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Title: What happened to Inger Johanne, as told by herself

Author: Dikken Zwilgmeyer

Illustrator: Florence Liley Young

Translator: Emilie Poulsson

Release date: May 23, 2010 [eBook #32502]
Most recently updated: January 6, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Suzanne Shell, Josephine Paolucci and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images generously made
available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)





Mina and I hauled her up by the arms into the boat.—Page 22. Mina and I hauled her up by the arms into the boat.—Page 22.





Translated from the Norwegian of







Published, October, 1919

Copyright, 1919,
By Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.

All Rights Reserved

What Happened to Inger Johanne

Norwood Press


Norwood, Mass.
U. S. A.

[Pg 7]



I, Inger Johanne 11

I. Ourselves, Our Town, and Other Things 13

II. An Interrupted Celebration 31

III. My First Journey Alone 41

IV. What Happened One St. John's Day 59

V. Left Behind 70

VI. In the Meal Chest 86

VII. Pets: Particularly Carola-Carolus 93

VIII. Christmas Mumming 113

IX. Mother Brita's Grandchild 123

X. The Mason's Little Pigs 143

XI. Locked In 156

XII. At Goodfields 170

XIII. Oleana's Clock 179

XIV. A Trip to Goodfields Saeter 186

XV. Lost in the Forest 204

XVI. Traveling with a Billy-Goat 223

XVII. In School 239

XVIII. When the Circus Came 253

XIX. Moving 273

[Pg 9]


Mina and I hauled her up by the arms into the boat (page 22) Frontispiece


The dean took Peter by the left ear and dragged him away 40

They just hauled and pulled me as hard as they could 68

She told me the whole story of her life 80

And how Karsten and Peter laughed down below! 110

The only pleasant thing was that there came a tremendously big heavy snowslide right down on the little shoemaker 124

She began to shriek and point and throw up her arms 152

And smashed a window-pane with it 166

"Oleana," said I, "we wanted to give you a clock" 184

How we wandered,—round and round, up and down, hither and thither! 208

The beautiful red cherries crackled in Billy-goat's mouth 236

I stood on the barn steps with a long whip 260

[Pg 11]



I have always heard grown people say that when you meet strangers and there is no one else to introduce you, it is highly proper and polite to introduce yourself. Uncle Karl says that polite people always get on in the world; and as I want dreadfully to do that, I will be polite and tell you who I am.

Everybody in our town knows me; and they call me "the Judge's Inger Johanne," because my father is the town judge, you see; and I am thirteen years old. So now you know me.

And just think! I am going to write a book! If you ask, "What about?" I shall have to[Pg 12] say, "Nothing in particular," for I haven't a speck more to tell of than other girls thirteen years old have, except that queer things are always happening to me, somehow.

Probably it isn't easy to write a book when you have never done it before, especially when thoughts come galloping through your head as fast as they do through mine. Why, I think of a hundred things, while Peter, the dean's son, is thinking of one and a half! But, easy or not, since I, Inger Johanne, have set my heart on writing a book, write it I will, you may be sure; and now I begin in earnest.

[Pg 13]




There are four brothers and sisters of us at home, and as I am the eldest, it is natural that I should describe myself first. I am very tall and slim (Mother calls it "long and lanky"); and, sad to say, I have very large hands and very large feet. "My, what big feet!" our horrid old shoemaker always says when he measures me for a pair of new shoes. I feel like punching his tousled head for him as he kneels there taking my measure; for he has said that so often now that I am sick and tired of it.

My hair is in two long brown braids down[Pg 14] my back. That is well enough, but my nose is too broad, I think; so sometimes when I sit and study I put a doll's clothespin on it to make it smaller; but when I take the clothespin off, my nose springs right out again; so there is no help for it, probably.

Why people say such a thing is a puzzle; but they all, especially the boys, do say that I am so self-important. I say I am not—not in the least—and I must surely know best about myself, now that I am as old as I am. But I ask you girls whether it is pleasant to have boys pull your braids, or call you "Ginger," or to have them stand and whistle and give cat-calls down by the garden wall, when they want you to come out. I have said that they must once for all understand that my braids must be let alone, that I will not be whistled for in that manner, and that I will come out when I am ready and not before. And then they call me self-important!

After me comes Karsten. He has a large, fair face, light hair, and big sticking-out ears.[Pg 15] It is a shame to tease any one, but I do love to tease Karsten, for he gets so excited that he flushes scarlet out to the tips of his ears and looks awfully funny! Then he runs after me—which is, of course, just what I want—and if he catches me, gives me one or two good whacks; but usually we are the best of friends. Karsten likes to talk about wonderfully strong men and how much they can lift on their little finger with their arm stretched out; and he is great at exaggeration. People say I exaggerate and add a sauce to everything, but they ought to hear Karsten! Anyway, I don't exaggerate,—I only have a lively imagination.

After Karsten there is a skip of five years; then comes Olaug, who is still so little that she goes to a "baby school" to learn her letters, and the Catechism. I often go to fetch Olaug home, for it is awfully funny there. When Miss Einarsen, the teacher, and her sister say anything they do not wish the children to understand, they use P-speech: Can-pan you-pou talk-palk it-pit? I went there often on purpose[Pg 16] to learn it, for it is so ignorant to know only one language. But now I know both Norwegian and P-speech. Olaug always remembers exactly the days when the school money is to be paid, for on those days each child who brings the money gets a lump of brown sugar. Once a year the minister comes to Miss Einarsen's to catechize the children; but Miss Einarsen always stands behind the one who is being questioned and whispers the right answer. "Oh, Teacher is telling, Teacher is telling!" the children say to each other. "Yes, I am telling," says Miss Einarsen. "How do you think you would get along if I didn't?" On examination days Miss Einarsen always treats to thin chocolate in tiny cups, and the children drink about six cups apiece! Well, that's how it is at Olaug's school.

After Olaug comes Karl, but he is only a little midget. He thinks he can reach the moon if he stands on a chair by the window and stretches his arms away up high. He is perfectly wild to get hold of the moon because he[Pg 17] thinks it would roll about so beautifully on the floor.

Our Town

We live in a little town on the sea-coast. It is much more fun to live in a little town than a big one, for then you know every one of the boys and girls, and there are many more good places to play in; and all the sea besides. Oh, yes! I know very well that there are lots of small towns that do not lie by the sea. They must be horrid!

Think how we have the great ocean thundering in against the shore, wave after wave. Oh, it is delightful! Any one who has not seen that has missed a really beautiful sight. It is beautiful both in summer and winter; but I do believe it is most beautiful and wonderful in the time of the autumn storms. Go up on the hilltop some day in autumn, where the big beacon is, and look out over the sea! You have to hold on to your hat, hold on to your clothes, hold on to your body itself, almost. Whew-ew! the[Pg 18] wind! How it blows! How it blows! And the whole ocean looks as if it were astir from the very bottom. Big black billows with broad white crests of foam come rolling, rolling, rolling in—one wave does not wait for the other. And how they break over the islands out where the lighthouse is! The lighthouse stands like a tall white ghost against the dark sea and the dark sky;—sinks behind an enormous wave, rises again, sinks and rises again. How swiftly the clouds fly! How the ocean seethes and roars! We hear it all over town, sobbing, roaring, thundering! Away in by the wharves of the market square the waters are all in a turmoil. The little boats rock and rock, and the big ships dip up and down. The wet rigging sparkles, the mooring chains strain and creak, and there is such a smell of salt in the air! You can almost taste the salt with your tongue.

In such weather the damaged ships come in. One autumn there came a Spanish steamship, with a green funnel and a white hull. It lay with almost its whole stern under water when[Pg 19] the pilot from Krabbesund brought it in. That was jolly; not for the people on board,—it was anything but jolly for them,—but for us children.

