—that it is I
that stand between you and your crown. I often
think of it, my dear——”’

«Then I wish you would not, Ulla—you know
that.”’

“I do know it, my dear; and I would not be
for hastening God’s appointments. Let all be in
His own time. And I know, by myself, how
happy you may be—you and Rolf—while Peder
and I are failing and dying. I only say that none

* Peasant brides in Norway wear, on their wedding-
day, a coronet of paste-board, covered with gilt paper,



OLAF AND HIS NEWS 47

wish for your crowning more than we. O Erica!
you have a fine lot in having Rolf.”

“ Indeed I know it, Ulla.”’

“Do but look about you, dear, and see how he
keeps the house. And if you were to see him give
me my cup of coffee, and watch over Peder, you
would consider what he is likely to be to a pretty
young thing like you, when he is what he is to two
worn-out old creatures like us.’’

Erica did not need convincing about these things ;
but she liked to hear them.

«Where is he now?” asked Ulla. ‘I always
ask where everybody is, at this season; people go
about staring at the snow, as if they had no eyes
to lose. That is the way my husband did. Do
make Rolf take care of his precious eyes, Erica.
Is he abroad to-day, my dear?”

«By this time he is,” replied Erica. “I left
him at work at the pulpit——”

« Aye! trying his eyes with fine carving, as
Peder did! ””

<¢ But,’ continued Erica, ‘there was-news this
morning of a lodgment of logs at the top of the
foss; * and they were all going, except Peder, to
slide them down the gully to the fiord. The gully
is frozen so slippery, that the work will not take
long. They will make a raft of the logs in the
fiord; and either Rolf or Hund will carry them
out to the islands when the tide ebbs.”’

«Will it be Rolf, do you think, or Hund, dear?”

* Waterfall. Pine-trunks felled in the forest are
drawn over the frozen snow to the banks of a river, or
to the top of a waterfall, whence they may be either slid
down over the ice, or left to be carried down by the
floods, at the melting of the snows in the spring.



48 FEATS ON THE FIORD

‘‘T wish it may be Hund. If it be Rolf, 1
shall go with him. O Ulla! I cannot lose sight
of him, after what happened last night. Did you
hear? I do wish Oddo would grow wiser.”

Ulla shook her head, and then nodded, to inti-
mate that they would not talk of Nipen. And she
began to speak of something else.

“How did Hund conduct himself yesterday?
I heard my husband’s account: but you know
Peder could say nothing of his looks. Did you
mark his countenance, dear?”’

“Indeed there was no helping it, any more than one
can help watching a. storm-cloud as it comes up.”

‘So it was dark and wrathful, was it, that ugly face
of his? Well it might be, dear;—well it might be.”

«The worst was—worse than all his dark looks
together—O Ulla! the worst was his leap and cry
of joy when he heard what Oddo had done, and
that Nipen was made our enemy. He looked like
an evil spirit when he fixed his eyes on me, and
snapped his fingers.”’

Ulla shook her head mournfully, and then asked
Erica to put another peat on the fire.
~ «J really should like to know,”’ said Erica, in a
low voice, when she resumed her seat on the bed,
«TI am sure you can tell me if you would, what is
the real truth about Hund, what it is that weighs
upon his heart.”’

“ one that will go blabbing it, so that Hund shall
meet with taunts, and have his sore heart made
sorer. I will tell you, my dear, though there is no
one else but our mistress that I would tell; and she,
no doubt, knows it already. Hund was born and
reared a good way to the south—not far from



OLAF AND HIS NEWS 49

Bergen. In midwinter, four years since, his master
sent him on an errand of twenty miles, to carry
some provisions to a village in the upper country.
He did his errand; and, so far, all was well. The
village people asked him, for charity, to carry three
orphan children on his sledge some miles on the
way to Bergen, and to leave them -at a house he
had to pass on his road, where they would be taken
care of till they could be fetched from Bergen.
Hund was an obliging young fellow then, and he
made no objection. He took the little things, and
saw that the two elder were well wrapped up from
the cold. The third he took within his arms, and
on his knee as he drove, clasping it warm against his
breast. So those say who saw them set off; and
it is confirmed by one who met the sledge on the
road, and heard the children prattling to Hund,
and Hund laughing merrily at their little talk.
Before they had got half way, however, a pack of.
hungry wolves burst out upon them from a hollow
to the right of the road. The brutes followed close
at the back of the sledge, and es

“Oh, stop!” cried Erica, “I know that story.
Is it possible that Hund is the man? No need to
go on, Ulla.”

But Ulla thought there was always need to finish
a story that she had begun, and she proceeded.

«Closer and closer the wolves pressed, and it is
thought Hund saw one about to spring at his throat.
It was impossible for the horse to go faster than it
did, for it went like the wind, but so did the beasts.
Hund snatched up one of the children behind him
and threw it over the back of the sledge, and this
stopped the pack for a little. On galloped the
horse, but the wolves were soon crowding round





50 FEATS ON THE FIORD

again, with the blood freezing on their muzzles..
It was easier to throw the second child than the
first, and Hund did it. It was harder to give up
the third—the dumb infant that nestled to his
breast, but Hund was in mortal terror, and a man
beside himself with terror has all the cruelty of a
pack of wolves. Hund flung away the infant, and
just saved himself. Nobody at home questioned
him, for nobody knew about the orphans, and he
did not tell. But he was unsettled, and looked
wild; and his talk, whenever he did speak, night or
day, was of wolves, for the three days that he re-
mained after his return. Then there was a question-
ing along the road about the orphan children, and
Hund heard of it, and started off into the woods.
By putting things together—what Hund had dropped
in his agony of mind, and what had been seen and
heard on the road, the whole was made out, and
the country rose to find Hund. He was hunted
like a bear, in the forest and on the mountain; but
he had got to the coast in time, and was taken in a
boat, it is thought, to Hammerfest. At any rate,
he came here as from the north, and wishes to pass
for a northern man.’’

« And does Erlingsen know all this?”

“Yes. The same person who told me told
him. Erlingsen thinks he must meet with mercy,
for that none need mercy so much as the weak, and
Hund’s act was an act of weakness.’’

«Weakness! ”’ cried Erica, with disgust.

«Fle is a coward, my dear, and death stared him
in the face.”

“¢T have often wondered,”’ said Erica, “¢ where
on the face of the earth that wretch was wandering :
and it is Hund! And he wanted to live in this



OLAF AND HIS NEWS 51

very house,’ she continued, looking round the
room.

«And to marry you, dear. Erlingsen would
never have allowed that. But the thought has
plunged the poor fellow deeper, instead of saving
him, as he hoped. He now has envy and jealousy
at his heart, besides the remorse which he will carry
to his grave.”

«And revenge,’ said Erica, shuddering. “I
tell you he leaped for joy that Nipen was offended.
Here is some one coming,’’ she exclaimed, starting
from her seat as a shadow flitted over the thick
window-pane, and a hasty knock was heard at the
door.

«You are a coward, if ever there was one,’’ said
Ulla, smiling. “Hund never comes here, so you
need not look so frightened. What is to be done if
you look so at dinner or the next time you meet
him? It will be the ruin of some of us. Go—
open the door, and do not keep the pastor waiting.”

There was another knock before Erica could
reach the door, and Frolich burst in.

«Such news! ”’ she cried—‘ You never heard
such news.”

« Erica, almost pettishly.

« Good or bad?” inquired Ulla.

“Oh, bad—very bad,”’ declared Frolich, who
yet looked as if she would rather have it than none.
“Here is company. Olaf, the drug merchant, is
come. Father did not expect him these three
weeks.”’

«‘This is not bad news, but good,” said Ulla.
«Who knows but he may bring me a cure?”’

«We will all beg him to cure you, dear Ulla,”

> exclaimed



52 FEATS ON THE FIORD

said Frolich, stroking the old woman’s white hair
smooth upon her forehead. ‘But he tells us
shocking things. There is a pirate vessel among
the islands. She was seen off Soroe some time
ago, but she is much nearer to us now. There
was a farmhouse seen burning on Alten fiord last
week, and as the family are all gone and nothing
but ruins left, there is little doubt the pirates lit the
torch that did it. And the cod has been carried
off from the beach in the few places where any has
been caught yet.”

«They have not found out our fiord yet?”
inquired Ulla.

“Oh dear! I hope not. But they may, any
day. And father says the coast must be raised,
from Hammerfest to Tronyem, and a watch set till
this wicked vessel can be taken or driven away.
He was going to send a running message both
ways, but here is something else to be done first.”

«¢ Another misfortune ?”’ asked Erica faintly.

“No; they say it is a piece of very good
fortune—at least for those who like bears’ feet for
dinner. Somebody or other has lighted upon the
great bear that got away in the summer, and poked
her out of her den on the fjelde. She is certainly
abroad with her two last year’s cubs, and their
traces have been found just above, near the foss.
Olaf had heard of her being roused, and Rolf and
Hund have found her traces. Oddo has come
running home to tell us, and father says he must
get up a hunt before more snow falls and we lose
the tracks, or the family may establish themselves
among us and make away with our first calves.”

«Does he expect to kill them all?”

“T tell you we are all to grow stout on bears’



OLAF AND HIS NEWS 53

feet. For my part I like bears’ feet best on the
other side of Tronyem.”

“You will change your mind, Miss Frolich,
when you see them on the table,”’ observed Ulla.

«That is just what father said. And he asked
how I thought Erica and Stiorna would like to
have a den in their neighbourhood when they got
up to the mountain for the summer. Oh, it will
be all right when the hunt is well over and all the
bears dead. Meantime I thought they were at my
heels as I crossed the yard.”

«© And that made you burst in as you did. Did
Olaf say anything about coming to seeme? Has
he plenty of medicines with him ya?

«¢QOh, certainly. That was the thing I came to
say. He is laying out his medicines while he
warms himself, and then he is coming over to see
what he can do for your poor head. He asked
about you directly, and he is frowning over his
drugs as if he meant to let them know that they
must not trifle with you.”

Ulla was highly pleased, and gave her directions
very briskly about the arrangement of the room.
If it had been the grandest apartment of a palace
she could not have been more particular as to where
everything should stand. When all was to her
mind, she begged Erica to step over and inform
Olaf that she was ready.

When Erica opened the door, she instantly drew
back and shut it again.

«What now?” asked Frolich. ‘¢ Are all the
bears in the porch?”

« Olaf is there,’ replied Erica in a whisper,
‘talking with Hund.”

«Hund wants a cure for the heartache,”



54 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Frolich whispered in return, “‘or a charm to make
some girl betroth herself to him—a thing which
no girl will do but under a charm, for I don’t
believe Stiorna would when it came to the point,
though she likes to be attended to.”’

When Olaf entered, and Hund walked away,
Frolich ran home, and Erica stood by the window
ready to receive the travelling doctor’s opinion and
directions, if he should vouchsafe any. 3

“So I am not the first to consult you to-day,”
said Ulla. “It is rather hard that I should not
have the best chance of luck, having been so long
ill.”

Olaf assured her that he would hear no com-
plaints from another till he had given her the first
fruits of his wisdom in this district of his rounds.
Hund was only inquiring of him where the pirate
schooner was, having slid down from the height,
as fast as his snow-skates would: carry him, on
hearing the news from Oddo. He was also
eager to know whence these pirates came—what
nation they were of, or whether a crew gathered
from many nations. Olaf had advised Hund to
go and ask the pirates themselves all that he
wanted to know, for there was no one else who
could satisfy him. Whereupon Hund had smiled
grimly, and gone back to his work.

Erica observed that she had heard her master
say that it was foolish to boast that Norway need
not mind when Denmark went to war, because
it would be carried on far out of sight and hearing.
So far from this, Erlingsen had said, that Denmark
never went to war but pirates came to ravage the
coast, from the North Cape to the Naze. Was
not this the case now? Denmark had gone to war,



OLAF AND HIS NEWS 55

and here were the pirates come to make her poor
partner suffer.

Olaf said this explained the matter, and he
feared the business of the coast would suffer till a
time of peace. Meanwhile he must mind his
business. |. When he had heard all Ulla’s com-
plaints, and ordered exactly what she wished—
large doses of camphor and corn-brandy to keep
off the night-fever and daily cough, he was ready
to hear whatever else Erica had to ask, for Ulla
had hinted that Erica wanted advice.

«“T do not mind Ulla hearing my words,” said
Erica. “She knows my trouble.”’

“Tt is of the mind,’’ observed Olaf solemnly,
on discovering that Erica did not desire to have
her pulse felt.

«Yesterday was—I was——”’ Erica began.

«‘She was betrothed yesterday,’”’ said Ulla, «to
the man of her heart. Rolf is such a young
man 42

*¢Olaf knows Rolf,’’? observed Erica. “An
unfortunate thing happened, at the end of the day,
Olaf. Nipen was insulted.’? And she told the
story of Oddo’s prank, and implored the doctor
to say if anything could be done to avert bad
consequences.

“No doubt,” replied Olaf. ‘Look here!
this will preserve you from any particular evil that
you dread.” And he took from the box he
carried under his arm a round piece of white paper,
with a hole in the middle, through which a string
was to be passed, to tie the charm round the neck.
Erica shook her head. Such a charm would be
of no use, as she did not know under what parti-
cular shape of misfortune Nipen’s displeasure would





56 FEATS ON THE FIORD

show itself. Besides, she was certain that nothing
would make Rolf wear a charm, and she disdained
to use any security which he might not share.
Olaf could not help her in any other way, but
inquired with sympathy when the next festival
would take place. Then all might be repaired
by handsome treatment of Nipen. ‘Till then he
advised Erica to wear his charm, as her lover
could not be the worse for her being so far safe.
Erica blushed. She knew, but did not say, that
harm would be done which no charm could repair
if her lover saw her trying to save herself from
dangers to which he remained exposed ; and she
did not know what their betrothment was worth
if it did not give them the privilege of suffering
together. So she put back the charm into its
place in the box, and with a sigh rose to return
to the house.

In the porch she found Oddo eating something
which caused him to make faces. Though it was
in the open air, there was a strong smell of
camphor, and of something else less pleasant.

«“What are you doing, Oddo?” asked Erica,
the question which Oddo was asked every day
of his life. °

Oddo had observed Olaf’s practice among his
patients of the household, and perceived that for all
complaints of body or mind he gave the two things,
camphor and assafcetida, sometimes together, and
sometimes separately, and always in corn-brandy.
Oddo could not refrain from trying what these
drugs were like, so he helped himself to some of
each, and, as he could get no corn-brandy till
dinner-time, he was eating the medicines without.
Such was the cause of his wry faces. If he had







NG WHICH

METHL

TING So:
Faces.

E FOUND ODDO EA

In Tue PoRCH sH

TO MAKE

AUSED HIM

c.









OLAF AND HIS NEWS 59

been anything but a Norway boy he would have
been the invalid of the house to-day, from the
quantity of rich cake he had eaten, but Oddo
seemed to share the privilege common to Nor-
wegians, of being able to eat anything, in any
quantity, without injury. His wry faces were
from no indigestion, but from the savour of assa-
fcetida unrelieved by brandy.

Wooden dwellings resound so much as to be
inconvenient for those who have secrets to tell.
In the porch of Peder’s house Oddo had heard
all that passed within. It was good for him to
have done so. He became more sensible of the
pain he had given, and more anxious to repair it.

“Dear Erica,’’ said he, «I want you to doa
very kind thing for me. Do get leave for me
to go with Rolf after the bears. If I get one
stroke at them—if I can but wound one of them,
I shall have a paw for my share, and I will lay
it out for Nipen. You will, will not you nes

“It must be as Erlingsen chooses, Oddo, but
I fancy you will not be allowed to go just now.
The bears will think the doctor’s physic-sledge is
coming through the woods, and they will be shy.
Do stand a little farther off. J cannot think how
it is that you are not choked.”’

“Suppose you go for an airing,’ said the
doctor, who now joined them. “If you must
not go in the way of the bears, there is a
reindeer-——”’

«©Oh, where ?”’ cried Oddo.

“IT saw one, all alone, on the Salten heights.
If you run that way, with the wind behind you,
the deer will give you a good run—up Sulitelma,
if you like, and you-will have got rid of the



60 FEATS ON THE FIORD

camphor before you come back. And be sure
you bring me some Iceland moss, to pay me for
what you have been helping yourself to.”

When Oddo had convinced himself that Olaf
really had seen a reindeer on the heights, three
miles off, he said to himself that if deer do not
like camphor, they are fond of salt; and he was
presently at the salt-box, and then quickly on his
way to the hills with his bait. He considered
his chance of training home the deer much more
probable than that Erlingsen and his grandfather
would allow him to hunt the bears; and he
doubtless judged rightly.

Cuap. IV
Roving Here and Roving There

‘THE establishment was now in a great hurry and
bustle for an hour, after which time it promised
to be unusually quiet.

M. Kollsen began to be anxious to be on the
other side of the fiord. It was rather inconvenient,
as the two men were wanted to go in different
directions, while their master took a third, to rouse
the farmers for the bear-hunt. The hunters were
all to arrive before night within a certain distance
of the thickets where the bears were now believed
to be. On calm nights it was no great hardship to
spend the dark hours in the bivouac of the country.
Each party was to shelter itself under a bank of
snow, or in a pit dug out of it, an enormous fire
blazing in the midst, and brandy and tobacco being
plentifully distributed on such occasions. Early in



ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE 61

the morning the director of the hunt was to go his
rounds, and arrange the hunters in a ring enclosing
the hiding-place of the bears, so that all might be
prepared, and no waste made of the few hours of
daylight which the season afforded. As soon as
it was light enough to see distinctly among the trees,
or bushes, or holes of the rocks where the bears
might be couched, they were to be driven from
their retreat and disposed of as quickly as possible.
Such was the plan, well understood in such cases
throughout the country. On the present occasion
it might be expected that the peasantry would be
ready at the first summons, as Olaf had told his
story of the bears all along the road. Yet the more
messengers and helpers the better, and Erlingsen
was rather vexed to see Hund. go with alacrity to
unmoor the -boat and offer officiously to row the
pastor across the fiord. His daughters knew what
he was thinking about, and, after a moment’s con-
sultation, Frolich asked whether she and the maid
Stiorna, might not be the rowers.

Nobody would have objected if Hund had not.
The girls could row, though they could not hunt
bears, and the weather was fair enough; but Hund
shook his head, and went on preparing the boat.
His master spoke to him, but Hund was not re-
markable for giving up his own way. He would
only say that there would be plenty of time for both
affairs, and that he could follow the hunt when he
returned, and across the lake he went.

Erlingsen and Rolf presently departed, accom-
panied by Olaf, who was glad of an escort for a
few miles, though nothing was further from his
intention than going near the bears. ‘The women
and Peder were thus left behind.

E



62 FEATS ON THE FIORD

They occupied themselves, to keep away anxious
thoughts. One began some new nets for the ap-
proaching fishing season; another sat in the loom,
and the girls appealed to their mother very fre-
quently about the beauties of a new quilting pattern
they were drawing. Old Peder sang to them, too,
but Peder’s songs were rather melancholy, and they
had not the effect of cheering the party. Hour
after hour they looked for Hund. His news of his
voyage, and the sending him after his master, would
be something to do and to think of; but Hund did
not come. Stiorna at last let fall that she did not
think he would come yet, for that he meant to
catch some cod before his return. He had taken
tackle with him for that purpose, she knew, and
she should not wonder if he did not appear till the
morning.

Every one was surprised, and Madame Erlingsen
highly displeased. At the time when her husband
would be wanting every strong arm that could be
mustered, his servant chose to be out fishing, in-
stead of obeying orders. The girls pronounced
him a coward, and Peder observed that toa coward,
as well as a sluggard, there was ever a lion in the
path. Erica doubted whether this act of dise
obedience arose from cowardice, for there were
dangers in the fiord for such as went out as far as
the cod. She supposed Hund had heard

She stopped short, as a sudden flash of suspicion
crossed her mind. She had seen Hund inquiring
of Olaf about the pirates, and his strange obstinacy
about this day’s boating looked much as if he meant
to learn more.

‘* Danger in the fiord! ” repeated Orga; “oh,
you mean the pirates. They are far enough from













z 7A
{ Nee



THE pooR ANIMAL STRUGGLED VIOLENTLY.







ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE 65

our fiord, I suppose. If ever they do come, I
wish they would catch Hund and carry him off.
I am sure we could spare them nothing they would
be so welcome to.”

Madame Erlingsen saw that Erica was turning
red and white, and resolved to ask, on the first
good opportunity, what was in her mind about
Hund, for no one was more disposed to distrust
and watch him than the lady herself.

The first piece of amusement that occurred was
the return of Oddo, who passed the windows, fol-
lowed at a short distance by a wistful-looking deer,
which seemed afraid to come quite up to him, but
kept its branched head outstretched towards the
salt which Oddo displayed, dropping a few grains
from time to time. At the sight, all crowded to
the windows but Frolich, who left the room on the
instant. Before the animal had passed the servants’
house (a separate dwelling in the yard), she ap-
peared in the gallery which ran round the outside
of it, and showed to Oddo a cord which she held.
He nodded, and threw down some salt on the
snow immediately below where she stood. The
reindeer stooped its head, instead of looking out for
enemies above, and thus gave Frolich a good oppor-
tunity to throw her cord over its antlers. She
had previously wound one end round the balustrade
of the gallery, so that she had not with her single
strength to sustain the animal’s struggles.

The poor animal struggled violently when it found
its head no longer at liberty, and, by throwing out
its legs, gave Oddo an opportunity to catch and
fasten it by the hind leg, so as to decide its fate
completely. It could now only start from side to
side, and threaten with its head when the household



66 FEATS ON THE FIORD

gathered round to congratulate Oddo and Frolich
on the success of their hunting. The women durst
only hastily stroke the palpitating sides of the poor
beast ; but Peder, who had handled many scores in
his lifetime, boldly seized its head and felt its horns,
and the bones whence they grew, to ascertain its age.

“Do you fancy you have made a prize of a wild
deer, boy?” he asked of his grandson.

«© To be sure,’’ said Oddo.

«IT thought you had had more curiosity than to
take such a thing for granted, Oddo. See here!
Is not this ear slit ?”’

«Why, yes,’? Oddo admitted; ‘but it is not a
slit of this year or last. It may have belonged to
the Lapps once upon a time; but it has been wild
for so long that it is all the same as if it had never
been in a fold. It will never be claimed.”

“I am of your opinion there, boy. I wish you
joy of your sport.”

«You may; for I doubt whether anybody. will
do better to-day. Hund will not, for one, if it
is he who has gone out with the boat; and I think
I cannot be mistaken in the handling of his oar.”’

«Have you seen him? Where? What is he
doing ?”? asked one and another.

Before Oddo could answer, Madame Erlingsen
desired that he would go home with his grand-
father and tell Ulla about the deer, while he
warmed himself. She did not wish her daughters
to hear what he might have to tell of Hund.
Stiorna, too, was better out of the way. Oddo had
not half told the story of the deer to his grand-
mother when his mistress and Erica entered.

‘Did not you see M. Kollsen in the boat with
Hund?” she inquired.



ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE 67

“No. Hund was quite alone, pulling with all
his might down the fiord. The tide was with
him, so that he shot along like a fish.”’

“How do you know it was Hund that you
saw???

« Don’t I know our boat? And don’t I know
his pull? It is no more like Rolf’s than Rolf’s
is like master’s.”

‘Perhaps he was making for the best fishing-
ground as fast as he could.”

«< Wee shall see that by the fish he brings home.”’

«True. By supper-time we shall know.”

“Hund will not be home by supper-time,”’
said Oddo decidedly.

«Why not? Come, say out what you mean.”

‘Well, I will tell you what I saw. I watched
him rowing as fast as his arm and the tide would
carry him. It was so plain that there was a plan
in his head, that I forgot the deer in watching him;
and I followed on from point to point, catching a
sight now and then, till 1 had gone a good stretch
beyond Salten heights. I was just going to turn
back when I took one more look, and he was
then pulling in for the land.”

«‘On the north shore or south?”’ asked Peder.

«The north—just at the narrow part of the
fiord, where one can see into the holes of the
rocks opposite.”’

«The fiord takes a wide sweep below there,”
observed Peder.

“Yes; and that was why he landed,”’ replied
Oddo. «He was then but a little way from the
fishing-ground, if he had wanted fish. But he
drove up the boat into a little cove, a narrow dark
creek, where it will lie safe enough, I have no



68 FEATS ON THE FIORD

doubt, till he comes back—if he means to come
back.”

«“Why, where should he go?) What should he
do but come back ?”’ asked Madame Erlingsen.

“Fle is now gone over the ridge to the north.
I saw him moor the boat, and begin to climb;
and I watched his dark figure on the white snow,
higher and higher, till it was a speck, and I could
not make it out.”’

“That is the way you will lose your eyes,”
exclaimed Ulla. ‘How often have I warned
you—and many others as giddy as you? When
you have lost your eyes, you will think you had
better have minded my advice, and not have stared
at the snow after a runaway that is better there
than here.’

«What do you think of this story, Peder?”
asked his mistress.

«*T think Hund has taken the short cut over
the promontory, on business of his own at the
islands. He is not on any business of yours,
depend upon it, madame.”

«¢ And what business can he have among the
islands ?”’

“T could say that with more certainty if I knew
exactly where the pirate vessel is.””

«©That is your idea, Erica,’ said her mistress.
“TI saw what your thoughts were an hour ago,
before we knew all this.”

“© T was thinking then, madame, that if Hund
was gone to join the pirates, Nipen would be very
ready to give them a wind just now. A baffling
wind would be our only defence; and we cannot
expect that much from Nipen to-day.”

“


ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE 69

eagerly. ‘Send me anywhere. Do think of
something that I can do.”

«What must be done, Peder?’’ asked his
mistress. ‘There is quite enough to fear, Erica,
without a word of Nipen. Pirates on the coast,
and one farmhouse seen burning already.”

“T will tell you what you must let me do,
madame,” said Erica. ‘Indeed you must not
oppose me. My mind is quite set upon going for
the boat—immediately—this very minute. That
will give us time, it will give us safety for this
night. Hund might bring seven or eight men upon
us over the promontory; but if they find no boat,
I think they can hardly work up the windings of
the fiord in their own vessel to-night; unless,
indeed,”’ she added with a sigh, “they have a
most favourable wind.”

“ All this is true enough,”’ said her mistress;
‘but how will you go? Will you swim?”

“The raft, madame.”

« And there is the old skiff on Thor islet,’
said Oddo. “It is a rickety little thing, hardly
big enough for two; but it will carry down Erica
and me, if we go before the tide turns.”

«But how will you get to Thor islet?”’ in-
quired Madame Erlingsen. «I wish the scheme
were not such a wild one.”’

«A wild one must serve at such a time,
madame,” replied Erica. ‘Rolf had Jashed
several logs before he went. I am sure we can
get over to the islet. See, madame, the fiord is
as smooth as a pond.”

“Let her go,” said Peder. ‘She will never
repent.”

«Then come back, I charge you, if you find



70 FEATS ON THE FIORD
the least danger,” said her mistress. ‘No one
is safer at the oar than you; but if there is a ripple
in the water, or a gust on the heights, or a cloud
in the sky, come back. Such is my command,
Erica.”

“Wife,” said Peder, “give her your pelisse.
That will save her seeing the girls before she goes.
And she shall have my cap, and then there is not
an eye along the fiord that can tell whether she is
man or woman.”

Ulla lent her deer-skin pelisse willingly enough ;
but she entreated that Oddo might be kept at
home. She folded her arms about the boy with
tears; but Peder decided the matter with the
words—

«Let him go. It is the least he can do to make
up for last night. Equip, Oddo.”

Oddo equipped willingly enough. In two minutes
he and his companion looked like two walking bundles
of fur. Oddo carried a frail basket, containing rye-
bread, salt fish, and a flask of corn-brandy; for in
Norway no one goes on the shortest expedition
without carrying provisions.

“Surely it must be dusk by this time,” said
Peder.

It was dusk; and this was well, as the pair
could steal down to the shore without being per-
ceived from the house. Madame Erlingsen gave
them her blessing, saying that if the enterprise saved
them from nothing worse than Hund’s company
this night, it would be a great good. There could
be no more comfort in having Hund for an inmate ;
for some improper secret he certainly had. Her
hope was that, finding the boat gone, he would never
show himself again.



ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE 71.

«One would think,” continued the lady, when
she returned from watching Erica and Oddo dis-
appear in the dusk, ‘one would think Erica had
never known fear. Her step is as firm, and her
eye as clear, as if she had never trembled in the
course of her life.”

“She knows how to act to-night,”’ said Peder ;
“and she is going into danger for her lover, instead
of waiting at home while her lover goes into danger
for her. A hundred pirates in the fiord would
not make her tremble as she trembled last night.
Rather a hundred pirates than Nipen angry, she
would say.”

« There is her weakness,’’ observed her mistress.

‘Can we speak of weakness, after what we have
just seen, if I may say so, madame?”

“I think so,”’ replied Madame Erlingsen. “I
think it a weakness in those who believe that a just
and tender Providence watches over us all, to fear
what any power in the universe can do to them.”

««M. Kollsen does not make progress in teaching
the people what you say, madame. He only gets
distrusted by it.”

«¢When M. Kollsen has had more experience
he will find that this is not a matter for displeasure.
He will not succeed while he is displeased at what
his people think sacred. When he is an older man
he will pity the innocent for what they suffer from
superstition; and this pity will teach him how to
speak of Providence to such as our Erica. But
here are my girls coming to seek me. I must meet
them, to prevent them missing Erica.”

«¢ Get them to rest early, madame.”

“Certainly; and you will watch in this house,
Peder, and I at home.”



72 FEATS ON THE FIORD

«Trust me for hearing the oars at a furlong off,
mddame.”’

«That is more than I can promise,”’ said the
lady; “but the owl shall not be more awake
than I.”

Cuar, V
The Water-Sprites’ Doings

RICA now profited by her lover’s industry in
the morning. He had so far advanced with
the raft that, though no one would have thought of
taking it in its present state to the mouth of the
fiord for shipment, it would serve as a conveyance
in still water for a short distance safely enough.
And still indeed the waters were. As Erica
and Oddo were busily and silently employed in
tying moss round their oars to muffle their sound,
the ripple of the tide upon the white sand could
scarcely be heard ; and it appeared to the eye as if
the lingering remains of the daylight brooded on
the fiord, unwilling to depart. The stars had,
however, been showing themselves for some time;
and they might now be seen twinkling below almost
as clearly and steadily as overhead. As Erica and
Oddo put their little raft off from the shore, and
then waited with their oars suspended, to observe
whether the tide carried them towards the islet
they must reach, it seemed as if some invisible hand
was pushing them forth, to shiver the bright pave-
ment of constellations as it lay. Star after star was
shivered, and its bright fragments danced in their
wake; and those fragments reunited and became a



THE WAR-SPRITES’ DOINGS 73

star again, as the waters closed over the path of the
raft, and subsided into perfect stillness.

The tide favoured Erica’s object. A few strokes
of the oar brought the raft to the right point for
landing on the islet. ‘They stepped ashore, and
towed the raft along till they came to the skiff, and
then they fastened the raft with the boat-hook,
which had been fixed there for the skiff. This
done, Oddo ran to turn over the little boat and
examine its condition, but he found he could not
move it. It was frozen fast to the ground. It was
scarcely possible to get a firm hold of it, it was so
slippery with ice; and all pulling and pushing of
the two together was in vain, though the boat was
so light that either of them could have lifted and
carried it in a time of thaw.

This circumstance caused a good deal of delay ;
and what was worse, it obliged them to make some
noise. They struck at the ice with sharp stones,
~ but it was long before they could make any visible
impression, and Erica proposed. again and again that
they should proceed on the raft. Oddo was un-
willing. The skiff would go so incomparably faster,
that it was worth spending some time upon it; and
the fears he had had of its leaking were removed,
now that he found what a sheet of ice it was
covered with—ice which would not melt to admit
a drop of water while they were in it. So he
knocked and knocked away, wishing that the echoes
would be quiet for once, and then laughing as he
imagined the ghost stories that would spring up all
round the fiord to-morrow, from the noise he was
then making.

Erica worked hard too; and one advantage of
their labour was that they were well warmed before



74 FEATS ON THE FIORD

they put off again. The boat’s icy fastenings were
all broken at last, and it was launched; but all was
not yet ready. The skiff had lain in a direction
east and west; and its north side had so much
thicker a coating of ice than the other, that its
balance was destroyed. It hung so low on one
side as to promise to upset with a touch.

«We must clear off more of the ice,” said
Erica. ‘ But how late it is growing! ”’

“No more knocking, I say,’ replied Oddo.
« There is a quieter way of trimming the boat.”

He fastened a few stones to the gunwale on the
lighter side, and took in a few more for the purpose
of shifting the weight if necessary, while they were
on their way.

They did not leave quiet behind them when they
departed. ‘They had roused the multitude of eider
ducks and other sea-fow! which thronged the islet,
and which now, being roused, began their night-
feeding and flying, though at an earlier hour than
usual. When their discordant cries were left so far
behind as to be softened by distance, the flapping of
wings and swash of water, as the fowl plunged in,
still made the air busy all around.

The rowers were so occupied with the manage-
ment of their dangerous craft, that they had not
spoken since they left the islet. The skiff would
have been unmanageable by any maiden and boy in _
our country; but on the coast of Norway it is us
natural to persons of all ages and degrees to guide a
boat as to walk. Swiftly but cautiously they shot
through the water, till at length Oddo uttered a
most hideous croak.

«What do you mean?” asked Erica, hastily
glancing round her.



THE WAR-SPRITES’ DOINGS 75

Oddo laughed, and looked upwards as he croaked
again. He was answered by a similar croak, and a
large raven was seen flying homewards over the
fiord for the night. Then the echoes all croaked,
till the whole region seemed to be full of ravens.

«Are you sure you know the cove?” asked
Erica, who wished to put an end to this sound,
unwelcome to the superstitious. ‘Do not make
that bird croak so ; it will be quiet if you let it alone.
Are you sure you can find the cove again?”

“Quite sure. I wish I was as sure that Hund
would not find it again before me. Pull away.”

«How much farther is it? ”’

‘: Farther than I like tothink of. I doubt your
arm holding out; I wish Rolf was here.”

Erica did not wish the same thing. She thought
that Rolf was, on the whole, safer waging war with
bears than with pirates, especially if Hund was
among them. She pulled her oar cheerfully, ob-
serving that there was no fatigue at present; and
that when they were once afloat in the heavier boat,
and had cleared the cove, there need be no hurry—
unless indeed they should see something of the
pirate schooner on the way; and of this she had no
expectation, as the booty that might be had where
the fishery was beginning was worth more than any-
thing that could be found higher up the fiords, to
say nothing of the danger of running up into the
country so far as that getting away again depended
upon one particular wind.

Yet Erica looked behind her after every few
strokes of her oar; and once, when she saw some-
thing, her start was felt like a start of the skiff
itself. There was a fire glancing and gleaming and
quivering over the water, some way down the fiord.



76 FEATS ON THE FIORD

‘Some people night-fishing,”’ observed Oddo.
«What sport they will have! I wish I was with
them. How fast we go! How you can row
when you choose! I can see the man that is
holding the torch. Cannot you see his black
figure? And the spearman—see how he stands at
the bow—now going to cast his spear! I wish I
was there.”’

‘We must get farther away—into the shadow
somewhere, or wait,’ observed Erica. “I had
rather not wait, it is growing so late. We might
creep along under that promontory, in the shadow,
if you would be quiet. I wonder whether you can
be silent in the sight of night-fishing.”’

«To be sure,” said Oddo, disposed to be angry,
and only kept from it by the thought of last night.
He helped to bring the skiff into the shadow of the
overhanging rocks, and only spoke once more, to
whisper that the fishing-boat was drifting down with
the tide, and that he thought their cove lay between
them and the fishing-party.

It was so. As the skiff rounded the point of
the promontory, Oddo pointed out what appeared
like a mere dark chasm in the high perpendicular
wall of rock that bounded the waters. T'his chasm
still looked so narrow on approaching it, that Erica
hesitated to push her skiff into it, till certain that
there was no one there. Oddo, however, was so
clear that she might safely do this, so noiseless was
their rowing, and it was so plain that.there was no
footing on the rocks by which he might enter to
explore, that in a sort of desperation, and seeing
nothing else to be done, Erica agreed. She wished
it had been summer, when either of them might
have learned what they wanted by swimming. ‘This



THE WATER-SPRITES’ DOINGS 77

was now out of the question; and stealthily there-
fore she pulled her little craft into the deepest
shadow, and crept into the cove.

At a little distance from the entrance it widened,
but it was a wonder to Erica that even Oddo’s eyes
should have seen Hund moor his boat here from the
other side of the fiord; though the fiord was not
more than a gunshot over in this part. Oddo him-
self wondered, till he recalled how the sun was
shining down into the chasm at the time. By star-
light, the outline of all that the cove contained
might be seen, the outline of the boat among other
things. There she lay! But there was something
about her which was unpleasant enough, There
were three men in her.

What was to be done now? Here was the very
worst danger that Erica had feared—worse than
finding the boat gone—worse than meeting it in the
wide fiord. What was to be done?

There was nothing for it but to do nothing—to
lie perfectly still in the shadow, ready, however, to
push out on the first movement of the boat to leave
the cove; for, though the canoe might remain
unnoticed at present, it was impossible that anybody
could pass out of the cove without seeing her. In
such a case there would be nothing for it but a race
—a race for which Erica and Oddo held them-
selves prepared without any mutual explanation, for
they dared not speak. The faintest whisper would
have crept over the smooth water to the ears in the
larger boat.

One thing was certain—that something must
happen presently. It is impossible for the hardiest
men to sit inactive in a boat for any length of time
in a January night in Norway. In the calmest

F



78 FEATS ON THE FIORD

nights the cold is only to be sustained by means of
the glow from strong exercise. It was certain that
these three men could not have been long in their
places, and that they would not sit many moments
more without some change in their arrangements.

They did not seem to be talking, for Oddo,
who was the best listener in the world, could not
discover that a sound issued from their boat. He
fancied they were drowsy, and, being aware what
were the consequences of yielding to drowsiness in
severe cold, the boy began to entertain high hopes
of taking these three men prisoners. ‘The whole
country would ring with such a feat performed by
Erica and himself.

The men were, however, too much awake to be
made prisoners of at present. One was seen to
drink from a flask, and the hoarse voice of another
was heard grumbling, as far as the listeners could
make out, at being kept waiting. The third then
rose to look about him, and Erica trembled from
head to foot. He only looked upon the land,
however, declared he saw nothing of those he was
expecting, and began to warm himself as he stood,
by repeatedly clapping his arms across his breast
in the way that hackney coachmen and porters
do in England. This was Hund. He could not
have been known by his figure, for all persons look
alike in wolf-skin pelisses, but the voice and the
action were his. Oddo saw how Erica shuddered.
He put his finger on his lips, but Erica needed no
reminding of the necessity of quietness.

The other two men then rose, and after a
consultation, the words of which could not be
heard, all stepped ashore, one after another, and
climbed a rocky pathway.



THE WATER-SPRITE’ SDOINGS 79

«Now, now!’’ whispered Erica. ‘Now we
can get away.”

« Not without the boat,’? said Oddo. ‘You
would not leave them the boat ?”’

«‘No—not if—but they will be back in a
moment. They are only gone to hasten their
companions.”

“T know it,”? said Oddo. ‘Now two strokes
forward! ”’

While she gave these two strokes, which brought
the skiff to the stern of the boat, Erica saw
that Oddo had taken out a knife which gleamed
in the starlight. It was for cutting the thong by
which the boat was fastened to a birch-pole, the
other end of which was hooked on shore. This
was to save his going ashore to unhook the pole.
It was well for him that boat chains were not in use,
owing to the scarcity of metal in that region. The
clink of a chain would certainly have been heard.

Quickly and silently he entered the boat and
tied the skiff to its stern, and he and Erica took
their places where the men had sat one minute
before. “I'hey used their own muffled oars to turn
the boat round, till Oddo observed that the boat
oars were muffled too. ‘Then voices were heard
again. The men were returning. Strongly did
the two companions draw their strokes till a good
breadth of water lay between them and the shore,
and then till they had again entered the deep
shadow which shrouded the mouth of the cove.
There they paused.

“In with you! ’’ some loud voice said, as man
after man was seen in outline coming down the
pathway. “In with you! We have lost time
enough already.’’



80 FEATS ON THE FIORD

«Where is she? I can’t see the boat,”
answered the foremost man.

*¢ You can’t miss her,”’ said one behind, “ unless
the brandy has got into your eyes.”’

“So I should have said; but I do miss her.
It is very incomprehensible to me.”

Oddo shook with stifled laughter as he partly
saw and partly overheard the perplexity of these
men. At last one gave a deep groan, and another
declared that the spirits of the fiord were against
them, and there was no doubt that their boat was
now lying twenty fathoms deep at the bottom of
the creek, drawn down by the strong hand of an
angry water-spirit. Oddo squeezed Erica’s little
hand as he heard this. If it had been light
enough, he would have seen that even she was
smiling.

One of the men mourned their having no
other boat, so that they must give up their plan.
Another said that if they had a dozen boats he
would not set foot in one after what had happened.
He should go straight back, the way he came,
to their own vessel. Another said he would not
go till he had looked abroad over the fiord for
some chance of seeing the boat. ‘This he persisted
in, though told by the rest that it was absurd to
suppose that the boat had loosed itself and gone
out into the fiord in the course of the two minutes
that they had been absent. He showed the frag-
ment of the cut thong in proof of the boat not
having loosed itself, and set off for a point on the
heights which he said overlooked the fiord. One
or two went with him, the rest returning up the
narrow pathway at some speed—such speed that
Erica thought they were afraid of the hindmost



THE WATER-SPRITES’ DOINGS _ 81

being caught by the same enemy that had taken
their boat. Oddo observed this too, and he
quickened their pace by setting up very loud the
mournful cry with which he was accustomed to
call out to the plovers on the mountain-side on
sporting days. No sound can be more melancholy ;
and now, as it rang from the rocks, it was so
unsuitable to the place, and so terrible to the already
frightened men, that they ran on as fast as the
slipperiness of the rocks would allow, till they were
all out of sight over the ridge.

“* Now for it, before the other two come out
above us there!’’ said Oddo, and in another
minute they were again in the fiord, keeping as
much in the shadow as they could, however, till
they must strike over to the islet.

“Thank God that we came!” exclaimed
Erica. ‘We shall never forget what we owe
you, Oddo. You shall see, by the care we take
of your grandfather and Ulla, that we do not
forget what you have done this night. If Nipen
will only forgive, for the sake of this———”

«« We were just in the nick of time,”’ observed
Oddo. “It was better than if we had been earlier.”

“T do not know,” said Erica. «Here are
their brandy-bottles, and many things besides.
I had rather not have had to bring these away.”

“But if we had been earlier they would not
have had their fright. That is the best part of it.
Depend upon it, some that have not said their
prayers for long will say them to-night.””

“That will be good. But I do not like carry-
ing home these things that are not ours. If they
are seen at Erlingsen’s they may bring the pirates
down upon us. I would leave them on the islet



82 FEATS ON THE FIORD

but that the skiff has to be left there too, and that
would explain our trick.”

Erica would not consent to throw the property
overboard. This would be robbing those who
had not actually injured her, whatever their
intentions might have been. She thought that if
the goods were left upon some barren, uninhabited
part of the shore, the pirates would probably be
the first to find them; and that, if not, the rumour
of such an extraordinary fact, spread by the simple
country people, would be sure to reach them. So
Oddo carried on shore, at the first stretch of white
beach they came to, the brandy-flasks, the bear-
skins, the tobacco-pouch, the muskets and powder-
horns, and the tinder-box. He scattered these
about, just above high-water mark, laughing to
think how report would tell of the sprites’ care in
placing all these articles out of reach of injury
from the water.

Oddo did not want for light while doing this.
When he returned, he found Erica gazing up over
the towering precipices at the Northern Lights,
which had now unfurled their broad yellow blaze.
She was glad that they had not appeared sooner to
spoil the adventure of the night, but she was thank-
ful to have the way home thus illumined now that
the business was done. She answered with so much
alacrity to Oddo’s question whether she was not
very weary, that he ventured to say two things
which had before been upon his tongue without his
having the courage to utter them.

“You will not be so afraid of Nipen any more,”’
observed he, glancing at her face, of which he could
see every feature by the quivering light. ‘* You see
how well everything has turned out.”





THE WATER-SPRITES’ DOINGS 383

«‘Oh, hush! It is too soon yet to speak so. It
is never right to speak so. There is no knowing
till next Christmas, nor even then, that Nipen for-
gives; and the first twenty-four hours are not over
yet. Pray do not speak any more, Oddo.”