When we choose, we go out into the harbor in boats and row round and round among the strange ships. At last, very likely, the sailors call out to us and ask us to come on board, and then it doesn't take us long to scramble up the ladder, you may be sure! On board, it is awfully jolly. Once a French skipper gave us some pineapple preserves; but generally we only get crackers. When the Spanish ship was in, the streets swarmed with foreign sailors, with long brown necks and burning black eyes. Then the old policeman, Mr. Weiby, strutted about, and sent Father long written reports about street rows and disturbances. The Spaniards didn't bother themselves a mite about old Weiby, puffing around with his chin high in the air!

Sometimes on summer afternoons when the water lies calm and shining, we slip off and[Pg 20] borrow a boat (Mr. Terkelsen's, quite often) and go rowing around the island. Then, afterwards, we float about,—dabbling and splashing in the darkened water until evening comes on. Ah! that is pleasure!

An Adventure

One summer evening Massa Peckell, Mina Trap and I saved two people from drowning; and we were praised for it in the newspapers. Really it is most delightful to see your name in print! I should like ever so much to do something else that the papers would praise me for, but I don't know what it could be!

This is how it happened that time. We had borrowed old Terkelsen's boat and rowed quite a way out. From a wharf on one of the islands another boat laden with wood came towards us. The wood was in slabs and chips and was piled high fore and aft. Down between the piles sat two children rowing. As they came nearer we saw that it was Lisa and George, the lighthouse-keeper's children. Mina and I were rowing,[Pg 21] but I was so much stronger that I kept rowing her round and round, so that we were laughing and having a jolly time. Probably George and Lisa were watching us and forgetting all about their top-heavy boat; for, the next thing we knew, both piles of wood, George and Lisa, and the boat were all upset in the water. It was a dreadful thing to see!

"We—we'll go ashore and get help!" shrieked Massa. Humph! A pretty time they would have if we did that! Mina and I had more sense, so we turned our boat quickly and were over to the spot in two or three strokes of the oars. The boat was completely capsized and the chips floated over the water as thick as a floor. But George and Lisa were nowhere to be seen!

Then you may believe that Mina and I yelled with all our might! You know how it sounds over the water. My! how we did shriek! It must have been heard all over town. I saw people away back on the wharves running to the water to see what was the matter.[Pg 22]

Then, there bobbed Lisa's head up among the chips, and Mina and I hauled her up by the arms into the boat. Massa had to hang away over on the starboard so that our boat shouldn't upset, too. Old Terkelsen is always so mad when we take his boat without leave. I can't imagine, for the life of me, why he should get so provoked over it. We always bring it back just as good as ever! Massa and Mina and I have no desire, forsooth, to set out to sea through the Skagerak and sail away with it! But on that day it was fortunate that we had taken his boat, and not some miserable little thing belonging to anybody else.

As soon as Lisa got her breath, she cried out: "Oh! the chips! the chips!" But just then George's head appeared, and Mina and I made a grab for him; but he was so stupidly heavy that we couldn't pull him in; so we only held him fast and screamed and screamed. Out from the wharves and from the islands came ever so many boats and lots of people. Those minutes that we hung over the edge of that[Pg 23] boat and held on with all our might to the half-drowned George, who was as heavy as lead—shall I ever forget? George was drawn up into another boat and they took us in tow. Lisa sat like a drowned rat and cried till she choked. Then Massa began to cry, too;—and so we came to the wharf.

For several days after the rescue I couldn't go into the street without people's stopping me and wanting a full account of how it all happened. Really, it is quite troublesome to be famous; but I like it pretty well, nevertheless.

When Mina and I met that stout, lighthouse-Lisa on the street next time, we couldn't imagine how we had ever been able to drag her into the boat! But you mustn't expect gratitude in this world. Many a time since then has Lisa come tiptoeing along after us on the street, tossing her head this way and that, mimicking us, to show how self-important we are! And that after we saved the stupid creature from drowning![Pg 24]

Our Home

We live up on a hill in a lovely old house. People call it an old rattletrap of a house, but that is nothing but envy because they don't live there themselves. There are big old elm-trees around the house which shade it and make the back part of the deep rooms quite dark. The rafters show overhead, and the floors rock up and down when you walk hard on them, just because they are so old. There is one place in the parlor floor where it rocks especially. When no one is in there except Karsten and myself, we often tramp with all our might where the floor rocks most, for we want dreadfully to see whether we can't break through into the cellar.

There are several gardens belonging to our house. One big garden has only plum-trees with slender trunks and a little cluster of branches and leaves high, high up. When I walk down there under the plum-trees, I often imagine that I am down in the tropics, wandering under palm-trees. I have a garden of my[Pg 25] own, too. I wouldn't have mentioned it particularly if there weren't one remarkable fact about it. Really and truly, nothing will grow in it but that dark blue toad-flax—you know what that is. Every single spring I buy seeds with my pocket money, and plant and water and take care of them, but when summer comes there is nothing in the garden but great big toad-flax stalks all gone to seed. It is awfully tiresome, especially when they have such a horrid name.


Now I think it is time to describe all of us boys and girls who play together, and whom I am going to tell about in my book.

There is Peter, the dean's son, with his sleepy brown eyes and freckles as big as barleycorns. Peter is a cowardly chap. He never has any opinion of his own. And if he had one he would never dare to stand by it if you contradicted him. He's terribly afraid of the cold, too, and goes about with a scarf wound around his neck, and mittens if a single snowflake falls.[Pg 26] Still, Peter is very nice indeed; he does everything that I want him to.

Then there is my brother Karsten, but I've told you about him. He is a little younger than the rest of us.

Another boy is Ezekiel Weiby. He is fourteen years old and has an awfully narrow face—not much broader than a ruler. He is very clever and reads every sort of book. But when he is out with the rest of us, he wants us all to sit still and hear him tell about everything he has been reading. For a while that is very pleasant, but I get tired of it pretty soon, for I hate to sit still long at a time. That is a very funny thing. Other people get tired of walking or running about, but I can't stand it to sit still.

Nils Trap is the bravest of all the boys. He never wears an overcoat, but goes around with his hands in his pockets whistling a funny tune:

"Ho, hei for Laaringa!"

which you probably don't know. Nils Trap clambers like a cat up in the rigging of the[Pg 27] vessels. Some people say that they have seen him lie out straight on the ball at the top of the big mast of the Palmerston and spin himself round. But others say that is a whopper, for the Palmerston is the biggest ship in town with the very highest masts. Perhaps he could lie and balance himself on top of it, but spin himself round! That he couldn't do if he tried till he was blue in the face.

Then there are Massa, and Mina, and I. Mina is Nils's sister and my best friend. She has a gold filling in one of her front teeth. Oh, if I could only have such a shining little spot as that in my teeth! Mine are only plain straight white ones and they look really dull beside hers.

Massa Peckell is plump and easy-going. She thinks the most beautiful thing is to be pale and thin. She heard that it would give you a delicate pale skin if you drank vinegar and ate rice soup, so she tried it as hard as she could. But her beauty-cure only gave her the stomach-ache. Her fat, red cheeks are just like Baldwin apples still.[Pg 28]

Every day, summer and winter, we are together, all of us that I have written about here. In summer there is a lot of fun to be had everywhere, but especially on the delightful hill back of our house—(I will tell you all about that hill some other time),—but in winter, humph! What can girls and boys do in such horrid mild winters as we are now having, I should really like to know! Last year we had no snow to speak of, and here it is now after New Year's and I haven't yet, to my recollection, seen a single snowflake which didn't melt in five minutes, or any ice that didn't break through as soon as you stamped your heel on it. If I could only make a journey to the North Pole and do what I wanted to there, I should send down some lovely soft snow-drifts and some smooth blue glistening ice in a jiffy, to all the boys and girls who are wishing for them day after day.

In the meantime I am glad that I have begun to write this book in winter, otherwise I should be bored to death.