«Well, not about that. But what was it exactly
that you thought Hund would do with this boat and
those people? Did you think,” he continued, after
a short pause, “ that they would come up to Erling-
sen’s to rob the place?”’

“ Not for the object of robbing the place, be-
cause there is very little that is worth their taking ;
far less than at the fishing-grounds. Not but they
might have robbed us, if they took a fancy to any-
thing we have. No; I thought, and I still think,
that they would have carried off Rolf, led on by
Hund. 22

«Oh, ho! carried off Rolf! So here is the
secret of your wonderful courage to-night, you who
durst not look round at your own shadow last night !
This is the secret of your not being tired, you who
are out of breath with rowing a mile sometimes! ””

‘« That is in summer,” pleaded Erica. ‘ How-
ever, you have my secret, as you say, a thing which
is no secret at home. We all think that Hund
bears such a grudge against Rolf, for having got the
houseman’s place 2?

«¢ And for nothing else ?”’

“ That,” continued Erica, “he would be glad
to—to 2?

“To get rid of Rolf, and be a houseman, and
get betrothed instead of him. Well; Hund is
baulked for this time. Rolf must look to himself
after to-day.”

Erica sighed deeply. She did not believe that









84 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Rolf would attend to his own safety; and the
future looked very dark, all shrouded by her fears.

By the time the skiff was deposited where it had
been found, both the rowers were so weary that
they gave up the idea of taking the raft in tow, as
for full security they ought to do. They doubted
whether they could get home, if they had more
weight to draw than their own boat. It was well
that they left this encumbrance behind, for there
was quite peril and difficulty enough without it;
and Erica’s strength and spirits failed the more, the
farther the enemy was left behind.

A breath of wind seemed to bring a sudden
darkening of the friendly lights which had blazed
up higher and brighter, from their first appearance
till now. Both rowers looked down the fiord, and
uttered an exclamation at the same moment.

“See the fog!’’ cried Oddo, putting fresh
strength into his oar.

«“O Nipen! Nipen!’? mournfully exclaimed
Erica. ‘Here it is, Oddo, the west wind! ”

The west wind is, in winter, the great foe of the
fishermen of the fiords; it brings in the fog from
the sea, and the fogs of the Arctic Circle are no
trifling enemy. If Nipen really had the charge of
the winds, he could not more emphatically show his
displeasure towards any unhappy boatman than by
overtaking him with the west wind and fog.

«The wind must have just changed,” ‘said Oddo,
pulling exhausting strokes, as the fog marched
towards them over the water, like a solid and
immeasurably lofty wall. ‘*The wind must have
gone right round in a minute.”

“To be sure, since you said what you did of
Nipen,”’ replied Erica bitterly.



THE WATER-SPRITES’ DOINGS 85

Oddo made no answer; but he did what he
could. Erica had to tell him not to wear himself
out too quickly, as there was no saying now how
long they should be on the water.

How long they had been on the water, how far
they had deviated from their right course, they
could not at all tell, when, at last, more by accident
than skill, they touched the shore near home, and
heard friendly voices, and saw the light of torches
through the thick air. The fog had wrapped them
round so that they could not even see the water, or
each other. ‘They had rowed mechanically, some-
times touching the rock, sometimes grazing upon
the sand, but never knowing where they were till
the ringing of a bell, which they recognised as the
farm bell, roused hope in their hearts, and streng-
thened them to throw off the fatal drowsiness caused
by cold and fatigue. They made towards the bell ;
and then heard Peder’s shouts, and next saw the
dull light of two torches which looked as if they
could not burn in the fog. The old man lent a
strong hand to pull up the boat upon the beach, and
to lift out the benumbed rowers; and they were
presently revived by having their limbs chafed, and
by a strong dose of the universal medicine—corn-
brandy and camphor—which, in Norway, neither
man nor woman, young nor old, sick nor well,
thinks of refusing upon occasion.

When Erica was in bed, warm beneath an eider-
down coverlid, her mistress bent over her and whis-
pered—

“¢ You saw and heard Hund himself?”

«‘ Hund himself, madame.’’

«What shall we do if he comes back before my
husband is home from the bear-hunt ? ””



86 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“If he comes, it will be in fear and penitence,
thinking that all the powers are against him. But
oh, madame, let him never know how it really
was!”

«He must not know. Leave that to me, and
go to sleep now, Erica. You ought to rest well;
for there is no saying what you and Oddo have
saved us from. I could not have asked such a ser-
vice. My husband and I must see how we can
reward it.’? And her kind and grateful mistress
kissed Erica’s cheek, though Erica tried to explain
that she was thinking most of some one else, when
she undertook this expedition.

«Then let him thank you in his own way,”
replied Madame Erlingsen. ‘ Meantime, why
should not I thank you in mine ?”’

Stiorna here opened her eyes for an instant.
When she next did so, her mistress was gone; and
she told in the morning what an odd dream she had
had, of her mistress being in her room, and kissing
Erica. It was so distinct a dream that, if the thing
had not been so ridiculous, she could almost have
declared that she had seen it.

Cuarp, VI
Spring

REAT was Stiorna’s consternation at Hund’s
non-appearance the next day, seeing as she did
with her own eyes that the boat was safe in its
proper place. She had provided salt for his cod,
and a welcome for himself; and she watched in
vain for either. She saw too that no one wished



SPRING 87

him back. He was rarely spoken of, and then it
was with dislike or fear; and when she wept over
the idea of his being drowned, or carried off by
hostile spirits, the only comfort offered her was that
she need not fear his being dead, or that he could
not come back if he chose. She was indeed obliged
to suppose, at last, that it was his choice to keep
away ; for amidst the flying rumours that amused
the inhabitants of the district for the rest of the
winter—rumours of the movements of the pirate
vessel, and of the pranks of the spirits of the region
—there were some such clear notices of the appear-
ance of Hund, so many eyes had seen him in one
place or another, by land and water, by day and
night, that Stiorna could not doubt of his being
alive, and free to come home or stay away as he
pleased. She could not conceal from herself that
he had probably joined the pirates ; and heartily as
these pirates were feared throughout the Nordland
coasts, they were not more heartily hated by any
than by the jealous Stiorna.

Her salt was wanted as much as if Hund had
brought home a boatful of cod; and she might
have given her welcome to the hunting - party.
Erlingsen and Rolf came home sooner than might
reasonably have been expected, and well laden
with bears’ flesh. The whole family of bears had
been found and shot. The flesh of the cubs had
been divided among the hunters; and Erlingsen
was complimented with the feet of the old bear,
as it was he who had roused the neighbours and
led the hunt. Busy was every farmhouse (and
none so busy as Erlingsen’s) in salting some of the
meat, freezing some, and cooking a part for a feast
on the occasion.



88 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Erlingsen kept a keen and constant look-out
upon the fiord, in the midst of all the occupations
and gaieties of the rest of the winter. His wife’s
account of the adventures of the day of his absence
made him anxious; and he never went a mile out
of sight of home, so vivid in his imagination was
the vision of his house burning, and his family at
the mercy of pirates. Nothing happened, how-
ever, to confirm his fears. ‘T‘he enemy were never
heard of in the fiord; and the codfishers who came
up, before the softening of the snow, to sell some
of their produce in the interior of the country, gave
such accounts as seemed to show that the fishing-
grounds were the object of the foreign thieves—
for foreign they were declared to be—some said
Russian, and others a mixture from hostile nations.
This last information gave more impulse to the love
of country, for which the Norwegians are remark-
able, than all that had been reported from the seat
of war. The Nordlanders always drank success
to their country’s arms, in the first glass of corn-
brandy at dinner. They paid their taxes cheer-
fully, and any newspaper that the clergyman put in
circulation was read till it fell to pieces; but the
neighbourhood of foreign pirates proved a more
powerful stimulant still. The standing toast, Gamil
Norgé (Old Norway), was drunk with such en-
thusiasm that the little children shouted and defied
the enemy ; and the baby in its mother’s lap clapped
its hands when every voice joined in the national
song, For Norgé. Hitherto the war had gone for-
ward upon the soil of another kingdom: it seemed
now as if a sprinkling of it—a little of its excite-
ment and danger—was brought to their own doors ;
and vehement was the spirit that it roused, though





SPRING 89

some thefts of cod, brandy, and a little money were
all that had really happened yet.

The interval of security gave Rolf a good oppor-
tunity to ridicule and complain of Erica’s fears.
He laughed at the danger of an attack from Hund
and his comrades, as that danger was averted. He
laughed at the west wind and fog sent by Nipen’s
wrath, as Erica had reached home in spite of it.
He contended that, so far from Nipen being offended,
there was either no Nipen, or it was not angry, or
it was powerless, for everything had gone well;
and he always ended with pointing to the deer—a
good thing led to the very door—and to the result
of the bear-hunt, a great event always in a Nord-
lander’s life, and, in this instance, one of most
fortunate issue. ‘There was no saying how many
of the young of the farmyard would live and flourish
this summer on account of the timely destruction of
this family of bears. So Rolf worked away with a
cheerful heart as the days grew longer—now mending
the boat, now fishing, now ploughing, and then rolling
logs into the melting streams, to be carried down
into the river, or into the fiord when the rush of
waters should come from the heights of Sulitelma.

Hard as Rolf worked, he did not toil like Oddo.
Between them they had to supply Hund’s place—
to do his work. Nobody desired to see Hund back
again; and Hrlingsen would willingly have taken
another in his stead to make his return impossible,
but there was no one to be had. It was useless to
inquire till the fishing season should be over; and
when that was over, the hay and harvest seasons
would follow so quickly that it was scarcely likely
that any youth would offer himself till the first
frosts set in. It was Oddo’s desire that the place



90 FEATS ON THE FIORD

should remain vacant till he could show that he,
young as he was, was worth as much as Hund.
If any one was hired, he wished that it might be a
herd-boy, under him, and strenuously did he toil
this spring to show that he was now beyond a mere
herd-boy’s place. It was he who first fattened
and then killed and skinned the reindeer—a more
than ordinary feat, as it was full two months past
the regular season. It was he who watched the
making of the first eider-duck’s nest, and brought
home the first down. All the month of April he
never failed in the double work of the farmyard and
islet. He tended the cattle in the morning, and
turned out the goats, when the first patches of
green appeared from beneath the snow ; and then he
was off to the islet, or to some one of the breeding
stations among the rocks, punctually stripping the
nests of the down, as the poor ducks renewed the
supply from their breasts, and as carefully staying
his hand when he saw, by the yellow tinge of the
down, that the duck had no more to give, and the
drake had now supplied what was necessary for
hatching the eggs. Then he watched for the eggs,
and never had Madame Erlingsen had such a quan-
tity brought home, though Oddo assured her that
he had left enough in the nests for every duck to
have her brood. Then he was ready to bring home
the goats again long before sunset, for by this time
the sun set late, and to take his turn at mend-
ing any fence that might have been injured by the
spring floods, and then he never forgot to wash
and dress himself, and go in for his grandmother’s
blessing; and after all he was not too tired to sit
up as late as if he were a man—even till past nine
sometimes—spending the last hour of the evening



SPRING gr

in working at the bell-collars which Hund had left
half-done, and which must be finished before the
cattle went to the mountain ; or, if the young ladies
were disposed to dance, he-was never too tired to
play the clarionet, though it now and then hap-
pened that the tune went rather oddly; and when
Orga and Frolich looked at him to see what he
was about, his eyes were shut, and his fingers looked
as if they were moving of their own accord. If
this happened, the young ladies would finish their
waltz at once, and thank him, and his mistress
would wish him good-night; and when he was
gone, his master would tell old Peder that that
grandson of his was a promising lad, and very
diligent; and Peder would make a low bow, and
say it was greatly owing to Rolf’s good example;
and then Erica would blush, and be kinder than
ever to Oddo the next day.

So came on and passed away the spring of this
year at Erlingsen’s farm. It soon passed, for spring
in Nordland lasts only a month. In that short time
had the snow first become soft, and then dingy, and
then vanished, except on the heights and in places
where it had drifted. The streams had broken
their long pause of silence, and now leaped and
rushed along, till every rock overhanging both sides
of the fiord was musical with falling waters, and
glittering with silver threads—for the cataracts
looked no more than this in so vast a scene. Every
mill was going, after the long idleness of winter ;
and about the bridges which spanned the falls were
little groups of the peasants gathered, mending such
as had burst with the floods, or strengthening such
as did not seem secure enough for the passage of
the herds to the mountain. :



Full Text


xml record header identifier oai:www.uflib.ufl.edu.ufdc:UF0008755600001datestamp 2008-11-10setSpec [UFDC_OAI_SET]metadata oai_dc:dc xmlns:oai_dc http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc xmlns:dc http:purl.orgdcelements1.1 xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc.xsd dc:title Feats on the fjordFeats on the fiordTemple classics for young peopledc:creator Martineau, Harriet, 1802-1876Rackham, Arthur, 1867-1939 ( Illustrator )Ballantyne, Hanson and Co ( Printer )dc:subject Country life -- FictionSuperstition -- FictionPirates -- FictionSocial life and customs -- Fiction -- NorwayMarriage customs and rites -- Fiction -- Norwaydc:description by Harriet Martineau ; with twelve illustrations by A. Rackham.Published originally as one of her series entitled The playfellow.Frontispiece and t.p. printed in colors.dc:publisher J.M. Dent & Companydc:date 1899dc:type Bookdc:format viii, 237 p., 12 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.dc:identifier http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?b=UF00087556&v=00001002233937 (ALEPH)03288216 (OCLC)ALH4354 (NOTIS)dc:source University of Floridadc:language English



The Baldwin Library

ay,
RGD ti


THE
TEMPLE
CLASSICS



FOR
YOUNG
PEOPLE

HARRIET MARTINEAU |

Ken

SR!

WITH TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS yy
BY

LONDON:
J.M.DENT & COMPANY
ALDINE HOUSE, BEDFORD STREET,
COVENT GARD EN.


CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE
I. ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” A , I
Il. ODDO’S WALK . 6 : : i ey
Ill. OLAF AND HIS NEWS é f ek
IV. ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE = 60
V. THE WATER-SPRITES DOINGS . teen 72
VI. SPRING . 5 5 : : : 86

Vil. VOGEL ISLET . ; : z = 102

VII. A SUMMER APARTMENT . : IX. HUND’S REPORT : Z ; 2 6
X. SEEKING THE UPLANDS : : . 138
XI, DAIRY-MAIDS’ TALK .- . Rematch

XI. PEDER ADROAD : 3 Fi TOT

XUI. PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT . : LTO

XIV. MIDNIGHT : : : 3 2104:

XV. MOUNTAIN FARE. 3 i <= 5205

XVI. OLD TALES AND BETTER TIDINGS . 218

XVI. THE WATCH ON THE HILL ; - 226

XVII. TO CHURCH . ; : : e232)
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Quicxty anD SILENTLY HE ENTERED THE
Boat anp TIED THE SKIFF To ITs
Srern (Chap. v.) . : . Frontispiece

PAGE
ERLINGSEN AND SOME OF HIS SERVANTS STOOD

with Licutrep Ping-tTorcues To Re-

CEIVE THEIR GUESTS . : i i II

It came Nzarer anp Nearer, AND AT LAST

QUITE UP TO THE Can or ALE . ees

In tHe Porcu sHe FrounpD Oppo £aTING
SOMETHING WHICH CAUSED HIM TO MAKE

Faces. : ; : . een. 7
Tue Poor Antmat Strucciep VIOLENTLY. 63

AND THAT VESSEL, HE KNEW, WAS THE Pirate

ScHOONER x , ‘ "i See LONG

He sometimes HamMereD A LITTLE AT HIS

SKIFF. 5 . s : De 12h

No oruer roan THE Mountam-Demon . 143
es *

5 vii
viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Art tHe Enp or a LEpGE HE FOUND THE
Remains or 4 Lapper MADE OF BircH-
POLES. : 3 5 is A

In Desperation Hunp, uNARMED AS HE WAS,

THREW HIMSELF UPON THE PiraTE °

It was Hunn, wir wis Fert TIED UNDER
His Horse, AND THE BripLE HELD BY A

Man on EACH SIDE . 4 : A

As pretty A Boat Procession ON THE STILL
Warers of THE FiorD AS HAD EVER

BEFORE GLIDED OVER ITS SURFACE :

PAGE

173

187

215

235
FEATS ON THE FIORD

Cuap. I
Erlingsen’s ‘‘At Home”

FVERY one who has looked at the map of

Norway must have been struck with the
singular character of its coast. On the map it
looks so jagged, such a strange mixture of land
and sea, that it appears as if there must be a
perpetual struggle between the two—the sea
striving to inundate the land, and the land pushing
itself out into the sea, till it ends in their dividing
the region between them. On the spot, however,
this coast is very sublime. The long straggling
promontories are mountainous, towering ridges of
rock, springing up in precipices from the water;
while the bays between them, instead of being
rounded with shelving sandy shores, on which the
sea tumbles its waves, as in bays of our coast, are,
in fact, long narrow valleys, filled with sea, instead
of being laid out in fields and meadows. The
high rocky banks shelter these deep bays (called
fiords) from almost every wind; so that their
waters are usually as still as those of a lake. For
days and weeks together, they reflect each separate
tree-top of the pine-forests which clothe the
2 FEATS ON THE FIORD

mountain sides, the mirror being broken only by
the leap of some sportive fish, or the oars of the
boatman as he goes to inspect the sea-fowl from
islet to islet of the fiord, or carries out his nets or
his rod to catch the sea-trout, or char, or cod,
or herrings, which abound, in their seasons, on the
coast of Norway.

It is difficult to say whether these fiords are
the most beautiful in summer or in winter. In
summer, they glitter with golden sunshine; and
purple and green shadows from the mountain and
forest lie on them; and these may be more lovely
than the faint light of the winter noons of those
latitudes, and the snowy pictures of frozen peaks
which then show themselves on the surface: but
before the day is half over, out come the stars—
the glorious stars, which shine like nothing that
we have ever seen. ‘There, the planets cast a faint
shadow, as the young moon does with us; and
these planets and the constellations of the sky, as
they silently glide over from peak to peak of these
rocky passes, are imaged on the waters so clearly
that the fisherman, as he unmoors his boat for his
evening task, feels as if he were about to shoot
forth his vessel into another heaven, and to cleave
his way among the stars.

Still as everything is to the eye, sometimes for
a hundred miles together along these deep sea-
valleys, there is rarely silence. The ear is kept
awake by a thousand voices. In the summer,
there are cataracts leaping from ledge to ledge of
the rocks; and there is the bleating of the kids
that browse there, and the flap of the great eagle’s
wings, as it dashes abroad from its eyrie, and the
cries of whole clouds of sea-birds which inhabit
ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 3

the islets; and all these sounds are mingled ana
multiplied by the strong echoes, till they become
a din as loud as that of a city. Even at night,
when the flocks are in the fold, and the birds at
roost, and the echoes themselves seem to be asleep,
there is occasionally a sweet music heard, too soft
for even the listening ear to catch by day. Every
breath of summer wind -that steals through the
pine-forests wakes this music as it goes. The
stiff spiny leaves of the fir and pine vibrate with
the breeze, like the strings of a musical instrument,
so that every breath of the night-wind, in a
Norwegian forest, wakens a myriad of tiny harps;
and this gentle and mournful music may be heard
in gushes the whole night through. This music,
of course, ceases when each tree becomes laden
with snow; but yet there is sound, in the midst
of the longest winter night. There is the rumble
of some avalanche, as, after a drifting storm, a mass
of snow too heavy to keep its place slides and
tumbles from the mountain peak. There is also,
now and then, a loud crack of the ice in the
nearest glacier; and, as many declare, there is a
crackling to be heard by those who listen when
the northern lights are shooting and blazing across
the sky. Nor is this all. Wherever there is a
nook between the rocks on the shore, where a man
may build:a house, and clear a field or two ;—
wherever there is a platform beside the cataract
where the sawyer may plant his mill, and make
a path from it to join some great road, there is a
human habitation, and the sounds that belong to
it. Thence, in winter nights, come music and
laughter, and the tread of dancers, and the hum
of many voices. The Norwegians are a social
4 .FEATS.ON THE FIORD

and hospitable people; and they hold their gay
meetings, in defiance of their Arctic climate,
through every season of the year.

On a January night, a hundred years ago, there
was great merriment in the house of a farmer who
had fixed his abode within the Arctic circle, in
Nordland, not far from the foot of Sulitelma, the
highest mountain in Norway. This dwelling, with
its few fields about it, was in a recess between the
rocks, on the shore of the fiord, about five miles
from Saltdalen, and two miles from the junction
of the Salten’s Elv (river) with the fiord. It
was but little that Erlingsen’s fields would produce,
though they were sheltered from the coldest winds,
and. the summer sunshine was reflected from the
rocks, so as to make this little farm much more
productive than any near, which were in a more
exposed situation. A patch of rye was grown,
and some beans and oats; and there was a strip
of pasture, and a garden in which might be seen
turnips, radishes, potatoes, lettuce, and herbs, and
even some fruits—a few raspberries, and a great
many cherries. ‘There were three or four horses
on the farm, five cows, and a small flock of goats.
In summer, the cattle and flock were driven up
the mountain, to feed on the pastures there; and
during the seven months of winter, they were
housed and fed on the hay grown at home, and
that which was brought from the mountain, and
on a food which appears strange enough to us, but
of which cows in Norway are extremely fond—
fish-heads boiled into a thick soup with horse-dung.
At one extremity of the little beach of white
sand which extended before the farmer’s door
was his boat-house; and on his boat he and his
ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 5

family depended, no less than his cows, for a prin-
cipal part of their winter subsistence. Except a kid or
a calf now and then, no meat was killed on the farm.
Cod in winter, herrings in spring, trout and salmon in
summer, and salted fish in winter, always abounded.
Reindeer meat was regularly purchased from the
Lapps who travelled round among the settlements
for orders, or drove their fattened herds from farm
to farm. Besides this, there was the resource of
game. Erlingsen and his housemen brought home
from their sporting rambles, sometimes a young
bear, sometimes wild ducks, or the noble cock-of-
the-woods, as big as a turkey, or a string of snipes,
or golden plovers, or ptarmigan. The eggs of sea-
birds might be found in every crevice of the islets in
the fiord, in the right season; and they are excellent
food. Once a year, too, Erlingsen wrapped him-
self in furs, and drove himself in his sledge, followed
by one of his housemen on another and a larger, to
the great winter fair at Tronyem, where the Lapps
repaired to sell their frozen reindeer meat, their
skins, and few articles of manufacture, and where
travelling Russian.merchants came with the produc-
tions of other climates, and found eager customers
in the inhabitants who thronged to this fair, to make
their purchases. Here, in exchange for the salt-
fish, feathers, and eider- down which had been
prepared by the industry of his family, Erlingsen
obtained flax and wool wherewith to make cloth-
ing for the household, and those luxuries which no
Norwegian thinks of going without—corn-brandy,
coffee, tobacco, sugar, and spices. Large mould
candles were also sold so cheap by the Russians
that it was worth while to bring them home for the
use of the whole family—even to burn in the stables
6 FEATS ON THE FIORD

and stalls, as the supply of bear’s fat was precarious,
and the pine-tree. was too precious, so far north, to
be split up into torches, while it even fell so short
occasionally, as to compel the family to burn peat,
which they did not like nearly so well as pine-logs.
It was Madame Erlingsen’s business to calculate how
much of all these foreign articles would be required
for the use of her household for a whole year ; and,
trusting to her calculations, which were never found
to be wrong, her husband came home from the
winter fair heavily enough laden with good things.
Nor was it only what was required for his own
every-day household that he brought. The quan-
tity of provisions, especially corn-brandy, tobacco,
coffee, and sugar, consumed in hospitality in Norway,
is almost incredible; and, retired as the Erlingsens
might appear to dwell, they were as hospitable,
according to their opportunities, as any inhabitant of
Bergen or Christiania. They gave feasts at Christ-
mas, and on every occasion that they could devise.
The occasion, on the particular January day men-
tioned above, was the betrothment of one of the
house-maidens to a young farm-servant of the estab-
lishment. I do not mean that this festival was
anything like a marriage. It was merely an engage-
ment to be married; but this engagement is a much
more formal and public affair in Norway (and indeed
wherever the people belong to the Lutheran church)
than with us. According to the rites of the Lutheran
church, there are two ceremonies—one when a
couple become engaged, and another when they are
married. In Norway, this betrothment gives the
couple a certain dignity beyond that of the unengaged,
and more liberty of companionship, together with
certain rights-in law. This makes up to them for
ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 7

being obliged to wait so long as they often must
before they can marry. Ina country scattered over
with farmers, like Norway, where there are few
money transactions, because people provide for their
own wants on their own little estates, servants do
not shift their places, and go from master to master,
as with us. A young man and woman have to
wait long—probably till some houseman dies or
removes, before they can settle; and then they are
settled for life—provided for till death, if they
choose to be commonly industrious and honest.
The story of this betrothment at Erlingsen’s will
explain what I have just said.

As Madame Erlingsen had two daughters grow-
ing up, and they were no less active than the girls
of a Norwegian household usually are, she had
occasion for only two maidens to assist in the busi-
ness of the dwelling and the dairy.

Of these two, the younger, Erica, was the maiden
betrothed to-day. No one perhaps rejoiced so much
at the event as her mistress, both for Erica’s sake,
and on account of her own two young daughters.
Erica was not the best companion for them; and
the servants of a Norwegian farmer are necessarily
the companions of the daughters of the house.
There was nothing wrong in Erica’s conduct or
temper towards the family. She had, when con-
firmed,* borne so high a character that many places

* The rite of confirmation is thought much more of in
Norway than with us. The preparation for it is longer
and more strict ; and the destiny of young people for life
depends much on how they pass through it. A person
who has not been confirmed is looked upon as one with-
out a character and without knowledge; while those
who pass well stand high in credit; and, if they have to
8 FEATS ON THE FIORD

were offered her, and Madame Erlingsen had
thought herself very fortunate in obtaining her ser-
vices. But, since then, Erica had sustained a shock
which hurt her spirits, and increased a weakness
which she owed to her mother. Her mother, a
widow, had brought up her child in all the super-
stitions of the country, some of which remain in
full strength even to this day, and were then very
powerful; and the poor woman’s death at last con-
firmed the lessons of her life. She had stayed too
long, one autumn day, at the Erlingsen’s; and,
being benighted on her return, and suddenly seized
and bewildered by the cold, had wandered from
the road, and was found frozen to death in a recess
of the forest which it was surprising that she should
have reached. Erica never believed that she did
reach this spot of her own accord, Having had
some fears before of the Wood-Demon having
been offended by one of the family, Erica regarded
this accident as a token of his vengeance. She said
this when she first heard of her mother’s death ;
and no reasonings from the zealous pastor of the
district, no soothing from her mistress, could shake
her persuasion. She listened with submission, wiping
away her quiet tears as they discoursed ; but no one
could ever get her to say that she doubted whether
there was a Wood-Demon, or that she was not
afraid of what he would do if offended.

Erlingsen and his wife always treated her super-

earn their living, are sure of good situations. In the
newspapers in Norway you may see among the advertise-
ments, ‘* A contin shop-boy wants a place.” « Wanted,
a confirmed girl who can cook;” which means that their
having been confirmed proves that they are considered
respectable, and not deficient in capacity or knowledge.
ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 9

stition as a weakness ; and when she was not present,
they ridiculed it. Yet they saw that it had its effect
on their daughters. Erica most strictly obeyed their
wish that she should not talk about the spirits of
the region with Orga and Frolich; but the girls
found plenty of people to tell them what they
could not learn from Erica. Besides what every-
body knows who lives in the rural districts of Nor-
way—about Nipen, the spirit that is always so busy
after everybody’s affairs—about the Water-Sprite,
an acquaintance of every one who lives beside a
river or lake—and about the Mountain- Demon,
familiar to all who lived so near Sulitelma; besides
these common spirits, the girls used to hear of a
multitude of others from old Peder, the blind house-
man, and from all the farm-people, down to Oddo,
the herd-boy. Their parents hoped that this taste
of theirs might die away if once Erica, with her
sad, serious face and subdued voice, were removed
to.a house of her own, where they would see her
supported by her husband’s unfearing mind,. and
occupied with domestic business more entirely than
in her mistress’s house. So Madame Erlingsen was
well pleased that Erica was betrothed ; and she could
only have been better satisfied if she had been married
at once.

For this marrying, however, the young people
must wait. There was no house, or houseman’s
place, vacant for them at present. There was a
prospect, however. ‘T'he old houseman Peder, who
had served Erlingsen’s father and Erlingsen himself
for fifty-eight years, could now no longer do the
weekly work on the farm which was his rent for
his house, field, and cow. - He was blind and old.
His aged wife Ulla could not leave the house; and
10 FEATS ON THE FIORD

it was the most she could do to’ keep the. dwelling
in order, with occasional help from one and another.
Housemen who make this sort of contract with
farmers in. Norway are never ‘turned out.. They
have their dwelling and field for. their own life and
that of their wives. What they do, when-disabled,
is to take in a deserving young man to do their
work for the farmer, on the understanding that he
succeeds to the ‘houseman’s place on the death or
the old people. Peder and Ulla had made this
agreement with. Erica’s lover, Rolf; and it. was
understood that his marriage with Erica should
take place whenever the old people should die.
It was impossible for- Erica herself to fear that
Nipen was offended, at the outset of this. festival
day. If he had chosen to send a wind, the guests
could not have come; for no human frame can
endure travelling in a wind in Nordland on a
January day. Happily, the air was so calm that
a flake of snow, or a lock of eider-down, would
have. fallen straight to the ground.. At two
o’clock, when the short daylight was gone, the
stars were ‘shining so brightly, that the company
who came by the fiord would be sure to have an
easy voyage. Almost all came by the fiord, for
the only road from Erlingsen’s house led to so few
habitations, and was so narrow, ‘steep, and rocky,
that an arrival by that way was'a rare event. The
path- was now, however, so smooth with frozen
snow, that more than one sledge attempted and
performed the descent. Erlingsen and some ot
his servants went out to the porch, on hearing
music from the water, and stood with lighted pine-
torches to receive their guests, when, approaching
from behind, they heard the sound of the sleigh-










#Rereedam



35

ERLINGSEN AND SOME OF HIS SERVANTS STOOD WITH LIGHTED

PINE-TORCHES TO RECEIVE THEIR GUESTS.
ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 13

bells, and found that company was arriving both
by sea and land.

It was a pretty sight, such an arrival. In front
there was the head of a boat driving up upon the
white beach, and figure after figure leaping out and
hastening to be welcomed in the porch; while in
the midst of the greeting the quick and regular
beat of a horse’s feet was heard on the frozen
ground, and the active little animal rushed into
the light, shaking his mane and jingling his bells,
till suddenly checked by the driver, who stood
upright at the back of the sledge, while the ladies
reclined, so wrapped in furs that nothing could
be seen of them till they had entered the house,
and issued forth from the room where they threw
off their pelisses and cloaks. Glad had the visitors
been, whether they came by land or water, to
arrive in sight of the lighted dwelling, whose
windows looked like rows of yellow stars, con-
trasting with the blue ones overhead; and more
glad still were they to be ushered into the great
room, where all was so light, so warm, so cheerful.
Warm it was to the farthest corner; and too warm
near the roaring and crackling fires, for the fires
were of pinewood. Rows upon rows of candles
were fastened against the walls above the heads
of the company: the floor was strewn with juniper
twigs, and the spinning-wheels, the carding-boards,
every token of household labour was removed ex-
cept a loom, which remained in one corner. In
another corner was a welcome sight, a platform
of rough boards two feet from the floor, and on it
two stools. ‘This was a token that there was to
be dancing; and indeed, Oddo, the herd-boy,
old Peder’s grandson, was seen to have his clarionet

B
14 FEATS ON THE FIORD

in his belt, as he ran in and out on the arrival of
fresh parties.
Before four o’clock the whole company, con-
sisting of about forty, had arrived. They walked
about the large room, sipping their strong coffee,
and helping one another to the good things on the
trays which were carried round—the slices of
bread and butter with anchovies, or shreds of
reindeer ham or tongue, or thin slices of salt
cheese. When these trays disappeared, and the
young women who had served them returned into
the room, Oddo was seen to reach the platform
with a hop, skip, and jump, followed by a dull-
looking young man with a violin. The oldest men
lighted their pipes, and sat down to talk, two or
three together. Others withdrew to a smaller
room, where card-tables were set out, while the
younger men selected their partners, and handed
them forth for the gallopade. The dance was
led by the blushing Erica, whose master was her
partner. It had never occurred to her that she
was not to take her usual place; and she was
greatly embarrassed, not the less so that she knew
that her mistress was immediately behind, with
Rolf for her partner. Erica might, however, have
led the dance in any country in Europe. All the
women in Norway dance well, being practised in
it from their infancy, as an exercise for which the
leisure of their long winter, and the roominess of
their houses, afford scope. Every woman present
danced well; but none better than Erica.
‘Very well! very pretty! very good
observed the pastor, M. Kollsen, as he sat, with
his pipe in his mouth, looking on. M. Kollsen
was a very young man; but the men in Norway

12?
ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 15

smoke as invariably as the women dance. “ Very
pretty indeed! They only want double the number
to make it as pretty a dance as any in Tronyem.”’

«¢ What would you have, sir?”’ asked old Peder,
who sat smoking at his elbow. ‘* Are there not
eleven couple? Oddo told me there were eleven
couple; and I think I counted so many pairs of
feet as they passed.”

«« Let me see ;—yes, youare right, Peder. There
are eleven couples.”

«¢ And what would you have more, sir? In this
young man’s father’s time a

« Rolf’s father’s ?”’

“No, sir, Erlingsen’s. Ah! I forgot that Er-
lingsen may not seem to you or any stranger to be
young; but Ulla and I have been used to call him
so, and I fear I always shall, as I shall never see the
furrows in his face. It will be always smooth and
young to me. My Ulla says there is nothing to
be sorry for in that, and she does not object to my
thinking so of her face. But, as I was saying, in
the elder Erlingsen’s time we thought we did well
when we set up nine couples at Yule; and since
then the Holbergs and Thores have each made out
a new farm within ten miles, and we are accustomed
to be rather proud of our eleven couples. Indeed
I once knew it twelve, when they got me to stand
up with little Henrica, the pretty little girl whose
grave lies behind, just under the rock. But I sup-
pose there is no question but there are finer doings
at Tronyem.”

“Of course, of course,” said the young clergy-
man. ‘But there are many youths in T'ronyem
that would be glad of so pretty a partner as M.
Erlingsen has, if she would not look so frightened.”


16 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“Pretty she is,”’ said Peder. ‘‘ As I remember
her complexion, it looks as if it was made by the re-
flection of our snows in its own clearness. And when
you do get a full look into her eyes, how like the
summer sky they are, as deep as the heavens in a
midsummer noon. Did you say she looks frightened,
sir?”

«Yes. When does she not? Some ghost from
the grave has scared her, I suppose, or some spirit
that has no grave to lie still in, perhaps. It is a
great fault in her that she has so little faith. I
never met with such a case; I hardly know howto
conduct it. I must begin with the people about
her—abolish their superstitions—and then there
may be a chance for her. Meanwhile I have but
a poor account to give to the bishop * of the religion
of the district.”’

‘Did you say, sir, that Erica wants faith? It
seems to me that I never knew any one who had so
much.”’

«You think so, because there is no idea in this
region of what faith is. A prodigious work indeed
my bishop has given me to do. He himself cannot
be aware what it is till I send him my report. One
might suppose that Christianity had never been heard
of here, by the absurd credulity one meets with in
the best houses, the multitude of good and evil
spirits one hears of at every turn. I will blow
them all to the winds presently; I will root out
every superstition in a circle of twenty miles.”

“You will, sir?’

“T will. Such is my duty as a Christian pastor.”

“ Do you suppose you can, sir?”

* A hundred years ago Nordland was included in the
diocese of Tronyem.
ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 17

“Certainly. No doubt of that. What sort of
pastor must he be who cannot vindicate his own
religion ?”’

“These beliefs, sir, were among us long before
you were born; and I fancy they will last till some
time after you are dead. And, what is more—I
should not wonder if your bishop was to tell you
the same thing, when you send him your report
of us.”

“T thought you had had more faith, Peder. I
thought you had been a better Christian.”

‘< Flowever that may be,”’ said Peder, “I have
some knowledge of the people about us, having
lived nearly fourscore years in the parish ; and per-
haps, sir, as you are young, and from a distance, you
would allow me to say a word. May I?”

“Oh, certainly.”

But while M. Kollsen gave this permission, he
took his pipe from his mouth, and beat time with it
upon his knee, and with his foot upon the ground,
to carry off his impatience at being instructed.

« you,” said Peder, ‘that you should lead the people
. into everything that you think true and good, and
pass over quietly whatever old customs and notions
you do not understand or like. I have so much belief
in the religion you are to teach as to feel sure that
whatever will not agree with it will die off out of its
way, if let alone. But if religion is brought in to
hurt the people’s feelings and notions, that religion
will be the thing to suffer.”

“ course,” said M. Kollsen. He was meditating a
change of place, to escape further lecturing about
his duty, when Peder saved him the trouble of
18 FEATS ON THE FIORD

leaving his comfortable seat by rising and moving
away towards the fire. Peder’s pipe was smoked
out, and he was going for more tobacco to the place
where tobacco was always to be found—in a little
recess above the fireplace. He felt his way care-
fully, that he might not interfere with the dancers,
or be jostled by them; but he had not far to go.
One friend begged to be sent for anything he wanted;
another, with a quicker eye, brought him tobacco ;
and a third led him to his seat again. All looked
with wonder at M. Kollsen, surprised that he,
Peder’s companion at the moment, young and blessed
with eyesight, could let the blind old man leave his
seat for such a reason. M. Kollsen whiffed away,
however, quite unconscious of what everybody was
thinking.

«‘T his waltz,”’ said Peder, when the dancers had
begun again, “‘does not seem to go easily. There
is something amiss. I think it is in the music that
the fault lies. My boy’s clarionet goes well enough ;
no fear of Oddo’s being out. Pray, sir, who plays
the violin at this moment ?”’

«A fellow who looks as if he did not like his
business. He is frowning with his red brows, as if
he would frown out the lights.”

«‘His red brows! Oh, then it is Hund. I
was thinking it would be hard upon him, poor
fellow, if he had to play to-night. Yet not so
hard as if he had to dance. It is weary work
dancing with the heels when the heart is too heavy
to move. You may have heard, sir, for every one
knows it, that lund wanted to have young Rolf’s
place ; and, some say, Erica herself. Is she dancing,
sir, if I may ask?”

“Yes, with Rolf. What sort of a man is Rolf
ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 19

—with regard to these superstitions, I mean? Is
he as foolish as Erica—always frightened about
something ?”’

“©No, indeed. It is to be wished that Rolf was
not so light as he is, so inconsiderate about these
matters. Rolf has his troubles and his faults, but
they are not of that kind.”

“Enough,” said M. Kollsen with a voice of
authority. ‘I rejoice to hear that he is superior
to the popular delusions. As to his troubles and
his faults, they may be left for me to discover, all
in good time.”

“With all my heart, sir. They are nobody’s
business but his own; and, may be, Erica’s. Rolf
has a good heart; and I doubt not Ulla and I
shall have great comfort in him. He lives with
us, sir, from this night forwards. There is no
fear that he will wish us in our graves, though we
stand between him and his marriage.”

«That must be rather a painful consideration to

ou.”

“Not at all, sir, at present. Ulla and I were
all the happier, we think to this day, for having had
four such years as these young people have before
them, to know one another in, and grow suitable
in notions and habits, and study to please one
another. By the time Rolf and Erica are what
we were, one or both of us will be under ground,
and Rolf will have, I am certain, the pleasant feel-
ing of having done his duty by us. It is all as it
should be, sir, and I pray that they may live to
say, at our age, what Ulla and I can say of the
same season of our lives.”’

The pastor made no answer. He had not heard
the last few words; for what Peder said of being
20 FEATS ON THE FIORD

under ground had plunged him into a reverie about
Peder’s funeral sermon, which he should, of course,
have to preach. He was pondering how he should
at once do justice to Peder’s virtues, and mark his
own disapprobation of the countenance Peder gave
to the superstitions of the region in which he
lived. He must keep in view. the love and respect
in which the old man was held by everybody, and
yet he must bear witness against the great fault
above mentioned. He composed two or three
paragraphs in his imagination, which he thought
would do, and then committed them to memory.
He was roused from this employment by a loud
laugh from the man whose funeral he was medi-
tating, and saw that Peder was enjoying life, at
present, as much as the youngest—with a glass of
punch in his hand, and a group of old men and
women round him, recalling the jests of fifty years
ago.

‘Flow goes it, Rolf?’ said his master, who,
having done his duty in the dancing-room, was
now making his way to the card-tables, in another
apartment, to see how his guests there were enter-
tained. Thinking that Rolf looked very absent
as he stood, in the pause of the dance, in silence
by Erica’s side, Erlingsen clapped him on the
shoulder and said, « How goes it? Make your
friends merry.”

Rolf bowed and smiled, and his master passed on.

“‘ How goes it?”’ repeated Rolf to Erica, as he
looked earnestly into her face. «Is all going on
well, Erica? ”’

“Certainly. I suppose so. Why not?” she
replied. «If you see anything wrong—anything
omitted, be sure and tell me. Madame Erlingsen
ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 21

would be very sorry. Is there anything forgotten,
Rolf?”

“T think you have forgotten what the day is,
that is all. Nobody that looked at you, love,
would fancy it to be your own day. You look
anything but merry. Hardly a smile from you
to-night. And that is a great omission.”

“O Rolf, there is something so much better
than merriment ! ”’

“Yes, love, but where is it? Not in your heart
to-night, Erica.”

“Yes, indeed, Rolf.”

“You look as dull, as sad, you and Hund,
as if. i

«Hund! ” repeated Erica, glancing around the
room for Hund, and not seeing him till her lover
reminded her that Hund was the musician.
‘‘Hund does seem dull enough, to be sure,’’ said
she, smiling. ‘I hope I do not often look like
that.”

« said Rolf, brightening when he found how entirely
Hund had been absent from her thoughts. «I am
more sorry for Elund than you are, and with good
reason, for I know what the happiness is that he
has missed, poor fellow! But yet I think you
might feel a little more for him. It would show
that you know how to value love.”

«Indeed I am very sorry for him, but more
for his disappointment about the house than any
other. ‘To-day once over, he will soon fix his
love on somebody else. Perhaps we shall be
dancing on his betrothment-day before the year
is out.”

«Then I hope his girl will look merrier than


22 FEATS ON THE FIORD

you do to-night,”’ muttered Rolf, with a sigh.
“O Erica! I wish you would trust me. I could
take care of you, and make you quite happy, if
you would only believe it. Ah! I know what
that look means. I know you love me, and all
that, but you are always tormenting yourself _—_”’

“I think I know one who is cleverer still at
tormenting himself,” said Erica, with a smile.
Come, Rolf, no more tormenting of ourselves
or one another! No more of that after to-day !
What is to-day worth, if it is not to put an end
to all doubts of one another ?”?

“But where is the use of that, if you still will
not believe that I can keep off all trouble from
you—that nothing in the universe shall touch you
to your hurt, while 5

“Oh, hush! hush!” said Erica, turning pale
and red at the presumption of this speech. « See,
they are waiting for us. One more round before
supper.”

And in the whirl of the waltz she tried to
forget the last words Rolf had spoken; but they
rang in her ears; and before her eyes were images
of Nipen overhearing this defiance—and the Water-
Sprite planning vengeance in_ its palace under
the ice—and the Mountain-Demon laughing in
scorn, till the echoes shouted again—and the
Wood-Demon waiting only for summer to see
how he could beguile the rash lover. Erica
finished her dance; but when the company and
the men of the household were seated at the supper=
table, and she had to help her mistress and the
young ladies to wait upon them, she trembled so
that she could scarcely stand. It was so very
wrong of Rolf to be always defying the spirits!


ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 23

Long was the supper, and hearty was the mirth
round the table: People in Norway have universally
a hearty appetite—such an appetite as we English
have no idea of. Whether it is owing to the
sharp climate, or to the active life led by all,
whatever may be the cause, such is the fact. This
night, piles of fish disappeared first, and then joint
after joint of reindeer venison. The fine game of the
country was handed round, cut up, and little but
the bones was left of a score of birds. Then there
were preserved fruits, and berries eaten with thick
cream—almost every dish that could be thought of
made of the rich cream of the north. Erica
recovered herself as the great business went on;
and while her proud lover watched her, forgetting
his supper, he thought to himself that no one of
the fair attendants trod so lightly as Erica, no
one carved so neatly, no one handed the dishes
so gracefully, or was so quick at seeing to
whom the most respect and attention were owing.
Perhaps this last thought was suggested by
Rolf’s perceiving that, either by her own hand or
another’s, the hottest dishes and the nicest bits
were found, all supper-time, close to his elbow.
Madame Erlingsen, he decided, with all her
experience, did not do the duties of the table so
well, and the young ladies, kind and good-tempered
as they were, would never, by any experience, be-
come so graceful as Erica.

At last appeared the final dish of the long feast,
the sweet cake, with which dinner and supper in
Norway usually conclude. While this was sliced
and handed round, Rolf observed that Erica looked
anxiously towards him. He took no notice, hoping
that she would come and speak to him, and that
24 FEATS ON THE FIORD

he should thus be the gainer of a few of her sweet
words. She did come, and just said—

“The cake and ale are here, Rolf. Will you
carry them ?”’

“Qh, the treat for old Nipen. Yes, I will
carry them,” replied Rolf, rising from his seat.

It is the custom in the country regions of Nor-
way to give the spirit Nipen a share at festival
times. His Christmas cake is richer than that pre-
pared for the guests, and before the feast is finished
it is laid in some place out of doors, where, as
might be expected, it is never to be found in the
morning. Everybody knew, therefore, why Rolf
rose from his seat, though some were too far off to
hear him say that he would carry out the treat for
old Nipen.

«Now, pray do not speak so; do not call him
those names,” said Erica anxiously. It is quite
as easy to speak so as not to offend him. Pray,
Rolf, to please me, do speak respectfully. And
promise me to play no tricks, but just set the
things down, and come straight in, and do not look
behind you. Promise me, Rolf.’

Rolf did promise, but he was stopped by two
voices calling upon him. Oddo, the herd-boy,
came running to claim the office of carrying out
Nipen’s cake; and M. Kollsen, from his seat,
declared that he could not countenance any super=
stitious observances, would not indeed permit any
so gross as this in his presence. He requested
that the company might have the benefit of the
cake, and made a speech in ridicule of all spirits
and fairies so very bold and contemptuous that all
present who had to go home that night looked in
consternation at their host. If such language as
ERLINGSEN’S “AT HOME” 25

M. Kollsen’s were allowed, they looked for nothing
less than to have their way beset by offended spirits,
so that Erlingsen might hear in the morning of
some being frozen, some being lost in the fiord,
and others tumbled from precipices. M. Erlingsen
made haste to speak. He did not use any scruples
with the young clergyman. He told him that
every one present would be happy at all times to
hear him speak on the matters belonging to his
office. He had discharged his office in the morn-
ing in betrothing Rolf and Erica, he was now rest-
ing from his business, as a guest at that table, and
he would, of course, allow that the direction of the
festivity rested with the host and hostess, whose
desire it was that everything should be done which
was agreeable to the feelings and habits of the
greater number of the guests.

It was settled in a moment that Nipen should
have his cake; which so shocked and annoyed M.
Kollsen that he declared he would not remain to
sanction anything so impious, and requested that
his boatmen might be called from their suppers, and
desired to have his boat ready immediately. No
entreaties would soften him: go he would.

It appeared, however, that he could not go.
Not a man would row him, after what he had just
said of Nipen. All were sure that a gust would
blow the boat over, the minute she was out of
reach of land; or that a rock would spring up in
deep water, where no rock was before; or that
some strong hand would grasp the boat from below,
and draw it down under the waters. A shudder
went round as these things were prophesied; and,
of course, M. Kollsen’s return home that night
was out of the question, unless he would row him-
26 FEATS ON THE FIORD

self. At first he declared he should do this; but
he was so earnestly entreated to attempt nothing so
rash, that he yielded the point, with a supercilious
air which perhaps concealed more satisfaction than
he chose to avow to himself. He insisted on re-
tiring immediately, however, and was shown to his
chamber at once, by Erlingsen himself, who found,
on his return, that the company were the better for
the pastor’s absence, though unable to recover the
mirth which he had put to flight. Erica had been
shedding a few tears, in spite of strong efforts to
restrain them. Here was a bad omen already—on
the very day of her betrothment ; and she saw that
Hund thought so; for there was a gloomy satis-
faction in his eye, as he sat silently watching all
that passed.

She could not help being glad that Oddo re-
newed his request to be allowed to carry out Nipen’s
cake and ale. She eagerly put the ale-can into his
hand, and the cake under his arm; and Oddo was
going out, when his blind grandfather, hearing that
he was to be the messenger, observed that he should
be better pleased if it were somebody else ; for Oddo,
though a good boy, was inquisitive, and apt to get
into mischief by looking too closely into everything,
having never a thought of fear. Everybody knew
this to be true; though Oddo himself declared that
he was as frightened as anybody sometimes. More-
over, he asked what there was to pry into, on the
present occasion, in the middle of the night; and
appealed to the company whether Nipen was not
best pleased to be served by the youngest of a
party. This was allowed; and he was per-
mitted to go, when Peder’s consent was obtained,
his mistress going to the door with him, and
ODDO’S WALK 27

seeing him off, putting him in mind that the
dancing could not begin again till he returned to
take up his clarionet.

Cuap, II
Oddo’s Walk

‘THE place where Nipen liked to find his offer-

ings was at the end of the barn, below the
gallery which ran round the outside of the building.
There, in the summer, lay a plot of green grass ;
and, in the winter, a sheet of pure frozen snow.
Thither Oddo shuffled on, over the slippery surface
of the yard, and across the paddock, along the lane
made by the snow-plough between high banks of
snow; and he took prodigious pains, between one
slip and another, not to spill the ale. He looked
more like a prowling cub than a boy, wrapped as
he was in his wolf-skin coat, and his fox-skin cap
doubled down over his ears.

As may be supposed from Oddo’s declaring that
he was sometimes frightened, he was a brave boy.
A cowardly boy would not have said it, A
cowardly boy would not have offered to go at all.
A. cowardly boy would, if he had been sent, have
wished that the house-door might be left open, that
he might see the cheerful yellow light from within :
whereas Oddo begged his mistress to shut the door,
that his grandfather might not be made to feel his
rheumatism by any draught, as he sat at table. A
cowardly boy would have run as fast as he could,
perhaps slipping or falling, and spilling the ale; and
when his errand was done, he would have fled home,
28 FEATS ON THE FIORD

without looking behind him, fancying everything he
saw and heard a spirit, or a wild beast. Oddo did
very differently from this. As usual, he was too
busy finding out how everything happened to feel
afraid, as a less inquisitive boy would.

The cake steamed up in the frosty air under his
nose, so warm and spicy and rich, that Oddo began
to wonder what so very superior a cake could be
like. He had never tasted any cake so rich as
this; nor had any one in the house tasted such, for
Nipen would be offended if his cake was not richer
than anybody’s else. Oddo wondered more and
more how this would taste, till before he had
crossed the yard he wondered no longer. He
broke a piece off and ate it, and then wondered
whether Nipen would mind his cake being just a
little smaller than usual. After a few steps more
the wonder was how far Nipen’s charity would go,
for the cake was now a great deal smaller; and
Oddo next wondered whether anybody could stop
eating such a cake when it was once tasted. He
was surprised to see when he came out into the
starlight, at the end of the barn, how small a piece
was left. He stood listening whether Nipen was
coming in a gust of wind; and when he heard no
breeze stirring, he looked about for a cloud where
Nipen might be. There was no cloud, as far as
he could see. The moon had set; but the stars
were so bright as to throw a faint shadow from
Oddo’s form upon the snow. There was no sign
of any spirit being angry at present; but Oddo
thought Nipen would certainly be angry at finding
so very small a piece of cake. It might be better
to let the ale stand by itself, and Nipen would per-
haps suppose that Madame Erlingsen’s stock of
ODDO’S WALK 29

groceries had fallen short, at least that it was in
some way inconvenient to make the cake on the
present occasion. So putting down his can upon
the snow, and holding the last fragment of the
cake between his teeth, he seized a birch pole which
hung down from the gallery, and by its help climbed
one of the posts and got over the rails into the
gallery, whence he could watch what would happen.
To remain on the very spot where Nipen was ex-
pected was a little more than he was equal ta; but
he thought he could stand in the gallery, in the
shadow of the broad eaves of the barn, and wait
for a little while. He was so very curious to see
Nipen, and to learn how it liked its ale!

There he stood in the shadow, hearing nothing
but his own munching, though there was not much
of that; for as he came near the end, he took only
a little crumb at a time, to spin out the treat, for
never was anything so good! ‘Then he had
nothing to do but listen; but the waterfall was
frozen up, and the mill stood as still as if it was
not made to move. If the wheel should creak,
it would be a sign that Nipen was passing.

Presently he heard something.

“Music!” thought he. ‘I never heard that it
liked music, and I don’t think it can know much
about music, for this is not at all sweet. There
again; that was a sort of screech. Oh, how stupid
I am,”’ thought he again. ‘So much for my head
being full of Nipen. It is only Hund tuning his
violin, because they have all done supper. They
will be waiting for me. I wish this Nipen would
make haste. It can’t be very hungry, that is
clear.”

He grew more and more impatient as’ the

c
30 FEATS ON THE FIORD

minutes passed on, and he was aware that he was
wanted in the house. Once or twice he walked
slowly away, looking behind him, and then turned
again, unwilling to miss this opportunity of seeing
Nipen. ‘Then he called the spirit—actually begged
it to appear. His first call was almost a whisper ;
but he called louder and louder by degrees, till he
was suddenly stopped by hearing an answer.

The call he heard was soft and sweet. There
was nothing terrible in the sound itself; yet Oddo
grasped the rail of the gallery with all his strength
as he heard it. The strangest thing was, it was
not a single cry: others followed it, all soft and
sweet; but Oddo thought that Nipen must have
many companions, and he had not prepared him-
self to see more spirits than one. As usual, how-
ever, his curiosity grew more intense from the
little he had heard, and he presently called again.
Again he was answered by four or five voices in
succession.

«« Was ever anybody so stupid! ” cried the boy,
now stamping with vexation. ‘It is the echo,
after all. As if there was not always an echo
here opposite the rock. It is not Nipen at all.
I will just wait another minute, however.”’

He leaned in silence on his folded arms, and
had not so waited for many seconds before he saw
something moving on the snow at a little distance.
It came nearer and nearer, and at last quite up to
the can of ale.

‘“«T am glad I stayed,” thought Oddo. «Now
I can say I have seen Nipen. It is much less
terrible than I expected. Grandfather told me
that it sometimes came like an enormous elephant
or hippopotamus, and never smaller than a large
iy

iM Nea ARNIS

Ir CAME NEARER AND NEARER, AND AT LAST QUITE UP TO
THE Can OF ALE,

ee
AD


ODDO’S WALK 33

bear. But this is no bigger than—let me see—
I think it is most like a fox. I should like to
make it speak to me. They would think so much
of me at home if I had talked with Nipen.”

So he began gently—

“Ts that Nipen?”

The thing moved its bushy tail, but did not
answer.

«There is no cake for you to-night, Nipen.
I hope the ale will do. Is the ale good, Nipen?”

Off went the dark creature without a word, as
quick as it could go.

«Is it offended?” thought Oddo; “or is it
really what it looks like, a fox? If it does not
come back, I will go down presently and see
whether it has drunk the ale. If not, I shall
think it is only a fox.”

He presently let himself down to the ground
by the way he had come up, and eagerly laid hold
of the ale can. It would not stir. It was as fast
on the ground as if it was enchanted, which Oddo
did not doubt was the case; and he started back
with more fear than he had yet had. The cold
he felt on this exposed spot soon reminded him,
however, that the can was probably frozen to the
snow, which it might well be, after being brought
warm from the fireside. It was so. The vessel
had sunk an inch into the snow, and was there
fixed by the frost.

None of the ale seemed to have been drunk ;
and so cold was Oddo by this time, that he longed
for a sup of it. He took first a sup and then a
draught; and then he remembered that the rest
would be entirely spoiled by the frost if it stood
another hour. This would be a pity, he thought ;
34 FEATS ON THE FIORD

so he finished it, saying to himself that he did not
believe Nipen would come that night.

At that very moment he heard a cry so dreadful
that it shot, like sudden pain, through every nerve
of his body. It was not a shout of anger: it was
something between a shriek and a wail—like what
he fancied would be the cry of a person in the act
of being murdered. ‘That Nipen was here now,
he could not doubt; and, at length, Oddo fled.
He fled the faster, at first, for hearing the rustle
of wings; but the curiosity of the boy even now
got the better of his terror, and he looked up at
the barn where the wings were rustling. There
he saw in the starlight the glitter of two enormous
round eyes, shining down upon him from the ridge
of the roof. But it struck him at once that he
had seen those eyes before. He checked his
speed, stopped, went back a little, sprang up once
more into the gallery, hissed, waved his cap, and
clapped his hands, till the echoes were all awake
again; and, as he had hoped, the great white owl
spread its wings, sprang off from the ridge, and
sailed away over the fiord.

Oddo tossed up his cap, cold as the night was,
so delighted was he to have scared away the bird
which had, for a moment, scared him. He hushed
his mirth, however, when he perceived that lights
were wandering in the yard, and that there were
voices approaching. He saw that the household
were alarmed about him, and were coming forth
to search for him. Curious to see what they
would do, Oddo crouched down. in the darkest
corner of the gallery to watch and listen.

First came Rolf and his master, carrying torches,
with which they lighted up the whole expanse of
ODDO’S WALK 35

snow as they came. They looked round them
without any fear, and Oddo heard Rolf say—

“Tf it were not for that cry, sir, I should think
nothing of it. But my fear is that some beast has
got him.”’

“Search first the place where the cake and ale
ought to be,” said Erlingsen. «Till I see blood,
I shall hope the best.”

«¢ You will not see that,’’ said Hund, who fol-
lowed; his gloomy countenance, now distorted by
fear, looking ghastly in the yellow light of the torch
he carried. ** You will see no blood. Nipen does
not draw blood.”

‘ Never tell me that any one that was not wounded
and torn could send out such a cry as that,”’ said
Rolf. Some wild brute seized him, no doubt, at
the very moment that Erica and I were standing at
the door listening.”

Oddo repented of his prank when he saw, in the
flickering light behind the crowd of guests, who
seemed to hang together like a bunch of grapes, the
figures of his grandfather and Erica. The old man
had come out in the cold, for his sake; and Erica,
who looked as white as the snow, had no doubt
come forth because the old man wanted a guide.
Oddo now wished himself out of the scrape. Sorry
as he was, he could not help being amused, and
keeping himself hidden a little longer, when he saw
Rolf discover the round hole in the snow where
the can had sunk, and heard the different opinions
of the company as to what this portended. Most
were convinced that his curiosity had been his de-
struction, as they had always prophesied. What
could be clearer, by this hole, than that the ale had
stood there, and been carried off with the cake ;
36 FEATS ON THE FIORD

and Oddo with it, because he chose to stay and
witness what is forbidden to mortals?

‘“‘I wonder where he is now,” said a shivering
youth, the gayest dancer of the evening.

“Oh, there is no doubt about that; any one can
tell you that,”’ replied the elderly and experienced
M. Holberg. <« He is chained upon a wind, poor
fellow, like all Nipen’s victims. He will have to
be shut up in a cave all the hot summer through,
when it is pleasantest to be abroad ; and when the
frost and snow come again, he will be driven out,
with a lash of Nipen’s whip, and he must go flying,
wherever his wind flies, without resting, or stopping
to warm himself at any fire in the country. Every
winter now, when Erlingsen hears a moaning above
his chimney, he may know it is poor Oddo, foolish
boy!”’

. Foolish boy! but one can’t help pitying him,”’
said another. ‘Chained astride upon the wind,
and never to be warm again.”

Oddo had thus far kept his laughter to himself ;
but now he could contain himself no longer. He
laughed aloud—and then louder and louder as he
heard the echoes all laughing with him. The faces
below, too, were so very ridiculous—some of the
people staring up in the air; and others at the rock
where the echo came from; some having their
mouths wide open, others their eyes starting, and
all looking unlike themselves in the torchlight. His
mirth was stopped by his master.

“Come down, sir,”’ cried Erlingsen, looking up
at the gallery. ‘Come down this moment. We
shall make you remember this night, as well per-
haps as Nipen could do. Come down, and bring
my can, and the ale and the cake. The more
ODDO’S WALK 37

pranks you play to-night, the more you will re-
pent it.”

Most of the company thought Erlingsen very
bold to talk in this way; but he was presently
justified by Oddo’s appearance on the balustrade.
His master seized him as he touched the ground,
while the others stood aloof.

«© Where is my ale can?”’ said Erlingsen.

«Here, sir;”’ and Oddo held it up dangling by
the handle.

«And the cake—I bade you bring down the
cake with you.”

“Sol did, sir.”

And to his master’s look of inquiry, the boy
answered by pointing down his throat with one
finger, and laying the other hand upon his stomach.
‘Tt isall here, sir.”

«« And the ale in the same place?”

Oddo bowed, and Erlingsen turned away with-
out speaking. He could not have spoken without
laughing.

“Bring this gentleman home,” said Erlingsen
presently to Rolf; ‘and do not let him out of your
hands. Let no one ask him any questions till he is
in the house.’”? Rolf grasped the boy’s arm, and
Erlingsen went forward to relieve Peder, though it
was not very clear to him at. the moment whether
such a grandchild was better safe or missing. The
old man made no such question, but hastened back
to the house, with many expressions of thanks-
giving.

As the search-party crowded in among the
women, and pushed all before them into the large
warm room, M. Kollsen was seen standing on the
stair-head, wrapped in the bear-skin coverlid.
38 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“Ts the boy there ?”’ he inquired.

Oddo showed himself.

“Flow much have you seen of Nipen, hey?”

“ Nobody ever had a better sight of it, sir. It
was as plain as I see you now, and no farther off.’’

« Nonsense—it is a lie,” said M. Kollsen. “Do
not believe a word he says,’ advised the pastor,
speaking to the listeners. “There is the folly of
giving such an opportunity to a child of making him-
self important. If he had had his share of the
cake, with the rest of us at table, he would have
taken it quietly, and been thankful. As it is, it
will be harder work than ever to drive out these
wicked superstitions. Go, get along!’ he cried
to Oddo; «I do not want to hear a word you have
got to say.”’

Oddo bowed, and proceeded to the great room,
where he took up his clarionet, as if it was a matter
of course that the dancing was to begin again imme-
diately. He blew upon his fingers, however, observ-
ing that they were too stiff with cold to do their
duty well. And when he turned towards the fire,
every one made way for him, in a very different
manner from what they would have dreamed of three
hours before. Oddo had his curiosity gratified as
to how they would regard one who was believed
to have seen something supernatural.

Erlingsen saw that something must be done on
the spot to clear up the affair. If his guests. went
home without having heard the mysteries of the
night explained, the whole country would presently
be filled with wild and superstitious stories. He re-
quested Peder to examine the boy, as Oddo stood
more in awe of his grandfather than of any one else ;
and also because Peder was known to be so firm a
ODDO’S WALK 39

believer in Nipen, that his judgment would be more
readily received than that of an unbeliever. When
seriously questioned, Oddo had no wish to say any-
thing but the truth; and he admitted the whole—
that he had eaten the entire cake, drunk al] the
ale, seen a fox and an owl, and heard the echoes,
in answer to himself. As he finished his story,
Hund, who was perhaps the most eager listener of
all, leaped thrice upon the floor, snapping his fingers,
as if ina passion of delight. He met Erlingsen’s
eye, full of severity, and was quiet ; but his counte-
nance still glowed with exultation.

The rest of the company were greatly shocked
at these daring insults to Nipen: and none more so
than Peder. The old man’s features worked with
emotion, as he said in a low voice that he should
be very thankful if all the mischief that might
follow upon this adventure might be borne by the
kin of him who had provoked it. If it should fall
upon those who were innocent, never surely had
boy been so miserable as his poor lad would then
be. Oddo’s eyes filled with tears as he heard
this; and he looked up at his master and mistress,
as if to ask whether they had no word of comfort
to say.

“Neighbour,” said Madame Erlingsen to Peder,
“is there any one here who does not believe that
God is over all, and that He protects the innocent?”

“Is there any one who does not feel,’ added
Erlingsen, “that the innocent should be gay, safe
as they are in the goodwill of God and man?
Come, neighbours—to your dancing again! You
have lost too much time already. Now, Oddo,
play your best—and you, Hund.”

«J hope,’’ said Oddo, * that, if any mischief is
40 FEATS ON THE FIORD

to come, it will fall upon me. We’ll see how I
shall bear it.”

‘Mischief enough will befall you, boy, never
doubt it,”’ said his master, «as long as you trifle
with people’s feelings as you have done to-night.
Go. Make up for it, all you can.”

The dancing was spiritless, and there was little
more of it. ‘The mirth of the meeting was de-
stroyed. The party broke up at three, instead of
five or six; and it might have been earlier still, but
for the unwillingness of every family present to be
the first to go upon the lake, or to try the road.
At last, all understood one another’s feelings by
their own; and the whole company departed at
once in two bands, one by water and the other by
land. Those who went in sleighs took care that a
heavy stone was fastened by a rope to the back of
each carriage, that its bobbing and dancing on the
road might keep off the wolves. Glad would they
have been of any contrivance by which they might
as certainly distance Nipen. Rolf then took a part-
ing kiss from Erica in the porch, pushed Oddo on
before, and followed with Peder. Erica watched
them quite to the door of their own house, and then
came in, and busied herself in making a clearance
of some of the confusion which the guests had left
behind.

“Oddo could not get a word from you, Erica,”
observed her mistress ; “not even a look in answer
to his ‘ good-night.’ ””

“‘T could not, madam,’ answered Erica, tears
and sobs breaking forth. ‘When I think of it all,
I am so shocked—so ashamed ! ””

‘«« Flow ashamed?”

“‘Nipen has been so favourable to us to-day,
OLAF AND HIS NEWS 41

madam ! not a breath of wind stirring all the morn-
ing, so that nobody was disappointed of coming !
And then to serve it in this way! To rob it, and
mock it, and brave it as we have done !—So un-
grateful !—so very wrong! ”’

«We are very sorry for Oddo’s trick—your
master and I,” said Madame Erlingsen; “but we
are not in the least afraid of any further harm hap-
pening. You know we do not believe that God
permits His children to be at the mercy of evil
or capricious spirits. Indeed, Erica, we could not
love God as we should wish to love Him, if we
could not trust in Him as a just and kind pro-
tector. Go to rest now, Erica. You have done
quite enough since you left your bed. Go to rest
now. Rest your heart upon Him who has blessed
you exceedingly this day. Whatever others do,
do not you be ungrateful to Him. Good sleep to
you, Erica! Sleep off your troubles, that Rolf
may see nothing of them in the morning.’

Erica smiled ; and when Orga and Frolich saw
the effect of what their mother had said, they too
went to rest without trembling at every one of the
noises with which a house built of wood is always
resounding.

Cuap. ITT
Olaf and his News

WHEN M. Kollsen appeared the next morning,

the household had so much of its usual air
that no stranger would have imagined how it had
been occupied the day before. The large room was
42 FEATS ON THE FIORD

fresh strewn with evergreen sprigs; the breakfast-
table stood at one end, where each took breakfast,
standing, immediately on coming downstairs. At
the bottom of the room was a busy group. The
shoemaker, who travelled this way twice a year,
had appeared this morning, and was already en-
gaged upon the skins which had been tanned on the
farm, and kept in readiness for him. He was in-
structing Oddo in the making of the tall boots of
the country; and Oddo was so eager to have a
pair in which he might walk knee-deep in the
snow when the frosts should be over, that he gave
all his attention to the work. Peder was twist-
ing strips of leather, thin and narrow, into whips.
Rolf and Hund were silently intent upon a sort of
work which the Norwegian peasant delights in—
carving wood. They spoke only to answer Peder’s
questions about the progress of the work. Peder
loved to hear about their carving, and to feel it;
for he had been remarkable for his skill in the art,
as long as his sight lasted.

Erlingsen was reading the newspaper, which
must go away in the pastor’s pocket. Madame
was spinning; and her daughters sat busily plying
their needles with Erica, in a corner of the apart-
ment. ‘The three were putting the last stitches to
the piece of work which the pastor was also to
carry away with him, as his fee for his services of
yesterday. It was an eider-down coverlid, of
which Rolf had procured the down from the
islets in the fiord frequented by the eider-duck,
and Erica had woven the cover, and quilted it,
with the assistance of her young ladies, in an
elegant pattern. The other house-maiden was
in the chambers, hanging out the bedding in an
OLAF AND HIS NEWS 43

upper gallery to air, as she did on all days of fair
weather.

The whole party rose when M. Kollsen entered
the room, but presently resumed their employments,
except Madame Erlingsen, who conducted the
pastor to the breakfast-table, and helped him .
plentifully to reindeer ham, bread and butter, and
corn-brandy—the usual breakfast. M. Kollsen
carried his plate, and ate, as he went round to
converse with each group. First, he talked
politics a little with his host, by the fireside ; in
the midst of which conversation Erlingsen managed
to intimate that nothing would be heard of Nipen
to-day, if the subject was let alone by themselves :
a hint which the clergyman was willing to take,
as he supposed it meant in deference to his views.
Then he complimented Madame Erlingsen on the
excellence of her ham, and helped himself again ;
and next drew near the girls.

Erica blushed, and was thinking how she should
explain that she wished his acceptance of her
work, when Frolich saved her the awkwardness
by saying—

“We hope you will like this coverlid, for we
have made an entirely new pattern on purpose for
it. Orga, you have the pattern. Do show M.
Kollsen how pretty it looks on paper.’’

M. Kollsen did not know much about such
things: but he admired as much as he could.

“That lily of the valley, see, is mamma’s idea ;
and the barberry, answering to it, is mine. That
tree in the middle is all Erica’s work—entirely ;
but the squirrel upon it, we never should have
thought of. It was papa who put that into our
heads! and it is the most original thing in the
44 FEATS ON THE FIORD

whole pattern. Erica has worked it beautifully,
to be sure.”

««T think we have said quite enough about it,”’
observed Erica, smiling and blushing. ‘I hope
M. Kollsen will accept it. ‘The down is Rolf’s
present.”

Rolf rose, and made his bow, and said he had
had pleasure in preparing his small offering.

“And I think,” said Erlingsen, “it is pretty
plain that my little girls have had pleasure in their
part of the work. It is my belief that they are
sorry it is so nearly done.”

M. Kollsen graciously accepted the gift—took
up the coverlid, and weighed it in his hand, in
order to admire its lightness, compared with its
handsome size; and then bent over fhe carvers,
to see what work was under their hands.

«A bell-collar, sir,” said Hund, showing his
piece of wood. “I am making a complete set
for our cows, against they go to the mountain,
come summer.”

“A pulpit, sir,’
work in his turn.

“A pulpit! Really! And who is to preach
in it???

“You, sir, of course,’ replied Erlingsen.
“Long before you came—from the time the new
church was begun, we meant it should have a
handsome pulpit. Six of us, within a round of
twenty miles, undertook the six sides; and Rolf
has great hopes of having the basement allotted
to him afterwards. The best workman is to do
the basement; and I think Rolf bids fair to be
the one. This is good work, sir.”’

“Exquisite,” said the pastor. ‘I question

?

explained Rolf, showing his
OLAF AND HIS NEWS 45

whether our native carvers may not be found equal
to any whose works we hear so much of in Popish
churches, in other countries. And there is no
doubt of the superiority of their subjects.. Look
at these elegant twining flowers, and that fine
brooding eagle! How much better to copy the
beautiful works of God that are before our eyes,
than to make durable pictures of the Popish
idolatries and superstitions, which should all have
been forgotten as soon as possible! I hope that
none of the impious idolatries, which, I am ashamed
to say, still linger among us, will find their way into
the arts by which future generations will judge us.”’

The pastor stopped, on seeing that his hearers
looked at ,one another, as if conscious. A few
words, he judged, would be better than more ;
and he went on to Peder, passing by Oddo
without a word of notice. The party had indeed
glanced consciously at each other; for it so
happened that the very prettiest piece Rolf had
ever carved was a bowl on which he had shown
the water-sprite’s hand (and never was hand so
delicate as the water-sprite’s) beckoning the heron
to come and fish when the river begins to flow.

When Erica heard M. Kollsen inquiring of
Peder about his old wife, she started up from her
work, and said she must run and prepare Ulla for
the pastor’s visit. Poor Ulla would think herself
forgotten this morning, it was growing so late, and
nobody had been over to see her.

Ulla, however, was far from having any such
thoughts. There sat the old woman, propped up
in bed, knitting as fast as fingers could move, and
singing, with her soul in her song, though her
voice was weak and unsteady. She was covered

D
46 FEATS ON THE FIORD

with an eider-down quilt, like the first lady in the
land; but this luxury was a consequence of her
being old and ill, and having friends who cared
for her infirmities. ‘There was no other luxury.
Her window was glazed with thick flaky glass,
through which nothing could be seen distinctly.
The shelf, the table, the clothes’ chest, were all
of rough fir-wood; and the walls of the house
were of logs, well stuffed with moss in all the
crevices, to keep out the cold. There are no
dwellings so warm in winter and cool in summer
as well-built log-houses; and this house had every-
thing essential to health and comfort: but there
was nothing more, unless it was the green sprink-
ling of the floor, and the clean appearance of
everything the room contained, from Ulla’s cap
to the wooden platters on the shelf.

“<] thought you would come,” said Ulla. «I
knew you would come, and take my blessing on
your betrothment, and my wishes that you may
soon be seen with the golden crown.* JI must
not say that I hope to see you crowned; for we
all know—and nobody so well as I—that it is I
that stand between you and your crown. I often
think of it, my dear——”’

«Then I wish you would not, Ulla—you know
that.”’

“I do know it, my dear; and I would not be
for hastening God’s appointments. Let all be in
His own time. And I know, by myself, how
happy you may be—you and Rolf—while Peder
and I are failing and dying. I only say that none

* Peasant brides in Norway wear, on their wedding-
day, a coronet of paste-board, covered with gilt paper,
OLAF AND HIS NEWS 47

wish for your crowning more than we. O Erica!
you have a fine lot in having Rolf.”

“ Indeed I know it, Ulla.”’

“Do but look about you, dear, and see how he
keeps the house. And if you were to see him give
me my cup of coffee, and watch over Peder, you
would consider what he is likely to be to a pretty
young thing like you, when he is what he is to two
worn-out old creatures like us.’’

Erica did not need convincing about these things ;
but she liked to hear them.

«Where is he now?” asked Ulla. ‘I always
ask where everybody is, at this season; people go
about staring at the snow, as if they had no eyes
to lose. That is the way my husband did. Do
make Rolf take care of his precious eyes, Erica.
Is he abroad to-day, my dear?”

«By this time he is,” replied Erica. “I left
him at work at the pulpit——”

« Aye! trying his eyes with fine carving, as
Peder did! ””

<¢ But,’ continued Erica, ‘there was-news this
morning of a lodgment of logs at the top of the
foss; * and they were all going, except Peder, to
slide them down the gully to the fiord. The gully
is frozen so slippery, that the work will not take
long. They will make a raft of the logs in the
fiord; and either Rolf or Hund will carry them
out to the islands when the tide ebbs.”’

«Will it be Rolf, do you think, or Hund, dear?”

* Waterfall. Pine-trunks felled in the forest are
drawn over the frozen snow to the banks of a river, or
to the top of a waterfall, whence they may be either slid
down over the ice, or left to be carried down by the
floods, at the melting of the snows in the spring.
48 FEATS ON THE FIORD

‘‘T wish it may be Hund. If it be Rolf, 1
shall go with him. O Ulla! I cannot lose sight
of him, after what happened last night. Did you
hear? I do wish Oddo would grow wiser.”

Ulla shook her head, and then nodded, to inti-
mate that they would not talk of Nipen. And she
began to speak of something else.

“How did Hund conduct himself yesterday?
I heard my husband’s account: but you know
Peder could say nothing of his looks. Did you
mark his countenance, dear?”’

“Indeed there was no helping it, any more than one
can help watching a. storm-cloud as it comes up.”

‘So it was dark and wrathful, was it, that ugly face
of his? Well it might be, dear;—well it might be.”

«The worst was—worse than all his dark looks
together—O Ulla! the worst was his leap and cry
of joy when he heard what Oddo had done, and
that Nipen was made our enemy. He looked like
an evil spirit when he fixed his eyes on me, and
snapped his fingers.”’

Ulla shook her head mournfully, and then asked
Erica to put another peat on the fire.
~ «J really should like to know,”’ said Erica, in a
low voice, when she resumed her seat on the bed,
«TI am sure you can tell me if you would, what is
the real truth about Hund, what it is that weighs
upon his heart.”’

“ one that will go blabbing it, so that Hund shall
meet with taunts, and have his sore heart made
sorer. I will tell you, my dear, though there is no
one else but our mistress that I would tell; and she,
no doubt, knows it already. Hund was born and
reared a good way to the south—not far from
OLAF AND HIS NEWS 49

Bergen. In midwinter, four years since, his master
sent him on an errand of twenty miles, to carry
some provisions to a village in the upper country.
He did his errand; and, so far, all was well. The
village people asked him, for charity, to carry three
orphan children on his sledge some miles on the
way to Bergen, and to leave them -at a house he
had to pass on his road, where they would be taken
care of till they could be fetched from Bergen.
Hund was an obliging young fellow then, and he
made no objection. He took the little things, and
saw that the two elder were well wrapped up from
the cold. The third he took within his arms, and
on his knee as he drove, clasping it warm against his
breast. So those say who saw them set off; and
it is confirmed by one who met the sledge on the
road, and heard the children prattling to Hund,
and Hund laughing merrily at their little talk.
Before they had got half way, however, a pack of.
hungry wolves burst out upon them from a hollow
to the right of the road. The brutes followed close
at the back of the sledge, and es

“Oh, stop!” cried Erica, “I know that story.
Is it possible that Hund is the man? No need to
go on, Ulla.”

But Ulla thought there was always need to finish
a story that she had begun, and she proceeded.

«Closer and closer the wolves pressed, and it is
thought Hund saw one about to spring at his throat.
It was impossible for the horse to go faster than it
did, for it went like the wind, but so did the beasts.
Hund snatched up one of the children behind him
and threw it over the back of the sledge, and this
stopped the pack for a little. On galloped the
horse, but the wolves were soon crowding round


50 FEATS ON THE FIORD

again, with the blood freezing on their muzzles..
It was easier to throw the second child than the
first, and Hund did it. It was harder to give up
the third—the dumb infant that nestled to his
breast, but Hund was in mortal terror, and a man
beside himself with terror has all the cruelty of a
pack of wolves. Hund flung away the infant, and
just saved himself. Nobody at home questioned
him, for nobody knew about the orphans, and he
did not tell. But he was unsettled, and looked
wild; and his talk, whenever he did speak, night or
day, was of wolves, for the three days that he re-
mained after his return. Then there was a question-
ing along the road about the orphan children, and
Hund heard of it, and started off into the woods.
By putting things together—what Hund had dropped
in his agony of mind, and what had been seen and
heard on the road, the whole was made out, and
the country rose to find Hund. He was hunted
like a bear, in the forest and on the mountain; but
he had got to the coast in time, and was taken in a
boat, it is thought, to Hammerfest. At any rate,
he came here as from the north, and wishes to pass
for a northern man.’’

« And does Erlingsen know all this?”

“Yes. The same person who told me told
him. Erlingsen thinks he must meet with mercy,
for that none need mercy so much as the weak, and
Hund’s act was an act of weakness.’’

«Weakness! ”’ cried Erica, with disgust.

«Fle is a coward, my dear, and death stared him
in the face.”

“¢T have often wondered,”’ said Erica, “¢ where
on the face of the earth that wretch was wandering :
and it is Hund! And he wanted to live in this
OLAF AND HIS NEWS 51

very house,’ she continued, looking round the
room.

«And to marry you, dear. Erlingsen would
never have allowed that. But the thought has
plunged the poor fellow deeper, instead of saving
him, as he hoped. He now has envy and jealousy
at his heart, besides the remorse which he will carry
to his grave.”

«And revenge,’ said Erica, shuddering. “I
tell you he leaped for joy that Nipen was offended.
Here is some one coming,’’ she exclaimed, starting
from her seat as a shadow flitted over the thick
window-pane, and a hasty knock was heard at the
door.

«You are a coward, if ever there was one,’’ said
Ulla, smiling. “Hund never comes here, so you
need not look so frightened. What is to be done if
you look so at dinner or the next time you meet
him? It will be the ruin of some of us. Go—
open the door, and do not keep the pastor waiting.”

There was another knock before Erica could
reach the door, and Frolich burst in.

«Such news! ”’ she cried—‘ You never heard
such news.”

« Erica, almost pettishly.

« Good or bad?” inquired Ulla.

“Oh, bad—very bad,”’ declared Frolich, who
yet looked as if she would rather have it than none.
“Here is company. Olaf, the drug merchant, is
come. Father did not expect him these three
weeks.”’

«‘This is not bad news, but good,” said Ulla.
«Who knows but he may bring me a cure?”’

«We will all beg him to cure you, dear Ulla,”

> exclaimed
52 FEATS ON THE FIORD

said Frolich, stroking the old woman’s white hair
smooth upon her forehead. ‘But he tells us
shocking things. There is a pirate vessel among
the islands. She was seen off Soroe some time
ago, but she is much nearer to us now. There
was a farmhouse seen burning on Alten fiord last
week, and as the family are all gone and nothing
but ruins left, there is little doubt the pirates lit the
torch that did it. And the cod has been carried
off from the beach in the few places where any has
been caught yet.”

«They have not found out our fiord yet?”
inquired Ulla.

“Oh dear! I hope not. But they may, any
day. And father says the coast must be raised,
from Hammerfest to Tronyem, and a watch set till
this wicked vessel can be taken or driven away.
He was going to send a running message both
ways, but here is something else to be done first.”

«¢ Another misfortune ?”’ asked Erica faintly.

“No; they say it is a piece of very good
fortune—at least for those who like bears’ feet for
dinner. Somebody or other has lighted upon the
great bear that got away in the summer, and poked
her out of her den on the fjelde. She is certainly
abroad with her two last year’s cubs, and their
traces have been found just above, near the foss.
Olaf had heard of her being roused, and Rolf and
Hund have found her traces. Oddo has come
running home to tell us, and father says he must
get up a hunt before more snow falls and we lose
the tracks, or the family may establish themselves
among us and make away with our first calves.”

«Does he expect to kill them all?”

“T tell you we are all to grow stout on bears’
OLAF AND HIS NEWS 53

feet. For my part I like bears’ feet best on the
other side of Tronyem.”

“You will change your mind, Miss Frolich,
when you see them on the table,”’ observed Ulla.

«That is just what father said. And he asked
how I thought Erica and Stiorna would like to
have a den in their neighbourhood when they got
up to the mountain for the summer. Oh, it will
be all right when the hunt is well over and all the
bears dead. Meantime I thought they were at my
heels as I crossed the yard.”

«© And that made you burst in as you did. Did
Olaf say anything about coming to seeme? Has
he plenty of medicines with him ya?

«¢QOh, certainly. That was the thing I came to
say. He is laying out his medicines while he
warms himself, and then he is coming over to see
what he can do for your poor head. He asked
about you directly, and he is frowning over his
drugs as if he meant to let them know that they
must not trifle with you.”

Ulla was highly pleased, and gave her directions
very briskly about the arrangement of the room.
If it had been the grandest apartment of a palace
she could not have been more particular as to where
everything should stand. When all was to her
mind, she begged Erica to step over and inform
Olaf that she was ready.

When Erica opened the door, she instantly drew
back and shut it again.

«What now?” asked Frolich. ‘¢ Are all the
bears in the porch?”

« Olaf is there,’ replied Erica in a whisper,
‘talking with Hund.”

«Hund wants a cure for the heartache,”
54 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Frolich whispered in return, “‘or a charm to make
some girl betroth herself to him—a thing which
no girl will do but under a charm, for I don’t
believe Stiorna would when it came to the point,
though she likes to be attended to.”’

When Olaf entered, and Hund walked away,
Frolich ran home, and Erica stood by the window
ready to receive the travelling doctor’s opinion and
directions, if he should vouchsafe any. 3

“So I am not the first to consult you to-day,”
said Ulla. “It is rather hard that I should not
have the best chance of luck, having been so long
ill.”

Olaf assured her that he would hear no com-
plaints from another till he had given her the first
fruits of his wisdom in this district of his rounds.
Hund was only inquiring of him where the pirate
schooner was, having slid down from the height,
as fast as his snow-skates would: carry him, on
hearing the news from Oddo. He was also
eager to know whence these pirates came—what
nation they were of, or whether a crew gathered
from many nations. Olaf had advised Hund to
go and ask the pirates themselves all that he
wanted to know, for there was no one else who
could satisfy him. Whereupon Hund had smiled
grimly, and gone back to his work.

Erica observed that she had heard her master
say that it was foolish to boast that Norway need
not mind when Denmark went to war, because
it would be carried on far out of sight and hearing.
So far from this, Erlingsen had said, that Denmark
never went to war but pirates came to ravage the
coast, from the North Cape to the Naze. Was
not this the case now? Denmark had gone to war,
OLAF AND HIS NEWS 55

and here were the pirates come to make her poor
partner suffer.

Olaf said this explained the matter, and he
feared the business of the coast would suffer till a
time of peace. Meanwhile he must mind his
business. |. When he had heard all Ulla’s com-
plaints, and ordered exactly what she wished—
large doses of camphor and corn-brandy to keep
off the night-fever and daily cough, he was ready
to hear whatever else Erica had to ask, for Ulla
had hinted that Erica wanted advice.

«“T do not mind Ulla hearing my words,” said
Erica. “She knows my trouble.”’

“Tt is of the mind,’’ observed Olaf solemnly,
on discovering that Erica did not desire to have
her pulse felt.

«Yesterday was—I was——”’ Erica began.

«‘She was betrothed yesterday,’”’ said Ulla, «to
the man of her heart. Rolf is such a young
man 42

*¢Olaf knows Rolf,’’? observed Erica. “An
unfortunate thing happened, at the end of the day,
Olaf. Nipen was insulted.’? And she told the
story of Oddo’s prank, and implored the doctor
to say if anything could be done to avert bad
consequences.

“No doubt,” replied Olaf. ‘Look here!
this will preserve you from any particular evil that
you dread.” And he took from the box he
carried under his arm a round piece of white paper,
with a hole in the middle, through which a string
was to be passed, to tie the charm round the neck.
Erica shook her head. Such a charm would be
of no use, as she did not know under what parti-
cular shape of misfortune Nipen’s displeasure would


56 FEATS ON THE FIORD

show itself. Besides, she was certain that nothing
would make Rolf wear a charm, and she disdained
to use any security which he might not share.
Olaf could not help her in any other way, but
inquired with sympathy when the next festival
would take place. Then all might be repaired
by handsome treatment of Nipen. ‘Till then he
advised Erica to wear his charm, as her lover
could not be the worse for her being so far safe.
Erica blushed. She knew, but did not say, that
harm would be done which no charm could repair
if her lover saw her trying to save herself from
dangers to which he remained exposed ; and she
did not know what their betrothment was worth
if it did not give them the privilege of suffering
together. So she put back the charm into its
place in the box, and with a sigh rose to return
to the house.

In the porch she found Oddo eating something
which caused him to make faces. Though it was
in the open air, there was a strong smell of
camphor, and of something else less pleasant.

«“What are you doing, Oddo?” asked Erica,
the question which Oddo was asked every day
of his life. °

Oddo had observed Olaf’s practice among his
patients of the household, and perceived that for all
complaints of body or mind he gave the two things,
camphor and assafcetida, sometimes together, and
sometimes separately, and always in corn-brandy.
Oddo could not refrain from trying what these
drugs were like, so he helped himself to some of
each, and, as he could get no corn-brandy till
dinner-time, he was eating the medicines without.
Such was the cause of his wry faces. If he had




NG WHICH

METHL

TING So:
Faces.

E FOUND ODDO EA

In Tue PoRCH sH

TO MAKE

AUSED HIM

c.



OLAF AND HIS NEWS 59

been anything but a Norway boy he would have
been the invalid of the house to-day, from the
quantity of rich cake he had eaten, but Oddo
seemed to share the privilege common to Nor-
wegians, of being able to eat anything, in any
quantity, without injury. His wry faces were
from no indigestion, but from the savour of assa-
fcetida unrelieved by brandy.

Wooden dwellings resound so much as to be
inconvenient for those who have secrets to tell.
In the porch of Peder’s house Oddo had heard
all that passed within. It was good for him to
have done so. He became more sensible of the
pain he had given, and more anxious to repair it.