Of course we go out-of-doors now too, even[Pg 29] though the mild weather is disgusting; but when it storms as hard as it did in the autumn, making the old elm-trees crash and swish so that we can scarcely hear ourselves talk, then it is not comfortable to play out-of-doors, I assure you. At such times we often shut ourselves up in the little room over the wood-shed. There is nothing up there but a keg of red ochre which we paint ourselves with, but really we have lots of fun there, nevertheless.

Ezekiel always seizes the chance to give a lecture in the wood-shed, and his words gush out like water from a fountain. When I get tired of it, I sneak around behind him and give him a little English punch in the back, for I am very clever at boxing, you must know. "Come on! Can you use your fists like an Englishman?" And then I roll my hands round very fast, just as I have seen the English sailors do, and give him a quick punch in the stomach with my fist.

Ezekiel squirms about like a worm, and defends himself with his small weak fingers. The[Pg 30] others laugh, and Ezekiel and I laugh with them, and so we all laugh together.

Well, now you know us all, and you know what it is like around here.

[Pg 31]



My, how well I remember the day that we almost killed the dean's wife! That sounds queer; but it really was a live dean's wife that we really came within a hair's breadth of killing. And that, while we were just playing and celebrating the Seventeenth of May—the day when Norway adopted her own constitution, you know.

Now you shall hear how it happened.

Right behind our old house we have a whole big breezy hill. If any of you live down on the coast, you will know how beautiful it is and what fun one can have up on such a hill. If you have only seen it as you went by on the steamer, you would never imagine how lovely it is up on bare gray hills that look out towards the sea. Little soil, but lots of sunshine; wherever there is a tiny crevice, fine long blades of[Pg 32] grass, buttercups, and yellow broom will immediately start up. Wild rose bushes and juniper cling to the hillside here and there, and then the heather away up on the top;—all over the whole flat top nothing but purple heather. Above is the clear blue sky; and out there the sea in a great wide circle—nothing to shut off the view; oh, it is glorious!

This has really nothing to do with the dean's wife, but I only wanted to explain what it was like up there on the hill. For it was up there that Nils Trap, Ezekiel, Peter, Karsten, Mina, Massa, and I played, many a pleasant day.

Right at our yard the hill begins to be steeper; first comes a little walled-in garden, then terraces and cliffs, big rocks and little rocks, then down a steep precipice, and then up a few steps again where you have to use hands and feet both, and grab hold of the heather and juniper if you want to go farther up.

About half-way up the hill there is a great big rock jutting out, which you can only climb on one side, and that with the greatest difficulty.[Pg 33] This is our fort. Here we have both batteries and bastions, a room for bullets and cannon-balls, a room for powder, and a dungeon. From up there we have the most splendid view down over the town with its low gaily painted wooden houses, and the small leafy linden-trees that creep up through the streets. From our fort people down there look just like darning-needles; from the very top of the hill they look like a swarming mass of little pins.

I remember distinctly that particular Seventeenth of May; the spring had come so early that we already had fine young birch leaves and clear mild air. For several days we had been talking about a feast that we wanted to have in the dungeon, for there we should be wholly out of sight. There was to be a salute, speeches and songs. Peter and Karsten were always the gunners. With much trouble we had carried big stones up to the fort; these we threw with all our might down again over the precipice. This was our way of giving a salute; it made no little racket, you may be sure! The boys were[Pg 34] to provide something to drink, and we the cake and glasses. We were never allowed to take any glasses up on the hill, except old goblets with the feet broken off. I thought then it was terribly stingy of Mother not to let us have proper glasses.

Ezekiel made the speech in honor of the day. I can still see his thin white fingers round the broken glass while he spouted and speechified about "our young freedom crowns this day of liberty with flowers." I had lately read the whole speech in an old children's paper, and of course had to confide this fact to Mina; the others wanted to know what we were laughing about, and at last all the listeners were laughing and whispering to each other; but Ezekiel stuck to it. After the speech four stones were thrown down. Karsten was beaming. "Oh, oh, what a crash!" he kept saying.

After that Ezekiel made a speech in honor of Sweden; at the end of the speech he suggested that we should sing:

"See yonder by the Baltic's salt waves,"
[Pg 35]

but as none of us knew the tune, and Ezekiel himself hadn't a speck of music in him, the song wouldn't go. For it didn't help us at all for him to insist that he heard the tune plainly in his head. Then Nils Trap made a speech in honor of the ladies; I remember how I admired the few telling words: "A cheer and four shots for the ladies!" Not a bit more! I thought that sounded so awfully manlike.

Peter rushed off to the top of the fort to fire off the shots, Karsten after him, his hair standing on end. The stones went crashing over—the next moment we heard a doleful shriek from below. Peter came rushing down to the dungeon, ashy-gray under his freckles, crying:

"Oh, Mother—Mother——"

We all dashed up instantly. Down below the fort, just at the foot of the precipice, stood the dean's little crooked wife, with a purple kerchief over her head and one slender hand held up in the air. The stone, which had been fired off in honor of the ladies, lay less than two feet from her![Pg 36]

Even to this day I am sorry that I didn't run to her at once and go back with her down the hill. That didn't occur to any of us, I think. When we found that she hadn't been hit, but was only terribly frightened at seeing the great stone in the air right over her, we almost thought, up there in the fort, that it was rather unseemly of the dean's wife to scream out so.

She crept down the hill alone; she had just gone up to see to a white bed-spread that was hanging on a bush to dry.

Our festive mood was gone, however,—shocked out of us, as it were.

Karsten struck into the air with clenched fists, as he always does when he is excited. It wasn't so very dangerous, he protested; for if he had been the dean's wife, of course he would have seen what direction the stone was taking in the air, and if it went that way, why then he would have jumped to one side—like this—and if the stone went the other way, why then you could just jump to the other side. Besides, if the dean's wife had been, as she ought[Pg 37] to have been, as strong as Nils Heia, for instance, then she might have stood perfectly still, fixed her eyes on the stone, held her hands to catch it, and tossed it away. Yes, wouldn't Nils Heia have done it that way? Wouldn't he be strong enough for that?

But very soon the horror of it came over me; just think, if Peter had killed his own mother! I remember clearly that I wouldn't have anything more either to eat or drink, and Nils Trap teased me, and said I had grown quite white around the nose with fright.

As we sat there looking at each other and not able to get started on anything again, suddenly we heard a voice:


"That's Father," said Peter, and crouched away down so that he couldn't possibly be seen from below.

"Hush—sh—keep still—hush!" We lay in a heap, frightened and silent.

"Peter," came again from below. "Come down this instant. I know you are up there."[Pg 38]

"Hush—just keep still, not a sound."

Dead silence.

"Well, if you don't come at once——" The dean was furious; we could hear that in his voice.

"I've got to go," said Peter, standing up. "I've got to—I've got to——" He scrambled out; the rest of us just stuck our heads up to see what would happen.

There stood the dean with no hat, just in his wig, and furiously angry. It was no fun to be Peter now. He was everlastingly slow about clambering down. The dean scolded up towards our six heads, sticking out of the dungeon:

"Yes, just try such a thing again—just try it—your backs shall suffer for it—big boys and girls as you are—killing people with stones!"

"Yes, but we didn't kill anybody," called Karsten.

I was perfectly appalled at Karsten's daring to call out such a thing to the dean, who, however, paid not the least attention; Peter had at[Pg 39] last come within his reach, so he had something else to do.

First a box on one ear: "I'll teach you,"—then a box on the other ear: "almost killing your own mother"—and he kept on hitting. But only think; although I felt so terribly sorry for Peter, so sorry that I believe I should have been glad to take the blows in his place—I was as much to blame as he—yet there was something so fearfully exciting in watching Peter and the dean down there, that I almost felt disappointed when the dean took Peter by his left ear and dragged him away. The boys had lately made a little path down the hill and to the back gate of the dean's garden. It was lucky for Peter that there was some sort of a beaten track, now that he was being led along it by the ear.