“Dear Erica,’’ said he, «I want you to doa
very kind thing for me. Do get leave for me
to go with Rolf after the bears. If I get one
stroke at them—if I can but wound one of them,
I shall have a paw for my share, and I will lay
it out for Nipen. You will, will not you nes

“It must be as Erlingsen chooses, Oddo, but
I fancy you will not be allowed to go just now.
The bears will think the doctor’s physic-sledge is
coming through the woods, and they will be shy.
Do stand a little farther off. J cannot think how
it is that you are not choked.”’

“Suppose you go for an airing,’ said the
doctor, who now joined them. “If you must
not go in the way of the bears, there is a
reindeer-——”’

«©Oh, where ?”’ cried Oddo.

“IT saw one, all alone, on the Salten heights.
If you run that way, with the wind behind you,
the deer will give you a good run—up Sulitelma,
if you like, and you-will have got rid of the
60 FEATS ON THE FIORD

camphor before you come back. And be sure
you bring me some Iceland moss, to pay me for
what you have been helping yourself to.”

When Oddo had convinced himself that Olaf
really had seen a reindeer on the heights, three
miles off, he said to himself that if deer do not
like camphor, they are fond of salt; and he was
presently at the salt-box, and then quickly on his
way to the hills with his bait. He considered
his chance of training home the deer much more
probable than that Erlingsen and his grandfather
would allow him to hunt the bears; and he
doubtless judged rightly.

Cuap. IV
Roving Here and Roving There

‘THE establishment was now in a great hurry and
bustle for an hour, after which time it promised
to be unusually quiet.

M. Kollsen began to be anxious to be on the
other side of the fiord. It was rather inconvenient,
as the two men were wanted to go in different
directions, while their master took a third, to rouse
the farmers for the bear-hunt. The hunters were
all to arrive before night within a certain distance
of the thickets where the bears were now believed
to be. On calm nights it was no great hardship to
spend the dark hours in the bivouac of the country.
Each party was to shelter itself under a bank of
snow, or in a pit dug out of it, an enormous fire
blazing in the midst, and brandy and tobacco being
plentifully distributed on such occasions. Early in
ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE 61

the morning the director of the hunt was to go his
rounds, and arrange the hunters in a ring enclosing
the hiding-place of the bears, so that all might be
prepared, and no waste made of the few hours of
daylight which the season afforded. As soon as
it was light enough to see distinctly among the trees,
or bushes, or holes of the rocks where the bears
might be couched, they were to be driven from
their retreat and disposed of as quickly as possible.
Such was the plan, well understood in such cases
throughout the country. On the present occasion
it might be expected that the peasantry would be
ready at the first summons, as Olaf had told his
story of the bears all along the road. Yet the more
messengers and helpers the better, and Erlingsen
was rather vexed to see Hund. go with alacrity to
unmoor the -boat and offer officiously to row the
pastor across the fiord. His daughters knew what
he was thinking about, and, after a moment’s con-
sultation, Frolich asked whether she and the maid
Stiorna, might not be the rowers.

Nobody would have objected if Hund had not.
The girls could row, though they could not hunt
bears, and the weather was fair enough; but Hund
shook his head, and went on preparing the boat.
His master spoke to him, but Hund was not re-
markable for giving up his own way. He would
only say that there would be plenty of time for both
affairs, and that he could follow the hunt when he
returned, and across the lake he went.

Erlingsen and Rolf presently departed, accom-
panied by Olaf, who was glad of an escort for a
few miles, though nothing was further from his
intention than going near the bears. ‘The women
and Peder were thus left behind.

E
62 FEATS ON THE FIORD

They occupied themselves, to keep away anxious
thoughts. One began some new nets for the ap-
proaching fishing season; another sat in the loom,
and the girls appealed to their mother very fre-
quently about the beauties of a new quilting pattern
they were drawing. Old Peder sang to them, too,
but Peder’s songs were rather melancholy, and they
had not the effect of cheering the party. Hour
after hour they looked for Hund. His news of his
voyage, and the sending him after his master, would
be something to do and to think of; but Hund did
not come. Stiorna at last let fall that she did not
think he would come yet, for that he meant to
catch some cod before his return. He had taken
tackle with him for that purpose, she knew, and
she should not wonder if he did not appear till the
morning.

Every one was surprised, and Madame Erlingsen
highly displeased. At the time when her husband
would be wanting every strong arm that could be
mustered, his servant chose to be out fishing, in-
stead of obeying orders. The girls pronounced
him a coward, and Peder observed that toa coward,
as well as a sluggard, there was ever a lion in the
path. Erica doubted whether this act of dise
obedience arose from cowardice, for there were
dangers in the fiord for such as went out as far as
the cod. She supposed Hund had heard

She stopped short, as a sudden flash of suspicion
crossed her mind. She had seen Hund inquiring
of Olaf about the pirates, and his strange obstinacy
about this day’s boating looked much as if he meant
to learn more.

‘* Danger in the fiord! ” repeated Orga; “oh,
you mean the pirates. They are far enough from










z 7A
{ Nee



THE pooR ANIMAL STRUGGLED VIOLENTLY.

ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE 65

our fiord, I suppose. If ever they do come, I
wish they would catch Hund and carry him off.
I am sure we could spare them nothing they would
be so welcome to.”

Madame Erlingsen saw that Erica was turning
red and white, and resolved to ask, on the first
good opportunity, what was in her mind about
Hund, for no one was more disposed to distrust
and watch him than the lady herself.

The first piece of amusement that occurred was
the return of Oddo, who passed the windows, fol-
lowed at a short distance by a wistful-looking deer,
which seemed afraid to come quite up to him, but
kept its branched head outstretched towards the
salt which Oddo displayed, dropping a few grains
from time to time. At the sight, all crowded to
the windows but Frolich, who left the room on the
instant. Before the animal had passed the servants’
house (a separate dwelling in the yard), she ap-
peared in the gallery which ran round the outside
of it, and showed to Oddo a cord which she held.
He nodded, and threw down some salt on the
snow immediately below where she stood. The
reindeer stooped its head, instead of looking out for
enemies above, and thus gave Frolich a good oppor-
tunity to throw her cord over its antlers. She
had previously wound one end round the balustrade
of the gallery, so that she had not with her single
strength to sustain the animal’s struggles.

The poor animal struggled violently when it found
its head no longer at liberty, and, by throwing out
its legs, gave Oddo an opportunity to catch and
fasten it by the hind leg, so as to decide its fate
completely. It could now only start from side to
side, and threaten with its head when the household
66 FEATS ON THE FIORD

gathered round to congratulate Oddo and Frolich
on the success of their hunting. The women durst
only hastily stroke the palpitating sides of the poor
beast ; but Peder, who had handled many scores in
his lifetime, boldly seized its head and felt its horns,
and the bones whence they grew, to ascertain its age.

“Do you fancy you have made a prize of a wild
deer, boy?” he asked of his grandson.

«© To be sure,’’ said Oddo.

«IT thought you had had more curiosity than to
take such a thing for granted, Oddo. See here!
Is not this ear slit ?”’

«Why, yes,’? Oddo admitted; ‘but it is not a
slit of this year or last. It may have belonged to
the Lapps once upon a time; but it has been wild
for so long that it is all the same as if it had never
been in a fold. It will never be claimed.”

“I am of your opinion there, boy. I wish you
joy of your sport.”

«You may; for I doubt whether anybody. will
do better to-day. Hund will not, for one, if it
is he who has gone out with the boat; and I think
I cannot be mistaken in the handling of his oar.”’

«Have you seen him? Where? What is he
doing ?”? asked one and another.

Before Oddo could answer, Madame Erlingsen
desired that he would go home with his grand-
father and tell Ulla about the deer, while he
warmed himself. She did not wish her daughters
to hear what he might have to tell of Hund.
Stiorna, too, was better out of the way. Oddo had
not half told the story of the deer to his grand-
mother when his mistress and Erica entered.

‘Did not you see M. Kollsen in the boat with
Hund?” she inquired.
ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE 67

“No. Hund was quite alone, pulling with all
his might down the fiord. The tide was with
him, so that he shot along like a fish.”’

“How do you know it was Hund that you
saw???

« Don’t I know our boat? And don’t I know
his pull? It is no more like Rolf’s than Rolf’s
is like master’s.”

‘Perhaps he was making for the best fishing-
ground as fast as he could.”

«< Wee shall see that by the fish he brings home.”’

«True. By supper-time we shall know.”

“Hund will not be home by supper-time,”’
said Oddo decidedly.

«Why not? Come, say out what you mean.”

‘Well, I will tell you what I saw. I watched
him rowing as fast as his arm and the tide would
carry him. It was so plain that there was a plan
in his head, that I forgot the deer in watching him;
and I followed on from point to point, catching a
sight now and then, till 1 had gone a good stretch
beyond Salten heights. I was just going to turn
back when I took one more look, and he was
then pulling in for the land.”

«‘On the north shore or south?”’ asked Peder.

«The north—just at the narrow part of the
fiord, where one can see into the holes of the
rocks opposite.”’

«The fiord takes a wide sweep below there,”
observed Peder.

“Yes; and that was why he landed,”’ replied
Oddo. «He was then but a little way from the
fishing-ground, if he had wanted fish. But he
drove up the boat into a little cove, a narrow dark
creek, where it will lie safe enough, I have no
68 FEATS ON THE FIORD

doubt, till he comes back—if he means to come
back.”

«“Why, where should he go?) What should he
do but come back ?”’ asked Madame Erlingsen.

“Fle is now gone over the ridge to the north.
I saw him moor the boat, and begin to climb;
and I watched his dark figure on the white snow,
higher and higher, till it was a speck, and I could
not make it out.”’

“That is the way you will lose your eyes,”
exclaimed Ulla. ‘How often have I warned
you—and many others as giddy as you? When
you have lost your eyes, you will think you had
better have minded my advice, and not have stared
at the snow after a runaway that is better there
than here.’

«What do you think of this story, Peder?”
asked his mistress.

«*T think Hund has taken the short cut over
the promontory, on business of his own at the
islands. He is not on any business of yours,
depend upon it, madame.”

«¢ And what business can he have among the
islands ?”’

“T could say that with more certainty if I knew
exactly where the pirate vessel is.””

«©That is your idea, Erica,’ said her mistress.
“TI saw what your thoughts were an hour ago,
before we knew all this.”

“© T was thinking then, madame, that if Hund
was gone to join the pirates, Nipen would be very
ready to give them a wind just now. A baffling
wind would be our only defence; and we cannot
expect that much from Nipen to-day.”

“ ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE 69

eagerly. ‘Send me anywhere. Do think of
something that I can do.”

«What must be done, Peder?’’ asked his
mistress. ‘There is quite enough to fear, Erica,
without a word of Nipen. Pirates on the coast,
and one farmhouse seen burning already.”

“T will tell you what you must let me do,
madame,” said Erica. ‘Indeed you must not
oppose me. My mind is quite set upon going for
the boat—immediately—this very minute. That
will give us time, it will give us safety for this
night. Hund might bring seven or eight men upon
us over the promontory; but if they find no boat,
I think they can hardly work up the windings of
the fiord in their own vessel to-night; unless,
indeed,”’ she added with a sigh, “they have a
most favourable wind.”

“ All this is true enough,”’ said her mistress;
‘but how will you go? Will you swim?”

“The raft, madame.”

« And there is the old skiff on Thor islet,’
said Oddo. “It is a rickety little thing, hardly
big enough for two; but it will carry down Erica
and me, if we go before the tide turns.”

«But how will you get to Thor islet?”’ in-
quired Madame Erlingsen. «I wish the scheme
were not such a wild one.”’

«A wild one must serve at such a time,
madame,” replied Erica. ‘Rolf had Jashed
several logs before he went. I am sure we can
get over to the islet. See, madame, the fiord is
as smooth as a pond.”

“Let her go,” said Peder. ‘She will never
repent.”

«Then come back, I charge you, if you find
70 FEATS ON THE FIORD
the least danger,” said her mistress. ‘No one
is safer at the oar than you; but if there is a ripple
in the water, or a gust on the heights, or a cloud
in the sky, come back. Such is my command,
Erica.”

“Wife,” said Peder, “give her your pelisse.
That will save her seeing the girls before she goes.
And she shall have my cap, and then there is not
an eye along the fiord that can tell whether she is
man or woman.”

Ulla lent her deer-skin pelisse willingly enough ;
but she entreated that Oddo might be kept at
home. She folded her arms about the boy with
tears; but Peder decided the matter with the
words—

«Let him go. It is the least he can do to make
up for last night. Equip, Oddo.”

Oddo equipped willingly enough. In two minutes
he and his companion looked like two walking bundles
of fur. Oddo carried a frail basket, containing rye-
bread, salt fish, and a flask of corn-brandy; for in
Norway no one goes on the shortest expedition
without carrying provisions.

“Surely it must be dusk by this time,” said
Peder.

It was dusk; and this was well, as the pair
could steal down to the shore without being per-
ceived from the house. Madame Erlingsen gave
them her blessing, saying that if the enterprise saved
them from nothing worse than Hund’s company
this night, it would be a great good. There could
be no more comfort in having Hund for an inmate ;
for some improper secret he certainly had. Her
hope was that, finding the boat gone, he would never
show himself again.
ROVING HERE AND ROVING THERE 71.

«One would think,” continued the lady, when
she returned from watching Erica and Oddo dis-
appear in the dusk, ‘one would think Erica had
never known fear. Her step is as firm, and her
eye as clear, as if she had never trembled in the
course of her life.”

“She knows how to act to-night,”’ said Peder ;
“and she is going into danger for her lover, instead
of waiting at home while her lover goes into danger
for her. A hundred pirates in the fiord would
not make her tremble as she trembled last night.
Rather a hundred pirates than Nipen angry, she
would say.”

« There is her weakness,’’ observed her mistress.

‘Can we speak of weakness, after what we have
just seen, if I may say so, madame?”

“I think so,”’ replied Madame Erlingsen. “I
think it a weakness in those who believe that a just
and tender Providence watches over us all, to fear
what any power in the universe can do to them.”

««M. Kollsen does not make progress in teaching
the people what you say, madame. He only gets
distrusted by it.”

«¢When M. Kollsen has had more experience
he will find that this is not a matter for displeasure.
He will not succeed while he is displeased at what
his people think sacred. When he is an older man
he will pity the innocent for what they suffer from
superstition; and this pity will teach him how to
speak of Providence to such as our Erica. But
here are my girls coming to seek me. I must meet
them, to prevent them missing Erica.”

«¢ Get them to rest early, madame.”

“Certainly; and you will watch in this house,
Peder, and I at home.”
72 FEATS ON THE FIORD

«Trust me for hearing the oars at a furlong off,
mddame.”’

«That is more than I can promise,”’ said the
lady; “but the owl shall not be more awake
than I.”

Cuar, V
The Water-Sprites’ Doings

RICA now profited by her lover’s industry in
the morning. He had so far advanced with
the raft that, though no one would have thought of
taking it in its present state to the mouth of the
fiord for shipment, it would serve as a conveyance
in still water for a short distance safely enough.
And still indeed the waters were. As Erica
and Oddo were busily and silently employed in
tying moss round their oars to muffle their sound,
the ripple of the tide upon the white sand could
scarcely be heard ; and it appeared to the eye as if
the lingering remains of the daylight brooded on
the fiord, unwilling to depart. The stars had,
however, been showing themselves for some time;
and they might now be seen twinkling below almost
as clearly and steadily as overhead. As Erica and
Oddo put their little raft off from the shore, and
then waited with their oars suspended, to observe
whether the tide carried them towards the islet
they must reach, it seemed as if some invisible hand
was pushing them forth, to shiver the bright pave-
ment of constellations as it lay. Star after star was
shivered, and its bright fragments danced in their
wake; and those fragments reunited and became a
THE WAR-SPRITES’ DOINGS 73

star again, as the waters closed over the path of the
raft, and subsided into perfect stillness.

The tide favoured Erica’s object. A few strokes
of the oar brought the raft to the right point for
landing on the islet. ‘They stepped ashore, and
towed the raft along till they came to the skiff, and
then they fastened the raft with the boat-hook,
which had been fixed there for the skiff. This
done, Oddo ran to turn over the little boat and
examine its condition, but he found he could not
move it. It was frozen fast to the ground. It was
scarcely possible to get a firm hold of it, it was so
slippery with ice; and all pulling and pushing of
the two together was in vain, though the boat was
so light that either of them could have lifted and
carried it in a time of thaw.

This circumstance caused a good deal of delay ;
and what was worse, it obliged them to make some
noise. They struck at the ice with sharp stones,
~ but it was long before they could make any visible
impression, and Erica proposed. again and again that
they should proceed on the raft. Oddo was un-
willing. The skiff would go so incomparably faster,
that it was worth spending some time upon it; and
the fears he had had of its leaking were removed,
now that he found what a sheet of ice it was
covered with—ice which would not melt to admit
a drop of water while they were in it. So he
knocked and knocked away, wishing that the echoes
would be quiet for once, and then laughing as he
imagined the ghost stories that would spring up all
round the fiord to-morrow, from the noise he was
then making.

Erica worked hard too; and one advantage of
their labour was that they were well warmed before
74 FEATS ON THE FIORD

they put off again. The boat’s icy fastenings were
all broken at last, and it was launched; but all was
not yet ready. The skiff had lain in a direction
east and west; and its north side had so much
thicker a coating of ice than the other, that its
balance was destroyed. It hung so low on one
side as to promise to upset with a touch.

«We must clear off more of the ice,” said
Erica. ‘ But how late it is growing! ”’

“No more knocking, I say,’ replied Oddo.
« There is a quieter way of trimming the boat.”

He fastened a few stones to the gunwale on the
lighter side, and took in a few more for the purpose
of shifting the weight if necessary, while they were
on their way.

They did not leave quiet behind them when they
departed. ‘They had roused the multitude of eider
ducks and other sea-fow! which thronged the islet,
and which now, being roused, began their night-
feeding and flying, though at an earlier hour than
usual. When their discordant cries were left so far
behind as to be softened by distance, the flapping of
wings and swash of water, as the fowl plunged in,
still made the air busy all around.

The rowers were so occupied with the manage-
ment of their dangerous craft, that they had not
spoken since they left the islet. The skiff would
have been unmanageable by any maiden and boy in _
our country; but on the coast of Norway it is us
natural to persons of all ages and degrees to guide a
boat as to walk. Swiftly but cautiously they shot
through the water, till at length Oddo uttered a
most hideous croak.

«What do you mean?” asked Erica, hastily
glancing round her.
THE WAR-SPRITES’ DOINGS 75

Oddo laughed, and looked upwards as he croaked
again. He was answered by a similar croak, and a
large raven was seen flying homewards over the
fiord for the night. Then the echoes all croaked,
till the whole region seemed to be full of ravens.

«Are you sure you know the cove?” asked
Erica, who wished to put an end to this sound,
unwelcome to the superstitious. ‘Do not make
that bird croak so ; it will be quiet if you let it alone.
Are you sure you can find the cove again?”

“Quite sure. I wish I was as sure that Hund
would not find it again before me. Pull away.”

«How much farther is it? ”’

‘: Farther than I like tothink of. I doubt your
arm holding out; I wish Rolf was here.”

Erica did not wish the same thing. She thought
that Rolf was, on the whole, safer waging war with
bears than with pirates, especially if Hund was
among them. She pulled her oar cheerfully, ob-
serving that there was no fatigue at present; and
that when they were once afloat in the heavier boat,
and had cleared the cove, there need be no hurry—
unless indeed they should see something of the
pirate schooner on the way; and of this she had no
expectation, as the booty that might be had where
the fishery was beginning was worth more than any-
thing that could be found higher up the fiords, to
say nothing of the danger of running up into the
country so far as that getting away again depended
upon one particular wind.

Yet Erica looked behind her after every few
strokes of her oar; and once, when she saw some-
thing, her start was felt like a start of the skiff
itself. There was a fire glancing and gleaming and
quivering over the water, some way down the fiord.
76 FEATS ON THE FIORD

‘Some people night-fishing,”’ observed Oddo.
«What sport they will have! I wish I was with
them. How fast we go! How you can row
when you choose! I can see the man that is
holding the torch. Cannot you see his black
figure? And the spearman—see how he stands at
the bow—now going to cast his spear! I wish I
was there.”’

‘We must get farther away—into the shadow
somewhere, or wait,’ observed Erica. “I had
rather not wait, it is growing so late. We might
creep along under that promontory, in the shadow,
if you would be quiet. I wonder whether you can
be silent in the sight of night-fishing.”’

«To be sure,” said Oddo, disposed to be angry,
and only kept from it by the thought of last night.
He helped to bring the skiff into the shadow of the
overhanging rocks, and only spoke once more, to
whisper that the fishing-boat was drifting down with
the tide, and that he thought their cove lay between
them and the fishing-party.

It was so. As the skiff rounded the point of
the promontory, Oddo pointed out what appeared
like a mere dark chasm in the high perpendicular
wall of rock that bounded the waters. T'his chasm
still looked so narrow on approaching it, that Erica
hesitated to push her skiff into it, till certain that
there was no one there. Oddo, however, was so
clear that she might safely do this, so noiseless was
their rowing, and it was so plain that.there was no
footing on the rocks by which he might enter to
explore, that in a sort of desperation, and seeing
nothing else to be done, Erica agreed. She wished
it had been summer, when either of them might
have learned what they wanted by swimming. ‘This
THE WATER-SPRITES’ DOINGS 77

was now out of the question; and stealthily there-
fore she pulled her little craft into the deepest
shadow, and crept into the cove.

At a little distance from the entrance it widened,
but it was a wonder to Erica that even Oddo’s eyes
should have seen Hund moor his boat here from the
other side of the fiord; though the fiord was not
more than a gunshot over in this part. Oddo him-
self wondered, till he recalled how the sun was
shining down into the chasm at the time. By star-
light, the outline of all that the cove contained
might be seen, the outline of the boat among other
things. There she lay! But there was something
about her which was unpleasant enough, There
were three men in her.

What was to be done now? Here was the very
worst danger that Erica had feared—worse than
finding the boat gone—worse than meeting it in the
wide fiord. What was to be done?

There was nothing for it but to do nothing—to
lie perfectly still in the shadow, ready, however, to
push out on the first movement of the boat to leave
the cove; for, though the canoe might remain
unnoticed at present, it was impossible that anybody
could pass out of the cove without seeing her. In
such a case there would be nothing for it but a race
—a race for which Erica and Oddo held them-
selves prepared without any mutual explanation, for
they dared not speak. The faintest whisper would
have crept over the smooth water to the ears in the
larger boat.

One thing was certain—that something must
happen presently. It is impossible for the hardiest
men to sit inactive in a boat for any length of time
in a January night in Norway. In the calmest

F
78 FEATS ON THE FIORD

nights the cold is only to be sustained by means of
the glow from strong exercise. It was certain that
these three men could not have been long in their
places, and that they would not sit many moments
more without some change in their arrangements.

They did not seem to be talking, for Oddo,
who was the best listener in the world, could not
discover that a sound issued from their boat. He
fancied they were drowsy, and, being aware what
were the consequences of yielding to drowsiness in
severe cold, the boy began to entertain high hopes
of taking these three men prisoners. ‘The whole
country would ring with such a feat performed by
Erica and himself.

The men were, however, too much awake to be
made prisoners of at present. One was seen to
drink from a flask, and the hoarse voice of another
was heard grumbling, as far as the listeners could
make out, at being kept waiting. The third then
rose to look about him, and Erica trembled from
head to foot. He only looked upon the land,
however, declared he saw nothing of those he was
expecting, and began to warm himself as he stood,
by repeatedly clapping his arms across his breast
in the way that hackney coachmen and porters
do in England. This was Hund. He could not
have been known by his figure, for all persons look
alike in wolf-skin pelisses, but the voice and the
action were his. Oddo saw how Erica shuddered.
He put his finger on his lips, but Erica needed no
reminding of the necessity of quietness.

The other two men then rose, and after a
consultation, the words of which could not be
heard, all stepped ashore, one after another, and
climbed a rocky pathway.
THE WATER-SPRITE’ SDOINGS 79

«Now, now!’’ whispered Erica. ‘Now we
can get away.”

« Not without the boat,’? said Oddo. ‘You
would not leave them the boat ?”’

«‘No—not if—but they will be back in a
moment. They are only gone to hasten their
companions.”

“T know it,”? said Oddo. ‘Now two strokes
forward! ”’

While she gave these two strokes, which brought
the skiff to the stern of the boat, Erica saw
that Oddo had taken out a knife which gleamed
in the starlight. It was for cutting the thong by
which the boat was fastened to a birch-pole, the
other end of which was hooked on shore. This
was to save his going ashore to unhook the pole.
It was well for him that boat chains were not in use,
owing to the scarcity of metal in that region. The
clink of a chain would certainly have been heard.

Quickly and silently he entered the boat and
tied the skiff to its stern, and he and Erica took
their places where the men had sat one minute
before. “I'hey used their own muffled oars to turn
the boat round, till Oddo observed that the boat
oars were muffled too. ‘Then voices were heard
again. The men were returning. Strongly did
the two companions draw their strokes till a good
breadth of water lay between them and the shore,
and then till they had again entered the deep
shadow which shrouded the mouth of the cove.
There they paused.

“In with you! ’’ some loud voice said, as man
after man was seen in outline coming down the
pathway. “In with you! We have lost time
enough already.’’
80 FEATS ON THE FIORD

«Where is she? I can’t see the boat,”
answered the foremost man.

*¢ You can’t miss her,”’ said one behind, “ unless
the brandy has got into your eyes.”’

“So I should have said; but I do miss her.
It is very incomprehensible to me.”

Oddo shook with stifled laughter as he partly
saw and partly overheard the perplexity of these
men. At last one gave a deep groan, and another
declared that the spirits of the fiord were against
them, and there was no doubt that their boat was
now lying twenty fathoms deep at the bottom of
the creek, drawn down by the strong hand of an
angry water-spirit. Oddo squeezed Erica’s little
hand as he heard this. If it had been light
enough, he would have seen that even she was
smiling.

One of the men mourned their having no
other boat, so that they must give up their plan.
Another said that if they had a dozen boats he
would not set foot in one after what had happened.
He should go straight back, the way he came,
to their own vessel. Another said he would not
go till he had looked abroad over the fiord for
some chance of seeing the boat. ‘This he persisted
in, though told by the rest that it was absurd to
suppose that the boat had loosed itself and gone
out into the fiord in the course of the two minutes
that they had been absent. He showed the frag-
ment of the cut thong in proof of the boat not
having loosed itself, and set off for a point on the
heights which he said overlooked the fiord. One
or two went with him, the rest returning up the
narrow pathway at some speed—such speed that
Erica thought they were afraid of the hindmost
THE WATER-SPRITES’ DOINGS _ 81

being caught by the same enemy that had taken
their boat. Oddo observed this too, and he
quickened their pace by setting up very loud the
mournful cry with which he was accustomed to
call out to the plovers on the mountain-side on
sporting days. No sound can be more melancholy ;
and now, as it rang from the rocks, it was so
unsuitable to the place, and so terrible to the already
frightened men, that they ran on as fast as the
slipperiness of the rocks would allow, till they were
all out of sight over the ridge.

“* Now for it, before the other two come out
above us there!’’ said Oddo, and in another
minute they were again in the fiord, keeping as
much in the shadow as they could, however, till
they must strike over to the islet.

“Thank God that we came!” exclaimed
Erica. ‘We shall never forget what we owe
you, Oddo. You shall see, by the care we take
of your grandfather and Ulla, that we do not
forget what you have done this night. If Nipen
will only forgive, for the sake of this———”

«« We were just in the nick of time,”’ observed
Oddo. “It was better than if we had been earlier.”

“T do not know,” said Erica. «Here are
their brandy-bottles, and many things besides.
I had rather not have had to bring these away.”

“But if we had been earlier they would not
have had their fright. That is the best part of it.
Depend upon it, some that have not said their
prayers for long will say them to-night.””

“That will be good. But I do not like carry-
ing home these things that are not ours. If they
are seen at Erlingsen’s they may bring the pirates
down upon us. I would leave them on the islet
82 FEATS ON THE FIORD

but that the skiff has to be left there too, and that
would explain our trick.”

Erica would not consent to throw the property
overboard. This would be robbing those who
had not actually injured her, whatever their
intentions might have been. She thought that if
the goods were left upon some barren, uninhabited
part of the shore, the pirates would probably be
the first to find them; and that, if not, the rumour
of such an extraordinary fact, spread by the simple
country people, would be sure to reach them. So
Oddo carried on shore, at the first stretch of white
beach they came to, the brandy-flasks, the bear-
skins, the tobacco-pouch, the muskets and powder-
horns, and the tinder-box. He scattered these
about, just above high-water mark, laughing to
think how report would tell of the sprites’ care in
placing all these articles out of reach of injury
from the water.

Oddo did not want for light while doing this.
When he returned, he found Erica gazing up over
the towering precipices at the Northern Lights,
which had now unfurled their broad yellow blaze.
She was glad that they had not appeared sooner to
spoil the adventure of the night, but she was thank-
ful to have the way home thus illumined now that
the business was done. She answered with so much
alacrity to Oddo’s question whether she was not
very weary, that he ventured to say two things
which had before been upon his tongue without his
having the courage to utter them.

“You will not be so afraid of Nipen any more,”’
observed he, glancing at her face, of which he could
see every feature by the quivering light. ‘* You see
how well everything has turned out.”


THE WATER-SPRITES’ DOINGS 383

«‘Oh, hush! It is too soon yet to speak so. It
is never right to speak so. There is no knowing
till next Christmas, nor even then, that Nipen for-
gives; and the first twenty-four hours are not over
yet. Pray do not speak any more, Oddo.”

«Well, not about that. But what was it exactly
that you thought Hund would do with this boat and
those people? Did you think,” he continued, after
a short pause, “ that they would come up to Erling-
sen’s to rob the place?”’

“ Not for the object of robbing the place, be-
cause there is very little that is worth their taking ;
far less than at the fishing-grounds. Not but they
might have robbed us, if they took a fancy to any-
thing we have. No; I thought, and I still think,
that they would have carried off Rolf, led on by
Hund. 22

«Oh, ho! carried off Rolf! So here is the
secret of your wonderful courage to-night, you who
durst not look round at your own shadow last night !
This is the secret of your not being tired, you who
are out of breath with rowing a mile sometimes! ””

‘« That is in summer,” pleaded Erica. ‘ How-
ever, you have my secret, as you say, a thing which
is no secret at home. We all think that Hund
bears such a grudge against Rolf, for having got the
houseman’s place 2?

«¢ And for nothing else ?”’

“ That,” continued Erica, “he would be glad
to—to 2?

“To get rid of Rolf, and be a houseman, and
get betrothed instead of him. Well; Hund is
baulked for this time. Rolf must look to himself
after to-day.”

Erica sighed deeply. She did not believe that






84 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Rolf would attend to his own safety; and the
future looked very dark, all shrouded by her fears.

By the time the skiff was deposited where it had
been found, both the rowers were so weary that
they gave up the idea of taking the raft in tow, as
for full security they ought to do. They doubted
whether they could get home, if they had more
weight to draw than their own boat. It was well
that they left this encumbrance behind, for there
was quite peril and difficulty enough without it;
and Erica’s strength and spirits failed the more, the
farther the enemy was left behind.

A breath of wind seemed to bring a sudden
darkening of the friendly lights which had blazed
up higher and brighter, from their first appearance
till now. Both rowers looked down the fiord, and
uttered an exclamation at the same moment.

“See the fog!’’ cried Oddo, putting fresh
strength into his oar.

«“O Nipen! Nipen!’? mournfully exclaimed
Erica. ‘Here it is, Oddo, the west wind! ”

The west wind is, in winter, the great foe of the
fishermen of the fiords; it brings in the fog from
the sea, and the fogs of the Arctic Circle are no
trifling enemy. If Nipen really had the charge of
the winds, he could not more emphatically show his
displeasure towards any unhappy boatman than by
overtaking him with the west wind and fog.

«The wind must have just changed,” ‘said Oddo,
pulling exhausting strokes, as the fog marched
towards them over the water, like a solid and
immeasurably lofty wall. ‘*The wind must have
gone right round in a minute.”

“To be sure, since you said what you did of
Nipen,”’ replied Erica bitterly.
THE WATER-SPRITES’ DOINGS 85

Oddo made no answer; but he did what he
could. Erica had to tell him not to wear himself
out too quickly, as there was no saying now how
long they should be on the water.

How long they had been on the water, how far
they had deviated from their right course, they
could not at all tell, when, at last, more by accident
than skill, they touched the shore near home, and
heard friendly voices, and saw the light of torches
through the thick air. The fog had wrapped them
round so that they could not even see the water, or
each other. ‘They had rowed mechanically, some-
times touching the rock, sometimes grazing upon
the sand, but never knowing where they were till
the ringing of a bell, which they recognised as the
farm bell, roused hope in their hearts, and streng-
thened them to throw off the fatal drowsiness caused
by cold and fatigue. They made towards the bell ;
and then heard Peder’s shouts, and next saw the
dull light of two torches which looked as if they
could not burn in the fog. The old man lent a
strong hand to pull up the boat upon the beach, and
to lift out the benumbed rowers; and they were
presently revived by having their limbs chafed, and
by a strong dose of the universal medicine—corn-
brandy and camphor—which, in Norway, neither
man nor woman, young nor old, sick nor well,
thinks of refusing upon occasion.

When Erica was in bed, warm beneath an eider-
down coverlid, her mistress bent over her and whis-
pered—

“¢ You saw and heard Hund himself?”

«‘ Hund himself, madame.’’

«What shall we do if he comes back before my
husband is home from the bear-hunt ? ””
86 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“If he comes, it will be in fear and penitence,
thinking that all the powers are against him. But
oh, madame, let him never know how it really
was!”

«He must not know. Leave that to me, and
go to sleep now, Erica. You ought to rest well;
for there is no saying what you and Oddo have
saved us from. I could not have asked such a ser-
vice. My husband and I must see how we can
reward it.’? And her kind and grateful mistress
kissed Erica’s cheek, though Erica tried to explain
that she was thinking most of some one else, when
she undertook this expedition.

«Then let him thank you in his own way,”
replied Madame Erlingsen. ‘ Meantime, why
should not I thank you in mine ?”’

Stiorna here opened her eyes for an instant.
When she next did so, her mistress was gone; and
she told in the morning what an odd dream she had
had, of her mistress being in her room, and kissing
Erica. It was so distinct a dream that, if the thing
had not been so ridiculous, she could almost have
declared that she had seen it.

Cuarp, VI
Spring

REAT was Stiorna’s consternation at Hund’s
non-appearance the next day, seeing as she did
with her own eyes that the boat was safe in its
proper place. She had provided salt for his cod,
and a welcome for himself; and she watched in
vain for either. She saw too that no one wished
SPRING 87

him back. He was rarely spoken of, and then it
was with dislike or fear; and when she wept over
the idea of his being drowned, or carried off by
hostile spirits, the only comfort offered her was that
she need not fear his being dead, or that he could
not come back if he chose. She was indeed obliged
to suppose, at last, that it was his choice to keep
away ; for amidst the flying rumours that amused
the inhabitants of the district for the rest of the
winter—rumours of the movements of the pirate
vessel, and of the pranks of the spirits of the region
—there were some such clear notices of the appear-
ance of Hund, so many eyes had seen him in one
place or another, by land and water, by day and
night, that Stiorna could not doubt of his being
alive, and free to come home or stay away as he
pleased. She could not conceal from herself that
he had probably joined the pirates ; and heartily as
these pirates were feared throughout the Nordland
coasts, they were not more heartily hated by any
than by the jealous Stiorna.

Her salt was wanted as much as if Hund had
brought home a boatful of cod; and she might
have given her welcome to the hunting - party.
Erlingsen and Rolf came home sooner than might
reasonably have been expected, and well laden
with bears’ flesh. The whole family of bears had
been found and shot. The flesh of the cubs had
been divided among the hunters; and Erlingsen
was complimented with the feet of the old bear,
as it was he who had roused the neighbours and
led the hunt. Busy was every farmhouse (and
none so busy as Erlingsen’s) in salting some of the
meat, freezing some, and cooking a part for a feast
on the occasion.
88 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Erlingsen kept a keen and constant look-out
upon the fiord, in the midst of all the occupations
and gaieties of the rest of the winter. His wife’s
account of the adventures of the day of his absence
made him anxious; and he never went a mile out
of sight of home, so vivid in his imagination was
the vision of his house burning, and his family at
the mercy of pirates. Nothing happened, how-
ever, to confirm his fears. ‘T‘he enemy were never
heard of in the fiord; and the codfishers who came
up, before the softening of the snow, to sell some
of their produce in the interior of the country, gave
such accounts as seemed to show that the fishing-
grounds were the object of the foreign thieves—
for foreign they were declared to be—some said
Russian, and others a mixture from hostile nations.
This last information gave more impulse to the love
of country, for which the Norwegians are remark-
able, than all that had been reported from the seat
of war. The Nordlanders always drank success
to their country’s arms, in the first glass of corn-
brandy at dinner. They paid their taxes cheer-
fully, and any newspaper that the clergyman put in
circulation was read till it fell to pieces; but the
neighbourhood of foreign pirates proved a more
powerful stimulant still. The standing toast, Gamil
Norgé (Old Norway), was drunk with such en-
thusiasm that the little children shouted and defied
the enemy ; and the baby in its mother’s lap clapped
its hands when every voice joined in the national
song, For Norgé. Hitherto the war had gone for-
ward upon the soil of another kingdom: it seemed
now as if a sprinkling of it—a little of its excite-
ment and danger—was brought to their own doors ;
and vehement was the spirit that it roused, though


SPRING 89

some thefts of cod, brandy, and a little money were
all that had really happened yet.

The interval of security gave Rolf a good oppor-
tunity to ridicule and complain of Erica’s fears.
He laughed at the danger of an attack from Hund
and his comrades, as that danger was averted. He
laughed at the west wind and fog sent by Nipen’s
wrath, as Erica had reached home in spite of it.
He contended that, so far from Nipen being offended,
there was either no Nipen, or it was not angry, or
it was powerless, for everything had gone well;
and he always ended with pointing to the deer—a
good thing led to the very door—and to the result
of the bear-hunt, a great event always in a Nord-
lander’s life, and, in this instance, one of most
fortunate issue. ‘There was no saying how many
of the young of the farmyard would live and flourish
this summer on account of the timely destruction of
this family of bears. So Rolf worked away with a
cheerful heart as the days grew longer—now mending
the boat, now fishing, now ploughing, and then rolling
logs into the melting streams, to be carried down
into the river, or into the fiord when the rush of
waters should come from the heights of Sulitelma.

Hard as Rolf worked, he did not toil like Oddo.
Between them they had to supply Hund’s place—
to do his work. Nobody desired to see Hund back
again; and Hrlingsen would willingly have taken
another in his stead to make his return impossible,
but there was no one to be had. It was useless to
inquire till the fishing season should be over; and
when that was over, the hay and harvest seasons
would follow so quickly that it was scarcely likely
that any youth would offer himself till the first
frosts set in. It was Oddo’s desire that the place
90 FEATS ON THE FIORD

should remain vacant till he could show that he,
young as he was, was worth as much as Hund.
If any one was hired, he wished that it might be a
herd-boy, under him, and strenuously did he toil
this spring to show that he was now beyond a mere
herd-boy’s place. It was he who first fattened
and then killed and skinned the reindeer—a more
than ordinary feat, as it was full two months past
the regular season. It was he who watched the
making of the first eider-duck’s nest, and brought
home the first down. All the month of April he
never failed in the double work of the farmyard and
islet. He tended the cattle in the morning, and
turned out the goats, when the first patches of
green appeared from beneath the snow ; and then he
was off to the islet, or to some one of the breeding
stations among the rocks, punctually stripping the
nests of the down, as the poor ducks renewed the
supply from their breasts, and as carefully staying
his hand when he saw, by the yellow tinge of the
down, that the duck had no more to give, and the
drake had now supplied what was necessary for
hatching the eggs. Then he watched for the eggs,
and never had Madame Erlingsen had such a quan-
tity brought home, though Oddo assured her that
he had left enough in the nests for every duck to
have her brood. Then he was ready to bring home
the goats again long before sunset, for by this time
the sun set late, and to take his turn at mend-
ing any fence that might have been injured by the
spring floods, and then he never forgot to wash
and dress himself, and go in for his grandmother’s
blessing; and after all he was not too tired to sit
up as late as if he were a man—even till past nine
sometimes—spending the last hour of the evening
SPRING gr

in working at the bell-collars which Hund had left
half-done, and which must be finished before the
cattle went to the mountain ; or, if the young ladies
were disposed to dance, he-was never too tired to
play the clarionet, though it now and then hap-
pened that the tune went rather oddly; and when
Orga and Frolich looked at him to see what he
was about, his eyes were shut, and his fingers looked
as if they were moving of their own accord. If
this happened, the young ladies would finish their
waltz at once, and thank him, and his mistress
would wish him good-night; and when he was
gone, his master would tell old Peder that that
grandson of his was a promising lad, and very
diligent; and Peder would make a low bow, and
say it was greatly owing to Rolf’s good example;
and then Erica would blush, and be kinder than
ever to Oddo the next day.

So came on and passed away the spring of this
year at Erlingsen’s farm. It soon passed, for spring
in Nordland lasts only a month. In that short time
had the snow first become soft, and then dingy, and
then vanished, except on the heights and in places
where it had drifted. The streams had broken
their long pause of silence, and now leaped and
rushed along, till every rock overhanging both sides
of the fiord was musical with falling waters, and
glittering with silver threads—for the cataracts
looked no more than this in so vast a scene. Every
mill was going, after the long idleness of winter ;
and about the bridges which spanned the falls were
little groups of the peasants gathered, mending such
as had burst with the floods, or strengthening such
as did not seem secure enough for the passage of
the herds to the mountain. :
92 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Busy as the maidens were with the cows that
were calving, and with the care of the young kids,
they found leisure to pry into the promise of the
spring. In certain warm nooks, where the sunshine
was reflected from the surrounding rocks, they daily
watched for what else might appear, when once the
grass, of brilliant green, had shown itself from be-
neath the snow. ‘There they found the strawberry
and the wild raspberry promising to carpet the
ground with their white blossoms, while in one
corner the lily of the valley began to push up its
pairs of leaves, and from the crevices of the rock
the barberry and the dwarf birch grew, every twig
showing swelling buds, or an early sprout.

While these cheerful pursuits went on out of
doors during the one busy month of spring, a slight
shade of sadness was thrown over the household
within by the decline of old Ulla. It was hardly
sadness, it was little more than gravity; for Ulla
herself was glad to go. Peder knew that he should
soon follow, and every one else was reconciled to
one who had suffered so long going to her rest.

«¢ The winter and I are going together, my dear,”’
said she one day, when Erica placed on her pillow
a green shoot of birch which she had taken from
out of the very mouth of a goat. “The hoary
winter and hoary I have lived out our time, and
we are departing together. I shall make way for
you young people, and give you your turn, as he is
giving way to spring; and let nobody pretend to
be sorry for it. Who pretends to be sorry when
winter is gone?”’

‘But winter will come again so soon and so cer-
tainly, Ulla,” said Erica mournfully, “and when
it-is come again, we shall still miss you.”
SPRING 93

«« Well, my dear, I will say nothing against that.
It is good for the living to miss the dead, as long
as they do not wish them back. As for me, Erica,
I feel as if I could not but miss you, go where I
may.”

“Oh, do not say that, Ulla.”

«Why not say it if I feel it? Who could be
displeased with me for grasping still at the hand
that has smoothed my bed so long, when I am
going to some place that will be very good, no
doubt, but where everything must be strange at first ?
He who gave you to me to be my nurse will not
think the worse of me for missing you, wherever
I may be.”’

«There will be little Henrica,”’ observed Erica.

“Ah, yes! there is nothing I think of more
than that. That dear child died on my shoulder.
Fain would her mother have had her in her arms
at the last, but she was in such extremity that to
move her would have been to end all at once; and
so she died away with her headon my shoulder. I
thought then it was a sign that I should be the first
to meet her again. But I shall take care and not
stand in the way of her mother’s rights.’’

Here Ulla grew so earnest in imagining her
meeting with Hlenrica, still fancying her the
dependent little creature she had been on earth,
that she was impatient to be gone. Erica’s idea
was that this child might now have become so wise
and so mighty in the wisdom of a better world as
to be no such plaything as Ulla supposed; but she
said nothing to spoil the old woman’s pleasure.