"You can depend upon it that Peter will get a thrashing," said Karsten, who also felt the excitement of the moment. "But if it were I"—he grew very earnest—"I'd throw myself on my back and stretch my legs up in the[Pg 40] air and kick so that nobody could come near me. He shouldn't beat me, no indeed, he'd soon find that out."

It was all over with the celebration. Ezekiel proposed that we should finish up the refreshments—we divided the cake equally—and then we clambered down; but we took the path to our garden, not to the dean's. We only whispered, we didn't speak a single loud word, till we got down. We got a scolding, a thorough scolding, from the dean, but Mother cried when she heard what a calamity we had nearly brought about. And I minded Mother's tears much more than I did the dean's scolding.

Afterwards, when we asked Peter what had happened to him, he didn't answer, but just smiled feebly.

Yes, that is the way our Seventeenth of May celebration was interrupted!

The dean took Peter by the left ear and dragged him away.—Page 39. The dean took Peter by the left ear and dragged him away.—Page 39.

[Pg 41]



Well! I didn't travel entirely alone, either, you must know; for, you see, I had Karsten with me. But he was only nine years old that summer, so that it was about the same or even worse than traveling alone. To make a journey with small children by steamer isn't altogether comfortable, as any grown person will tell you.

It is curious how tedious everything gets at home in your own town when you have decided to make a journey. Whatever it might be that the boys and girls wanted to play—whether it was playing ball in the town square, or hide-and-go-seek in our cellar, or caravans in the desert up on the hilltop, or frightening old Miss Einarsen by knocking on her window[Pg 42] (which is generally great fun)—it all seemed stupid and tiresome beyond description now.

For I was going to travel, going on a journey, and that is the jolliest, jolliest fun! Alas! for the poor stay-at-homes who couldn't go away but had to walk about the same old town streets, and smell street dust, and gutters, and stale sea-water in by the wharves.

But I have clean forgotten to tell you where I was going. Mother has a sister who is married to a minister. They live fifteen or twenty miles from our town and we go there every summer. But this summer, it had been decided that Karsten and I should go there alone for the first time.

The afternoon before we were to set out I went down back of our wood-shed, where all the boys and girls that I go with generally come every afternoon. It was hot enough to roast you and awfully dry and dusty; but I took my new umbrella down with me all the same. It wasn't really silk, but I had wound it and fastened it so tightly together that it looked just[Pg 43] as slender and delicate as a real silk one. I wouldn't play ball with the rest of them. I just stood and swung my umbrella about.

"Have you got a new umbrella?" said Karen. "Is it a silk one?" asked Netta. "You've got eyes in your head," I answered. And so they all thought it was a silk one. I couldn't play ball with them, I said, because I had to go in and pack. Now that wasn't true at all, for I knew well enough that Mother had done all the packing; but it sounded so off-hand and important. They all teased me to stay down with them for a while, but no indeed, far from it. "I have too much to do. I start to-morrow morning early. Good-bye."

"Good-bye and a happy journey," shouted the company.

When I got in the house I was a little sorry that I hadn't stayed out with the others; for I hadn't a thing to do but go from one room to another and tighten the shawl-straps for the twentieth time at least. I thought the afternoon would never come to an end.[Pg 44]

Early in the morning, before it was really light, the maid came into the room and shook me and whispered, "Now you must get up. It's half-past four o'clock. Get up! The steamer goes at half-past five, you know." Oh, how dreadfully sleepy I was, but it was great fun all the same. The sun was not shining into my room yet, but on the church tower it glowed like a fire. The weather was going to be good. Hurrah! All the doors and windows of the sleeping-rooms stood wide open. It was so sweet and fresh and quiet everywhere, fragrant with the smell of the trees and fresh garden earth outside. We went in to say good-bye to Father and Mother at their bedside.

"Remember us to everybody and be nice, good children," said Mother.

"Don't lose everything you have with you," said Father. Humph! Lose—Father seemed to forget that I was nearly grown up now.

As we went down the hill, the stones under the elm-trees were still all moist with dew. Oh! how quiet it was out-of-doors! Suddenly away[Pg 45] down in the town a cock crew. Everything seemed very strange.

Karsten and I ran ahead and Ingeborg, the maid, came struggling after us with our big green tine.[1] Suddenly a desperate anxiety came over me. Suppose the steamboat should go off and leave us! Then how we ran! We left Ingeborg and the tine and everything else behind. When we turned round the corner into the market square, the sun streamed straight into our eyes and there by the custom-house wharf lay the steamboat, with steam up and sacks of meal being put on board. Karsten and I dashed across the square. Pshaw! we were in plenty of time. There wasn't a single passenger aboard yet. It is a little steamboat, you know, that only goes from our town over to Arendal. I got Karsten settled on a seat, kneeling and facing the water, and then established myself in a jaunty, free and easy manner by the railing as if I were accustomed to travel. Ole Bugta and Kristen Snau and all the other[Pg 46] clodhoppers on the wharf should never imagine that this was the first time I had been aboard a steamboat.

[1] Tine (pronounced tee´ne) a covered wooden box with handle on top.

Soon that skin-and-bone Andersen, the storekeeper, got on the boat, and then came little Magnus, the telegraph messenger, jogging along. Magnus is really a dwarf. He is forty years old and doesn't reach any higher than my shoulder; but he has an exceedingly large old face. He clambered up on a bench. He has such short legs that when he sits down his legs stick straight out into the air, just as tiny little children's do when they sit down. Then came Mrs. Tellefsen, in a French shawl, and dreadfully warm and worried. "When the whistle blew the first time, I was still in my night-clothes," she confided to me.

The whistle blew the third time. I smiled condescendingly down to Ingeborg, our maid, who stood upon the wharf. I wouldn't for a good deal be in her shoes and have to turn back and go home again now. Far up the street appeared a man and woman shouting and calling[Pg 47] for us to wait for them. "Hurry up! Hurry up!" shouted the captain. That was easier said than done; for when they came nearer I saw that it was that queer Mr. Singdahlsen and his mother. Mr. Singdahlsen is not right in his mind and he thinks that his legs are grown together as far down as his knees. So he doesn't move any part of his legs in walking except the part below his knees. Of course he couldn't go very fast. His mother pushed and pulled him along, the captain shouted, and at last they came over the gangway and the steamboat started.

The water was as smooth and shining as a mirror, and it seemed almost a sin to have the steamboat go through it and break the mirror. Over at the Point the tiny red and yellow houses shone brightly in the morning light and the smoke from their chimneys rose high in the quiet air.

Then my troubles with Karsten began. Yes, I entirely agree that children are a nuisance to travel with. In the first place, Karsten[Pg 48] wanted to stand forever and look down into the machinery room. I held on to him by the jacket, and threatened him and told him to come away. Far from it! He was as stubborn as a mule. Humph! a great thing it would have been if he had fallen down between the shining steel arms of the machinery and been crushed! O dear me! At last he had had enough of that. Then he began to open and shut the door which led into the deck cabin; back and forth, back and forth, bang it went!

"Let that be, little boy," said Mr. Singdahlsen. Karsten flushed very red and sat still for five whole minutes. Then it came into his head that he absolutely must see the propeller under the back of the boat. That was worse than ever, for he hung the whole upper part of his body over the railing. I held fast to him till my fingers ached. For a minute I was so provoked with him that I had a good mind to let go of him and let him take care of himself;—but I thought of Mother, and so kept tight hold of him.[Pg 49]

We went past the lighthouse out on Green Island. The watchman came out on his tiny yellow balcony and hailed us. I swung my umbrella. "Hurrah, my boys," shouted Mr. Singdahlsen in English. "Hurrah, my boys," imitated Karsten after him. Little Magnus dumped himself down from the seat and waved his hat; but he stood behind me and nobody saw him. It was really a pretty queer lot of travelers.

Just then the mate came around to sell the tickets. Father had given me a five-crown note for our traveling expenses. As Karsten and I were children and went for half-price, I didn't need any more, he said. So there I stood ready to pay.

"How old are you?" asked the mate.

Now I have always heard that it is impolite to question a lady about her age; I must say I hadn't a speck of a notion of telling that sharp-nosed mate that I lacked seven months of being twelve years old.

"How old are you?" he asked again.[Pg 50]

"Twelve years," said I hastily.

"Well, then you must pay full fare."

I don't know how I looked outside at that minute. I know that inside of me I was utterly aghast. Suppose I didn't have money enough! And I had told a lie!

Now my purse is a little bit of a thing, hardly big enough for you to get three fingers in. I took it out rather hurriedly—everything that I undertake always goes with a rush, Mother says. How it happened I don't know, but my five-crown note whisked out of my hand, over the railing and out to sea.

"Catch it! Catch it!" I shouted.

"That is impossible," said the mate.

"Yes, yes! Put out a boat!" I cried. All the passengers crowded together around us.

"Did the five crowns blow away?" piped Karsten.

"Was it, perhaps, the only one you had?" asked the mate. Ugh! how horrid he was. Storekeeper Andersen and Mrs. Tellefsen and[Pg 51] the mate laughed as hard as they could. Karsten pulled at my waterproof.

"You're a good one! Now they will put us ashore because we haven't any money. You always do something like that!"

"Are you going to put us ashore?" I asked.

"Oh, no," said the mate. "I will go up to your father's office and get the money some time. That's all right."

Pshaw! that would be worse than anything else. Father would be raving. He always says I lose everything.

"You'll catch it from Father," whispered Karsten.

Oh, what should I do! What should I do! Karsten and Mr. Singdahlsen clambered up on some rigging away aft to get sight of the five-crown note. Mr. Singdahlsen peered through the hollow of his hand and both he and Karsten insisted that they saw it. But that couldn't help us any.

Oh! how disgusting everything had become all at once. The visit at Uncle's and Aunt's[Pg 52] would be horrid, too. To go there alone in this way, and have to talk alone with Uncle, a minister, and all the other grown-up people at the rectory—it would be disgustingly tiresome. There was nothing that was any fun in the whole world. It would be disgusting to go home again; for Father would be so dreadfully angry—and it was most disgusting of all to be here on the steamboat where everybody laughed at me.

And all on account of an old rag of a five-crown bill which had blown away. Besides, I had told a lie and said I was twelve years old. Oh-oh-oh! how sad everything was!

I sat with my hand under my cheek, leaning against the railing and staring into the sea. All at once a plan occurred to me which I thought a remarkably good one then. Now I think it was frightfully stupid. I would ask the mate if he wouldn't take something of mine as payment for our passage.

I had a little silver ring—one of those with a tiny heart hanging to it;—I thought of that[Pg 53] first. I took it off of my finger and looked at it. It was really a tiny little bit of a thing—it couldn't be worth so very much. At home I had a pair of skates, sure enough. I would willingly sell them. But I couldn't possibly ask the mate to go up into our attic and get them and sell them for me. What in the world should I give him? Suddenly a brilliant idea struck me. My new umbrella—he should have my new umbrella. And I would tell the mate at the same time that I had made a mistake, that I wasn't twelve years old, only eleven years and five months. I took the umbrella and went quickly across the deck to find the mate. To be on the safe side I took the ring off of my finger and held it in my hand. It might be he would want both ring and umbrella. But it was impossible to find him. I wandered fore and aft and peeked into all the hatchways—but I couldn't get a glimpse of that sharp nose of his anywhere. Finally I discovered him sitting in a little cabin, writing.

I established myself in the doorway and[Pg 54] swung my umbrella. To save my life I couldn't get out a single word of what I had planned to say. Think of having to say "I told you a lie!"

"Do you want anything?" asked the mate at last.

"Oh, no!" I said hastily. "Well, yes. How far is it to Sand Island now?"

"An hour's sail, about;"—at the very minute that he was speaking these words a terrible shriek was heard from aft, a loud shriek from several people all screaming as hard as they could. I never was so scared in my whole life. The mate almost pushed me over, he sprang so quickly out of the door. All the people aft were crowded at one side. In the midst of the shrieks and cries I heard some one say, "Man overboard!"

O horrors! It must be Karsten! I was sure of it. I hadn't thought of him or taken any care of him for the last ten minutes. I hardly know how I got aft, my knees were shaking so. The steamboat stopped and two sailors were already[Pg 55] up on the railing loosing the life-boat.

"Karsten! Karsten! Karsten!" I cried. All at once I saw Karsten's light hair and big ears over on a bench. He was throwing his arms about in the air and was frightfully excited. "This is the way he did," shouted he; "he hung over the railing this way, looking for the five crowns."—It was Mr. Singdahlsen who had fallen overboard. Oh, poor Mrs. Singdahlsen! She cried and called out unceasingly.

"He is weak in the understanding!" she cried, "and therefore the Lord gave me sense enough for two—so that I could look after him;—catch him—catch him. He will drown before my very eyes."

I held Karsten by the jacket as in a vise. I was going to look after him now. The boat was by this time close to Mr. Singdahlsen. They drew his long figure out of the water and laid him in the bottom of the boat. The next minute they had reached the side of the steamer[Pg 56] again, clambered up with Singdahlsen, and laid him on the deck. He looked exactly as if he were dead. They stripped him to his waist, and then they began to work over him according to the directions in the almanac for restoring drowned people. If I live to be a million years old I shall never forget that scene.

There lay the long, thin, half-naked Singdahlsen on the deck, with two sailors lifting his arms up and down, Mrs. Singdahlsen on her knees by his side drying his face with a red pocket-handkerchief, the sun shining baking hot on the deck, and the smoke of the steamer floating out far behind us in a big thick streak. At length he showed signs of life and they carried him into the cabin. Then, what do you suppose happened? Mrs. Singdahlsen was angry at me! Wasn't that outrageous? The whole thing was my fault, she said, for if I hadn't lost the five crowns, her son wouldn't have fallen overboard.

"Now you can pay for the doctor and the apothecary, and for my anxiety and fright besides,"[Pg 57] said Mrs. Singdahlsen. But everybody laughed and said I needn't worry myself about that.

"You said yourself that you had sense enough for two, Mrs. Singdahlsen," said Storekeeper Andersen.

"I haven't met any one here who has any more sense," said Mrs. Singdahlsen stuffily.

"Humph!" thought I to myself, "if I had to pay for Mrs. Singdahlsen's fright the damages would be pretty heavy."

Just then we swung round the point by the rectory, where Karsten and I were going to land. Uncle's hired boy was waiting for us with a boat. I recognized him from the year before. He is a regular landlubber, brought up away back in a mountain valley, and is mortally afraid when he has to row out to the steamboat. His face was deep red, and he made such hard work of rowing and backing water, and came up to the steamboat so awkwardly, that the captain scolded and blustered from the bridge. At last we got down into[Pg 58] the rowboat and were left rocking and rocking in the steamer's wake.

John, the farm boy, mopped his face and neck. He was all used up just from getting a rowboat alongside the steamer!

"Whew, whew! but it's dreadful work," said he.

The rectory harbor lay like a mirror. The island and trees and the bath-house stood on their heads in the clear, glassy water; and between the thick foliage of the trees there was a wide space through which we could see the upper story of the rectory and the top of the flagstaff. It is worth while to go traveling after all. I won't give another thought to that old rag of a five-crown bill.

[Pg 59]



Well; what I am going to tell about now hasn't the least thing to do with St. John's Day itself,—you mustn't think it has; not the least connection with fresh young birch leaves and strong sunshine and Whitsuntide lilies and all that. Far from it. It is only that a certain St. John's Day stands out in my memory because of what happened to me then.