When Peder came in to sit beside his old com-
panion’s bed and sing her to sleep, she told him that
she hoped to be by when he opened his now dark

G
94 FEATS ON THE FIORD

eyes upon the sweet light of a heavenly day; and,
if she might, she would meantime make up his
dreams for him, and make him believe that he saw
the most glorious sights of old Norway—more
glorious than are to be seen in any other part of
this lower world. ‘There should be no end to the
gleaming lakes, and dim forests, and bright green
valleys, and silvery waterfalls that he should see in
his dreams, if she might have the making of them.
There was no end to the delightful things Ulla
looked forward to, and the kind things she hoped
to be able to do for those she left behind, when
once she should have quitted her present helpless
state ; and she thought so much of these things that
when M. Kollsen arrived, he found that instead of
her needing to be reconciled to death, she was im-
patient to be gone. The first thing he heard her
say, when all was so dim before her dying eyes, and
so confused to her failing ears, that she did not know
the pastor had arrived, was that she was less uneasy
now about Nipen’s displeasure against the young
people. Perhaps she might be able to explain and
prevent mischief; and if not, the young people’s
marriage would soon be taking place now, and then
they might show such attention to Nipen as would
make the spirit forgive and forget.

*¢ Hush, now, dear Ulla,”’ said Erica. ‘ Here’
is the pastor.”

“Do not say ‘hush!’” said M. Kollsen
sternly. ‘Whatever is said of this kind I ought
to hear, that I may meet the delusion. I must
have conversation with this poor woman, to prevent
her very last breath being poisoned with supersti-
tion. You are a member of the Lutheran Church,
Ulla?”
SPRING 95

With humble pleasure Ulla told of the satisfac-
tion which the Bishop of Tronyem, of seventy
years ago, had expressed at her confirmation. It
was this which obtained her a good place, and
Peder’s regard, and all the good that had happened
in her long life since. Yes, she was indeed a
member of the Lutheran Church, she thanked
God.

«© And in what part of the Scriptures of our
Church do you find mention of—of—(TI hate the
very names of these pretended spirits). Where in
the Scriptures are you bidden or permitted to
believe in spirits and demons of the wood and the
mountain ?””

Ulla declared that her learning in the Scriptures
was but small. She knew only what she had been
taught, and a little that she had picked up, but she
remembered that the former Bishop of Tronyem
himself had hung up an axe in the forest on Mid-
summer eve for the wood-demon’s use, if it pleased.

Peder observed that we all believe so many things
that are not found mentioned in the Scripture that
perhaps it would be wisest and kindest, by a dying
bed, where moments are precious, to speak of those
high things which the Scriptures discourse of, and
which all Christians believe. These were the sub-
jects for Ulla now, the others might be reasoned of
when she was in her grave.

The pastor was not quite satisfied with this way
of attending the dying, but there was something in
the aged man’s voice and manner quite irresistible as
he sat calmly awaiting the departure of the last
companion of his own generation. M. Kollsen
took out his Bible and read what Ulla gladly heard,
till her husband knew by the slackened clasp of her
96 FEATS ON THE FIORD

hand that she heard no longer. She had become
insensible, and before sunset had departed.

Rolf had continued his kind offices to the old
couple with the utmost respect and propriety, to the
end refusing to go out of call during the last days of
Ulla’s decline; but he had observed with some
anxiety that there was certainly a shoal of herrings
in the fiord, and that it was high time he was
making use of the sunny days for his fishing. In
order to go about this duty without any delay, when
again at liberty, he had brought the skiff up to the
beach for repair, and had it nearly ready for use by
the day of the funeral. ‘The family boat was too
large for his occasions, now that Hund was not here
to take an oar, and he expected to do great things
alone in the little manageable skiff.

When he had assisted Peder to lay Ulla’s head
in the grave, and guided him back to the house,
Rolf drew Erica’s arm withins his own and led her
away as if for a walk. No one interfered with
them, for the family knew that their hearts must be
very full, and that they must have much to say to
each other now that the event had happened which
was to cause their marriage very soon. ‘They would
now wait no longer than to pay proper respect to
Ulla’s memory, and to improve the house and its
furniture a little so as to make it fit for the bride.

Rolf would have led Erica to the beach, but she
begged to go first to see the grave again while they
knew that no one was there. The grave was dug
close by the little mound beneath which Henrica
lay. Henrica’s was railed round, with a paling
which had been fresh painted—a task which Erling-
sen performed with his own hands every spring.
The forget-me-not, which the Nordlanders plant
SPRING 97

upon the graves of those they love, overran the
hillock, and the white blossoms of the wild straw-
berry peeped out from under the thick grass, so that
this grave looked a perfect contrast to that of Ulla
newly made and bare. The lovers looked at this
last with dissatisfaction.

«¢It shall be completely railed in before to-
morrow night,”’ said Rolf.

«¢ But cannot we dress it a little now? I could
transplant some flower-roots presently, and some
forget-me-not from Henrica’s hillock, if we had
sods for the rest. Never mind spoiling any other
nook. The grass will soon grow again.”

Rolf’s spade was busy presently, and Erica
planted and watered till the new grave, if it did not
compare with the child’s, showed tokens of care and
promise of beauty.

“Now,” said Rolf, when they had done, and
put away their tools, and sat down on the pine log
from which the pales were to be made, so that their
lengthening shadows fell across the new grave—
“ Now, Erica, you know what she who lies there
would like us to be settling. She herselt said her
burial-day would soon be over, and then would come
our wedding-day.”’

«When everything is ready,” replied Erica,
“we will fix; but not now. There is much to
be done—there are many uncertainties.”’

“Uncertainties? What uncertainties? I know
of none—except indeed as to 2

Rolf stopped to peel off and pull to pieces
some of the bark of the pine-trunk on which he
was sitting. Erica looked wistfully at him; he
saw it, and went on.

“‘Tt is often an uncertainty to me, Erica, after


98 FEATS ON THE FIORD

all that has happened, whether you mean to marry
me at all. [here are so many doubts, and so
many considerations, and so many fears! I often
think we shall never be any nearer than we are.”

«That is your sort of doubt and fear,” said
Erica, smiling. “Who is there that entertains
worse ?”’

“I do not want any rallying or joking, Erica.
I am quite serious.”’

“Seriously then—are we not nearer than we
were a year ago? We are betrothed, and I have
shown you that I do believe we are to be married,
th

“Ay, there. ‘If? again.”

“Tf it shall please the Powers above us not to
separate us, by death or otherwise.”’

“Death! at our age! And separation! when
we have lived on the same farm for years! What
have we to do with death and separation?”

Erica pointed to the child’s grave in rebuke of
his rash words. She then quietly observed that
they had enemies—one deadly enemy not very far
off, if nothing were to be said of any but human
foes. Rolf declared that he had rather have
Hund for a declared enemy than for a companion.
Erica understood this very well, but she could not
forget that Hund wanted to be houseman in
Rolf’s stead, and that he desired to prevent their
marriage.

«That is the very reason,” said Rolf, « why
we should marry as soon as we can. Why not
fix the day, and engage the pastor while he is
here? ”’

«* Because it would hurt Peder’s feelings. There
will be no difficulty in sending for the pastor when
SPRING 99

everything is ready. But now, Rolf, that all may
go well, do promise not to run into needless
danger.”

« According to you,’’ said Rolf, smiling, “ one
can never get out of danger. Where is the use
of taking care, if all the powers of earth and air
are against us? You think me as helpless, under
Nipen’s breath, as the poor infant that put out into
the fiord the other day in a tub.”

«J am not speaking of Nipen now — (not
because I do not think of it)—I am speaking of
Hund. Do promise me not to go more than four
miles down the fiord. After that, there is a
long stretch of precipices, without a single dwelling.
There is not a boat that could put off, there is not
an eye or an ear that could bear witness what
had become of you if you and Hund should meet
there.”

«Jf Hund and I should meet there, I would
bring him home to settle what should become of
him.”’

«¢ And all the pirates? You would bring them
all in your right hand and row home with your
left! For shame, Rolf, to be such a boaster!
Promise me not to go beyond the four miles.”

«Indeed I can only promise to go where the
shoal is. Four miles! Suppose you say four
furlongs, love.”’

«will engage to catch herrings within four
furlongs.”

“Pray take me with you, and then I will carry
you four times four miles down, and show you
what a shoal is. Really, love, I should like to
prove to you how safe the fiord is to one who
knows every nook and hiding-place from the
100 FEATS ON THE FIORD

entrance up. If fighting would not do, I could
always hide.”

“And would not Hund know where to look
for you?”

“Not he. He was not brought up on the
fiord to know its ways, and its holes and corners;
and I told him neither that nor anything else that
I could keep from him, for I always mistrusted
Hund. Now, I will tell you, love. I will
promise you something, because I do not wish to
hurt you, as you sometimes hurt me with disre-
garding what I say—with being afraid, in spite of
all I can do to make you easy. I will promise
you not to go farther down, while alone, than
Vogel islet, unless it is quite certain that Hund
and the pirates are far enough off in another
direction. I partly think as you do, and as
Erlingsen does, that they meant to come for me
the night you carried off their boat; so I will be
on the watch, and go no farther than where they
cannot hurt me.’’

“Then why say Vogel islet? It is out of all
reasonable distance.”’

‘Not to those who know the fiord as I do.
I have my reasons, Erica, for fixing that distance
and no other; and that far I intend to go, whether
my friends think me able to take care of myself
or not.”

“At least,”? pleaded Erica, «let me go with
you.”

“Not for the world, my love.” And Erica
saw, by his look of horror at the idea of her
going, that he felt anything but secure from the
pirates. He took her hand, and kissed it again
and again, as he said that there was plenty for
SPRING 101

that little hand to do at home, instead of pulling
the oar in the hot sun. “I shall think of you
all while I am fishing,’’ he went on. ‘I shall
fancy you making ready for the seater.* As you
go towards Sulitelma any day now, you may hear
the voices of a thousand waterfalls, calling upon
the herdmen and maidens to come to the fresh
pastures. How happy we shall be, Erica, when
we once get to the seater!”

Erica sighed, and pressed her lover’s hand as
he held hers.

«While I am fishing,” he went on, “I shall
fancy our young mistresses, and Stiorna and you,
washing all your bowls in juniper-water, ready for
your dairy. I know how the young ladies will
contrive that all of my carving shall come under
your hand. And I shall be back with my fish
before you are gone, that I may walk beside your
cart. I know just how far you will ride. When
we get the first sight of the grass waving, as the
wind sweeps over it on the mountain side, you
will spring from the cart and walk with me all
the rest of the way.”

«« All this would be well,” said Erica, ‘if it
were not for re



* Each Norway farm which is situated within a certain
distance of the mountains has a mountain pasture, to
which the herds and flocks are driven in early summer,
and where they feed till the first frosts come on, The
herdmen and dairywomen live on the mountain, beside
their cattle, during this season, and. enjoy the mode of life
extremely. ‘The mountain pasture belonging to a farm
is called its seater. ‘The procession of herds and flocks,
and herdmen and dairywomen with their utensils, all
winding up the mountain—‘‘ going to the seater,” is a
pretty sight on an early summet’s day,
102 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“For what, love? For Nipen again? If you
will not mind what I say about your silly fears,
you shall hear from the pastor how wicked they
are. I see him yonder in the garden. I will call
him——”’

“No, no! I know all he has to say,” declared
Erica.

But Rolf carried the case before M. Kollsen ;
and M. Kollsen, glad of every opportunity of dis-
coursing on this subject, came and took Rolf’s seat,
and said all he could think of in contempt of the
spirits of the region, till Erica’s blood ran cold to
hear him. It was not kind of Rolf to expose her
to this; but Rolf had no fears himself, and was
not aware how much she suffered under what the
clergyman said. The lover stood by watching,
and was so charmed with her gentle and submissive
countenance and manner, while she could not own
herself convinced, that he almost admired her super-
stition, and forgave her doubts of his being able to
take care of himself while his deadly enemy on
earth might possibly be assisted by the offended
powers of the air.

Cuap. VII
Vogel Islet

HO was ever happier than Rolf, when abroad
in his skiff, on one of the most glorious days
of the year! He found his’ angling tolerably
successful near home; but the farther he went
the more the herrings abounded, and he therefore
dropped down the fiord with the tide, fishing as
VOGEL ISLET 103

he receded, till all home objects had disappeared.
First, the farmhouse, with its surrounding buildings,
its green paddock, and shining white beach, was
hidden behind the projecting rocks. Then Thor
islet appeared to join with the nearest shore, from
which its bushes of stunted birch seemed to spring.
Then, as the skiff dropped lower and lower down,
the interior mountains appeared to rise above the
rocks which closed in the head of the fiord, and the
snowy peak of Sulitelma stood up clear amidst the
pale blue sky; the glaciers on its sides catching the
sunlight on different points, and glittering so that
the eye could scarcely endure to rest upon the
mountain. When he came to the narrow part of
the fiord, near the creek which had been the scene
of Erica’s exploit, Rolf laid aside his rod, with
the bright hook that herrings so much admire, to
guide his canoe through the currents caused by
the approach of the rocks and contraction of the
passage; and he then wished he had brought
Erica with him, so lovely was the scene. Every
crevice of the rocks, even where there seemed
to be no soil, was tufted with bushes, every twig
of which was bursting into the greenest leaf, while
here and there a clump of dark pines overhung
some busy cataract, which, itself overshadowed,
sent forth its little clouds of spray, dancing and
glittering in the sunlight. A pair of fishing eagles
were perched on a high ledge of rock, screaming to
the echoes, so that the dash of the currents was
lost in the din. Rolf did wish that Erica was
here when he thought how the colour would have
mounted into her cheek, and how her eye would
have sparkled at such a scene.

Lower down it. was scarcely less beautiful.
104 FEATS ON THE FIORD

The waters spread out again, to a double width.
The rocks were, or appeared to be, lower; and
now and then, in some space between rock and
rock, a strip of brilliant green meadow lay open
to the sunshine; and there were large flocks of
fieldfares, flying round and round to exercise the
newly-fledged young. There were a few habita-
tions scattered along the margin of the fiord; and
two or three boats might be seen far off, with
diminutive figures of men drawing their nets.

“I am glad I brought my net too,” thought
Rolf. «My rod has done good duty; but if I
am coming upon a shoal, I will cast my net, and
be home laden with fish before they think of
looking for me.”

Happy would it have been if Rolf had cast his
net where others were content to fish, and had
given up all idea of going farther than was neces-
sary; but his boat was still dropping down towards
the islet which he had fixed in his own mind as the
limit of his trip, and the long solitary reach of the
fiord which now lay between him and it was tempt~
ing both to the eye and the mind. It is difficult to
turn back from the first summer-day trip, in countries
where summer is less beautiful than in Nordland ;
and on went Rolf, beyond the bounds of prudence,
as many have done before him. He soon found
himself in a still and somewhat dreary region, where
there was no motion but of the sea-birds which
were leading their broods down the shores of the
fiords, and of the air which appeared to quiver
before the eye, from the evaporation caused by the
heat of the sun. More slowly went the canoe here,
as if to suit the quietness of the scene, and leisurely
and softly did Rolf cast his net; and then steadily
NEN
NN

WK. @



WAS THE PIRATE SCHOONER,

AND THAT VESSEL, HE KNEW,



VOGEL ISLET 107

did he draw it in, so rich in fish, that when they
lay in the bottom of the boat, they at once sank
it deeper in the water, and checked its speed by
their weight.

Rolf then rested awhile, and looked ahead for
Vogel islet, thinking that he could not now be very
far from it. There it lay looming in the heated
atmosphere, spreading as if in the air, just above the
surface of the water, to which it appeared joined in
the middle by a dark stem, as if it grew like a huge
sea-flower. ‘There is no end to the strange appear-
ances presented in northern climates by an atmos-
phere so different from our own. Rolf gazed and
gazed, as the island grew more like itself on his
approach; and he was so occupied with it as not to
look about him as he ought to have done, at such a
distance from home. He was roused at length by
a shout, and looked towards the point from which it
came; and there, ina little harbour of the fiord, a
recess which now actually lay behind him—between
him and home—lay a vessel; and that vessel he
knew, by a second glance, was the pirate-schooner.

Of the schooner itself he had no fear, for there
was so little wind that it could not have come out
in time to annoy him; but there was the schooner’s
boat, with five men in it—four rowing and one
steering—already in full pursuit of him. He knew,
by the general air and native dress of the man at the
helm, that it was Hund; and he fancied he heard
Hund’s malicious voice in the shout which came
rushing over the water from their boat to his.
How fast they seemed to be coming! How the
spray from their oars glittered in the sun; and how
their wake lengthened with every stroke! No
spectator from the shore (if there had been any)
108 FEATS ON THE FIORD

could have doubted that the boat was in pursuit
of the skiff, and would snap it up presently. Rolf
saw that he had five determined foes, gaining upon
him every instant; and yet he was not alarmed.
He had had his reasons for thinking himself safe
near Vogel islet; and, calculating for a moment
the time of the tide, he was quite at his ease. As
he took his oars he smiled at the hot haste of his
pursuers, and at the thought of the amazement they
would feel when he slipped through their fingers ;
and then he began to row.

Rolf did not over-heat himself with too much
exertion. He permitted his foes to gain a little
upon him, though he might have preserved the
distance for as long as his strength could have held
out against that of the four in the other boat. They
ceased their shouting when they saw how quietly
he took his danger. They really believed that he
was not aware of being their object, and hoped to
seize him suddenly, before he had time to resist.

When very near the islet, however, Rolf became
more active; and his skiff disappeared behind its
southern point while the enemy’s boat was still two
furlongs off. The steersman looked for the reap-
pearance of the canoe beyond the islet; but he
looked in vain. He thought, and his companions
agreed with him, that it was foolish of Rolf to land
upon the islet, where they could lay hands on him
in a moment; but they could only suppose he had
done this, and prepared to do the same. They
towed quite round the islet; but, to their amaze-
ment, they could not only perceive no place to land
at, but there was no trace of the canoe. It seemed
to them as if those calm and clear waters had swal-
lowed up the skiff and Rolf, in a few minutes after
VOGEL ISLET 109

they had lost sight of him. Hund thought the
case was accounted for, when he recalled Nipen’s
displeasure. A thrill ran through him as he said
to himself that the spirits of the region had joined
with him against Rolf, and swallowed up, almost
before his eyes, the man he hated. He put his
hands before his face, for a moment, while his com-
rades stared at him: then, thinking he must be
under a delusion, he gazed earnestly over the waters,
as far as he could see. ‘They lay calm and bright ;
and there was certainly no kind of vessel on their
surface for miles round.

The rowers wondered, questioned, uttered shouts,
spoke all together, and then looked at Hund in
silence, struck by his countenance ; and finished by
rowing two or three times round the islet, slowly,
and looking up its bare rocky sides, which rose like
walls from the water; but nothing could they see
or hear. When tired of their fruitless search they
returned to the schooner, ready to report to the
master that the fiord was enchanted.

Meantime, Rolf had heard every splash of their
oars, and every tone of their voices, as they rowed
round his place of refuge. He was not on the
islet, but in it. This was such an island as Swein,
the sea-king of former days, took refuge in; and
Rolf was only following .his example. Long
before, he had discovered a curious cleft in the rock,
very narrow, and all but invisible at high water,
even if a bush of dwarf ash and birch had not hung
down over it. At high water, nothing larger than
a bird could go in and out beneath the low arch ;
but there was a cavern within, whose sandy floor
sloped up to some distance above high-water mark.
In this cavern was Rolf. He had thrust his little

H
110 FEATS ON THE FIORD

skiff between the walls of rock, crushing in its sides
as he did so. The bushes drooped behind him,
hanging naturally over the entrance as before. Rolf
pulled up his broken vessel upon the little sandy
beach within the cave; saved a pile of his fish, and
returned a good many to the water; and then sat
down upon the sea-weeds to listen. There was no
light but a little which found its way through the
bushy screen, and up from the green water; and
the sounds—the tones of the pirates’ voices, and the
splash of the waters against the rocky walls of his
singular prison—came deadened and changed to his
ear. Yet he heard enough to be aware how long
his enemies remained, and when they were really
gone.

It was a prison indeed, as Rolf reflected when
he looked upon his broken skiff. He could not
imagine how he was to get away; for his friends
would certainly never think of coming to look for
him here; but he put off the consideration of this
point for the present, and turned away from the
image of Erica’s distress when he should fail to
return. He amused himself now with imagining
Hund’s disappointment, and the reports which
would arise from it; and he found this so very
entertaining, that he laughed aloud; and then the
echo of his laughter sounded so very merry, that it
set him laughing again. This, in its turn, seemed
to rouse the eider-ducks that thronged the island ;
and their clatter and commotion was so great over-
head, that any spectator might have been excused
for believing that Vogel islet was indeed bewitched.
A SUMMER APARTMENT Lil.

Cuap. VIII
A Summer Apartment

UMPH ! how little did the rare old sea-king
think,”’ said Rolf to himself, as he surveyed

his cave—‘ how little did Swein think, when he
played this very trick, six hundred years ago, that
it would save a poor farm-servant from being
murdered, so many centuries after! Many thanks
to my good grandmother for being so fond of that
story! She taught it thoroughly to me before she
died: and that is the reason of my being safe at
this moment. I wish I had told the people at home
of my having found this cave: for, as it is, they
cannot but think me lost; and how Erica will bear
it, I don’t know. And yet, if I had told them,
Hund would have heard it; or, at least, Stiorna,
and she would have managed to let him know.
Perhaps it is best as it is, if only I can get back in
time to save Erica’s heart from breaking. But for
her, I should not mind the rest being in a fright for
aday or two. They are a little apt to fancy that
the affairs of the farm go by nature—that the fields
and the cattle take care of themselves. They treat
me liberally enough; but they are not fully aware
of the value of a man like me; and now they will
learn. They will hardly know how to make
enough of me when I go back.—Oddo will be the
first to see me. I think, however, I should let
them hear my best song from a distance. Let me
see—which song shallit be? It must be one which
will strike Peder; for he will be the first to hear,
as Oddo always is to see. Some of them will
112 FEATS ON THE FIORD

think it is a spirit mocking, and some that it is my
ghost : and my master and madame will take it to
be nothing but my own self. And then, in the
doubt among all these, my poor Erica will faint
away ; and while they are throwing water upon her
face, and putting some camphorated brandy into her
mouth, I shall quietly step in among them, and
grasp Peder’s arm, and pull Oddo’s hair, to show
that it is I myself; and when Erica opens her eyes
she shall see my face at its very merriest; so that
she cannot possibly take me for a sad and solemn
ghost. And the next thing will be i

He stopped with a start, as his eye fell upon his
crushed boat, lying on its side, half in the water and
half out.

“Ah!” thought he, in a changed mood—
“this is all very fine, this planning how one pleasant
thing will follow upon another; but I forgot the
first thing of all. I must learn first how I am to
get out.”’

He turned his boat about and about, and shook
his head over every bruise, hole, or crack that he
found, till he finished with a nod of decision that
nothing could be done with it. He was a good
swimmer ; but the nearest point of the shore was so
far off that it would be all he could do to reach it
when the waters were in their most favourable state.
At present, they were so chilled with the melted
snows that were pouring down from every steep
along the fiord, that he doubted the safety of
attempting to swim at all. What chance of release
had he then?

If he could by any means climb upon the rocks,
in whose recesses he was now hidden, he might
possibly fall in with some fishing-boat which would


A SUMMER APARTMENT 113

fetch him off; but, besides that the pirates were
more likely to see him than anybody else, he
believed there was no way by which he could climb
upon the islet. It had always been considered the
exclusive property of the aquatic birds with which
it swarmed, because its sides rose so abruptly from
the water, so like the smooth stone walls of a lofty
building that there was no hold for foot or hand,
and the summit seemed unattainable by anything
that had not wings. Rolf remembered, however,
having heard Peder say that when he was young,
there might be seen hanging down one part of the
precipice the remains of a birchen ladder, which
must have been made and placed there by human
hands. Rolf determined that he would try the
point. He would wait till the tide was flowing in,
as the waters from the open sea were somewhat
less chilled than when returning from the head of
the fiord:—he would take the waters at their
warmest, and try and try again to make a footing
upon the islet. Meantime, he would not trouble
himself with thoughts of being a prisoner.

His cave was really a very pretty place. As its
opening fronted the west, he found that even here
there might be sunshine. The golden light which
blesses the high and low places of the earth did not
disdain to cheer and adorn even this humble cham-
ber, which, at the bidding of nature, the waters had
patiently scooped out of the hard rock. Some hours
after darkness had: settled down on the lands of the
tropics, and long after the stars had come out in the
skies over English heads, this cave was at its brightest.
As the sun drew to its setting, near the middle of
the Nordland summer night, it levelled its golden
rays through the cleft, and made the place far more
114 FEATS ON THE FIORD

brilliant than at noon. ‘The projections of the rough
rock caught the beam, during the few minutes that
it stayed, and shone with a bright orange tint. The
beach suddenly appeared of a more dazzling white,
and the waters of a deeper green, while, by their
motion, they cast quivering circles of reflected light
upon the roof, which had before been invisible.
Rolf took this brief opportunity to survey his abode
carefully. He had supposed, from the pleasant
freshness of the air, that the cave was lofty ; and he
now saw that the roof did indeed spring up toa
vast height. He saw also that there was a great
deal of drift-wood accumulated; and some of it
thrown into such distant corners as to prove that the
waves could dash up to a much higher water-line,
in stormy weather, than he had supposed. No
matter! He hoped to be gone before there were
any more storms. ‘Tired and sleepy as he was, so
near midnight, he made an exertion, while there
was plenty of light, to clear away the sea-weeds
from a space on the sand where he must to-morrow
make his fire, and broil his fish. ‘The smell of the
smallest quantity of burnt weed would be intolerable
in so confined a place; so he cleared away every
sprout of it, and laid some of the drift-wood on a
spot above high-water mark ; picking out the driest
pieces of firewood he could find for kindling a flame.

When this was done, he could have found it in
his heart to pick up shells—so various and beautiful
were those which strewed the floor of his cave—
but the sunbeam was rapidly climbing the wall, and
would presently be gone, so he let the shells lie till
the next night (if he should still be here), and made
haste to heap up a bed of fine dry sand in a corner ;
and here he lay down as the twilight darkened, and
A SUMMER APARTMENT 115

thought he had never rested on so soft a bed. He
knew it was near high water, and he tried to keep
awake, to ascertain how nearly the tide filled up the
entrance; but he was too weary, and his couch was
too comfortable for this. His eyes closed in spite
of him; and he dreamed that he was broad awake
watching the height of the tide. For this one night
he could rest without any very painful thoughts of
poor Erica; for she was prepared for his remaining
out till the middle of the next day, at least.

When he awoke in the morning, the scene was
marvellously changed from that on which he had
closed his eyes. His cave was so dim that he could
scarcely distinguish its white floor from its rocky
sides. The water was low, and the cleft therefore
enlarged; so that he saw at once that now was the
time for making his fire—now when there was the
freest access for the air. Yet he could not help
pausing to admire what he saw. He could see now
a long strip of the fiord—a perspective of waters
and of shores, ending in a lofty peak still capped
with snow, and glittering in the sunlight. The
whole landscape was bathed in light, as warm as
noon; for, though it was only six in the morning,
the sun had been up for several hours. As Rolf
gazed, and reckoned up the sum of what he saw—
the many miles of water, and the long range of
rocks—he felt for a moment as if not yet secure
from Hund, as if he must be easily visible while
he saw so much. But it was not so, and Rolf
smiled at his own momentary fear when he remem-
bered how, as a child, he had tried to count the
stars he could see at once through a hole pricked by
a needle in a piece of paper, and how, for that
matter, all that we ever see is through the little
116 FEATS ON THE FIORD

circle of the pupil of the eye. He smiled when he
considered that while, from his recess, he could
see the united navy of Norway and Denmark, if
anchored in the fiord, his enemy could not see even
his habitation, otherwise than by peeping under the
bushes which overhung the cleft; and this only at
low water. So he began to sing, while rubbing
together, with all his might, the dry sticks of fir
with which his fire was to be kindled. First they
smoked, and then, by a skilful breath of air, they
blazed, and set fire to the heap ; and by the time
the herrings were ready for broiling, the cave was
so filled with smoke that Rolf’s singing was turned
to coughing.

Some of the smoke hung in soot on the roof and
walls of the cave, curling up so well at first that
Rolf almost thought there must be some opening in
the lofty roof which served as a chimney. But
there was not; and some of the smoke came down
again, issuing at last from the mouth of the cave.
Rolf observed this; and, seeing the danger of his
place of retreat being thus discovered, he made haste
to finish his cookery, resolving that, if he had to re-
main here for any length of time, he would always
make his fire in the night. He presently threw
water over his burning brands, and hoped that
nothing had been seen of the process of preparing
his breakfast.

The smoke had been seen, however, and by
several people; but in such a way as to lead to no
discovery of the cave. From the schooner, Hund
kept his eyes fixed on the islet, at every moment he
had to spare. Either he was the murderer of his
fellow-servant, or the islet was bewitched ; and if
Rolf was under the protection and favour of the
A SUMMER APARTMENT 117

powers of the region, he, Hund, was out of favour,
and might expect bad consequences. Whichever
might be the case, Hund was very uneasy ; and he
could think of nothing but the islet, and look no
other way. His companions had at first joked him
about his luck in getting rid of his enemies; but,
being themselves superstitious, they caught the in-
fection of his gravity, and watched the spot almost
as carefully as he.

As their vessel lay higher up in the fiord than
the islet, they were on the opposite side from the
crevice, and could not see from whence the smoke
issued. But they saw it in the form of a light
cloud hanging over the place. Hund’s eyes were
fixed upon it, when one of his comrades touched
him on the shoulder. Hund started.

« You see there,” said the man, pointing.

«To be sure I do. What else was I looking
atin

« Well, what is it?’’ inquired the man. “ Has
your friend got a visitor—come a great way this
morning? ‘They say the mountain-sprite travels
in mist. If so, it is now going. See, there it
sails off—melts away. It is as like common
smoke as anything that ever I saw. What say
you to taking the boat, and trying again whether
there is no place where your friend might not land,
and be now making a fire among the birds’ nests?”

«Nonsense! ”? cried Hund. “What became
of the skiff, then?”

“True,” said the man; and, shaking his head,
he passed on, and spoke to the master.

In his own secret mind, the master of the
schooner did not quite like his present situation.
The little harbour was well sheltered and hidden
118 FEATS ON THE FIORD

from the observation of the inhabitants of the upper
part of the fiord: but, after hearing the words
dropped by his crew, the master did not relish
being stationed between the bewitched islet and the
head of the fiord, where all the residents were, of
course, enemies. He thought that it would be
wiser to have a foe only on the one hand, and the
open sea on the other, even at the sacrifice of the
best anchorage. As there was now a light wind,
enough to take his vessel down, he gave orders
accordingly.

Slowly, and at some distance, the schooner
passed the islet, and all on board crowded together
to see what they could see. None—not even the
master with his glass—saw anything remarkable;
but all heard something. There was a faint muflled
sound of knocks—blows such as were never heard
in a mere haunt of sea-birds. It was evident that
the birds were disturbed by it. They rose and fell,
made short flights and came back again, fluttered,
and sometimes screamed so as to overpower all
other sounds. But if they were quiet for a minute,
the knock, knock, was heard again, with great
regularity, and every knock went to Hund’s heart.

The fact was that, after breakfast, Rolf soon
became tired of having nothing todo. The water
was so very cold that he deferred till noon the
attempt to swim round the islet. He once more
examined his boat; and, though the injuries done
seemed irreparable, he thought he had better try to
mend his little craft than do nothing. After
collecting from the wood in the cave all the nails
that happened to be sticking in it, and all the pieces
that were sound enough to patch a boat with, he
made a stone serve him for a hammer, straightened
A SUMMER APARTMENT 119

his nails upon another stone, and tried to fasten on
a piece of wood over a hole. It was discouraging
work enough; but it helped.to pass the hours till
the restless waters should have reached their highest
mark in the cave, when he would know that it
was noon, and time for his little expedition.

He sighed as he threw down his awkward new
tools and pulled off his jacket, for his heart now
began to grow very heavy. It was about the time
when Erica would be beginning to look for his
return; and when or how he was ever to return
he became less able to imagine, the more he
thought about it. As he fancied Erica gazing
down the fiord from the gallery, or stealing out,
hour after hour, to look forth from the beach, and
only to be disappointed every time, till she would
be obliged to give him quite up and yield to despair,
Rolf shed tears. It was the first time for some
years—the first time since he had been a man;
and when he saw his own tears fall upon the sand,
he was ashamed. He blushed, as if he had not
been all alone, dashed away the drops, and threw
himself into the water.

It was too cold by far for safe swimming. All
the snows of Sulitelma could hardly have made the
waters more chilly to the swimmer than they felt
at the first plunge. But Rolf would not retreat for
this reason. . He thought of the sunshine outside,
and of the free open view he should enjoy, dived
beneath the almost closed entrance, and came up
on the other side. The first thing he saw was
the schooner, now lying below his island, and the
next thing was a small boat between him and it,
evidently making towards him. When convinced
that Elund was one of the three men in it, he saw
120 FEATS ON THE FIORD:

that he must go back, or make haste to finish his
expedition. He made haste, swam round so close
as to touch the warm rock in many places, and
could not discover, any more than before, any
trace of a footing by which a man might climb
to the summit. There was a crevice or two,
however, from which vegetation hung, still left
unsearched. He could not search them now, for
he must make haste home.

The boat was indeed so near when he had
reached the point he set out from, that he used
every effort to conceal himself; and it seemed
that he could only have escaped by the eyes of
his enemies being fixed on the summit of the rock.
When once more in the cave he rather enjoyed
hearing them come nearer and nearer, so that the
bushes which hung down between him and them
shook with the wind of their oars, and dipped into
the waves. He laughed silently when he heard
one of them swear that he would not leave the
spot till he had seen something, upon which
another rebuked his presumption. Presently a
voice, which he knew to be Hund’s, called upon
his name, at first gently, and then more and more
loudly, as if taking courage at not being answered.

“T will wait till he rounds the point,” thought
Rolf, ‘and then give him such an answer as may
send a guilty man away quicker than he came.”

He waited till they were on the opposite side,
so that his voice might appear to come from the
summit of the islet, and then began with the
melancholy sound used to lure the plover on the
moors. ‘I'he men in the boat instantly observed
that this was the same sound used when Erlingsen’s
boat was spirited away from them. It was rather










HE SOMETIMES HAMMERED A LITTLE AT HIS SKIFF.

A SUMMER APARTMENT 123

singular that Rolf and Oddo should have used
the same sound; but they probably chose it as
the most mournful they knew. Rolf, however,
did not stop there. He moaned louder and
louder, till the sound resembled the bellowing
of a tormented spirit enclosed in the rock; and
the consequence was, as he had said, that his
enemies retreated faster than they came. Never
had they rowed more vigorously than now, fetching
a large circuit, to keep at a safe distance from the
spot as they passed westward.

For the next few days Rolf kept a close watch
upon the proceedings of the pirates, and saw enough
of their thievery to be able to lay information against
them, if ever he should again make his way to a
town or village, and see the face of a magistrate.
He was glad of the interest and occupation thus
afforded him, of even this slight hope of being
useful; for he saw no more probability than on the
first day, of release from his prison. The worst of
it was that the season for boating was nearly at an
end. The inhabitants were day by day driving
their cattle up the mountains, there to remain for the
summer; and the heads of families remained in the
farmhouses almost alone, and little likely to put out
so far into the fiord as to pass near him. So poor
Rolf could only catch fish for his support, swim
round and round his prison, and venture a little
farther on days when the water felt rather less cold
than usual. ‘To drive off thoughts of his poor dis-
tressed Erica, he sometimes hammered a little at his
skiff; but it was too plain that no botching that he
could perform in the cave would render the broken
craft safe to float in.

One sunny day, when the tide was flowing in
124 FEATS ON THE FIORD

warmer than usual, Rolf amused himself with more
evolutions in bathing than he had hitherto indulged
in. He forgot his troubles and his foes in diving,
floating, and swimming. As he dashed round a
point of a rock, he saw something, and was certain
he was seen. Hund appeared at least as much
bewitched as the islet itself, for he could not keep
away from it. He seemed irresistibly drawn to the
scene of his guilt and terror. Here he was now,
with one other man, in the schooner’s smallest boat.
Rolf had to determine in an instant what to do; for
they were within a hundred yards,and Hund’s starting
eyes showed that he saw what he took for the ghost
of his fellow-servant. Rolf raised himself as high as
he could out of the water, throwing his arms up above
his head, fixed his eyes on Hund, uttered a shrill
cry, and dived, hoping to rise to the surface at some
point out of sight. Hund looked no more. After
one shriek of terror and remorse had. burst from his
white lips, he sank his head upon his knee and let his
comrade take all the trouble of rowing home again.
This vision decided Hund’s proceedings. Half-
crazed with remorse, he left the pirates that night.
After long consideration where to go, he decided
upon returning to Erlingsen’s. He did not know
to what extent they suspected him; he was pretty
sure that they held no proofs against him. Nowhere
else could he be sure of honest work—the first
object with him now in the midst of his remorse.
He felt irresistibly drawn towards poor Erica, now
that no rival was there ; and if mixed with all these
considerations there were some thoughts of the situa-
tion of houseman being vacant, and needing much to
be filled up, it is no wonder that such a mingling of
motives took place in a mind so selfish as Hund’s.
HUND’S REPORT 125

Cuap. IX
Hund’s Report
HUNP performed his journey by night —a

journey perfectly unlike any that was ever
performed by night in England. He did not for a
moment think of going by the fiord, short and easy
as it would have been in comparison with the land
road. He would rather have mounted all the steeps
and crossed the snows of Sulitelma itself, many
times over, than have put himself in the way a
second time of such a vision as he had seen.
Laboriously and diligently therefore he overcame
the difficulties of the path, crossing ravines, wading
through swamps, scaling rocks, leaping across water-
courses, and only now and then throwing himself
down on some tempting slope of grass, to wipe his
brows, and, where opportunity offered, to moisten
his parched throat with the wild strawberries which
were fast ripening in the sheltered nooks of the hills.
It was now so near midsummer, and the nights were
so fast melting into the days, that Hund could at
the latest scarcely sce a star, though there was not
a fleece of cloud in the whole circle of the heavens.
While yet the sun was sparkling on the fiord, and
glittering on every farmhouse window that fronted
the west, all around was as still as if the deepest
darkness had settled down. The eagles were at
rest on their rocky ledge, a thousand feet above the
waters. The herons had left their stand on their
several promontories of the fiord, and the flapping
of their wings overhead was no more heard. The
raven was gone home; the cattle were all far away

I
126 FEATS ON THE FIORD

on the mountain pasture; the goats were hidden in
the woods, which yielded the tender shoots on
which they subsisted. The round eyes of a white
owl stared out upon him here and there from under
the eaves of a farmhouse; and these seemed to be
the only eyes besides his own that were open. Hund
knew as he passed one dwelling after another—knew
as well as if he had looked in at the windows—that
the inhabitants were all asleep, even with the sun-
shine lying across their very faces.

Every few minutes he observed how his shadow
lengthened, and he longed for the brief twilight
which would now soon be coming on. Now, his
shadow stretched quite across a narrow valley, as he
took breath on a ridge crossed by the soft breeze.
Then the shadow stood up against a precipice,
taller than the tallest pine upon the steep. Then
the yellow gleam grew fainter, the sparkles on the
water went out, and he saw the large pale circle ot
the sun sink and sink into the waves, where the
fiord spread out wide to the south-west. Even the
weary spirit of this unhappy man seemed now to be
pervaded with some of the repose which appeared
to be shed down for the benefit of all that lived.
He walked on and on, but he felt the grass softer
under his feet—the air cooler upon his brow; and
he began to comfort himself with thinking that he
had not murdered Rolf. He said to himself that
he had not laid a finger on him, and that the skiff
might have sunk exactly as it did if he had been
sitting at home, carving a bell-collar. There could
be no doubt that the skiff had been pulled down
fathoms deep by a strong hand from below; and if
the spirits were angry with Rolf, that was no con-
cern of Rolf’s human enemies. Thus Hund strove
HUND’S REPORT 127

to comfort himself; but it would not do. The
more he tried to put away the thought, the more
obstinately it returned, that he had been speeding on
his way to injure Rolf when the strange disappear-
ance took place; and that he had long hated and
envied his fellow-servant, however marvellously he
had been prevented from capturing or slaying him.
These thoughts had no comfort in them ; but better
came after a time.

He had to pass very near M. Kollsen’s abode,
and it crossed his mind that it would be a great
relief to open his heart to a clergyman. He halted
for a minute in sight of the house, but presently
went on, saying to himself that he could not say all
to M. Kollsen, and would therefore say nothing.
He should get a lecture against superstition, and
hear hard words of the powers he dreaded; and
there would be no consolation in this. It was said
that the Bishop of Tronyem was coming round this
way soon, in his regular progress through his diocese,
and everybody bore testimony to his gentleness and
mercy. It would be best to wait for his coming.
Then Hund began to calculate how soon he would
come, for aching hearts are impatient of relief;
and the thought how near midsummer was, made
him look up into the sky—that beautiful index of
the seasons in a northern climate. There were a
few extremely faint stars—a very few—for only the
brightest could now show themselves in the sky
where daylight lingered so as never quite to depart.
A pale green hue remained where the sun: had dis-
appeared, and a deep red glow was even now
beginning to kindle where he was soon to rise.
Just here, Hund’s ear caught. some tones of the soft
harp music which the winds make in their passage
128 FEATS ON THE FIORD

through a wood of pines; and there was a fragrance
in the air from a new thatch of birch-bark just laid
upon a neighbouring roof. This fragrance, that
faint vibrating music, and the soft veiled light, were
soothing; and when, besides, Hund pictured to
himself his mind relieved by a confession to the
good bishop—perhaps cheered by words of pardon
and of promise, the tears burst from his eyes, and
the fever of his spirit was allayed.

Then up came the sun again, and the new thatch
reeked in his beams, and the birds shook off sleep
and plumed themselves, and the peak of Sulitelma
blushed with the softest rose-colour, and the silvery
fish leaped out of the water, and the blossoms in the
gardens opened, though it was only an hour after
midnight. Every creature except man seemed
eager to make the most of the short summer season
—to waste none ofits bright hours, which would be
gone too soon—every creature except man. But
man must have rest, be the sun high or sunk beneath
the horizon; so that Hund saw no face, and heard
no human voice, before he found himself standing at
the top of the steep rocky pathway which led down
to Erlingsen’s abode.

Hund might haye known that he should find
everything in a different state from that in which he
had left the place; but yet he was rather surprised
at the aspect of the farm. The stable-doors stood
wide, and there was no trace of milk-pails. The
hurdles of the fold were piled upon one another in
a corner of the yard. It was plain that herd, flock,
and dairy-women were gone to the mountain; and
though Hund dreaded meeting Erica, it struck upon
his heart to think that she was not here. He felt now
how much it was for her sake that he had come back.
HUND’S REPORT 129

He half resolved to go away again; but from the
gallery of the house some snow-white sheets were
hanging to dry, and this showed that some neat
and busy female hands were still here. Next, his
eye fell upon the boat which lay gently rocking with
the receding tide in its tiny cove ; and he resolved
to lie down in it and rest, while considering what
to do next. He went down, stepping gently over
the pebbles of the beach, lest his tread should reach
and waken any ear through the open windows, lay
down at the bottom of the boat, and, as might have
been expected, fell asleep as readily as an infant in
a cradle.

Of course’ he was discovered; and, of course,
Oddo was the discoverer. Oddo was the first to
come forth, to water the one horse that remained at
the farm, and to give a turn and a shake to the two
or three little cocks of hay which had been mown
behind the house. His quick eye noted the deep
marks of a man’s feet in the sand and pebbles be-
low high-water mark, proving that some one had
been on the premises during the night. He fol-
lowed these marks to the boat, where he was
amazed to find the enemy (as he called Hund) fast
asleep. Oddo was in a great hurry to tell his
grandfather (Erlingsen being on the mountain) ;
but he thought it only proper caution to secure his
prize from escaping in his absence.

He summoned his companion, the dog which had
warned him of many dangers abroad, and helped
him faithfully with his work at home ; and nothing
could be clearer to Skorro than that he was to
crouch on the thwarts of the boat, with his nose
close to Hund’s face, and not to let Hund stir till
Oddo came back. ‘Then Oddo ran, and wakened
130 FEATS ON THE FIORD

his grandfather, who made all haste to rise and
dress. Erica now lived in Peder’s house. She
had taken her lover’s place there since his dis-
appearance, as the old man must be taken care of,
and the house kept; and her mistress thought the
interest and occupation good for her. Hearing
Oddo’s story, she rushed out, and her voice was
soon heard in passionate entreaty, above the bark of
the dog, which was trying to prevent the prisoner
from rising.