Yes, now you shall hear about it. First I must tell you of the weather. It was just exactly what it should be on St. John's Day. The sky looked high and deep, with tiniest white clouds sprinkled over the whole circle of the heavens, and the sunshine was glorious on the hills and mountains and on the blue, blue sea.

Since it was Sunday as well as St. John's[Pg 60] Day, I was all dressed up. To be sure my dress was an old one of Mother's made over, but the insertion was spandy new and there was a lot of it. I'd love to draw a picture of that dress for you, if you wanted to have one made like it.

Perhaps I had best begin at the very beginning, which was really Karsten's stamp collection. He does nothing but collect stamps, and talk and jabber about stamps the whole day long. He swaps and bargains, and has a whole heap of "dubelkits," as he calls them. These duplicates he keeps in a tiny little box. He means to be very orderly, you see.

To tell the truth, Karsten is perfectly stupid about swapping. The other boys can fool him like everything. He doesn't understand a bit how to do business, and so I always feel like taking charge of these stamp bargainings myself. If I see a boy I don't know very well, peeping around the corner or sneaking up the hill, I am right on hand, for boys that want to trade never come running; they act as if they[Pg 61] were spying round and lying in wait for some one.

The instant Karsten sees them he comes out with his stamp album. He stands there and expounds and explains about his stamps, with such a trustful look on his round pink face, while the other boys watch their chance to fool him; and before he knows it, some of his very best specimens are gone. That's the reason why I have taken hold.

As soon as I see a suspicious-looking boy on the horizon—that is to say on the hill—I go out and stand at the corner in all my dignity and won't budge, and I always put in my word you may be sure. Karsten doesn't like it, but anyway, he had me to thank for a rare Chili stamp.

But it was that very same rare stamp that brought about all my trouble on St. John's Day, because Nils Peter cheated that stupid donkey of a Karsten out of it the next time he saw him. And that was on St. John's Day, the very day after I had got it for him.

"I believe you would give them your nose, if[Pg 62] they asked for it," I said to Karsten. "You'd stand perfectly still and let them cut your nose nicely off, if they wished."

"You think you are smart, don't you?" said Karsten fiercely.

As Olaug came out just then (she is my little sister, you remember), I shouted to her:

"Run as fast as you can to Nils Peter and tell him Inger Johanne says for him to give up that Chili stamp instantly. I'll hold Karsten while you run."

He would have run after Olaug to catch her before she should have time to ask Nils Peter for the stamp, for he thought that would be too embarrassing.

Just as I got a good grip on Karsten, Olaug started. Oh, how she ran!—just like a race-horse, with her head high. Her hat fell off and hung by its elastic round her neck. She ran down the hill and up over Kranheia at top speed.

But you may believe I had a job of it standing there and holding fast to Karsten. He[Pg 63] pushed and he struck and he scolded. My! how he did behave!

But I held on and watched Olaug to see how far she had got. I was high on the hill, you know, and could see a long way.

"O dear! Olaug will burst a blood-vessel running like that," I thought. My! now she is there—now away off there. Karsten squirmed and struggled; now Olaug is on the path up Kranheia,—she's slowing down a little.

Impossible for me to hold Karsten any longer. I had to let go. He was off like an arrow, his hair standing up straight and his feet pounding the ground like a young elephant's.

O pshaw! Running like that he would soon catch Olaug. It was frightfully exciting, like a horse-race or a hunt after wild animals.

Well, that isn't a very good comparison, for nothing could be less like a wild animal than Olaug; but it was awfully exciting to see whether she would keep ahead and get the Chili stamp from Nils Peter.[Pg 64]

So that I might see better how the race ended I sprang up to our chicken-yard, or rather beyond it, on our own hill. You could see the whole path up over Kranheia better from there than from any other place. But just where I must be to see best was that awfully high board fence, too high for me to see over, that went from the chicken-yard quite a long way beyond on the hill.

Pooh! What of it? I just wiggled a board that was already loose, pulled it away and stuck my head in the opening. It was a little narrow but I got my head through. Oh—oh! Karsten had caught up to Olaug and run past her like an ostrich at full speed—I've always heard that an ostrich runs faster than anything else in the world—yes, there he was swinging in towards Nils Peter's house.

O pshaw! Now that Chili stamp was lost for ever and ever.

Olaug had plumped herself right down; she had to sit still and get her breath, poor thing!

Now that there was nothing more for me to[Pg 65] watch, I started to draw my head back out of the narrow opening between the thick boards. But, O horrors! It stuck fast! I couldn't possibly get it back. I turned and twisted my head this way and that, and up and down; I tried to pull and squeeze it back, but no, that was utterly impossible. How in the world I had ever got my head through the opening in the first place I can't understand to this day, but that I had got it through was only too sure.

New struggles to get loose—I thought I should tear my ears off—Goodness gracious, what should I do!

At first I wasn't a speck afraid. I just wriggled and pulled as hard as I could. But when I realized that I simply could not free myself, a sort of terror came over me.

Just think—if I never got my head out? Or suppose there came a cross dog and bit me while my head was as if nailed fast in the fence! And suppose nobody found me—(for of course nobody would know that I had run up here beyond the chicken-yard)—and per[Pg 66]haps I should have to stay caught in the fence the whole night, when it was dark.

I cried and sobbed, then I called; at last I screamed and roared. I heard the hens in the yard flap their wings and run about wildly, evidently frightened by the noise I made.

Down on the road, people stood still and gazed upward; then of course I shrieked the louder. But no one looked up to the chicken-yard; and even if they had, they couldn't very well see, from so far down, a round brown head sticking through a brown fence. I roared incessantly, and at last I saw a woman start to run up the hill—and then a man started—but they did not see me and soon disappeared among the trees, although I kept on bawling, "Help! I am right here! I am caught in the fence!"

Just then I saw Karsten and Nils Peter come out of Nils Peter's house. They stood a moment as if listening, and naturally they recognized my voice.

Then they started running. If Karsten had[Pg 67] raced over there, he certainly raced back again, too.

I kept bawling the whole time: "Here! here! in the fence! I am stuck fast in the fence!" It wasn't many minutes before both Karsten and Nils Peter stood behind me.

"Have you gone altogether crazy?" said Karsten in the greatest astonishment.

I felt a little offended, but there's no use in being offended when you haven't command over your own head, so I said very meekly:

"Ugh! such a nuisance! My head is stuck fast in here. Can't you help me?"

Would you believe it? They didn't laugh a bit—awfully kind, I call that—they just hauled and pulled me as hard as they could; it fairly scraped the skin off behind my ears and I thought I should be scalped if they kept on.

"No, it's no use," I said, crying again. "Run after Father, run after Mother, get everybody to come—uh, hu, hu!"

Well, they came. I couldn't see them, but I could hear the whole lot of them behind me.[Pg 68]

Now there was a scene! The same story began again; they pulled and twisted my head, Father gave directions, I cried and Olaug cried and everybody talked at once.

"No," said Father at last, "it can't be done. Hurry down to Carpenter Wenzel and ask him to come and to bring his saw with him."

"Uh, huh! He'll saw my head off!" I wailed.

But Mother patted me on the back and comforted me, and all the others standing behind kept saying it would be all right soon, while I stood there like a mouse in a trap and cried and cried.

But it was Sunday and the carpenter was not at home.

"Run after my little kitchen saw then," said Mother. "Bring the meat-axe, too," called Father.

Oh, how would they manage? It seemed to me my head would surely be sawed or chopped to pieces.

They just hauled and pulled me as hard as they could.—Page 67. They just hauled and pulled me as hard as they could.—Page 67.

[Pg 69]

Well, now began a sawing and hammering around me. When Mother sawed I was not afraid, but when Father began I was in terror, for Father, who is so awfully clever with his head, is so unpractical with his hands that he can't even drive a nail straight. So you can imagine how clumsy he would be about getting a head out of a board fence.

The others all had to laugh finally, but I truly had no desire to laugh until my head was well out. In fact, I didn't feel much like laughing then either, for really it had been horrid.