“ Only tell me,” Erica was heard to say, “ only
tell me where and how he died. I know he is
dead—I knew he would die; from that terrible
night when we were betrothed. Tell me who
did it—for I am sure you know. Was it Nipen?
Yes, it was Nipen, whether it was done by wind
or water, or human hands. But speak and tell me
where he is. O Hund, speak! Say only where
his body is, and I will try—I will try never to
speak to you again—never to a

Hund looked miserable; he moved his lips,
but no sound was heard mingling with Erica’s
rapid speech.

Madame Erlingsen, who, with Orga, had by
this time reached the spot, laid her hand on Erica’s
arm, to beg for a moment’s silence, made Oddo
call his dog out of the boat, and then spoke, in
a severe tone, to Hund.

“Why do you.shake your head, Hund, and
speak no word? Say what you know, for the sake
of these whom, we grievously suspect, you have
deeply injured. Say what you know, Hund.”

«What I say is, that I do not know,”’ replied
Hund in a hoarse and agitated voice. “I only
know that we live in an enchanted place, here by


HUND’S REPORT 131

this fiord, and that the spirits try to make us
answer for their doings. The very first night
after I went forth, this very boat was spirited
away from me, so that I could not come home.
Nipen had a spite against me there—to make you
all suspect me. I declare to you that the boat
was gone, in a twinkling, by magic, and I heard
the cry of the spirit that took it.”

«« What was the cry like?’? asked Oddo gravely.

‘© Where were you, that you were not spirited
away with the boat?’ asked his mistress.

‘I was tumbled out upon the shore, I don’t
know how,” declared Hund; “found myself
sprawling on a rock, while the creature’s cries
brought my heart into my mouth as I lay.”

«Alone? Were you alone?” asked his
mistress.

«I -had landed the pastor some hours before,
madame; and I took nobody else with me, as
Stiorna can tell, for she saw me go.”

« Stiorna is at the mountain,”’ observed madame
coolly.

«But, Hund,” said Oddo, “how did Nipen
take hold of you when it laid you sprawling on
the rock? Neck and heels? Or did it bid you
go and hearken whether the pirates were coming,
and whip away the boat before you came back?
Are you quite sure that you sprawled on the rock
at all before you ran away from the horrible cry
you speak of? Our rocks are very slippery when
Nipen is at one’s heels.”

Hund stared at Oddo, and his voice was yet
hoarser when he said that he had long thought
that boy was a favourite with Nipen, and he was
sure of it now.
132 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Erica had thrown herself down on the sand
hiding her face on her hands, on the edge of the
boat, as if in despair of her misery being attended
to—her questions answered. Old Peder stood
beside her, stroking her hair tenderly, and he now
spoke the things she could not.

“Attend to me, Hund,’ said Peder, in the
grave, quiet tone which every one regarded. “Hear
my words, and for your own sake answer them.
We suspect you of being in communication with
the pirates yonder; we suspect that you went to
meet them when you refused to go hunting the
bears. We know that you have long felt ill-will
towards Rolf—envy of him—jealousy of him—
and——_””

Here Erica looked up, pale as ashes, and said:
‘Do not question him further. There is no
truth in his answers. He spoke falsehood even
now.”

Peder knew how Hund shrank under this, and
thought the present the moment to get truth out
of him, if he ever could speak it. He therefore
went on to say—

«*We suspect you of having done something to
keep your rival out of the way, in order that you
might obtain the house and situation—and perhaps
something else that you wish.”

“Have you killed him?”? asked Erica abruptly,
looking full in his face.

“No,”? returned Hund firmly. From his
manner everybody believed this much.

“Do you know that anybody else has killed
him?”

“No.”

“Do you know whether he is alive or dead?”
HUND’S REPORT 133

To this Hund could, in the confusion of his
ideas about Rolf’s fate and condition, fairly say
**No;”’ as also to the question, ‘Do you know
where he is?”’

Then they all cried out—

“Tell us what you do know about him.”

““Ay, there you come,” said Hund, resuming
some courage, and putting on the appearance of
more than he had. You load me with foul
accusations, and when you find yourselves all in
the wrong, you alter your tone, and put yourselves
under obligation to me for what I will tell. I will
treat you better than you treat me, and I will tell
you plainly why. I repent of my feelings towards
my fellow-servant, now that evil has befallen
him———”’

«What? Oh, what?” cried Erica.

‘‘ He was seen fishing on the fiord in that poor
little worn-out skiff. I myself saw him. And
when I looked next for the skiff, it was gone—
it had disappeared.”

“And where were you?”’

«¢Never mind where I was. I was not with
him, but about my own business. And I tell you,
I no more laid a finger on him or his skiff than
any one of you.”

«¢ Where was it?”’

“Close by Vogel islet.”’

Erica started, and in one moment’s flush of
hope told that Rolf had said he should be safe at
any time near Vogel islet. Hund caught at her
words so eagerly as to make a favourable impres-
sion on all, who saw, what was indeed the truth, that
he would have been glad to know that Rolf was
alive. Their manner so changed towards Hund
134 FEATS ON THE FIORD

that if Stiorna had been there she would have
triumphed. But the more they considered the
case, the more improbable it seemed that Rolf
should have escaped drowning.

“Mother, what do you think?’? whispered the
gentle Orga.

« ourselves for letting Rolf go out in that old skiff.”

«Then you think—you feel quite sure, mother,
that Nipen had nothing to do with it?”

‘ being as Nipen.”

“‘ Rven after all that has happened ?—after this,
following upon Oddo’s prank that night ?”’

“Even so, Orga. We suffer by our own care-
lessness and folly, my love; and it makes us neither
wiser nor better to charge the consequences upon
evil spirits—to charge our good God with permit-
ting revengeful beings to torment us, instead of
learning from His chastisements to sin in the same
way no more.”

“But, mother, if you are right, how very far
wrong all these others are! ””

“Tt is but little, my child, that the wisest of us
know; but there is a whole eternity before us, every
one, to grow wise in. Some,” and she looked to-
wards Oddo, “‘ may outgrow their mistakes here;
and others,” looking at old Peder, “are travelling
fast towards a place where everybody is wiser than
years or education can make us here. Your father
and I do wish for Frolich and you, that you should
rest your reverence, your hopes and. fears, on none
but the good God. Do we not know that not even
a sparrow falleth to the ground without His will ?”’

“Poor Erica would be less miserable if she could
HUND’S REPORT 135

think so,”’ sighed Orga. ‘She will die soon if she
goes on to suffer as she does. I wish the good
bishop would come, for I do not think M. Kollsen
gives her any comfort. Look now! what can she
have to say to Hund?”’

What Erica had to say to Hund was—

«I believe some of the things you have told.
I believe that you did not lay hands on Rolf.”

‘Bless you! Bless you for that!” interrupted
Hund, almost forgetting how far he really was guilty
in the satisfaction of hearing these words from the
lips that spoke them.

“Tell me then,”? proceeded Erica, ‘‘how you
believe he really perished. Do you fully believe he
perished?”

“ hand pulled him down—down to the bottom.”

“TJ knew it,”’ said Erica, turning away.

«¢ Erica—one word,”’ exclaimed Hund. «I must
stay here—I am very miserable, and I must stay
here and work, and work till I get some comfort.
But you must tell me how you think of me—you
must say that you do not hate me te

«I do hate you,” said Erica with disgust, as her
suspicions of his wanting to fill Rolf’s place were
renewed, ‘I mistrust you, Hund, more deeply than
I can tell.”

« Will no penitence change your feelings, Erica?
I tell you I am as miserable as you.”

“ That is false, like everything else that you say,”’
cried Erica. ‘I wish you would go—go and seek
Rolf under the waters.”’

Hund shuddered at the thought, as it recalled
what he had seen and heard at the islet. Erica saw
this, and sternly repeated—


136 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“Go and bring back Rolf from the deeps, and
then I will cease to hate you. Ah! I see the
despair in your face. Such despair never came from
any woman’s words where there was not a bad
conscience to back them.”’

Hund felt that this was true, and made no reply.

As Erica slowly returned into Peder’s house,
Oddo ran past, and was there before her. He
‘closed the door when she had entered, put his hand
within hers, and said—

“Did Rolf really tell you that he should be safe
anywhere near Vogel islet?”

“Yes,” sighed Erica, “safe from the pirates.
That was his answer when I begged him not to go
so far down the fiord; but Rolf- always had an
answer when one asked him not to go into danger.
You see how it ended—and he never would believe
in that danger.”

“I shall never be happy again if this is Nipen’s
doing,” said Oddo. «But, Erica, you went one
trip with me, and I know you are brave. Will
you go another? Will you go to the islet and
see what Rolf could have meant about being safe
there ?”’

Erica brightened for a moment, and perhaps
would have agreed to go; but Peder came in, and
Peder said he knew the islet well, and that it was
universally considered that it was now inaccessible
to human foot, and that that was the reason why the
fowl flourished there as they did in no other place.
Erica must not be permitted to go so far down
among the haunts of the pirates. Instead of this,
her mistress had just decided that, as there were no
present means of getting rid of Hund—as indeed his
depressed state of spirits seemed to give him some
HUND’S REPORT 137

title to be received again—and as Erica could not
be expected to remain just now in his presence, she
should set off immediately for the mountain, and
request Erlingsen to come home. This was only
hastening her departure by two or three days. At
the seater she would find less to try her spirits than
here; and when Erlingsen came, he would, if he
thought proper, have Hund carried before a magis-
trate, and would at least set such inquiries afloat
through the whole region as would bring to light any-
thing that might chance to be known of Rolf’s fate.

Erica could not deny that this was the best plan
that could be pursued, though she had no heart for
going to the seater any more than for doing anything
else. Under Peder’s urgency, however, she made
up her bundle of clothes, took in her hand her lure,*
with which to call home the cattle in the evenings,
bade her mistress farewell privately, and stole away
without Hund’s knowledge, while Oddo was giving
him meat and drink within the house. Old Peder
listened to her parting footsteps, and her mistress
watched her up the first hill, thinking to herself how
unlike this was to the usual cheerful departure to
the mountain dairies. Never, indeed, had a heavier
heart burdened the footsteps of the wayfarer about
to climb the slopes of Sulitelma.

* The lure is a wooden trumpet, nearly five feet long,
made of two hollow pieces of birch-wood, bound together
throughout the whole length with slips of willow. It is
used to call the cattle together on a wide pasture; and is
also carried by travelling parties, to save the risk of any
one being lost in the wilds. Its notes, which may be
heard to a great distance, are extremely harsh and dis-
cordant, having none of the musical tone of the Alp-horn
(the cow-horn used by the Swiss for the same purposes),
which sounds well at a distance.
138 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Cuap. X
Seeking the Uplands

Now that the great occasion was come—that

brightest day of the year—the day of going
to the seater, how unlike was it to all that the lovers
had imagined and planned! How unlike was the
situation of the two! There was Rolf cooped up
in a dim cave, his heart growing heavy as his ear
grew weary of the incessant dash and echo of the
waters! And here was Erica on the free moun-
tain-side, where all was silent except the occasional
rattle of a brook over the stones, and the hum of a
cloud of summer flies. The lovers were alike in
their unhappiness only ; and hardly in this, so much
the more wretched of the two was Erica.

The sun was hot, and her path occasionally lay
under rocks which reflected the heat upon the pas-
senger. She did not heed this, for the aching of
her heart. Then she had to pass through a swamp,
whence issued a host of mosquitoes, to annoy any
who intruded upon their domain. It just occurred
to Erica that Rolf made her pass this place on
horseback last year well veiled, and completely
defended from these stinging tormentors, but she
did not heed them now. When, somewhat higher
up, she saw in the lofty distance a sunny slope of
long grass undulating in the wind like the surface
of a lake, tears sprang into her eyes, for Rolf had
said that when they came in sight of the waving
pasture she would alight, and walk the rest of the
way with him. Instead of this, and instead of the
gay procession from the farm, musical with the sing-
SEEKING THE UPLANDS 139

ing of boys and girls, the lowing of the cows, and
the bleating of the kids, all rejoicing together at
going to the mountain, here she was alone, carrying
a widowed heart, and wandering with unwilling
steps farther and farther from the spot where she
had last seen Rolf.

She dashed the tears from her eyes, and looked
behind her at the entrance of a ravine which
would hide from her the fiord and the dwelling
she had left. Thor islet lay like a fragment of the
leafy forest cast into the blue waters, but Vogel
islet could not be seen. It was not too far down
to be seen from an elevation like this, but it was
hidden behind the promontories by which the fiord
was contracted. lrica could see what she next
looked for—knowing, as she did, precisely where
to look. She could see the two graves belonging
to the household—the two hillocks which were
railed in behind the house—but she turned away,
sickening at the thought that Rolf could not even
have a grave ; that that poor consolation was denied
her. She looked behind her no more, but made
her way rapidly through the ravine; the more
rapidly because she had seen a man ascending by
the same path at no great distance, and she had
little inclination to be joined by a party of wander-
ing Laplanders seeking a fresh pasture for their
reindeer, still less by any neighbour from the fiord
who might think civility required that he should
escort her to the seater. ‘This wayfarer was walk-
ing at a pace so much faster than hers that he would
soon pass, and she would hide among the rocks
beside the tarn* at the head of the ravine till he
had gone by.

’ * Small lake upon a mountain.
140 FEATS ON THE FIORD

It was refreshing to come out of the hot steep
ravine upon the grass at the upper end of it. Such
grass! A line of pathway was trodden in it
straight upwards by those who had before asended
the mountain, but Erica left this path and turned to
the right to seek the tarn which there lay hidden
among therocks. ‘The herbage was knee-deep and
gay with flowers—with wild geranium, pansies, and
especially with the yellow blossoms which give its
peculiar hue and flavour to the Gammel cheese, and
to the butter made in the mountain dairies of Nor-
way. Through this rich pasture Erica waded till
she reached the tarn which fed the stream that
gambolled down the ravine. The death-cold un-
fathomed waters lay calm and still under the shelter
of the rocks which nearly surrounded them. | Even
where crags did not rise abruptly from the water,
huge blocks were scattered ; masses which seemed
to have lain so long as to have seen the springing
herbage of a thousand summers.

In the shadow of one of these blocks, Erica
sank down into the grass. ‘There she, and her
bundle, and her long lure were half-buried; and
this, at last, felt something like rest. Here she
would remain long enough to let the other way-
farer have a good start up the mountain, and by
that time she should be cool and tranquillised—yes,
tranquillised ; for here she could seek that peace
which never failed when she sought it as Christians
may. She hid her face in the fragrant grass, and
did not look up again till the grief of her soul was
stilled. Then her eye and her heart were open to
the beauty of the place which she had made her
temple of worship, and she gazed around till she
saw something that surprised her. A reindeer
SEEKING THE UPLANDS 141

stood on the ridge, his whole form, from his
branching head to his slender legs, being clearly
marked against the bright sky. He was not alone.
He was the sentinel set to watch on behalf of
several companions—two or three being perched on
ledges of the rock, browsing—one standing half-
buried in the herbage of the pasture, and one on
the margin of the water, drinking as he would not
have dreamed of doing if the wind had not been in
the wrong quarter for letting him know how near
the hidden Erica was.

This pretty sight was soon over. In a few
moments the whole company appeared to take flight
all at once without her having stirred a muscle.
Away they went with such speed and noiselessness
that they appeared not to touch the ground. From
point to point of the rock they sprang, and the. last
branchy head disappeared over the ridge almost
before Erica could stand upright to see all she
could of them.

She soon discovered the cause of their alarm.
She thought it could not have been herself, and ‘it
was not. ‘The traveller, who she had hoped was
now some way up the mountain, was standing on
the margin of the tarn, immediately opposite to her,
so that the wind had carried the scent to the herd.
The traveller saw her at the same moment that she
perceived him, but Erica did not discover this, and
sank down again into the grass, hoping so to remain
undisturbed. She could not thus observe what his
proceedings were, but her ear soon informed her
that he was close by. His feet were rustling in
the grass.

She sat up, and took her bundle and her lure,
believing now that she must accept the unwelcome

K .
142 FEATS ON THE FIORD

civility of an escort for the whole of the rest of the
way, and thinking that she might as well make
haste and get it over. The man, however, seemed
in no hurry. Before she could rise, he took his
seat on the huge stone beside her, crossed his arms,
made no greeting, but looked her full in the face.

She did not know the face, nor was it like any
that she had ever seen. There was such long hair,
and so much beard, that the eyes seemed the only
feature which made any distinct impression. Erica’s
heart now began to beat violently. ‘Though wish-
ing to be alone, she had not dreamed of being afraid
till now ; but now it occurred to her that she was
seeing the rarest of sights—one not seen twice in a
century, no other than the mountain-demon. Suli-
telma, as the highest mountain in Norway, was
thought to be his favourite haunt; and considering
his strange appearance and his silence, it could
hardly be other than himself.

The test would be whether he would speak first ;
a test which she resolved to try, though it was rather
difficult to meet and return the stare of such a neigh-
bour without speaking. She could not keep this
up for more than a minute; so she sprang to her
feet, rested her lure upon her shoulder, took her
bundle in her hand, and began to wade back through
the high grass to the pathway, almost expecting,
when she thought of her mother’s fate, to be seized
by a strong hand and cast into the unfathomable
tarn, whose waters were said to well up from the
centre of the earth. Her companion, however,
merely walked by her side. As he did not offer
to carry her bundle, he could be no countryman of
hers. ‘There was not a peasant in Nordland who
would not have had more courtesy.






1
fReekvem- “Go ~~
!

No OTHER THAN THE Mountrain-DEmon.



SEEKING THE UPLANDS 145

They walked quietly on till the tarn was left
some way behind. Erica found she was not to die
that way. Presently after, she came in sight of a
settlement of Lapps—a cluster of low and. dirty
tents, round which some tame reindeer were feed-
ing. Erica was not sorry to see these, though no
‘one knew better than she the helpless cowardice
of these people; and it was not easy to say what
assistance they could afford against the mountain-
demon. Yet they were human beings, and would
appear in answer toacry. She involuntarily shifted
her lure, to be ready to utter a call. The stranger
stopped to look at the distant tents, and Erica went
on at the same pace. He presently overtook her,
and pointed towards the Lapps with an inquiring
look. Erica only nodded.

“Why you no speak?” growled the stranger
in broken language.

“ Because I have nothing to say,’’ declared
Erica, in the sudden vivacity inspired by the dis-
covery that this was probably no demon. Her
doubts were renewed, however, by the next ques-
tion.

‘Ts the bishop coming ?””

Now, none were supposed to have a deeper
interest in the holy bishop’s travels than the evil
spirits of any region through which he was to
pass.

“Yes, he is coming,” replied Erica. ‘Are you
afraid of him?”

The stranger burst into a loud laugh at her ques-
tion: and very like a mocking fiend he looked, as
his thick beard parted to show his wide mouth, with
its two ranges of teeth, When he finished langh-
ing, he said, “¢ No, no—we no fear bishop.”
146 FEATS ON THE FIORD

«¢We!’” repeated Erica to herself. “He
speaks for his tribe as well as himself.”

« We no fear bishop,” said the stranger, still
laughing. ‘ You no fear ”? and he pointed to
the long stretch of path—the prodigious ascent be-
fore them.

Erica said there was nothing to fear on the moun-*
tain for those who did their duty to the powers, as
it was her intention to do. Her first Gammel
cheese was to be for him whose due it was, and it
should be the best she could make.

This speech she thought would suit, whatever
might be the nature of her companion. If it was
the demon, she could do no more to please him
than promise him his cheese.

Her companion seemed not to understand or
attend to what she said. He again asked if she
was not afraid to travel alone in so dreary a place,
adding that if his countrywomen were to be over-
taken by a stranger like him, on the wilds of a
mountain, they would scream and fly 3—all which
he acted very vividly, by way of making out his
imperfect speech, and trying her courage at the
same time.

When Erica saw that she had no demon for a
companion, but only a foreigner, she was so much
relieved as not to be afraid at all. She said that
nobody thought of being frightened in summer-time
in her country. Winter was the time for that.
When the days were long, so that travellers knew
their way, and when everybody was abroad, so that
you could not go far without meeting a friend,
there was nothing to fear.

«You go abroad to meet friends, and leave
your enemy behind.”


SEEKING THE UPLANDS 147

At the moment, he turned to look back. Erica
could not now help watching him, and she cast
a glance homewards too. They were so high up
the mountain that the fiord and its shores were in
full view; and more—for the river was seen in
its windings from the very skirts of the mountain
to the fiord, and the town of Saltdalen standing
on its banks. In short, the whole landscape to
the west lay before them, from Sulitelma to the
point of the horizon where the islands and rocks
melted into the sea.

The stranger had picked up an eagle’s feather
in his walk, and he now pointed with it to the
tiny cove in which Erlingsen’s farm might be seen,
looking no bigger than an infant’s toy, and said—

“Do you leave an enemy there, or is Hund now
your friend?”

«‘Fiund is nobody’s friend, unless he happens
to be yours,” Erica replied, perceiving at once
that her companion belonged to the pirates.
«Hund is everybody’s enemy; and, above all,
he is an enemy to himself. He is'a wretched
man.”

«The bishop will cure that,”’ said the stranger.
“He is coward enough to call in the bishop to
cure all. When comes the bishop ?”’

“Next week.”’

«What day, and what hour?”

Erica did ‘not choose to gratify so close a curiosity
as this. She did not reply; and while silent, was
not sorry to hear the distant sound of cattle-bells—
and Erlingsen’s cattle-bells too. The stranger did
not seem to notice the sound, even though quicken-
ing his pace to suit Erica’s, who pressed on faster
when she believed protection was at hand. And
148 FEATS ON THE FIORD

yet the next thing the stranger said brought her to
a full stop. He said he thought a part of Hund’s
business with the bishop would be to get him to
disenchant the fiord, so that boats might not be
spirited away almost before men’s eyes, and that a
rower and his skiff might not sink like lead one
day, and the man maybe heard the second day,
and seen the third, so that there was no satis-
factory knowledge as to whether he was really
dead. Erica stopped, and her eager looks made
the inquiry which her lips could not speak. Her
eagerness put her companion on his guard, and he
would explain no further than by saying that the
fiord was certainly enchanted, and that strange tales
were circulating all round its shores, very striking to
a stranger; a stranger had nothing more to do with
the wonders of a country than to listen to them.
He wanted to turn the conversation back to Hund.
Having found out that he was at Erlingsen’s, he
next tried to discover what he had said and done
since his arrival. Erica told the little there was to
tell—that he seemed full of sorrow and remorse.
She told this in hope of a further explanation about
drowned men being seen alive, but the stranger
stopped when the bells were heard again, and a
woman’s voice singing, nearer still. He compli-
mented Erica on her courage, and turned to go
back the way he came.

“Stay,” said Erica. ‘Do come to the dairy,
now you are so near.””

The man walked away rapidly.

«‘My master is here close at hand; he will be
glad to see a stranger,”’ she said, following him,
with the feeling that her only chance of hearing
something of Rolf was departing. The stranger
SEEKING THE UPLANDS 149

did not turn, but only walked on faster, and with
longer strides, down the slope.

The only thing now to be done was to run for-
wards, and send a messenger after him. Erica
forgot heat, weariness, and the safety of her pro-
perty, and ran on towards the singing voice. In
five minutes she found the singer, Frolich, lying
along the ground and picking cloud-berries, with
which she was filling her basket for supper.

«Where is Erlingsen ?—quick—quick ! ”’ cried
Erica.

“My father? You may just see him with your
good eyes—up there.”’

And Frolich pointed to a patch of verdure on a
slope high up the mountain, where the gazer might
just discern that there were haycocks standing, and
two or three moving figures beside them.

“Stiorna is there to-day, besides Jan. They
hope to finish this evening,’’ said Frolich; “and
so here I am, all alone; and J am glad you have
come, to help me to have a good supper ready
for them. Their hunger will beat all my berry-
gathering.”

“ You are alone?” said Erica, discovering that
it was well that the pirate had turned back when he
did. ‘You alone, and gathering berries, instead
of having an eye on the cattle! Who has an eye
on the cattle?” *

* It is a popular belief in Norway that there is a race
of fairies or magicians living underground, who are very
covetous of cattle; and that, to gratify their taste for
large herds and flocks, they help themselves with such
as graze on the mountains; making dwarfs of them to
enable them to enter crevices of the ground, in order to
descend to the subterranean pastures. This practice may
150 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“Why, no one,”’ answered Frolich. ‘Come
now, do not tease me with bidding me remember
the Bishop of ‘T'ronyem’s cattle. The underground
people have something to do elsewhere to-day ;
they give no heed to us.”

‘We must give heed to them, however,”’ said
Erica. ‘Show me where the cattle are, and I will
collect them, and have an eye on them till supper
is ready.”’

“You shall do no such thing, Erica. You shall
lie down here and pick berries with me, and tell
me the news. That will rest you and me at the
same time, for I am as tired of being alone, as you
can be of climbing the mountain. But why are your
hands empty? Who is to lend you clothes? And
what will the cows say to your leaving your lure
behind, when you know they like it so much better
than Stiorna’s?”’

Erica explained that her bundle and lure were
lying on the grass, a little way below; and Frolich
sprang to her feet, saying that she would fetch them
presently. Erica stopped her, and told her she
must not go; nobody should go but herself. She
could not answer to Erlingsen for letting one of his
children follow the steps of a pirate, who might
return at any moment.

be defeated, as the Norwegian herdsman believes, by his
keeping his eye constantly on the cattle.

A certain Bishop of, Tronyem lost his cattle by the
herdsmen having looked away from them, beguiled by a
spirit in the shape of a noble elk. The herdsmen, look-
ing towards their charge again, saw them reduced to the
size of mice just vanishing through a crevice in the hill-
side. Hence the Norwegian proverb used to warn any
one to look after his property, ‘‘ Remember the Bishop
of Tronyem’s cattle! ”
SEEKING THE UPLANDS 151

Frolich had no longer any wish to go. She
started off towards the sleeping-shed, and never
stopped till she had entered it, and driven a pro-
vision-chest against the door, leaving Erica far
behind.

Erica indeed was in no hurry to follow. She
returned for her bundle and lure; and then, uneasy
about the cattle being left without an eye upon them,
and thus confided to the negligence of the under-
ground people, she proceeded to an eminence where
two or three of her cows were grazing, and there
sounded her lure. She put her whole strength to it,
in hope that others besides the cattle might appear
in answer, for she was really anxious to see her
master.

The peculiar and far from musical sounds did
spread wide over the pastures and up the slopes,
and through the distant woods, so that the cattle of
another seater stood to listen, and her own cows
began to move, leaving the sweetest tufts of grass,
and rising up from their couches in the richest
herbage, to converge towards the point whence she
called. The far-off herdsman observed to his fellow
that there was a new call among the pastures; and
Erlingsen, on the upland, desired Jan and Stiorna
to finish cocking the hay, and began his descent to
his seater, to learn whether Erica had brought any
news from home.

Long before he could appear, Frolich stole out
trembling, and looking round her at every step.
When she saw Erica she flew over the grass, and
threw herself down in it at Erica’s feet.

«Where is he?” she whispered. ‘Has he
come back?”

“T have not seen him. I daresay he is far oft
152 FEATS ON THE FIORD

by this time, at the Black Tarn, where I met with
him.”’

“The Black Tarn! And do you mean that?
No, you cannot mean that you came all the way
together from the Black Tarn hither. Did you
run? Did you fly? Did you shriek? Oh, what
did you do, with a pirate at your heels?”

“By my side,” said Erica. ‘* We walked and
talked.”

«With a pirate! But how did you know it
wasa pirate? Did he tell you so?”

«©No; and at first I thought”’—and she sank
her voice into a reverential whisper—‘I thought
for some time it was the demon of this place.
When I found it was only a pirate, I did not
mind.”

«Only a pirate—did not mind exclaimed
Frolich. “You are the strangest girl! you are
the most perverse creature! You think nothing
of a pirate walking at your elbow for miles; and
you would make a slave of yourself and me about
these underground people, that my father laughs
at, and that nobody ever saw. Ah, you say
nothing aloud, but I know you are saying in your
own mind, ‘Remember the Bishop of Tronyem’s
cattle.’ ””

“You want news,’’ said Erica, avoiding as
usual all conversation about her superstitions.
“How will it please you that the bishop is
coming ?”’

‘‘Very much, if we had any chance of seeing
him. Very much, whether we see him or not,
if he can give any help—any advice. My poor
Erica, I do not like to ask; but you have had
no good news, I fear.”’

17?
SEEKING THE UPLANDS 153

Erica shook her head.

‘‘T saw that in your face in a moment. Do
not speak about it till you tell my father. He
may help you, I cannot; so do not tell me
anything.”’

Erica was glad to take her at her word. She
kissed Frolich’s hand, which lay on her knee, in
token of thanks, and then inquired whether any
Gammel cheese was made yet.

“No,” said Frolich, inwardly sighing for news.
«We have the whey, but not sweet cream enough
ull after this evening’s milking. So you are just
in time.”

Erica was glad, as she could not otherwise have
been sure of the demon having his due.

“There is your father,” said Erica. ‘Now
do go and gather more berries, Frolich. There
are not half enough; and you cannot be afraid
of the pirate, with your father within call. Now,
do go.”

“You want me not to hear what you have
to tell my father,’? said Frolich, unwilling to
depart.

‘That is very true. I shall tell him nothing
till you are out of hearing. He can repeat to you
what he pleases afterwards; and he will indulge
you all the more for your giving him a good
supper.” .

“So he will; and I will fill his cup myself,”
observed Frolich. ‘He says the corn-brandy is
uncommonly good, and I will fill his cup till it
will not hold another drop.”

“You will not reach his heart that way,
Frolich. He knows to a drop what his quantity
is, and there he stops.”’
154 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“TI know where there are some manyberries *
ripe,’ said Frolich; ‘and he likes them above
all berries. They lie this way, at the edge of
the swamp, where the pirate will never think of
coming.””

And off she went, as Erica rose from the grass
to curtsy to Erlingsen on his approach.

Cuap. XI
Dairy-Maids’ Talk

[t may be supposed that Erlingsen was anxious

to be at home when he had heard Erica’s
story. He was not to be detained by any promise
of berries and cream for supper. Fie put away
the thought even of his hay, yet unfinished on the
upland, and would hear nothing that Frolich had
to say of his fatigue at the end of a long working
day. He took some provision with him, drank
off a glass of corn-brandy, kissed Frolich, promised
to send news, and, if possible, more helping hands,
and set off at a good pace down the mountain.

The party he left behind was but a dull one.
When Jan came in to supper he became angry that
he was left to get in the hay alone. Even Stiorna
could not help him to-morrow, for the cheese-
making had already been put off too long while
waiting for Erica’s arrival, and it must now be
delayed no longer. It was true some one was to

* The Moltebeer, or Manyberries, so called from its
clustered appearance. It is a delicious fruit, amber-
coloured when ripe, and growing in marshy ground,
DAIRY-MAIDS’ TALK 155

be sent from below; but such an one could not
arrive before the next evening, and Jan would
meanwhile have a long day alone, instead of having,
as hitherto, his master for a comrade. Stiorna,
for her part, was offended at the wish, openly
expressed by all, that Hund might not be the
person sent. She was sure he was the only proper
person, but she saw that he would meet with no
welcome except from her.

Scarcely a word was spoken (though the
mountain-dairies have the reputation of being
the merriest places in the world), till Erica and
Frolich were about their cheese-making the next
morning. Erica had rather have kept the cattle;
but Frolich so earnestly begged that she would
let Stiorna do that, as she could not destroy the
cattle in her ill-humour, while she might easily
spoil the cheese, that Erica put away her knitting,
tied on her apron, tucked up her sleeves, and pre-
pared for the great work.

“There, let her go!” cried Frolich, looking
after Stiorna as she walked away slowly, trailing
her lure after her. “She may knit all her ill-
humour into her stocking if she likes, as Hund
is to wear it, and that is better than putting it into
our cheese. Erica,’ said the kind-hearted girl,
“you are worth a hundred of her. What has she
to disturb her, in comparison with you? and yet
you do just what I ask you, and work at our
business as if nothing was the matter.. If you
chose to cry all day on the two graves down there
at home, nobody could think it unreasonable.”

Erica was washing the bowls and cheese-moulds
in juniper water at this moment, and her tears
streamed down upon them at Frolich’s kind words.
156 FEATS ON THE FIORD

«We had better not talk about such things,
dear,”’ said she, as soon as she could speak.

“Nay, now I think it is the best thing we can
do, Erica. Here, pour me this cream into the
pan over the fire, and I will stir, while you strain
some more whey. My back is towards you, and
I cannot see you; and you can cry as you like,
while I tell you all I think.”

Erica found that this free leave to cry unseen was
a.great help towards stopping her tears, and she ceased
weeping entirely while listening to all that Frolich
had to say in favour of Rolf being still alive and
safe. It was no great deal that could be said, only
that Hund’s news was more likely to be false than
true, and that there was no other evidence of any
accident having happened.

“My dear!” exclaimed Erica, “where is he
now, then—why is he not here? O Frolich! I
can hardly wonder that we are punished when I
think of our presumption. When we were talking
beside those graves on the day of Ulla’s funeral
he laughed at me for even speaking of death and
separation. ‘What! at our age!’ hesaid. ‘Death
at our age—and separation ! ’—and that with Hen-
tica’s grave before our eyes! ””

‘Then perhaps this will prove to be a short and
gentle separation to teach him to speak more humbly.
There is no being in the universe that would send
death to punish light, gay words spoken from a
joyful heart. If there were, I and many others
should have been in our graves long since. Why,
Erica! this is even a worse reason than Hund’s
word. Now, just tell me, Erica, would you believe
anything else that Hund said?”

«In a common way, perhaps not ; but you cannot
DAIRY-MAIDS’ TALK 157

think what a changed man he is, Frolich. He is so
humbled, so melancholy, so awe-struck, that he is
not like the same man.”

‘‘He may not be the better for that. He was
more frightened than anybody at the moment the ow!
cried, on your betrothment-night, when you fancied
that Nipen had carried off Oddo. Yet never did I
see Hund more malicious than he was half-an-hour
afterwards. I doubt whether any such fright would
make a liar into a truthful man in a moment.”

Erica now remembered and told the falsehood of
Hund about what he was doing when the boat was
spirited away—a falsehood told in the very midst of
the humiliation and remorse she had described.

«« Why, there now !| ”’ exclaimed Frolich, ceasing
her stirring for a moment to look round; ‘what a
capital story that is! and how few people know it!
and how neatly you catch him in his fib! And
why should not something like it be happening now
with Rolf? Rolf knows all the ins and outs of the
fiord, and if he has been playing bo-peep with his
enemies among the islands, and frightening Hund
(as he well knows how), is it not the most natural
thing in the world that Hund should come scamper-
ing home and get his place, and say that he is lost,
while waiting to see whether he is or not? Oh
dear!”’ she exclaimed after a pause, during which
Erica did not attempt to speak, “I know what I
wish.”’

«You wish something kind, dear, I am sure,”
said Erica, with a deep sigh.

“We have so many—-so very many nice, useful
things—we can go up the mountains and sail away
over the seas—and look far abroad into the sky—I
only wish we could do one little thing more. I

L
158 FEATS ON THE FIORD

really think, having so many things, we might have
had just one little thing more given us—and that is
wings. I grudge them to yonder screaming eagles
when I want them so much.”

“¢ My dear child, what strange things you say!”

“ once, over the fiord. If I could but look down
into every nook and cove between Thor islet and
the sea, 1 would not be long in bringing you news.
If I did not see Rolf I would tell you plainly.
Really, at such times, it seems very odd that we
have not wings.”

‘‘ Perhaps the time may come, dear.”’

‘¢T can never want them so much again.”

“My dear, you cannot want them as I do, if I
dared to say such bold things as you do. You are
not weary of the world, Frolich?”’

‘What! this beautiful world? Are you weary
of it all, Erica?”

“6 Yes, dear.’

«What! of the airy mountains, and the silent
forests, and the lonely lakes, and the blue glaciers,
with flowers fringing them! Are you quite weary
of all these ?”’

“Oh that I had wings like a dove! Then would
I flee away and be at rest.” Erica hardly mur-
mured these words, but Frolich caught them.

“Do you know,” said she softly, after a pause,
“I doubt whether we can find rest by going to any
place, in this world or out of it, unless—it— The
truth is, Erica, I know my father and mother think
that people who are afraid of selfish and revengeful
spirits, such as demons and Nipen, can never have
any peace of mind. Really religious people have
their way straight before them—they have only to
DAIRY-MAIDS’ TALK 159

do right, and God is their friend ; and they can bear
everything, and need fear nothing. But the people
about us are always in a fright about some selfish
being or another not being properly humoured, and so
being displeased. I would not be in such bondage,
Erica—no, not for the wings I was longing for just
now. I should be freer if I were rooted like a tree,
and without superstition, than if I had the wings of
an eagle, with a belief in selfish demons.”

“‘ Let us talk of something else,”’ said Erica, who
was at the very moment considering where the
mountain-demon would best like to have his Gam-
mel cheese laid. ‘What is the quality of the
cream, Frolich? Is it as good as it ought to
be?”

“Stiorna would say that the demon will smack
his lips over it. Come and taste.”

‘Do not speak so, dear.”

‘«
«What are you saying about me?’’ inquired
Stiorna, appearing at the door. ‘“ Only talking
about the cream and the cheese? Are you sure
of that? Bless me! what a smell of the yellow
flowers! It will be a prime cheese.”

«How can you leave the cattle, Stiorna?” cried
Erica. “If they are all gone when you get
back is

«Well, come then, and see the sight. I get
scolded either way always. You would have scolded
me finely to-night if I had not called you to see the
sight.”

«What sight ?””

«Why, there is such a procession of boats on the
fiord that you would suppose there were three wed-
dings happening at once.””




160 FEATS ON THE FIORD

«What can we do?” exclaimed Frolich, dole-
fully looking at the cream, which had reached such
a point that the stirring could not cease for a minute
without risk of spoiling the cheese.

Erica took the long wooden spoon from Frolich’s
hand, and bade her run and see where the bishop
(for no doubt it was the bishop) was going to
land. The cream should not spoil while she was
absent.

Frolich bounded away over the grass, declaring
that if it was the bishop going to her father’s, she
could not possibly stay on the mountain for all
the cheeses in Nordland. Erica remained alone,
patiently stirring the cream, and hardly heeding the
heat of the fire, while planning how the bishop
would be told her story, and how he would examine
Hund, and perhaps be able to give some news of the
pirates, and certainly be ready with his advice.
Some degree of hope arose within her as she
thought of the esteem in which all Norway held
the wisdom and kindness of the Bishop of Tronyem,
and then again she felt it hard to be absent during
the visit of the only person to whom she looked
for comfort.

Frolich returned after a long while to defer her
hopes a little. The boats had all drawn to shore
on the northern side of the fiord, where, no doubt,
the bishop had a visit to pay before proceeding to
Erlingsen’s. ‘The cheese-making might yet be
done in time, even if Frolich should be sent for
from home to see and be seen by the good bishop.
PEDER ABROAD 161

Cnuar, XII
Peder Abroad

‘THE day after Erica’s departure to the dairy,
Peder was sitting alone in his house weaving
a frail basket. Sometimes he sighed to think how
empty and silent the house appeared to what he
had ever known it before. Ulla’s wheel stood in
the corner, and was now never to be heard, any
more than her feeble, aged voice, which had sung
ballads to the last. Erica’s light, active step was
gone for the present, and would it ever again be as
light and active as it had been? Rolf’s hearty
laugh was silent, perhaps for ever. Oddo was an
inmate still, but Oddo was much altered of late ;
and who could wonder? Though the boy was
strangely unbelieving about scme things, he could
not but feel how wonders and misfortunes had
crowded upon one another since the night of his
defiance of Nipen.

From the hour of Hund’s return, the boy had
hardly been heard to speak. All these thoughts
were too melancholy for old Peder ; and, to
break the silence, he began to sing as he wove his
basket.

He had nearly got through a ballad of a hun-
dred and five stanzas when he heard a footstep on
the floor.

« Oddo, my boy,”’ said he, “ surely you are in
early. Can it be dinner-time yet 2”?

“No, not this hour,’ replied Oddo in a low
voice, which sank to a whisper as he said, “1 have
162 FEATS ON THE FIORD

left Hund laying the troughs to water the meadow ; *
and if he misses me I don’t care. I could not stay;
I could not help coming; and if he kills me for
telling you, he may, for tell you I must.”

And Oddo went to close and fasten the door ;
and then he sat down on the ground, rested his
arms on his grandfather’s knees, and told his story
in such a low tone that no “little bird”? under the
eaves could “carry the matter.”

“‘O grandfather, what a mind that fellow has!
He will go crazy with horror soon. I am not sure
that he is not crazy now.”

“Te has murdered Rolf, has he?”

“T can’t be sure; but the oddest thing is that he
mixes up wolves with his rambling talk. Rolf can
hardly have met with mischief from any wolf at
this season.”

“No, boy; not Rolf. But did not Hund speak
of orphan children, and how wolves have been
known to devour them when snow was on the
ground ?”’

“Why, yes,” said Oddo, surprised at such a
guess.

«There was a reason for Hund’s talking so ot
wolves, my dear. Tell me quick what he said of
Rolf; and what made him say anything to you—
to an inquisitive boy like you.”

‘¢ He is like one bewitched, that cannot hold his

* The strips of meadow which lie between high rocks
in Norway would be parched by the reflection of the
long summer sunshine, and unproductive, if the inhabi-
tants did not use great industry in the irrigation of their
lands. They conduct water from the spring-heads by
means of hollow trunks of trees laid end to end, through
which water flows in the directions in which it is wanted,
sometimes for an extent of fifty miles from one spring,
PEDER ABROAD 163

tongue. While I was bringing the troughs, one
by one, for him to lay, where the meadow was
driest, he still kept muttering and muttering to him-
self. As often as I came within six yards of him,
I heard him mutter, mutter. ‘Then when I helped
him to lay the troughs, he began to talk to me. I
was not in the mind to make him many answers ;
but on he went, just the same as if I had asked
him a hundred questions.’’

“‘It was such an opportunity for a curious boy,
that I wonder you did not.”

“ Perhaps I might, if he had stopped long enough.
But if he stopped for a moment to wipe his brows
(for he was all trembling with the heat), he began
again before I could well speak. He asked me
whether I had ever heard that drowned men could
show their heads above water, and stare with their
eyes, and throw their arms about, a whole day—
two days after they were drowned.”

“Ay! Indeed! Did he ask that?”

“Yes, and several other things. He asked
whether I had ever heard that the islets in the
fiord were so many prison-houses.”’

«¢ And what did you say?”

«T wanted him to explain; so I said they were
prison-houses to the eider-ducks when they were
sitting, for they never stir a yard from their nests.
But he did not heed a word I spoke. He went
on about drowned men being kept prisoners in the
islets, moaning because they can’t get out. And
he says they will knock, knock, as if they could
cleave the thick hard rock.”’

«¢ What do you think of all this, my boy?”

“ Why, when I said I had not heard a word ot
any such thing, even from my grandmother or Erica,
164 FEATS ON THE FIORD

he declared he had heard the moans himself—moan-
ing and crying; but then he mixed up something
about the barking of wolves that made confusion in
the story. Though he had been hot just before,
there he stood shivering, as if it was winter, as he
stood in the broiling sun. Then I asked him if he
had seen dead men swim and stare, as he said he
had heard them moan and cry.”

‘¢ And what did he say then?”

“He started bolt upright, as if I had been pick-
ing his pocket. He was in a passion for a minute,
I know, if ever he was in his life. Then he tried
to laugh as he said what a lot of new stories—
stories of spirits, such stories as people love—he
should have to carry home to the north, whenever
he went back to his own place.”

‘In the north, his own place in the north! He
wanted to mislead you there, boy. Hund was born
some way to the south.”

* word he says, except when he speaks as if he was
in his sleep, straight out from his conscience, I
suppose? He began to talk about the bishop next,
wanting to know when I thought he would come,
and whether he was apt to hold private talk with
every sort of person at the houses he stayed at.”

‘« How did you answer him? You know nothing
about the bishop’s visits.”

“So I told him; but, to try him, I said I knew
one thing, that a quantity of fresh fish would be
wanted when the bishop comes with his train, and
I asked him whether he would go fishing with me
as soon as we should hear that the bishop was draw-
ing near.”

“He would not agree to that, I fancy.”
PEDER ABROAD 165

« He asked how far out I thought of going. Of
course I said to Vogel islet—at least as far as
Vogel islet. Do you know, grandfather, I thought
he would have knocked me down at the word. He
muttered something, I could not hear what, to get
off. By that time we were laying the last trough.
I asked him to go for some more; and the minute
he was out of sight I scampered here. Now, what
sort of a mind do you think this fellow has eae

«Not an easy one, it is plain. It is too clear
also that he thinks Rolf is drowned.”

« But do you think so, grandfather ? 23

«Do you think so, grandson?”

«Not a bit of it. Depend upon it, Rolf is all
alive, if he is swimming and staring, and throwing
his arms about in the water. I think I see him
now. And I will see him, if he is to be seen alive
or dead.”

« And pray, how?”

«J ought to have said, if you will help me.
You say sometimes, grandfather, that you can pull
a good stroke with the oar still, and I can steer
as well as our master himself; and the fiord never
was stiller than it is to-day. Think what it would
be to bring home Rolf, or some good news of him!
We would have a race up to the seater afterwards
to see who could be the first to tell Erica.”

«Gently, gently, boy ! What is Rolf about not
to come home, if he is alive?”

«That we shall learn from him. Did you hear
that he told Erica he should go as far as Vogel
islet, dropping something about being safe there
from pirates and everything ?””

Peder really thought there was something in this.
He sent off Oddo to his work in the little meadow,
166 FEATS ON THE FIORD

and himself sought out Madame Erlingsen, who, hav-
ing less belief in spirits and enchantments than Peder,
was in proportion more struck with the necessity of
seeing whether there was any meaning in Hund’s
revelations, lest Rolf should be perishing for want
of help. T'he story of his disappearance had spread
through the whole region; and there was not a
fisherman on the fiord who had not, by this time,
given an opinion as to how he was drowned. But
madame was well aware that, if he were only
wrecked, there was no sign that he could make
that would not terrify the superstitious minds of
the neighbours, and make them keep aloof, instead
of helping him. In addition to all this, it was
doubtful whether his signals would be seen by any-
body, at a season when every one who could be
spared was gone up to the dairies.

As soon as Hund was gone out after dinner, the
old man and his grandson put off in the boat, carry=
ing a note from Madame Erlingsen to her neigh-
bours along the fiord, requesting the assistance of
one or two rowers on an occasion which might
prove one of life and death. The neighbours were
obliging. ‘T'he Holbergs sent a stout farm-servant
with directions to call at a cousin’s, lower down,
for a boatman; so that the boat was soon in fast
career down the fiord, Oddo full of expectation,
and of pride in commanding such an expedition,
and Peder being relieved from all necessity of row-
ing more than he liked.

Oddo had found occasionally the truth of a com-
mon proverb—he had easily brought his master’s
horses to the water, but could not make them
drink. He now found that he had easily got
rowers into the boat, but that it was impossible
PEDER ABROAD 167

to make them row beyond a certain point. He
had used as much discretion as Peder himself about
not revealing the precise place of their destination ;
and when Vogel islet came in sight, the two helpers
at once gave him hints to steer so as to keep as
near the shore and as far from the island as pos-
sible. Oddo gravely steered for the island notwith-
standing. When the men saw that this was his
resolution they shipped their oars, and refused to
strike another stroke, unless one of them might
steer. That island had a bad reputation, it was
bewitched or haunted; and in that direction the
men would not go. ‘They were willing to do all
they could to oblige; they would row twenty miles
without resting with pleasure; but they would not
brave Nipen, nor any other demon, for any con-
sideration.

«¢ How far off is it, Oddo?” asked Peder.

“Two miles, grandfather. Can you and I
manage it by ourselves, think you?”

“Ay, surely; if we can land these friends of
ours. They will wait ashore till we call for them
again.”

“I will leave you my supper, if you will wait for
us here, on this headland,’’ said Oddo to the men.

The men could make no other objection than
that they were certain the boat would never return.
They were very civil—would not accept Oddo’s
supper on any account—would remain on the
watch—wished their friends would be persuaded ;
and, when they found all persuasion in vain, declared
they would bear testimony to Erica, and as long as
they should live, to the bravery of the old man and
boy who thus threw away their lives in search of a
comrade who had fallen a victim to Nipen.
168 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Amidst these friendly words, the old man and his
grandson put off once more alone, making straight
for the islet. Of the two Peder was the greater
hero, for he saw the most ground for fear.

‘Promise me, Oddo,” said he, “not to take
advantage of my not seeing. As sure as you
observe anything strange, tell me exactly what you
see.”?

“T will, grandfather. There is nothing yet but
what is so beautiful that I could not for the life of
me find out anything to be afraid of. The water is
as green as our best pasture, as it washes up against
the grey rock. And that grey rock is all crested
and tufted with green again, wherever a bush can
spring. It is all alive with sea-birds, as white as
snow, as they wheel above it in the sun.”

«Tis the very place,” said Peder, putting new
strength into his old arm. Oddo rowed stoutly
too for some way, and then he stopped to ask on
what side the remains of a birch ladder used to
hang down, as Peder had often told him.

‘On the north side, but there is no use in looking
for that, my boy. That birch ladder must have
rotted away with frost and wet long and long
ago.”

“Tt is likely,” said Oddo, «but, thinking that
some man must have put it there, I should like to
see whether it really is impossible for one with a
strong hand and light foot to mount this wall. I
brought our longest boat-hook on purpose to try.
Where a ladder hung before, a foot must have
climbed ; and if I mount, Rolf may have mounted
before me.”’

It chilled Peder’s heart to remember the aspect
of the precipice which his boy talked of climbing ;
PEDER ABROAD 169

but he said nothing, feeling that it would be in vain.
This forbearance touched Oddo’s feelings.

« «I do not forget that you depend on me for getting
home, and that the truth about Nipen and such
things depends for an age to come on our being seen
at home again safe. But I have a pretty clear notion
that Rolf is somewhere on the top there.”

“ Suppose you call him, then.”’

Oddo had much rather catch him. He pictured
to himself the pride and pleasure of mastering the
ascent, the delight of surprising Rolf asleep in his
solitude, and the fun of standing over him to waken
him, and witness his surprise. He could not give
up the attempt to scale the rock, but he would do it
very cautiously.

Slowly and watchfully they passed round the
islet, Oddo seeking with his eye any ledge of the
rock on which he might mount. Pulling off his
shoes that his bare feet might have the better hold,
and stripping off almost all his clothes, for lightness
in climbing and perhaps swimming, he clambered up
to more than one promising spot, and then, finding
that further progress was impossible, had to come
down again. At last, seeing a narrow chasm filled
with leafy shrubs, he determined to try how high he
could reach by means of these. He swung himself
up by means of a bush which grew downwards,
having its roots firmly fixed in a crevice of the
rock. This gave him hold of another, which
brought him in reach of a third, so that, making
his way like a squirrel or a monkey, he found him-
self hanging at such a height that it seemed easier
to go on than to turn back. For some time after
leaving his grandfather he had spoken to him, as an
170 FEATS ON THE FIORD

assurance of his safety. When too far off to speak,
he had sung aloud, to save the old man from fears ;
and now that he did not feel at all sure whether he
should ever get up or down, he began to whistle
cheerily. He was pleased to hear it answered from
the boat. The thought of the old man sitting there
alone, and his return wholly depending upon the
safety of his companion, animated Oddo afresh to
find a way up the rock. It looked to him as like
a wall as any other rock about the islet. There was
no footing where he was looking, that was certain.
So he advanced farther into the chasm, where the
rocks so nearly met that a giant’s arm might have
touched the opposite wall. Here there was promise
of release from his dangerous situation. At the end
of a ledge he saw something like poles hanging on
the rock—some work of human hands, certainly.
Having scrambled towards them, he found the
remains of a ladder made of birch poles fastened
together with thongs of leather. This ladder had
once, no doubt, hung from top to bottom of the
chasm, and its lower part, now gone, was that ladder
of which Peder had often spoken as a proof that
men had been on the island.

With a careful hand Oddo pulled at the ladder,
and it did not give way. He tugged harder, and
still it only shook. He must try it; there was
nothing else to be done. It was well for him now
that he was used to dangerous climbing—that he
had had adventures on the slippery, cracked glaciers
of Sulitelma—and that being on a height, with
precipices below, was no new situation to him.
He climbed, trusting as little as possible to the
ladder, setting his foot in preference on any pro-
jection of the rock, or any root of the smallest








AR may 5



Ar rue Enp of A LepGE HE FOUND THE REMAINS OF A
LappEek MADE oF Burcu Poves.





PEDER ABROAD 173

shrub. More than one pole cracked, more than
one fastening gave way, when he had barely time to
shift his weight upon a better support. He heard
his grandfather’s voice calling, and he could not
answer. It disturbed him, now that his joints were
strained, his limbs trembling, and his mouth parched
so that his breath rattled as it came.

He reached the top, however. He sprang from
the edge of the precipice, unable to look down,
threw himself on his face, and panted and trembled,
as if he had never before climbed. anything less safe
than a staircase. Never before, indeed, had he
done anything like this. The feat was performed—
the islet was not to him inaccessible. ‘This thought
gave him strength. He sprang to his feet again,
and whistled loud and shrill. He could imagine
the comfort this must be to Peder; and he whistled
more and more merrily till he found himself rested
enough to proceed on his search for Rolf. He
went briskly on his way, not troubling himself with
any thoughts of how he was to get down again.

Never had he seen a place so full of water-birds
and their nests. Their nests strewed all the ground,
and they themselves were strutting and waddling,
fluttering and vociferating, in every direction. They
were perfectly tame, knowing nothing of men, and
having had no experience of disturbance. The
ducks that were leading their broods allowed Oddo
to stroke their feathers, and the drakes looked on,
without taking any offence.

“Tf Rolf is here,’’ thought Oddo, ‘he has been
living on most amiable terms with his neighbours.”’

After an anxious thought or two of Nipen—
—after a glance or two round the sky and shores
for a sign of wind—Oddo began in earnest his

M
174 FEATS ON THE FIORD

quest of Rolf. He called his name gently, then
louder.

There was some kind of answer. Some sound
of human voice he heard, he was certain; but so
muffled, so dull, that whence it came he could not
tell. It might even be his grandfather calling from
below. So he crossed to quite the verge of the
little island, wishing with all his heart that the
birds would be quiet, and cease their civility of all
answering when he spoke. When quite out of
hearing of Peder, Oddo called again, with scarcely
a hope of any result, so plain was it to his eyes that
no one resided on the island. On its small summit
there was really no intermission of birds’ nests—no
space where any one had lain down—no sign of
habitation, no vestige of food, dress, or utensils.
With a saddened heart, therefore, Oddo called
again, and again he was sure there was an answer,
though whence and what he could not make out.

He then sang a part of a chant that he had learnt
by Rolf singing it as he sat carving his share of the
new pulpit. He stopped in the middle, and pre-
sently believed that he heard the air continued,
though the voice seemed so indistinct, and the
music so much as if it came from underground,
that Oddo began to recall, with some doubt and
fear, the stories of the enchantment of the place.
It was not long before he heard a cry from the
water below. Looking over the precipice, he saw
what made him draw back in terror: he saw the
very thing Hund had described—the swimming and
staring head of Rolf, and the arms thrown up in
the air. Not having Hund’s conscience, however,
and having much more curiosity, he looked again,
and then a third time.


PEDER ABROAD 175

“ Are you Rolf, really ?”’ asked he at last.

“Yes, but who are you—Oddo or the demon
—up there where nobody can climb? Who are

ou?”

“T will show you. We will find each other
out,”’ thought Oddo, with a determination to take
the leap and ascertain the truth.

He leaped, and struck the water at a sufficient
distance from Rolf. When he came up again,
they approached each other, staring, and each with
some doubt as to whether the other was human or
a demon.

“« Are you really alive, Rolf?”’ said the one.

“To be sure I am, Oddo,” said the other ; * but
what demon carried you to the top of that rock,
that no man ever climbed ?”’

Oddo looked mysterious, suddenly resolving to
keep his secret for the present.

“Not that way,” said Rolf. «I have not the
strength I had, and I can’t swim round the place
now. I was just resting myself when I heard you
call, and came out to see. Follow me home.’’

He turned and began to swim homewards. Oddo
had the strongest inclination to go with him, to see
what would be revealed, but there were two objec-
tions. His grandfather must be growing anxious,
and he was not perfectly sure yet whether his guide
might not be Nipen in Rolf’s likeness about to lead
him to some hidden prison.

“Give me your hand, Rolf,” said the boy
bravely.

It was a real, substantial, warm hand.

“©T don’t wonder you doubt,” said Rolf; «T
can’t look much like myself—unshaven, and shrunk,
and haggard as my face must be.”
176 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Oddo was now quite satisfied; and he told of
the boat and his grandfather. ‘The boat was scarcely
farther off than the cave, and poor Rolf was almost
in extremity for drink. ‘The water and brandy he
brought with him had been finished nearly two
days, and he was suffering extremely from thirst.
He thought he could reach the boat, and Oddo led
the way, bidding him not mind his being without
clothes till they could find him some.

Glad was the old man to hear his boy’s call
from the water ; and his face lighted up with won-
der and pleasure when he heard that Rolf was not
far behind. He lent a hand to help him into the
boat, and asked no questions till he had given him
food and drink. He reproached himself for having
brought neither camphor nor assafcetida, to admin-
ister with the corn-brandy. Here was the brandy,
however, and some water, and fish, and bread,
and cloud-berries. Great was the amazement of
Peder and Oddo at Rolf’s pushing aside the brandy,
and seizing the water. When he had drained the
last drop, he even preferred the cloud-berries to
the brandy. A transient doubt thence occurred,
whether this was Rolf after all. Rolf saw it in
their faces, and laughed ; and when they had heard
his story of what he had suffered from thirst, they
were quite satisfied, and wondered no longer.

He was all impatience to be gone. It tried
him more now to think how long it would be before
Erica could hear of his preservation than to bear all
that had gone before. Being without clothes, how-
ever, it was necessary to visit the cave, and bring
away what was there. In truth, Oddo was not
sorry for this. His curiosity about the cave was
so great that he felt it impossible to go home with-
PEDER ABROAD 197

out seeing it; and the advantage of holding the
secret knowledge of such a place was one which he
would not give up. He seized an oar, gave another
to Rolf; and they were presently off the mouth of
the cave. Peder sighed at their having to leave
him again ; but he believed what Rolf said of there
being no danger, and of their remaining close at
hand. One or the other came popping up beside
the boat every minute, with clothes, or net, or lines,
or brandy-flask, and finally with the oars of the
poor broken skiff, being obliged to leave the skift
itself behind. Rolf did not forget to bring away
whole handsful of beautiful shells, which he ha
amused himself with collecting for Erica.

At last they entered the boat again; and while
they were dressing, Oddo charmed his grandfather
with a description of the cave—of the dark, sound-
ing walls, the lofty roof, and the green tide breaking
on the white sands. It almost made the listener
cool to hear of these things; but, as Oddo had
remarked, the heat had abated. It was near mid-
night, and the sun was going to set. Their row to
the shore would be in the cool twilight; and then
they should take in companions, who, fresh from
rest, would save them the trouble of rowing home.

When all were too tired to talk, and the oars
were dipping somewhat lazily, and the breeze had ~
died away, and the sea-birds were quiet, old Peder,
who appeared to his companions to be asleep, raised
his head, and said—

«‘] heard a sob. Are you crying, Oddo?”

‘< Yes, grandfather.”’.

«What is your grief, my boy?”

“No grief, anything but grief now. I have
felt more grief than you know of, though, or
178 FEATS ON THE FIORD

anybody. I did not know it fully myself till
now.”

“ Right, my boy; and right to say it out too.”

“T don’t care now who knows how miserable I
have been. I did not believe, all the time, that Nipen
had anything to do with these misfortunes is

“ Right, Oddo! ”’ exclaimed Rolf now.

‘But I was not quite certain; and how could
I say a word against it when I was the one to
provoke Nipen? Now Rolf is safe, and Erica
will be happy again, and I shall not feel as if
everybody’s eyes were upon me, and know that
it is only out of kindness that they do not reproach
me as having done all the mischief. I shall hold
up my head again now—as some may think I have
done all along; but I did not, in my own eyes—
no, not in my own eyes, for all these weary days
that are gone.”

“Well, they are gone now,” said Rolf. “Let
them go by and be forgotten.”

“Nay, not forgotten,’ said Peder. ‘How is
my boy to learn if he forgets at

“Don’t fear that for me, grandfather,’’ said
Oddo, as the tears still streamed down his face.
“No fear of that. I shall not forget these last
days ;—no, not as long as I live.”





Cuap. XIII
Plot and Counterplot
‘THE comrades who were waiting and watching

on the point were duly amazed to see three
heads in the boat, on her return; and duly


PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT 179

delighted to find that the third was Rolf—alive
and no ghost. ‘They asked question upon question,
and Rolf answered some fully and truly, while he
showed reserve upon others; and at last, when
closely pressed, he declared himself too much
exhausted to talk, and begged permission to lie
down in the bottom of the boat and sleep. Upon
this a long silence ensued. It lasted till the farm-
house was in sight at which one of the rowers was
to be landed. Oddo then exclaimed—

“TI wonder what we all have been thinking
about. We have not settled a single thing about
what is to be said and done; and here we are
almost in sight of home, and Hund’s cunning
eyes.”

“TI have settled all about it,’ replied Rolf,
raising himself up from the bottom of the boat,
where they all thought he had been sleeping
soundly. “My mind,” said he, ‘is quite clear.
The first thing I have decided upon is that I may
rely on the honour of our friends here. You have
proved your kindness, friends, in coming on this
expedition, but for which I should have died in
my hole, like a superannuated bear in its den.
This is a story that the whole country will hear
of; and our grandchildren will tell it, on winter
nights, when there is talk of the war that brought
the pirates on our coasts. Your names will go
abroad with the story, comrades, and, on one
condition, with high honour; and that condition
is, that you say not a word beyond the, family you
live in, for the next few days, of the adventure
of this night, or of your having seen me. More
depends on this than you know of now; more
than I will tell, this day, to any person but my
180 FEATS ON THE FIORD

master. My good old friend there will help me
to a meeting with my master, without asking a
question as to what I have to say to him. Will
you not, Peder?”

“Surely. I have no doubt you are right,”
replied Peder.

The neighbours were rather sorry; but they
could not object. They smiled at Oddo, and
nodded encouragement when he implored Rolf
to fix a time when everything might be known,
and to answer just this and just that little inquiry.

“ Qddo,” said his grandfather, “be a man
among us men. Show that your honour is more
to you than your curiosity.”

‘Thank you, grandfather, I will. I will ask
only one more question; and that Rolf will thank
me for. Had we not better fix some place, far
away from Hund’s eyes and thoughts, for my
master and Rolf to have their talk; and then I
will guide my master M3

“Guide your master,” cried Rolf, laughing,
‘‘when your master knew every rock and every
track in the country years enough before you were
born!”

“You did not let me finish,’ said Oddo.
«You may want a messenger—he or you—and
/ know every track in the country; and there is
no one swifter of foot or that can keep counsel
better.”

“That is true, Rolf,’ said Peder. «If the
boy is too curious to know everything, it is not
for the sake of telling it again. If you should
happen to want a messenger, it may be worth
attending to what he says.”’

“I have no objection to add that to my plan,


PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT 181

if Erlingsen pleases,” said Rolf. «‘T must see
Erlingsen; but there is another person that I must
make haste to see—that I would fly to, if I could.
What I wish is, that my master would meet me
on the road to where she is; supposing Hund to
remain at home.”’

He was told that there was no fear of Hund’s
roving while the bishop was daily expected. Rolf
having been out of the way, the whole story of
the journey of the Bishop of Tronyem had to be
told him. It made him thoughtful; and he
dropped a word or two of satisfaction, as if it had
thrown new light upon what he was thinking of.

« All this,” said he, ‘only makes me wish the
more to see Erlingsen immediately. I.should say
the best way will be for you to set me ashore
some way short of home, and ask Erlingsen to
meet me at the Black Tarn. ‘There cannot be
a quieter place; and I shall be so far on my way
to the seater.”

“Tf you will just make a looking-glass of the
Black ‘T'arn,”’ said Oddo, “you will see that you
have no business to carry such a face as yours to
the seater. Erica will die of terror at you for
the mountain-demon, before you can persuade her
it is only you.”

«© I was thinking,’’ observed one of the rowers,
who relished the idea of going down to posterity
in a wonderful story, “1 was just thinking that
your wisest way will be to take a rest in my bed
at Holberg’s, without anybody knowing, and shave
yourself with my razor, and dress in my Sunday
clothes, and so show yourself to your betrothed in
such a trim as that she will be glad to see you.”

“Do so, Rolf,” urged Peder. Everybody said
182 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“do so,” and agreed that Erica would suffer far
less by remaining five or six hours longer in her
present state of mind, than by seeing her lover look
like a ghastly savage, or perhaps hearing that he
was lying by the roadside, dying of his exertions
to reach her. Rolf tried to laugh at all this; but
he could not contradict it. He would not hear
a word of any messenger being sent. He declared
that it would only torment her, as she would not
believe in his return till she saw him; and he
dropped something about everybody being so wanted
at home that nobody ought to stray.

All took place as it was settled in the boat.
Before the people on Holberg’s farm had come in
to breakfast, Rolf was snug in bed, with a large
pitcher of whey by the bedside, to quench his still
insatiable thirst. No one but the Holbergs knew
of his being there; and he got away unseen in the
afternoon, rested, shaven, and dressed, so as to look
more like himself, though still haggard. Packing
his old clothes into a bundle, which he carried
with a stick over his shoulder, and laden with
nothing else but a few rye-cakes and a flask of the
everlasting corn-brandy, he set forth, thanking his
hosts very heartily for their care, and somewhat
mysteriously assuring them that they would hear
something soon, and that meantime they had better
not have to be sought far from home.

As he expected, he met no one whom he knew.
Nine-tenths of the neighbours were far away on
the seaters; and of the small remainder, almost all
were attending the bishop on the opposite shore of
the lake. Rolf shook his head at every deserted
farmhouse that he passed, thinking how the pirates
might ransack the dwellings if they should happen
PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT 183

to discover that few inhabitants remained in them
but those whose limbs were too old to climb the
mountain. He shook his head again when he
thought what consternation he might spread through
these dwellings by dropping at the doors the news
of how near the pirate schooner lay. It seemed
to be out of the people’s minds now, because it was
out of sight, and the bishop had become visible
instead. As for the security which some talked of
from there being so little worth taking in the Nord-
land farmhouses—this might be true if only one
house was to be attacked, and that one defended ;
but half-a-dozen ruffians, coming ashore to search
eight or ten undefended houses in a day, might
gather enough booty to pay them for their trouble.
Of money they would find little or none ; but in
some families there were gold chains, crosses, and
earrings, which had come down from a remote
generation ; or silver goblets and tankards. There
were goats worth carrying away for their milk, and
spirited horses and their harness to sell at a dis-
tance. ‘There were stores of the finest bed and
table linen in the world, sacks of flour, cellars full
of ale, kegs of brandy, and a mass of tobacco in
every house. Fervently did Rolf wish, as he
passed by these comfortable dwellings, that the
enemy would cast no eye or thought upon their
comforts till he should have given such informa-
tion in the proper quarters as should deprive them
of the power of doing mischief in this neighbour-
hood.

Leaving the last of the farmhouses behind, he
ascended the ravine, and came out upon the expanse
of rich herbage which Erica had trodden but a few
days before. He thought, as she had done, of his
184 FEATS ON THE FIORD

own description of their journeying together to
the seater, and of the delight with which she
would leap from the cart to walk with him, on the
first sight of the waving grass upon the upland.
His heart beat joyously at the thought, instead of
mourning like hers. He was transported with
happiness when he thought how near he was to her
now, and on the eve of a season of delight—a few
balmy summer weeks upon the pastures, to be fol-
lowed by his marriage. This affair of the pirates
once finished, was ever man so happy as he was
going to be? The thought made him spring as
lightly through the tall grass that lay between him
and the Black Tarn as the reindeer from point to
point of the mountain steep.

The breeze blew in his face, refreshing him with
its coolness, and with the fragrance of the birch,
with which it was loaded. But it brought some-
thing else—a transient sound which surprised Rolf
—voices of men, who seemed, if he could judge
from so rapid a hint, to be talking angrily. He
began to consider whom, besides Oddo, Erlingsen
could have thought it safe or necessary to bring
with him, or whether it was somebody met with by
chance. At all events, it would be wisest not to
show himself, and to approach with all possible
caution. Cautiously, therefore, he drew near, keep-
ing a vigilant watch all around, and ready to pop
down into the grass on any alarm. Being unable
to see any one near the tarn, he was convinced the
talkers must be seated under the crags on its margin ;
and he therefore made a circuit to get behind the
rocks, and then climbed a huge fragment, which
seemed to have been toppled down from some
steep, and to have rolled to the brink of the water.


PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT 185

Two stunted pines grew out from the summit of
this crag; and between these pines Rolf placed
himself, and looked down from thence.

Two men sat on the ground in the shadow of
the rock. One was Hund, and the other must
undoubtedly be one of the pirate crew. His dress,
arms, and broken language all showed him to be
so; and it was, in fact, the same man that Erica
had met near the same place, though that she had
had such an adventure was the last thing her lover
dreamed of as he surveyed the man’s figure from
above.

This man appeared surly. Hund was extremely
agitated.

“Tt is very hard,” said he, ‘when all I want
is to do no harm to anybody—neither to my old
friends nor my new acquaintances—that I cannot
be let alone. I have done too much mischief in
my life already. ‘The demons have made sport of
me. It is their sport that I have as many lives to
answer for as any man of twice my age in Nord-
land; and now that I would be harmless for the
rest of my days 2

‘‘ Don’t trouble yourself to talk about your days,”
interrupted the pirate, ‘they will be too few to be
worth speaking of, if you do not put yourself under
our orders again. You are a deserter—and as a
deserter you go back with me, unless you choose to
go as a comrade.”

«And what might I expect that your orders
would be, if I went with you?”

“You know very well that we want you for a
guide. That is all you are worth. Ina fight, you
would only be in the way—unless indeed you could
contrive to get out of the way.”


186 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“Then you would not expect me to fight against
my master and his people?”

‘« Nobody was ever so foolish as to expect you to
fight, more or less, I should think. No, your
business would be to pilot us to Erlingsen’s, and
answer truly all our questions about their ways and
doings.”’ .

“Surprise them in their sleep! ’’ muttered Hund.
«« Wake them up with the light of their own burning
roofs! And they would know me by that light !
They would point me out to the bishop ;—they
would find time in their hurry to mark me for the
monster they might well think me! ”

“Yes; you would be in the front, of course,”’
observed the pirate. « But there is one comfort for
you—if you are so earnest to see the bishop, as you
told me you were, my plan is the best. When once
we lock him down on board our schooner, you can
have him all to yourself. You can confess your
sins to him the whole day long; for nobody else
will want a word with either of you. You can show
him your enchanted island, down in the fiord, and
see if he can lay the ghost for you.”

Hund sprang to his feet in an agony of passion.
The well-armed pirate was up as soon as he. Rolf
drew back two paces, to be out of sight, if by chance
they should look up, and armed himself with a heavy
stone. He heard the pirate say—

“You can try to run away, if you like; I shall
shoot you through the head before you have gone
five yards. And you may refuse to return with me ;
and then I shall know how to report of you to my
captain. I shall tell him that you are lying at the
bottom of this lake—if it has a bottom—with a
stone tied round your neck, like a drowned wild






AR © "yy so “9 y



IN DESPERATION HuND, UNARMED AS HE WAS, THREW
HIMSELF UPON THE PIRATE.



PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT 189

cat. I hope you may chance to find your enemy
there, to make the place the pleasanter.”’

Rolf could not resist the impulse to send his heavy
stone into the middle of the tarn, to see the effect
upon the men below. He gave a good cast, on the
very instant; and prodigious was the splash, as the
stone hit the water, precisely in the middle of the
little lake. The men did not see the cause of the
commotion that followed; but, starting and turning
at the splash, they saw the rings spreading in the
dark waters which had lain as still as the heavens
but a moment before. How could two guilty,
superstitious men doubt that the waters were thrown
into agitation by the pirate’s last words? Yet they
glanced fearfully round the whole landscape, far and
near. They saw no living thing but a hawk which,
startled from its perch ona scathed pine, was wheel-
ing round in the air in an unsteady flight. The
pirate pointed to the bird with one hand, while he
laid the other on the pistol in his belt.

«¢ Yes,”’ said Hund, trembling, “the bird saw it.
Did you see it?”

&¢ See what?”’

«The water-sprite, Uldra. Before you throw
me in to the water-sprite, we will see which is the
strongest.””

And in desperation Hund, unarmed as he was,
threw himself upon the pirate, sprang at his throat,
and both wrestled with all their force. Rolf could
not but look; and he saw that the pirate had drawn
forth his pistol, and that all would be over with
Hund in a moment if he did not interfere. He
stood forward between the two pine stems, on the
ridge of the rock, and uttered very loud the mourn-
ful cry which had so terrified his enemies at Vogel

N
190 FEATS ON THE FIORD

islet. The combatants flew asunder, as if parted
by a flash of lightning. Both looked up to the
point whence the sound had come; and there they
saw what they supposed to be Rolf’s spectre, point-
ing at them, and the eyes staring as when looking
up from the waters of the fiord. How could these
guilty and superstitious men doubt that it was Rolf’s
spectre which, rising through the centre of the tara,
had caused the late commotion in its waters? Away
they fled—at first in different directions; but it
amused Rolf to observe that, rather than be alone,
Hund turned to follow the track of the tyrant who
had just been threatening and insulting him, and
driving him to struggle for his life.

“Ay,” thought Rolf, “it is his conscience that
makes me so much more terrible to him than that
rufian. I never hurt a hair of his head; and yet,
through his conscience, my face is worse than the
blasting lightning to his eyes. When will all the
people hereabouts find out, as my mistress said when
I was a boy—(apt, as boys are, to remember the
wise things that such a gentle mistress says )—-when
will people find out that the demons and sprites they
live in fear of all come out of their own heads and
hearts? Here, in Hund’s case, is guilt shaping out
visions whichever way he turns. Not one of his
ghost-stories is there, for months past, but I am at
the bottom of; and that only through his conscious-
ness of hating and wanting to injure me. Then, in
the opposite case—of one as innocent as the whitest
flower in all this pasture—in my Erica’s case—
the ghosts she sees are all from passions that leave
her heart pure, but bewilder her eyes. It is the
fear that she was early made subject to, and the
grief that she feels for her mother, that create
PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT IQ!

demons and sprites for her. The day may come,
if I can make her happy enough, when I may con-
vince her that, for all she now thinks, she never yet
saw a token of any evil spirit—of any spirit but the
Good One that rules all things. What a sigh she
will give, what a free breathing hers will be, the
day when I can show her, as plainly as I see my-
self, that it is nothing but her own fears and griefs
that have crossed her path, and she never doubting
that they were demons and sprites! Heigh-ho!
Where is Erlingsen? It is nothing short of cruel
to keep me waiting to-day, of all days; and in this
spot, of all places—almost within sight of the seater
where my poor Erica sits pining, and seeing nothing
of the pastures, but only, with her mind’s eye, the
sea-caves where she thinks these limbs are stretched,
cold and helpless, as ina grave. A pretty story I
shall have to tell her, if she will only believe it, of
another sort of sea-cave.”

To pass the time he took out the shells he had
collected for Erica, and admired them afresh, and
planned where she would place them, so as best to
adorn their sitting-room, when they were married.
Erlingsen arrived before he had been thus engaged
five minutes; and indeed before he had been more
than a quarter of an hour altogether at the place of
meeting.

« My dear master! ”’ exclaimed Rolf, on seeing
him coming, “have pity on Erica and me, and
hear what I have to tell you, that I may be gone.”

«© You shall be gone at once, my good fellow !
I will walk with you, and you shall tell your story
as we go.”

Rolf shook his head, and objected that he could
not, in conscience, take Erlingsen a step further
192 FEATS ON THE FIORD

from home than was necessary, as he was only too
much wanted there.

“Ts that Oddo yonder?” he asked. ‘ He
said you would bring him.”

“Yes; he has grown trustworthy of late. We
have had fewer heads and hands among us than the
times require since Peder grew old and blind, and
you were missing, and Hund had to be watched
instead of trusted. So we have been obliged to
make a man of Oddo, though he has the years
of a boy, and the curiosity of a woman. I brought
him now, thinking that a messenger might be
wanted to raise the country against the pirates ;
and I believe Oddo, in his present mood, will be
as sure as we know he can be swift.”

“Tt is well we have a messenger. Where is
the bishop? ”’

« Just going to his boat, at this moment, I doubt
not,” replied Erlingsen, measuring with his eye
the length of the shadows. ‘The bishop is to
sup with us this evening.”

‘¢ And how long to stay ?”’

“Over to-morrow night, at the least. If many
of the neighbours should bring their business to
him, it may be longer. My little Frolich will be
vexed that he should come while she is absent.
Indeed I should not much wonder if she sets out
homeward when she hears the news you will carry,
so that we shall see her at breakfast.”’

“It is more likely,” observed Rolf, “that we
shall see the bishop up the mountain at breakfast.
Ah! you stare; but you will find I am not out
of my wits when you hear what has come to my
knowledge since we parted, and especially within
this hour.”
PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT 193

Erlingsen was indeed presently convinced that
it was the intention of the pirates to carry off the
Bishop of T'ronyem, in order that his ransom might
make up to them for the poverty of the coasts.
He heard besides such an ample detail of the
plundering practices which Rolf had witnessed
from his retreat as convinced him that the strangers,
though in great force, must be prevented by a
vigorous effort from doing further mischief. ‘The
first thing to be done was to place the bishop in
safety on the mountain; and the next was so to
raise the country as that these pirates should be cer-
tainly taken when they should come within reach.

Oddo was called, and entrusted with the informa-
tion which had to be conveyed to the magistrate at
Saltdalen. He carried his master’s tobacco-pouch
as a token—this pouch, of Lapland make, being
well known to the magistrate as Erlingsen’s.
Oddo was to tell him of the danger of the bishop,
and to request him to send to the spot whatever
force could be mustered at Saltdalen; and more-
over to issue the budstick,* to raise the country.

* When it is desired to send a summons or other
message over a district in Norway where the dwellings
are scattered, the budstick is sent round by running
messengers. It is a stick made hollow, to hold the
magistrate’s order, and a screw at one end to secure the
paper in its place. Each messenger runs a certain
distance, and then delivers it to another, who must
carry it forward. If any one is absent, the budstick
must be laid upon the ‘‘ housefather’s great chair, by
the fireside;” and if the house is locked, it must be
fastened outside the door, so as to be seen as soon as
the host returns, Upon great occasions, it was formerly
found that a whole region could be raised in a very
short time. The method is still in use for appointments
on public business.
104 FEATS ON THE FIORD

The pirates having once entered the upper reach
of the fiord, might thus be prevented from ever
going back again, and from annoying any more the
neighbourhood which they had so long infested.

Erlingsen promised to be wary on his return
homewards, so as not to fall in with the two whom
Rolf had put to flight. He said, however, that
if by chance he should cross their path, he did not
doubt he could also make them run, by acting the
ghost or demon, though he had not had Rolf’s
advantage of disappearing in the fiord before their
eyes. ‘They were already terrified enough to fly
from anything that called itself a ghost.

The three then went on their several ways—
Oddo speeding over the ridges like a sprite on a
night errand, and Rolf striding up the grassy slopes
like (what he was) a lover anxious to be beside
his betrothed after a perilous absence.

Cuap. XIV
Midnight

HIS was the day when the first cheese of the
season was found to be perfect and complete.
Frolich, Stiorna, and Erica examined it carefully,
and pronounced it a well-pressed, excellent Gam-
mel cheese, such as they should not be ashamed to
set before the bishop, and therefore one which
ought to satisfy the demon. It now only remained
to carry it to its destination—to the ridge where
the first cheese of the season was always laid for
the demon, and where, it appeared, he regularly
MIDNIGHT 195

came for his offering, as no vestige of the gift was
ever to be found the next morning—only the round
place in the grass where it had lain, and the marks
of some feet which had trodden the herbage.

“Help me up with it upon my head, Stiorna,”’
said Erica. ‘If Frolich looks at it any longer,
she will grudge such a cheese going where it ought.
Is not that the thought that is in your mind at this
moment, Frolich, dear ?”’

“No. I do not grudge it,’ replied Frolich.
«My mother says it is right freely to give what-
ever the feelings of those who help us require.”

“And you do thus freely give—my mistress
and all who belong to her—without a sign of
grudging,” declared Erica. ‘But would you not
be better pleased if the gift required was a bunch
of moss-flowers, or a basket of cloudberries ?””

‘‘ Perhaps so; yet, no—lI think not. Our good
cheeses are not wasted. They do not lie and rot
in the sun and the mists. Somebody has the benefit
of them, whether it be the demon or not.”

«Who else should it be?” asked Stiorna.
«¢ There is not a man, woman, or child, on any
seater in Sulitelma, who would touch a cheese laid
out for the mountain-demon.”’

‘Perhaps not. I never watched to see what
happens when the Gammel cheese is left alone. I
only say I do not grudge our cheese, as somebody
has it. I will carry it myself, in token of goodwill,
if you will let me, Erica. Here—shift it upon
my head.”

Erica would not hear of this, and began to walk
away with her load, begging Stiorna to watch the
cattle—not once to take her eye off them till she should
return to assume her watch for the night hours.
196 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“T know why you will not let me carry the
cheese,”’ said Frolich, smiling. ‘You are think-
ing of Oddo with the cake and ale. Nobody but
you must deposit offerings henceforward. You are
afraid I should eat up that cheese, almost as heavy
as myself. You think there would not be a paring
left for the demon by the time I got to the ridge.”

«Not so,” replied Erica. I think that he to
whom this cheese is destined had rather be served
by one who does not laugh at him. And it is a
safer plan for you, Frolich.”

And off went Erica with her cheese.

The ridge on which she laid it would have
tempted her at any other time to sit down. It was
green and soft with mosses, and offered as com-
fortable a couch to one tired with the labours of the
day as any to be found at the farm. But to-night
it was to be haunted; so Erica merely stayed to do
her duty. She selected the softest tuft of moss on
which to lay the cheese, put her offering reverently
down, and then diligently gathered the brightest
blossoms from the herbage around, and strewed
them over the cheese. She then walked rapidly
homewards, without once looking behind her. If
she had had the curiosity and courage to watch for
a little while, she would have seen her offering
carried off by an odd little figure, with nothing very
terrible in its appearance—namely, a woman about
four feet high, with a flat face, and eyes wide apart,
wearing a reindeer garment like a waggoner’s frock,
a red comforter about her neck, a red cloth cap on
her head, a blue worsted sash, and leather boots up
to the knee—in short, such a Lapland girl as Erica
would have given a rye-cake to as charity, but
would not have thought of asking to sit down even
MIDNIGHT 197

in her master’s kitchen; for the Norwegian servants
are very high and saucy towards the Lapps who
wander to their doors. It is not surprising that
the Lapps, who pitch their tents on the mountain,
should like having a fine Gammel cheese for the
trouble of picking it up; and the company whose
tents Erica had passed on her way up to the seater,
kept a good look-out upon all the dairy people
round, and carried off every cheese meant for the
demon. While Erica was gathering and strewing
the blossoms, this girl was hidden near ; and trust-
ing to Erica’s not looking behind her, the rogue
swept off the blossoms, and threw them at her
before she had gone ten yards, trundled the cheese
down the other side of the ridge, made a circuit,
and was at the tents with her prize before supper-
time. What would Erica have thought if she had
beheld this fruit of so many milkings and skim-
mings, so much boiling and pressing, devoured by
greedy Lapps in their dirty tent?

On her way homewards Erica remembered that
this was Midsummer Eve—a season when her
mother was in her thoughts more than at any other
time; for Midsummer Eve is sacred in Norway to
the wood-demon, whose victim she believed her
mother to have been. Every woodman sticks his
axe into a tree that night, that the demon may, if
he pleases, begin the work of the year by felling
trees or making a faggot. Erica hastened to the
seater, to discover whether Erlingsen had left his
axe behind, and whether Jan had one with him.

Jan had an axe, and remembering his duty, though
tired and sleepy, was just going to the nearest pine-
grove with it when Erica reached home. She
seized Erlingsen’s axe and went also, and stuck it
198 FEATS ON THE FIORD

in a tree, just within the verge of the grove, which
was in that part a thicket, from the growth of under-
wood. This thicket was so near the back of the
dairy that the two were home in five minutes. Yet

they found Frolich almost as impatient as if they
' had been gone an hour. She asked whether their
heathen worship was done at last, so that all might
go to bed; or whether they were to be kept awake
till midnight by more mummery ?

Erica replied by showing that Jan was already
gone to his loft over the shed, and begging leave to
comb and curl Frolich’s hair,* and see her to rest at
once. Stiorna was asleep; and Erica herself meant
to watch the cattle this night. They lay couched
in the grass, all near each other, and within view, in
the mild slanting sunshine; and here she intended
to sit, on the bench outside the home-shed, and keep
her eye on them till morning.

“You are thinking of the Bishop of Tronyem’s
cattle,”’ said Frolich.

“Iam, dear. This is Midsummer Eve, you
know, when, as we think, all the spirits love to be
abroad.””

“You will die before your time, Erica,’ said the
weary girl. “These spirits give you no rest of body
or mind. What a day’s work we have done! And
now you are going to watch, till twelve, one, two
o’clock! I could not keep awake,” she said, yawn-
ing, ‘if there was one demon at the head of the bed,
and another at the foot, and the underground people
running like mice all over the floor.”

“Then go and sleep, dear. I will fetch your
comb, if you will just keep an eye on the cattle for
the moment I am gone.”’

* Hair-brushes were unknown at the date of this story.
MIDNIGHT 199

As Erica combed Frolich’s long fair hair, and
admired its shine in the sunlight, and twisted it up
behind, and curled it on each side, the weary girl
leaned her head against her, and dropped asleep.
When all was done, she just opened her eyes to find
her way to bed, and say—

“You may as well go to bed comfortably ; for
you will certainly drop asleep here, if you don’t
there.’

“Not with my pretty Spiel in sight. I would
not lose my white heifer for seven nights’ sleep.
You will thank me when you find your cow, and all
the rest, safe in the morning. Good-night, dear.”

And Erica closed the door after her young mis-
tress, and sat down on the bench outside, with her
face towards the sun, her lure by her side, and her
knitting in her hands. She was glad that the herd
lay so that by keeping her eye on them she could
watch that wonder of Midsummer night within the
Arctic Circle, the dipping of the sun below the
horizon, to appear again immediately. She had
never been far enough to the north to see the sun
complete its circle without disappearing at all; but
she did not wish it. She thought the softening of the
light which she was about to witness, and the speedy
renewing of day, more wonderful and beautiful.

She sat, soothed by her employment and by the
tranquillity of the scene, and free from fear. She
had done her duty by the spirits of the mountain
and the wood; and in case of the ‘appearance of
any object that she did not like, she could slip into
the house in an instant. Her thoughts were there-
fore wholly Rolf’s. She could endure now to con-
template a long life spent in doing honour to his
memory by the industrious discharge of duty.
200 FEATS ON THE FIORD

She would watch over Peder, and receive his last
breath—an office which should have been Rolf’s.
She would see another houseman arrive, and take
possession of that house, and become betrothed, and
marry ; and no one, not even her watchful mistress,
should see a trace of repining in her countenance, or
hear a tone of bitterness from her lips. It should
be her part to see that others were happier than she
had been; that no presumption or carelessness should
bring on them the displeasure of powerful beings,
However weary her heart might be, she would dance
at every wedding—of fellow-servant or of young
mistress. She would cloud nobody’s happiness,
but would do all she could to make Rolf’s memory
pleasant to those who had known him, and wished
him well. She thought she could do all this in
prospect of the day when her grave should be dug
beside those of Peder and Ulla, and when her spirit
should meet Rolf, and learn at length how he had
died, and be assured that he had watched over her
as faithfully as she had remembered him.

As these thoughts passed through her mind,
making her future life appear shorter and less dreary
than she could have imagined possible a few hours
before, her fingers were busily at work, and her eyes
rested on the lovely scene before her—the flowery
pasture in which the dappled herd were lying; while
far, far beyond, a yellow glittering expanse of waters
spread as if to. receive the sinking sun. From the
elevation at which she was, it appeared as if the
ocean swelled up into the very sky, so high was the
horizon line; and between lay a vast region of rock
and river, hill and dale, forest, fiord, and town, part
in golden sunlight, part in deep shadow, but all,
though bright as the skies could make it, silent as
MIDNIGHT 201

became the hour. As Erica found that she could
glance at the sun itself without losing sight of the
cattle, which still lay within her indirect vision, she
carefully watched the descent of the orb, anxious to
observe precisely when it should disappear, and how
soon its golden spark would kindle up again from
the waves. When its lower rim was just touching
the waters, its circle seemed to be of an enormous
size, and its whole mass to be flaming. Its appear-
ance was very unlike that of the comparatively small,
compact, brilliant luminary which rides the sky at
noon. Erica was just thinking so, when a rustle in
the thicket, within the pine grove, made her in-
voluntarily turn her head in that direction. In-
stantly remembering that it was a common device
of the underground people for one of them to make
the watcher look away, in order that others might
drive off the cattle, she resumed her duty, and gazed
steadfastly at the herd. They were safe—neither
reduced to the size of mice, nor wandering off,
though she had let her eye glance away from them.