Ever since that time Karsten and Nils Peter have teased me about that Chili stamp. They say that getting my head stuck fast was a punishment for putting my oar in everywhere. Think of it—as if I did try to manage other people's affairs so very much!

But it certainly is horrid when you can't control your own head. You just try it and see.

[Pg 70]



Never in my life have I traveled so far as when Mother, Karsten and I visited Aunt Ottilia and Uncle Karl. And so unexpected as that journey was! I hardly had time to rejoice over it, even. It was all I could do to get time to write a post-card to Mina, who was visiting her grandmother at Horten, to ask her to come down on the wharf and see me, when the steamer stopped there on its way.

When we are to start on a journey, Father is always terribly afraid that we shall be too late for the steamboat.

"Hurry—hurry," he keeps saying, as he goes in and out. Mother gets tired of it, but that makes no difference. Besides, all husbands are like that, Mother says; unreasonable when other people go away, and still worse to travel with.

An hour and a half before the steamboat[Pg 71] could be expected, we had to trudge down to the wharf; for Father wouldn't give in. Mother had to sit on a bench down there, with meal-sacks all around her; but Karsten and I and Ola Bugta and the other longshoremen on the wharf went up on Little Beacon to look for the steamboat.

People usually wish for good weather when they are going to travel; but I wish for a storm; for to plunge through the waves, up and down, must be awfully jolly. And besides, it is so stupid that I have never been seasick, and don't know what it's like.

"What kind of weather do you think we'll have, Ola Bugta?" I asked him, up on Little Beacon.

Ola Bugta took the quid out of his mouth. "Oh, it is fine weather outside there." O dear, then we should have good weather to-day, too!

Well, at last we saw a faint streak of smoke far off in the mist. Karsten and I almost tumbled head over heels down the hill to tell Mother that now we saw the smoke. Karsten[Pg 72] had a new light spring coat for the journey. He looked queer in it, for it was altogether too long for him. I took the liberty of saying that he looked like a lay preacher in it; not that I ever saw a lay preacher in a light spring coat; but Karsten looked so tall and proper all at once.

Hurrah! now the steamer was in Quit-island Gap. How much more interesting a steamer looks when you are going to travel on it yourself! It made a wide sweep when it came from behind the island, and glided in a big graceful curve up to the wharf. There were a great many passengers on the boat. As soon as the gangway touched the wharf, I wanted to go on board, but the mail-agent pushed me aside. "The mail first," said he. But I ran on right after the mail.

Oh, how awfully jolly it was! The deck crowded with passengers, and trunks, and tines, and traveling-bags; the delightful steamboat smell; all my friends standing on the wharf; and I tremendously busy carrying[Pg 73] Mother's portmanteau and hold-all on board. I certainly went six times back and forth across the gangway. O dear! so many boxes had to be put on board, I thought we should never get off. I nodded and nodded to every one on the wharf. At last I nodded to Ola Bugta; but he didn't nod back; he just turned his quid in his mouth.

Finally we started.

Whenever I go down on the wharf to watch the steamboat, it seems to me almost as if it were always the same people traveling. But to-day there were a whole lot of different kinds of people.

The first person I noticed was a tall old lady who had a footstool with her. Think of traveling with a yellow wooden footstool! If she had only sat still,—but she and the footstool were constantly on the go. At last she must have thought that I looked exactly cut out to carry the stool for her.

"Little girl," she said, "you're a good girl, aren't you, and will help me a little?" After[Pg 74] that I couldn't go anywhere near her without there being something I must do for her. The worst was hunting for a parasol that she couldn't find.

"There is lace over the weak place in it, my dear," said she. After this instruction I did find it. Then she offered me some candy, but it looked so gummy that I gave it to Karsten. I saw that he had to chew it well.

Mother had met a childhood friend and they sat talking together incessantly. Just think, it was twenty-two years since they had seen each other. How queer it would be to see my best friend Mina again in twenty-two years, with some of her teeth gone and a double-chin.

For a wonder Karsten sat perfectly still by Mother's side with his hands deep in the pockets of his new coat; and he didn't open his mouth; but I ran about the whole time. I wasn't still an instant.

Off by herself on a bench sat a fat woman wrapped in a shawl, with a big covered basket which she dipped down into every other minute.[Pg 75] Both sausage and fancy cakes came up out of the basket. She looked at me as if she would like to offer me something, and munched and munched.

Before long I went down below. When you were in the saloon the boat shook delightfully; the big white lamps that hung from the ceiling rattled and jingled, and there was such a charming steamboat smell. Everywhere on the reddish-brown plush sofas, ladies and gentlemen with steamer-rugs over them lay drowsing. I took a newspaper, for it looked grown-up to sit reading; but I didn't want to read the paper, after all, so I went straight up on deck again.

But the weather had changed! It was not anything like so bright as when we started. There were already little white-capped waves, and the wind whistled across the deck; and now the ship began to plunge enough to suit me.


I crept to the very stern and sat down beside the flag; for I thought it looked as if the boat[Pg 76] rocked most there. You know, I wanted to rock as much as possible.

The steamer laid its course more out to sea. Each time we went down into the waves the water stood foaming white around the bow. The wind took a fierce grip on the awning as if it would tear it to pieces, and my hair blew about my face; this was just what I liked! Hurrah!

But little by little all the other passengers disappeared from the deck. Mother and her friend were the first; Karsten tagged after them. Mother called out something to me at the moment she was disappearing down the cabin stairs, but I didn't know what it was.

Oh, everything was so glorious! This was fun; if only they would go farther out to sea, farther yet—farther yet.

The lady with the footstool had disappeared long ago. The yellow footstool was taking care of itself and tumbled from one side to the other. Then a stewardess came up with a message from Mother that I should come[Pg 77] down-stairs at once. That must have been what she said when she was disappearing down the cabin stairs.

In the cabin Mother and Karsten lay pale as death, each on a sofa. I must lie down, too, Mother said. Really, I hadn't any wish to lie down on a sofa now that the fun on deck was just beginning; but as long as Mother said so——

Hurrah! Cups and plates and trays crashed over each other in the serving-room, people fell over each other on the stairs. The traveling-wraps hanging out in the corridor, and the green curtains before the staterooms swung violently back and forth, the ship tossed so.

"Isn't there any one that will help me?" begged a complaining but familiar voice behind one of the curtains. That was certainly the lady with the footstool. I jumped behind the curtain; yes, so it was. She was sitting on the edge of her berth; she said she didn't believe she could get out again if she squeezed herself in, she was so fat.[Pg 78]

You may be sure she set me to work. She had lost all her things, one wrister here and one wrister there; I had to find everything, a bouquet in the saloon, and overshoes under the sofa. Finally it was the footstool up on deck.

It was only fun to run up on deck again. Of course I tumbled from one side to the other and laughed and laughed, enjoying it hugely.

When I was down-stairs again, the stewardess must have thought that I flew around too much and was in the way, for she pushed me suddenly into a stateroom. There sat the woman with the covered basket.

"Isn't there any one that will help me?" the complaining voice kept on in the stateroom opposite us.

"Can you imagine why such folks travel?" said the woman, jerking her head in the direction the voice came from, "when they have their good home, and their good bed and everything to suit them—why should they rove around from pillar to post?"

"What are you traveling for?"[Pg 79]

"Oh, I have been on a little trip off to Grimstad, to my sister's, for three weeks; I didn't think I should stay longer than a week at the most, so I didn't take more than one change with me, and you must excuse me if I look rather untidy."

No, I assured her, she didn't look in the least untidy. But she was awfully funny, I can tell you. She told me the whole story of her life. Her husband was a skipper; twice she had been with him to the Black Sea, "and once across the equator as far as a place they call Buenos Ayres, and it was so elegant, my dear, with riding policemen in the streets."