The sky, however, did not look itself. There
were two suns in it. Now Erica really did quite
forget the herd for some time, even her dear white
heifer—while she stared bewildered at the spectacle
before her eyes. There was one sun, the sun she
had always known—half sunk in the sea, while
above it hung another, round and complete, some-
what less bright perhaps, but as distinct and plain
before her eyes as any object in heaven or earth
had ever been. Her work dropped from her hands,
as she covered her eyes for a moment. She started
to her feet, and then looked again. It was still
there, though the lower sun was almost gone. As
she stood gazing, she once more heard the rustle in
202 FEATS ON THE FIORD

the wood. Though it crossed her mind that the
wood-demon was doubtless there making choice of
his axe and his tree, she could not move, and had
not even a wish to take refuge in the house, so
wonderful was this spectacle—the clearest instance
of enchantment she had ever seen. Was it meant
for good—a token that the coming year .was to
be a doubly bright one? If not, how was she to
understand it?

‘“ Frica!”’ cried a voice at this moment from
the wood—a voice which thrilled her whole frame.
“ My Erica!”

She not only looked towards the wood now, but
sprang forwards; but her eyes were so dazzled by
having gazed at the sun that she could see nothing.
Then she remembered how many forms the cunning
demon could assume, and she turned back thinking
how cruel it was to delude her with her lover’s
voice, when instead of his form she should doubt-
less see some horrid monster—most likely a hippo-
potamus, or, at best, an overgrown bear showing its
long, sharp, white teeth to terrify her. She turned
in haste, and laid her hand on the latch of the door,
glancing once more at the horizon.

There was now no sun at all. The burnish was
gone from every point of the landscape, and a mild
twilight reigned.

One good omen had vanished; but there was
still enchantment around, for again she heard the
thrilling « Erica ! ”’

There was no huge beast glaring through the
pine stems, and trampling down the thicket; but,
instead, there was the figure of a man advancing
from the shadow into the pasture.

‘¢ Why do you take that form?’’ said the trem-

s
MIDNIGHT 203

bling girl, sinking down on the bench. “I had
rather have seen you as a bear. Did you not find
the axe? I laid it for you. Pray—pray, come
no nearer.”

“IT must, my love, to show you that it is your
own Rolf. Erica, do not let your superstition
come for ever between us.”’

She held out her arms—she could not rise,
though she strove to do so. Rolf sat beside her—
she felt his kisses on her forehead—she felt his
heart beat—she felt that not even a spirit could
assume the very tones of that voice.

“Do forgive me,’ she murmured; “but it is
Midsummer Eve, and I felt so sure a

«As sure of my being the demon as I am sure
there is no cruel spirit here, though it is Mid-
summer Eve. Look, love! see how the day smiles
upon us! ”’

And he pointed to where a golden star seemed
to kindle on the edge of the sea. It was the sun
again, rising after its few minutes of absence.

“1 saw two just now,” cried Erica—* two suns.
Where are we, really? And how isall this? And
where do you come from?”’

And she gazed, still wistfully, doubtfully, in
her lover’s face.

«JT will show you,” said he, smiling. And
while he still held her with one arm, lest in some
sudden fancy she should fly him as a ghost, he
used the other hand to empty his pockets of the
beautiful shells he had brought, tossing them into
her lap.

«Did you ever see such, Erica? I have been
where they lie in heaps. Did you ever see such
beauties ?”’


204 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“TI never did, Rolf; you have been at the bottom
of the sea.”

And once more she shrank from what she took
for the grasp of a drowned man.

“Not to the bottom, love,’’ replied he, still
clasping her hand. ‘Our fiord is deep, perhaps
as deep as they say. I dived as deep as a man
may to come up with the breath in his body, but
I could never find the bottom. Did I not tell you
that I should go down as far as Vogel island, and
that I should there be safe?”’

“Yes! You did—you did!”

«Well! I went to Vogel island, and here I
am safe!”

“It is you! We are together again!” she
exclaimed, now in full belief. ‘Thank God!
Thank God!”

As she wept upon his shoulder, he told her
where he had been, what perils he had met, how
he had been saved, and how he had arrived the
first moment he could; and then he went on to
declare that their enemies would soon be disposed
of, that they would be married, that they would
take possession of Peder’s house, and make him
comfortable, and would never be separated again as
long as they lived.

They did not heed the time, as they talked and
talked ; and Rolf was just telling how he had more
than once seen a double sun without finding any
remarkable consequences follow, when Stiorna came
forth with her milk pails just before four o’clock.
She started and dropped one of her pails when she
saw who was sitting on the bench, and Erica started
no less at the thought of how completely she had
forgotten the cattle and the underground people all
MOUNTAIN FARE 205

this time. The herd was all safe, however—every
cow as large as life,.and looking exactly like itself,
so that the good fortune of this Midsummer Eve
had been perfect.

Cuap. XV
Mountain Fare

‘THE “appearance of Stiorna reminded the lovers

that it was time to begin the business of the
morning. They startled Stiorna with the news
that a large company was coming to breakfast.
Being in no very amiable temper towards happy
lovers, she refused after a moment’s thought to
believe what they said, and sat down sulking to her
task of milking. So Rolf proceeded to rouse Jan,
and Erica stepped to Frolich’s bedside, and waked
her with a kiss.

“Erica! No, can it be?”’ said the active girl,
up in a moment. “You look too happy to be
Erica.”’

“Erica never was so happy before, dear, that is
the reason. You were right, Frolich—bless your
kind heart for it! Rolf was not dead. He is
here.”’

Frolich gallopaded round the room, like one
crazy, before proceeding to dress.

«¢Whenever you like to stop,’’ said Erica, laugh-
ing, ‘*I have some good news for you too.”

“I am to go and see the bishop!” cried Frolich,
clapping her hands, and whirling round on one foot
like an opera-dancer.

& Not so, Frolich.””
206 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“There now! you promise me good news, and
then you won’t let me go and see the bishop when
you know that is the only thing in the world I want
or wish for!”

«Would it not be a great compliment to you,
and save you a great deal of trouble, if the bishop
were to come here to see you?”’

‘Ah! that would bea pretty sight! The Bishop
of Tronyem over the ankles in the sodden, trodden
pasture—sticking in the mud of Sulitelma! The
Bishop of Tronyem sleeping upon hay in the loft,
and eating his dinner off a wooden platter! That
would be the most wonderful sight that Nordland
ever saw.”

“Prepare, then, to see the Bishop of Tronyem
drink his morning coffee out of a wooden bowl.
Meantime, I must go and grind his coffee. Seri-
ously, Frolich, you must make haste to dress and
help. The pirates want to carry off the bishop for
ransom. Erlingsen is raising the country. Hund
is coming here as a prisoner, and the bishop, and
my mistress, and Orga, to be safe; and if you do
not help me I shall have nothing ready, for Stiorna
does not like the news.”’

Never had Frolich dressed more quickly. She
thought it very hard that the bishop should see her
when she had nothing but her dairy dress to wear,
but she was ready all the sooner for this. Erica
consoled her with her belief that the bishop was the
last person who could be supposed to make a point
of a silk gown for a mountain maiden.

A consultation about the. arrangements was held
before the door by the four who were in a good
humour, for Stiorna remained aloof. This, like
other mountain dwellings, was a mere sleeping and
MOUNTAIN FARE 207

eating shed, only calculated for a bare shelter at.
night, at meals, and from occasional rain. ‘There
was no apartment at the seater in which the bishop
could hold an audience, out of the way of the cook-
ing and other household transactions. It could not
be expected of him to sit on the bench outside, or
on the grass, like the people of the establishment ;
for, unaccustomed as he was to spend his days in
the open air, his eyes would be blinded, and his face
blistered by the sun. ‘The young people cast their
eyes on the pine wood as the fittest summer parlour
for him, if it could be provided with seats.

Erica sprang forward, to prevent any one from
entering the wood till she should have seen what
state the place was in on this particular morning.
No trees had been felled, and no branches cut since
the night before, and the axes remained where they
had been hung. The demon had not wanted them,
it seemed, and there was no fear of intruding upon
him now. So the two young men set to work to
raise a semicircular range of turf seats in the pleas-
antest part of the shady grove. ‘The central seat,
which was raised above the rest, and had a foot-
stool, was well cushioned with dry and soft moss,
and the rough bark was cut from the trunk of the tree
against which it was built, so that the stem served
as a comfortable back to the chair. Rolf tried the
seat when finished, and as he leaned back, feasting
his eyes on the vast sunny landscape which was to
be seen between the trees of the grove, he declared
that it was infinitely better to sit here than in the
bishop’s stall in ‘Tronyem. Cathedral.

“Surely,” said Erica, whom he had summoned
to see the work, “‘ when God plants a lofty moun-
tain, overlooking the glorious sea, with the heavens
208 FEATS ON THE FIORD

themselves for a roof, He makes a temple with which
no church built by men can compare. I suppose
men build cathedrals in cities because they are not
so happy as to have a mountain to worship on.”

“ How I pity the countries that have no glorious
mountains!” cried Frolich, “especially if few of
their people live in sight of the vast sea, or in the
heart of deep forests.”

And, by one impulse, they all struck up the
national air For Norgé—a thanksgiving for their
home being planted in.the midst of the northern
seas.

All being done now for which a strong arm was
wanted, Rolf declared that he and Jan must be gone
to the farm. Not a man could be spared from the
shores of the fiord till the affairs of the pirates
should be settled. Erica ought to have expected to
hear this, but her cheek grew white as it was told.
She spoke no word of objection, however, seeing
plainly what her lover’s duty was.

She turned towards the dairy when he was gone,
instead of indulging herself with watching him down
the mountain. She was busy skimming bowl after
bowl of rich milk, when Frolich ran in to say that
Stiorna had dressed herself, and put up her bundle,
and was setting forth homewards to see, as she said,
the truth of things there—which meant, of course,
to learn Hund’s condition and prospects. It was
now necessary to tell her that she would presently
see Hund brought up to the seater a prisoner, and
that the farm was no place for any but fighting men
this day. To save her feelings and temper, Erica
asked her to watch the herd, leading them to a point
whence she could soonest see the expected company
mounting the uplands.
MOUNTAIN FARE 209

Frolich shook her head often and mournfully
over the breakfast. The skill and diligent hands
of two people could not, up in the clouds here,
cover the long table in a way which appeared at
all creditable to Nordland eyes. Do what they
would, it was only bread, cheese, butter, berries,
and cream, and then berries and cream, butter,
cheese, and bread. They garnished with moss,
leaves, and flowers; they disposed their few bowls
and platters to the best advantage, taking some
from the dairy which could ill be spared. It
was still but 2 poor apology for a feast, and Frolich
looked so ready to cry as to make Erica laugh.

Presently, however, there were voices heard
from the hill above. Some traveller who had met
the budstick had reported the proceedings below,
and the news had spread to a northern seater.
The men had gone down to the fiord, and here
were the women with above a gallon of straw-
berries, fresh gathered, and a score of plovers’
eggs. Next appeared a pony, coming westward
over the pasture, laden with panniers containing a
tender kid, a packet of spices, a jar of preserved
cherries, and a few of the present season, early
ripe, and a stone bottle of ant vinegar.* Frolich’s
spirits rose higher and higher, as more people came
from below, sent by Rolf on his way down. A
deputation of Lapps camie from the tents, bringing
reindeer venison, and half of a fine Gammel cheese.
Before Erica had had time to pour out a glass of

* Ants abound in Norway, both in the forests and on
the mountains. Some, of a large kind, are boiled for
the sake of the (formic) acid they contain; and the
water, when strained, is used for vinegar. It is as good
as weak vinegar.
210 FEATS ON THE FIORD

corn-brandy for each of this dwarfish party, in
token of thanks, and because it is considered un-
lucky to send away Lapps without a treat, other
mountain dwellers came with offerings of tydder,
Toer, ryper, and jerper,* so that the dresser was
loaded with game enough to feed half a hundred
hungry men.

Some of these, willing neighbours stayed to help.
One went to pick more cloudberries on the edge
of the nearest bog. Another rode off on the pony
to beg a supply of sugar from a house where it
was known to abound. ‘T'wo or three more cleared
a space for a fire behind a thicket, and prepared to
broil the venison and stew the kid, while others
sat down to pluck the game. The Lapps, as being
dirty and despised, were got rid of as soon as
possible.

Erica and Frolich returned to their breakfast-
table, to make the new arrangements now necessary,
and place the fruit and spices. Erica closely
examined the piece of Gammel cheese brought
by the Lapps, and then, with glowing cheeks,
called Frolich to her.

“What now?” said Frolich. “Have you
found a way of telling fortunes with the hard
cheese, as some pretend to do with the soft
curds ?”? :

‘Look here,” said Erica. ‘ What stamp ‘is
this? The cheese has been scraped —almost
pared, you see, but they have left one little corner.
And whose stamp is there ?”’

* Tydder and roer are the cock and hen of the wild
bird called in Scotland the capercailzie. The ryper is
the ptarmigan. The jerper is of the grouse species,—
Lloyd’s «Field Sports of the North of Europe.” —
MOUNTAIN FARE 211

“ Ours,”’ said Frolich coolly. ‘This is the
cheese you laid out on the ridge last night.””

“J believe it. I see it,’? exclaimed Erica.

“‘ Now, dear Erica, do not let us have the old
story of your being frightened about what the
demon will say and do. Nobody but you will
be surprised that the Lapps help themselves with
good things that lie strewing the ground. You
know I gave you a hint, just twelve hours since,
of what would become of this same cheese.”

«You did,”? admitted Erica. To Frolich’s
delight and surprise she appeared too busy—or was
rather, perhaps, too happy—to lament this mis-
chance, as she would formerly have done. Possibly
she comforted herself with thinking that if the
demon had set its heart upon the cheese, it might
have been beforehand with the Lapps. She con-
tented herself with setting apart the dish till her
mistress should decide what ought to be done with
it. Just when a youth from the highest pasture
on Sulitelma had come running and panting, to
present Frolich with a handful of fringed pinks
and blue gentian, plucked from the very edge of
the glacier, so that their colours were reflected in
the ice, Stiorna appeared in haste to tell that a
party on horseback and on foot were winding out
of the ravine, and coming straight up over the
pasture. All was now certainty, and great was
the bustle to put out of sight all unseemly tokens
of preparation. In the midst of the hurry Frolich
found time to twist some of her pretty flowers into
her pretty hair, so that it might easily chance that
the bishop would not miss her silk gown. When,
however, were unfashionable mothers known to
forget the interests of their daughters? Madame
212 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Erlingsen never did; and she now engaged one
of the bishop’s followers to ride forward with a
certain bundle which Orga had carried on her lap.
The man discharged his errand so readily that, on
the arrival of the train, Frolich was seen so dressed,
walking “in silk attire,” as to appear to all eyes
as the daughter of the hostess.

The bishop’s reputation preceded him, as is
usual in such cases.

‘Where is he now?”’ « How far off is he?”
“Why does he not come?” asked one and
another of the expectant people of those who first
appeared before the seater.

“He is at the tents, speaking to the Lapps.”’

‘‘ Speaking to the Lapps! impossible! What
Lapp would ever dream of being spoken to by
a Bishop of Tronyem?”?

“He is with them, however. When I left
him, he was just stooping to enter one of their
tents.’”

“Now you must be joking. The Lapps are
low people enough in the open pasture, but in their
tents—pah ! ”?

He did not go in without a reason. There was
a sick child in the tent who could not come out
to him. The mother wished him to see and
pronounce upon the charms she was employing
for her child’s benefit, and he himself chose to
be satisfied whether any medical knowledge which
he possessed could avail to restore the sick.
Nothing was more certain than that the Bishop of
Tronyem was in a Lapland tent. The fact was
confirmed by M. Kollsen, who next appeared,
musing as he rode, with countenance of extreme
gravity (to say the least of it). He would fain
MOUNTAIN FARE 213

have denied that his bishop was smiling upon Lapps
who wore charms, but he could not. He muttered
that it was very extraordinary.

«Quite as much so,’ whispered Erica to
Frolich, ‘‘as that the Holiest should be found in
the house of a publican.”

«What is that?’’ inquired the vigilant M.
Kollsen. «What was your remark?”

Erica blushed deeply; but Frolich readily de-
clared what it was that she had said; and in return
M. Kollsen remarked on the evil of ignorant persons
applying Scripture according to their own narrow
notions.

« Two-—four—eight horses,’ observed a herds-
man. “I think the neighbours should each take
one or two; or here will soon be an end of Erling-
sen’s new hay. This lot of pasture will never feed
eight horses, besides his own and the herd.”’

«Better than having them carried off by the
pirates,” said a neighbour. “ But I will run home
and send a load of grass.”’

In such an amiable mood did the bishop find all
who were awaiting him at his place of refuge. On
their part, they were persuaded that he deserved all
their love, even if he had some low notions about
the Lapps.

As the bishop’s horse, followed by those which
bore the ladies, reached the house door, all present
cried —

«Welcome to the mountain
Sulitelma ! ”’

The bishop observed that, often as he had wished
to look abroad from Sulitelma, and to see with his
own eyes what life at the seaters was like, he should
have grown old without the desire being gratified,

17? « Welcome to
214 FEATS ON THE FIORD

but for the design of the enemy upon him. It was
all he could do to go the rounds of his diocese,
from station to station below, without thinking of
journeys of pleasure. Yet here he was on Suli-
telma !

When he and M. Kollsen and the ladies had
dismounted, and were entering the house to break-
fast, the gazers found leisure to observe the hindmost
of the train of riders. It was Hund, with his feet
tied under his horse, and the bridle held by a man
on each side. He had seen and heard too much of
the preparations against the enemy to be allowed to
remain below, or at large anywhere, till the attack
should be over. He could not dismount till some
one untied his legs ; and no one would do that till
a safe place could be found in which to confine him.
It was an awkward situation enough, sitting there
bound before everybody’s eyes; and not the less for
Stiorna’s leaning her head against the horse, and
crying at seeing him so treated ; and yet Hund had
often been seen, on small occasions, to look far more
black and miserable. His face now was almost
cheerful. Stiorna praised this as a sign of bravery ;
but the truth was, the party had been met by Rolf
and Jan going down the mountain. It was no longer
possible to take Rolf for a ghost ; and though Hund
was as far as possible from understanding the matter,
he was unspeakably relieved to find that he had not
the death of his rival to answer for. It made his
countenance almost gay to think of this, even while
stared at by men, women, and children as a prisoner.

‘What is it?”’ whimpered Stiorna—* what are
you a prisoner for, Hund ?”

“ Ask them that know,” said Hund. «I thought
at first that it was on Rolf’s account; and now that










ic ARrexyam_ 99 —

_—_———

Ir was Hunp, witH wis Feer TIED UNDER WIS HorRsE, AND
THE BRIDLE HELD BY A MAN ON EACH SIDE.

MOUNTAIN FARE 217

they see with their own eyes that Rolf is safe, they
best know what they have to bring against me.”

“It is no secret,’ said Madame Erlingsen.
«¢ Hund was seen with the pirates, acting with and
assisting them, when they committed various acts of
thievery on the shores of the fiord. If the pirates
are taken, Hund will be tried with them for rob-
beries at Thore’s, Kyril’s, Tank’s, and other places
along the shore, about which information has been
given by a witness.”

“'Thore’s, Kyril’s, and Tank’s!”? repeated Hund
to himself; “then there must be magic in the case.
I could have sworn that not an eye on earth wit-
nessed the doings there. If Rolf turns out to be
the witness, I shall be certain that he has the powers
of the region to help him.”

So little is robbery to be dreaded at the seaters,
that there really was no place where Hund could be
fastened in—no lock upon any door—not a. win-
dow from which he might not escape. ‘The zealous
neighbours therefore, whose interest it was to detain
him, offered to take it in turn to be beside him, his
right arm tied to the left of another man. And thus
it was settled.

After breakfast, notice was given that the party
who had travelled all night wished to repose for a
few hours. All others therefore withdrew to secure
quiet, some within the pine wood; others to the
nearest breezy hill, to gossip and sport; while some
few took the opportunity of going home, to see
after their cattle, or other domestic affairs, intending
to return in the afternoon.
218 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Cuap. XVI
Old Tales and Better Tidings

WHEN the bishop came forth in the afternoon
to take his seat in the shade of the wood, those
who were there assembled were singing For Norgé.
Instead of permitting them to stop, on account of
his arrival, he joined in the song; and solely be-
cause his heart was in it. Seldom had he witnessed
such a scene as this; and as he looked around him,
and saw deep shades and sunny uplands, blue glaciers
above, green pastures and glittering waters below,
and all around, herds on every hillside, he felt his
love of old Norway, and his thankfulness for being
one of her sons, as warm as that of any one of the
singers in the wood. Out of the fulness of his heart,
the good bishop addressed his companions on the
goodness of God in creating such a land, and placing
them in it, with their happiness so far in their own
hands as that little worthy of being called evil could
befall them, except through faults of their own.
M. Kollsen, who had before uttered his complaints
of the superstition of his flock, hoped that his bishop
was now about to attack the mischief vigorously.
The bishop, however, only took his seat—the
mossy seat prepared for him—and declared himself
to be now at the service of any who wished to con-
sult or converse with him. Instead of thrusting his
own opinions and reproofs upon them, as it was
M. Kollsen’s wont to do, he waited for the people
to open their minds to him in their own way; and
by this means, whatever he found occasion to say
OLD TALES AND BETTER TIDINGS 219

had double influence from coming naturally. The
words dropped by him that day to the anxious
mother awaiting the confirmation of her child—to
the young person preparing for that important event
—to the bereaved—to the penitent—to the thought-
less—and to those who wondered why God had given
them so many rich blessings—what the good bishop
said to all these was so fit and so welcome, that not a
word was forgotten through long years after; and
he was quoted half a century after he had been in his
grave, as old Ulla had quoted the good Bishop of
Tronyem of her day.

In a few hours, many of the people were gone
for the present, some being wanted at home, and
others for the expected affair on the fiord. The
bishop and M. Kollsen had thought themselves
alone in their shady retreat, when they saw Erica
lingering near among the trees. With a kind smile,
the bishop beckoned to her, and bade her sit down,
and tell him whether he had not been right in
promising a while ago that God would soothe her
sorrows with time, as is the plan of His kind
providence. He remembered well the story of the
death of her mother. Erica replied that not only
had her grief been soothed, but that she was now
so blessed that her heart was burdened with its
gratitude. She wished—she needed to pour out
all that she felt; but M. Kollsen was there, and
she could not speak quite freely before him. He,
for his part, observed that, if she was now so
happy, she must have given up some of her super-
stitions ; for certainly he had never known any one
less likely to enjoy peace than Erica, on all occa-
sions on which he had seen her—so great was her
dread of evil spirits on every hand.
220 FEATS ON THE FIORD

“I wish,” said Erica, with a sigh—‘ I do wish
I knew what to think about Nipen.”

«Ay! here it comes,” observed M. Kollsen,
folding his arms as if for an argument.

Encouraged by the bishop, Erica told the whole
story of the last few months, from the night of
Oddo’s prank to that which found her at the feet
of her friend ; for she had cast herself down at the
bishop’s feet, sitting as she had done in her child-
hood, looking up in his face.

«You want to know what I think of all this?”
said the bishop, when she had done. “I think
that you could hardly help believing as you have
believed, amidst these strange circumstances, and
with your mind full of the common accounts of
Nipen. Yet I do not believe there is any such
spirit as Nipen, or any demon in the forest, or
on the mountain. Did you ever hear what spirits
everybody in this country believed in before the
blessed Gospel was brought to old Norway?”

«¢T have heard of Thor—that yonder islet was
named after; and that, when there was a tempest,
with rolling thunder, such as we never hear in this
region,* the people used to say it was Thor driving
his chariot over the mountain ridge.”

‘That was what people said of the thunder.
What they said of fire and frost was that they were
giants called Loke and Thrym, who dwelt in a
dreadful tempestuous place at the end of the earth,
and came abroad to do awful things among men.
The giant Frost drove home his horses at night—
the hail-clouds that sped through the air; and

* Erica knew thunder only by report, as there is none

so far north as the part of Nordland where she lived.
Thunder ceases at 66 degrees of latitude.
OLD TALES AND BETTER TIDINGS 221

there sat the giant on the frost winds, combing the
manes of his horses as they went. Fire was a cun-
ning demon that stole in where it was not wanted ;
and when once in, it devoured all that it chose, till
it rose into the sky at last in smoke. ‘T’hen there
was the giant A‘gir, who brought in squalls from
the sea, and made whirlpools in the fiords.’’

«Why, that is like Nipen.”

“Very like Nipen; perhaps the same. Then
there was the good god Balder (the white god), who
made everything bright and beautiful, and ripened
the fruits of the earth. This god Balder was the
sun. ‘Then there were the three magical women,
the Fates, who made men’s lives happy or miserable.
Did you ever hear how these giants and Fates were
worshipped before Jehovah and Christ were known
in this land?”

“T have heard Ulla sing many old songs about
these, and more; and how Thor and two com-
panions, as mighty as himself, were travelling, and
entered a curious house for the night, and wandered
about in the great house, being frightened at a
strange loud noise outside; and how they found in
the morning that this house was the mitten of a giant
infinitely greater than themselves; and that what
they had taken for a separate chamber in the great
house was the thumb of his mitten; and that the
strange noise was the snoring of this giant Skrymir,
who was asleep close by, after having pulled off his
mittens.”

«This is one of the many tales belonging to the
old religion of this country. And how did this
old religion arise? Why, the people saw grand
spectacles every day, and heard wonders whichever
way they turned ; and they supposed that the whole

P
222 FEATS ON THE FIORD

universe was alive. The sun as it travelled they
thought was alive, and kind and good to men.
The tempest they thought was alive, and angry
with men. The fire and frost they thought were
alive, pleased to make sport with men.”

«As people who ought to know better,” ob-
served M. Kollsen, ‘now think the wind is alive,
and call it Nipen; or the mist of the lake and
river, which they call the sprite Uldra.”

“Tt is true,”’ said the bishop, “that we now
have better knowledge, and see that the earth, and
all that is in it, is made and moved by one Good
Spirit, who, instead of sporting with men, or being
angry with them, rules all things for their good.
But I am not surprised that some of the old stories
remain, and are believed in still, and by good and
dutiful Christians too. ‘The mother sings the old
songs over the cradle, and the child hears tell of
sprites and demons before it hears of the good God,
who ‘sends forth the snow and rain, the hail and
vapour, and the stormy winds fulfilling His word.’
And when the child is grown to be a man or
woman, the northern lights shooting over the sky,
and the sighing of the winds in the pine forest,
bring back those old songs and old thoughts about
demons and sprites, and the stoutest man trembles.
I do not wonder, nor do I blame any man or woman
for this, though I wish they were as happy as the
weakest infant or the most worn-out old man, who
has learned from the gentle Jesus to fear nothing at
any time, because His Father was with Him.

« But what is to be done?”’? asked M. Kollsen.

« The time will come,”’ said the bishop, “‘ when
the mother will sing to her babe of the gentle Jesus ;
and tell her growing child of how He loved to be
OLD TALES AND BETTER TIDINGS 223

alone with His Father in the waste and howling
wilderness; and bade His disciples not be afraid
when there was a tempest on the wide lake. Then,
when the child grows up to be a man, if he finds
himself alone on the mountain or in the forest, he
will think of Jesus, and fear no demon 3 and if a
west wind and fog should overtake a woman in her
boat on the fiord,”’ he continued, looking with a
smile at Erica, ‘she will never think of Nipen, but
rather that she hears her Saviour saying, ‘Why are
ye afraid, O ye of little faith?’ ”?

Erica hid her face, ashamed under the good man’s
smile,

“Tn our towns,” continued he, “much of this
blessed change is already wrought. No one in my
city of Tronyem now fears the angry and cunning
fire-giant Loke ; but every citizen closes his eyes in
peace when he hears-the midnight cry of the watch,
‘Except the Lord keepeth the city, the watchman
waketh but in vain.’ * ~ In the wilds of the country
every man’s faith will hereafter be his watchman,
crying out upon all that happens, ‘It is the Lord’s
hand: let Him do what seemeth to Him good!’
This might have been said, Erica, as it appears to
me, at every turn of your story, where you and your
friends were not in fault.”

He went on to remark on the story she had told
him; and she was really surprised to find that there
was not the slightest reason to suppose that any spirit
had been employed to vex and alarm her. The fog
and the pirates had overtaken and frightened many
in the fiord with whom Nipen had no quarrel. Rolf’s
imprisonment, and all the sorrows that belonged to
it, had been owing to his own imprudence. The

* The watchman’s call in the towns of Norway,
224 FEATS ON THE FIORD

appearance of a double sun the night before was
nothing uncommon, and was known to take place
when the atmosphere was in a particular state. She
herself had seen that no wood-demon had touched
the axes in this very grove last night ; and that it
was no mountain sprite, but a Laplander, who had
taken up the first Gammel cheese. She had also
witnessed how absurdly mistaken Hund had been
about the boat having been spirited away, and Vogel
island being enchanted, and Rolf’s ghost being al-
lowed to haunt him. Here was a case before her very
eyes of the way in which people with superstitious
minds may misunderstand what happenstothemselves.

«Oh! ”’ exclaimed Erica, dropping her hands from
before her glowing face, if I dared but think there
were no bad spirits ; if I dared only hope that every-
thing that happens is done by God’s own hand, I could
bear everything! I would never be afraid again! ”’

“Tt is what I believe,” said the bishop. Laying
his hand on her head, he continued—

«¢ We know that the very hairs of your head are all
numbered. I see that you are weary of your fears ;
that you have long been heavy laden with anxiety.
It is you, then, that He invites to trust Him, when
He says by the lips of Jesus, ‘Come ye that are
weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.’ ”

« Rest; rest is what I have wanted,”’ said Erica,
while her tears flowed gently; ‘but Peder and Ulla
did not believe as you do, and could not explain
things; and ?

«¢ You should have asked me,”’ said M. Kollsen;
“©T could have explained everything.”

“Perhaps so, sir; but—but, M. Kollsen, you
always seemed angry, and you said you despised us
for believing anything that you did not; and it is


OLD TALES AND BETTER TIDINGS 225

the most difficult thing in the world to ask questions
which one knows will be despised.””

M. Kollsen glanced in the bishop’s face, to see
how he took this, and how he meant to support the
pastor’s authority. The bishop looked sad, and said
nothing.

‘* And then,”’ continued Erica, “there were others
who laughed—even Rolf himself laughed ; and what
one fears becomes only the more terrible when it is
laughed at.”

“Very true,” said the bishop. “When Jesus
sat on the well in Samaria, and taught how the true
worship was come, He neither frowned on the
woman who inquired, nor despised her, nor made
light of her superstition about a sacred mountain.”

There was a long silence, which was broken at
last by Erica asking the bishop whether he could not
console poor Hund, who wanted comfort more than
she had ever done. The bishop replied, that the
demons who most tormented poor Elund were not
abroad on the earth or in the air, but within his
breast—his remorse, his envy, his covetousness, his
fear. He meant, however, not to lose sight of poor
Hund, either in the prison, to which he was to travel -
to-morrow, or after he should come out of it.

Here Frolich appeared, running to ask whether
those who were in the grove would not like to look
forth from the ridge, and’see what good the bud-
stick had done, and how many parties were on their
way, from all quarters, to the farm.

M. Kollsen was glad to rise and escape from
what he thought a schooling; and the bishop him-
self was as interested in what was going on as if the
farm had been his home. He was actually the first
at the ridge.
226 FEATS ON THE FIORD

Cuap. XVII
The Watch on the Hill

‘THIS part of the mountain was a singularly

favourable situation for seeing what was doing
on the spot on which every one’s attention was
fixed this day. While the people on the fiord
could not see what was going forward at Saltdalen,
nor those at Saltdalen what were the movements at
the farm, the watchers on the ridge could observe
the proceedings at all the three points. The oppor-
tunity was much improved by the bishop having a
glass—a glass of a quality so rare at that time that
there would probably have been some talk of magic
and charms if it had been seen in Olaf’s hands
instead. of the bishop’s.

By means of this glass the bishop, M. Kollsen,
or Madame Erlingsen announced from time to time
what was doing as the evening advanced—how
parties of two or three were leaving Saltdalen,
creeping towards the farm under cover of rising
grounds, rocks, and pine woods; how small com-
panies, well armed, were hidden in every place of
concealment near Erlingsen’s, and how there seemed
to be a great number of women about the place.
This was puzzling. .Who these women could be,
and why they should choose to resort to the farm
when its female inhabitants had left it for safety, it
was difficult at first to imagine. But the truth
soon occurred to Frolich. No doubt. some one
had remembered how strange and suspicious it
would appear to the pirates, who supposed the
bishop to be at the farm, that there should be no
THE WATCH ON THE HILL 227

women in the company assembled to meet him.
No doubt these people in blue, white, and green
petticoats, who were striding about the yards, and
looking forth from the galleries, were men dressed
in their wives’ clothes, or in such as Erlingsen
furnished from the family chests. This disguise
was as good as an ambush, while it also served to
give the place the festive appearance looked for by
the enemy. It was found afterwards that Oddo
had acted as lady’s-maid, fitting the gowns to the
shortest men, and dressing up their heads so as
best to hide the shaggy hair. Great numbers
were certainly assembled before night; yet still a
little group might be seen now and then winding
down from some recess of the wide-spreading
mountain, making circuits by the ravines and water-
courses, so as to avoid crossing the upland slopes,
which the pirates might be surveying by means of
such a glass as the bishop’s.

The bishop was of opinion that scarcely a blow
would be struck, so great was the country force
compared with that of the pirates. He believed
that the enemy would be overpowered and dis-
armed, almost without a struggle. Erica, who
could not but tremble with fear as well as expec-
tation, blessed his words in her heart, and so, in
truth, did every woman present.

No one thought of going to rest, though Madame
Erlingsen urged it upon those over whom she had
influence. Finding that Erica had sat up to watch
the cattle the night before, she compelled her to go
and lie down, but no compulsion could make her
sleep; and Orga and Frolich did the best they
could for her, by running to her with news of any
fresh appearance below. Just after midnight they
228 FEATS ON THE FIORD

brought her word that the bishop had ordered every
one but M. Kollsen away from the ridge. The
schooner had peeped out from behind the pro-
montory, and was stealing up with a soft west
wind.

« A west wind!” exclaimed Erica. ‘Any
fog?”

“ No, not a flake of mist. Neither you nor any
one will say that Nipen is favourable to the enemy
to-night, Erica.”’

«You will hear me say less of Nipen hence-
forward,” said Erica.

«That is wise for to-night, at least. Here is
the west wind, but only to waft the enemy into
our hands. But have you really left off believing
in Nipen, and the whole race of sprites?”

These words jarred on Erica’s yet timid feelings.
She replied that she must take time for thought,
as she had much to think about ; but the bishop had
to-day spoken words which she believed would,
when well considered, lift a heavy load from her
heart.

The girls kindly left this impression undisturbed,
and went on to describe how the schooner was
working up, and why the bishop thought that the
people at the farm were aware of every inch of her
progress.

Erica sprang from the bed, and joined the group
who were sitting on the grass awaiting the sunrise,
and eagerly listening for every word from their
watchman, the bishop. He told when he saw two
boats, full of men, put off from the schooner, and
creep towards Erlingsen’s cove under the shadow
of the rocks. He told how the country people
immediately gathered behind the barn and the
THE WATCH ON THE HILL 229

house, and every outbuilding ; and, at length, when
the boats touched the shore, he said—

“Now come and look yourselves. They are
too busy now to be observing us.”

Then how eyes were strained, and what silence
there was, broken only by an occasional exclama~
tion, as it became certain that the decisive moment
was come! ‘The glass passed rapidly from hand
to hand, but it revealed little. There was smoke,
covering a struggling crowd; and such gazers as
had a husband, a father, or a lover there, could look
no longer. The bishop himself did not attempt to
comfort them, at a moment when he knew it would
be in vain.

In the midst of all this, some one observed two
boats appearing from behind the promontory, and
making directly and rapidly for the schooner; and
presently there was a little smoke there too, only
a puff or two, and then all was quiet till she began
to hang out her sails, which had been taken in, and
to glide over the waters in the direction of a small
sandy beach, on which she ran straight up, till she
was evidently fast grounded.

“Excellent! ’’ exclaimed M. Kollsen. «* How
admirably they are conducting the whole affair !
The retreat of these fellows is completely cut off —
their vessel taken, and driven ashore, while they are
busy elsewhere.””

«That is Oddo’s doings,’’ observed Orga quietly.

‘*Qddo’s doings! How do you know? Are
you serious? Can you see? Or did you hear?”

“I was by when Oddo told his plan to my
father, and begged to be allowed to take the
schooner. My father laughed so that I thought
Oddo would be for going over to the enemy.”
230 ' FEATS ON THE FIORD

‘No fear of that,” said Erica. Oddo has a
brave, faithful heart.’’

« And,” said his mistress, “a conscience and
temper which will keep him meek and patient till
he has atoned for mischief that he thinks he has
done.”’

‘I must see more of this boy,’’ observed the
bishop. ‘ Did your father grant his request ?”’ he
inquired of Orga.

“ At last he did. Oddo said that a young boy
could do little good in the fight at the farm; but
that he might lead a party to attack the schooner,
in the absence of almost all her crew. He said it
was no more than a boy might do, with half-a-
dozen lads to help him; for he had reason to feel
sure that only just hands enough to manage her
would be left on board, and those the weakest of
the pirate party. My father said there were men
to spare, and he put twelve, well armed, under
Oddo’s orders.”

‘Who would submit to be under Oddo’s com-
mand??? asked Frolich, laughing at the idea.

“Twice twelve, if he had wanted so many,”
replied Orga. “ Between the goodness of the joke
and their zeal, there were volunteers in plenty—
my father told me, as he was putting me on my
horse.””

In a very few minutes all signs of fighting were
over at the farm. But there was a fire. The
barn was seen to smoke and then to flame. It
was plain that the neighbours were at liberty to
attend to the fire, and had no fighting on their
hands. They were seen to form a line from the
burning barn to the brink of the water, and to
hand buckets till the fire was out.’ The barn had
THE WATCH ON THE HILL 231

been nearly empty,and the fire did not spread farther ;
so that Madame Erlingsen herself did not spend
one grudging thought on this small sacrifice, in
return for their deliverance from the enemy, who,
she had feared, would ransack her dwelling, and
fire it over her children’s heads. She was satisfied
and thankful, if indeed the pirates were taken.

At the bishop’s question about who would go
down the mountain for news, each of Hund’s
guards begged to be the man. The swiftest of
foot was chosen, and off he went—not without a
barley-cake and brandy-flask—at a pace which
promised speedy tidings.

As Madame Erlingsen hoped in her heart, he
met a messenger despatched by her husband; so
that all who had lain down to sleep—all but her-
self, that is—were greeted by good news as they
appeared at the breakfast-table. The pirates were
all taken, and on their way, bound, to Saltdalen,
there to be examined by the magistrate, and, no
doubt, thence transferred to the jail at Tronyem.
Hund was to follow immediately, either to take
his trial with them, or to appear as evidence against
them.

One of the pirates was wounded, and two of
the country people, but not a life was lost; and
Erlingsen, Rolf, Peder, and Oddo were all safe
and unhurt.

Oddo was superintending the unlading of the
schooner, and was appointed by the magistrate, at
his master’s desire, head guard of the property, as
it lay on the beach, till the necessary evidence of
its having been stolen by the pirates was taken, and
the owners could be permitted to identify and
resume their property. Oddo was certainly the
232 FEATS ON THE FIORD

greatest man concerned in the affair, after Erlingsen.
And like a really great man, Oddo’s head was not
turned with his importance, but intent on the
perfect discharge of his office. When it was
finished, and he returned to his home, he found
he cared more for the pressure of his grandfather’s
hand upon his head, as the old man blessed his
boy, than for all the praises of the whole country
round.

Cuap. XVIII
To Church

N idea occurred to everybody but one, within
the next few hours, which occasioned some
consultation. Everybody but Erica felt and said
that it would be a great honour and privilege, but
one not undeserved by the district, for the Bishop
of Tronyem to marry Rolf and Erica before he
left Nordland. T'he bishop wished to make some
acknowledgment for the zealous protection and
hospitality which had been afforded him; and
he soon found that no act would be so generally
acceptable as his blessing the union of these young
people. He spoke to Madame Erlingsen about
it, and her only doubt was whether it was not too
soon after the burial of old Ulla. If Peder, how-
ever, should not object on this ground, no one else
had a right to do so.

So far from objecting, Peder shed tears of plea-
sure at the thought. He was sure Ulla would be
delighted, if she knew—would feel it an honout
to herself that her place should be filled by one
TO CHURCH 233

whose marriage-crown should be blessed by the
bishop himself. Erica was startled, and had
several good reasons to give why there should be
no hurry; but she was brought round to see that
Rolf could go to Tronyem to give his evidence
against the pirates, even better after his marriage
than before, because he would leave Peder in a
condition of greater comfort; and she even smiled
to herself as she thought how rapidly she might
improve the appearance of the house during his
absence, so that he should delight in it on his
return. When the bishop assured her that she
should not be hurried into her marriage within
two days, but that he would appoint a day and
hour when he should be at the distant church, to
confirm the young people resident lower down the
fiord, she gratefully consented, wondering at the
interest so high and revered a man seemed to feel
in her lot. When it was once settled that the
wedding was to be next week, she gave hearty
aid to the preparations, as freely and openly as
if she was not herself to be the bride.

The bishop embarked immediately on descending
the mountain. His considerate eye saw at a glance
that there was necessarily much confusion at the
farm, and that his further presence would be an
inconvenience. So he bade his host and the
neighbours farewell for a short time, desiring them
not to fail to meet him again at the church on his
summons.

The kindness of the neighbours did not cease
when danger from the enemy was over. Some
offered boats for the wedding procession, several
sent gilt paper to adorn the bridal crown which
Orga and Frolich were making, and some yielded
234 FEATS ON THE -FIORD

a more important assistance still. They put trusty
persons into the ‘seater, and over the herd, for two
days, so that all Erlingsen’s household might be
at the wedding. Stiorna preferred making butter,
and gazing southwards, to attending the wedding
of Hund’s rival; but every one else was glad to
go. Nobody would have thought of urging Peder’s
presence, but he chose to do his_ part—(a_part
which no one could discharge so well)—singing
bridal songs in the leading boat.

The summons arrived quite as soon as it could
have been looked for, and the next day there was
as pretty a boat-procession on the still waters of
the fiord as had ever before glided over its surface.
Within the memory of man, no bride had been
prettier —no crown more glittering —no_bride-
groom more happy—no chanting was ever more
soothing than old Peder’s—no clarionet better
played than Oddo’s—no bridesmaids more gay
and kindly than Orga and Frolich. The neigh-
bours were hearty in their cheers as the boats put
off, and the cheers were repeated from every settle-
ment in the coves and on the heights of the fiord,
and were again taken up by the echoes till the
summer air seemed to be full of gladness. The
birds of the islands, and the leaping fish, might
perhaps wonder as the train of bowery boats floated
down—for every boat was dressed with green
boughs -and garlands of flowers—but the matter
was understood and rejoiced in by all others.

To conclude, the bishop was punctual, and
kindly in his welcome of Erica to the altar. He
was also graciously pleased with Rolf’s explanation
that he had not ventured to bring a gift for so
great a dignitary, but that he hoped the bishop








As pretty a Boat-ProcessioN ON THE STILL WATERS OF
THE FIORD AS HAD EVER BEFORE GLIDED OVER ITS SURFACE.

TO CHURCH 237

would approve of his giving his humble offering to
the church instead. The six sides of the new pulpit
were nearly finished now, and Rolf desired to take
upon himself the carving of the basement as his
marriage-fee. As the bishop smiled approbation,
M. Kollsen bowed acquiescence, and Rolf found
himself in prospect of indoor work for some time
to come.

Erica carried home in her heart, and kept there
for ever, certain words of the bishop’s address
which he uttered with his eye kindly fixed upon
hers. ‘Go, and abide under the shadow of the
Almighty. So shall you not be afraid for the
terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by
day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in dark-
ness ; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-
day. When you shall have made the Lord your
habitation, you shall not fear that evil may befall
you, or that any plague shall come nigh your
dwelling. Go, and peace be on your house!”

THE END.

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