And the whole time we were talking she chewed and munched. For there had been some one in Grimstad named Gonnersen, who was so polite that he had bought a whole basket of cakes for her on the journey. "Will you condescend to help yourself to a cake?" she said suddenly.

"Gonnersen was so polite"—was the last I heard as she crossed the gangway at Fredriksvern.[Pg 80] That was where she lived. Then she stood on the wharf and waved to me, still eating.

Now there was only Larvik and Vallö before we got to Horten; there I was to meet Mina;—hurrah, hurrah, how glad I was!

But it is certainly a good thing that you don't know what is going to happen; for it was at Horten I got left behind, all because the steamer rang only once at the Horten wharf; and that, I must say, is a shame, when people have bought their tickets to go on farther.

Yes, it was disgusting;—but now you shall hear exactly how it happened. When we got to Horten, Mina stood on the wharf with a new red parasol. Mother and Karsten were still in the cabin lying down. I ran ashore at once, you may be sure. Mina and I thought it was great fun to talk together; for we had not seen each other for more than two weeks.

She told me the whole story of her life. She told me the whole story of her life.—Page 79.

[Pg 81]

"Grandmother lives up there," said Mina, "up there, see—come here, only two or three steps farther, and you'll see better; see, there is the garden, and the doll-house with red curtains. Do you see the doll-house?—only a few steps more,—and there is the bowling-alley in Grandmother's garden——"

We ran up and up; then the steamer bell rang. "It will be sure to ring three times," I said.

"Oh, surely," said Mina, and went on explaining: "Do you see that white boat with a flag——"

I heard a suspicious sound from the steamer, and turned round as quick as lightning. Yes, really, it was putting off from the wharf; first it backed a little, and then started forward full speed. I dashed with great leaps down the road and across the wharf.

"Stop—stop—stop, I am going with you——"

But if you think there was any one who cared whether I called or not, you are mistaken. Not a person on board even turned his head, and the longshoremen on the wharf laughed as[Pg 82] hard as they could. There went the steamer with Mother and Karsten!

I wonder if you can imagine my feelings; I was in such despair that I plumped myself down on the wharf and cried. What would Mother think? She would certainly be afraid that I had fallen overboard when I disappeared all at once without leaving a trace;—and what would Father say?—and how in the world could I get to Uncle Karl's now?

Oh, how I cried that time on the wharf at Horten! At last I had to go home with Mina. And Mina's grandmother was very sweet, she really was; and Horten was really a pretty town, and I can well believe there were many nice people in it; but as for me, I thought it was horrid to be there. I didn't care about the doll-house with red curtains, or anything, though it was the prettiest doll-house I ever saw in my life, with two little rocking-chairs with little embroidered cushions, in the parlor, and little pudding-forms and colanders on the kitchen walls.[Pg 83]

But Mina's grandmother telegraphed to Mother at Dröbak that I was safe and sound at Horten; and late in the evening a telegram came from Mother at Uncle Karl's, saying that I was to borrow some money from Mina's grandmother and that I was to take a little steamer up the fjord early the next morning.

Such queer things are always happening to me! I never heard of any girl who was left behind as I was on the wharf at Horten. Mina's grandmother wanted me to stay there a few days, and would have telegraphed to Mother to ask if I might; but I didn't want to stay, for I longed so unspeakably for Mother. That night I lay awake for hours and hours, and began to feel that I should never see Mother again.

Well, in the gray light of the next morning I sat on the damp deck of a little steamer, with two big bags of cakes. Mina stood on the wharf waving and yawning too, for she wasn't used to getting up at five o'clock.[Pg 84]

I was very cold, and ate one cake after another, and dreaded what Mother would say when I got to my journey's end. It would be a very different arrival from what I had expected.

There were no other passengers on board, but a big dog who stood tied, with his address on his back. And I didn't have much pleasure with him either, for he growled at me when I patted him.

Later the captain came and talked with me. When I told him that I had been left behind on the Horten wharf the afternoon before, he laughed so that he got purple in the face. Now can you see anything to laugh at? For all that, the captain was very kind, for he let me go up on the bridge with him, and there I stayed all the time until we arrived.

On the wharf stood Uncle Karl, Mother, and Karsten waiting. Mother shook her head and looked much displeased; but Uncle Karl, with his big white mustache, laughed and nodded.

"I'm thankful to see you again," said[Pg 85] Mother. "You must know I was worried about you."

"Beautiful eyes, the puss has," said Uncle Karl suddenly.

I looked around astonished, for there didn't seem to be any puss anywhere. But only think! he meant me. I have looked carefully at my eyes since, but I don't think they are beautiful at all, for they are too round and look so surprised.

Oh, what fun we had at Uncle Karl's! I do not know that I should ever come to an end if I tried to tell about it, so I won't begin, for I have a tremendous gift of gab when I once get started;—at least that is what everybody says.

[Pg 86]



We have an awfully cosy cellar, you must know. Of course the whole house is old and rather tumbledown, so the cellar is nothing very fine; but it is awfully cosy and exactly right for playing in, in bad weather. I don't know a cellar in the whole town that is cosier; and I am fairly well acquainted with all of them, you may be sure.

Our cellar isn't underground. It is a high basement and in it is a big brewery and laundry, a big servant's room, and a big wine cellar where there is never any wine; on the other side of the basement is the storeroom for food and the potato cellar. The walls are brown and dark just from age; and the floor rocks so that I often wonder that the big casks and barrels, and fat Christine and Maren the washerwomen, who are forever washing there, do[Pg 87] not fall through, perhaps into some deep abyss underground. But it must be tough, that floor, for it still holds.

One day there was disgusting weather. Withered leaves flew around your ears and the streets were soaking wet and muddy. Nils, Peter, Karen and Antoinette had come up to our hill in order to have fun of some kind in the drizzling weather; and we hit upon playing hide-and-seek in our cellar. We divided into sides; Peter, Karsten and I on one side and the other three on the other. Nils, Antoinette and Karen hid themselves first; but they just ran up into the kitchen and Ingeborg, the cook, drove them down again; so nobody had a chance to search for them. Then Peter, Karsten and I were to hide. Peter and Karsten placed themselves in the big box-part of the mangle, and I put some sacks over them and there they were, beautifully hidden.

For myself, I thought of creeping into a cupboard in the brewery. But when it came to the point, I found that my legs had grown[Pg 88] so long since I last hid there that there wasn't room enough for them. I was at my wits' end. Any instant I expected Nils to whirl like a tempest into that room. I sprang into the wine cellar and looked about with a frantic glance. Only bare shelves, not a thing to hide one's self in. Oh, yes! There stood a meal chest. I lifted the lid—the chest was empty. Quick as a flash I jumped in and slammed the lid down.

There I lay. It was pretty close quarters but not so bad after all. Hurrah! What a first-rate hiding place! No one had ever before thought of hiding here.

I lay still, rejoicing over being so wonderfully well hidden. The minutes began to drag. At last I heard Karen and Antoinette running about and searching. Twice they were in the wine cellar.

"No—there is nobody here," they said. I kept still as a mouse, of course. Now they had found Peter and Karsten in the mangle box, for there was a great uproar out there.[Pg 89]

"But Inger Johanne! Where is Inger Johanne?"

"You'll be pretty smart if you find me!" I thought.

They ran about a while and rummaged in the brewery and then I heard them go out into the court. I lay still as a stone a little longer but it began to be somewhat warm in the meal chest, so I thought I would lift the lid a little. I pushed my back against it—but what in the world! It would not go up!

Once more I tried—and once more——Exactly what had happened I don't know, but there was a hook on the lid and when I hastily slammed the lid down, the hook probably dropped and caught on a nail in the meal chest itself.

In the first instant I can't say that I was terribly afraid. I kept on trying to get the lid up and all the time I thought, "They will soon come in here again to look for me and then I'll shout!"

But far from it. No one came. It was perfectly[Pg 90] silent. I heard nobody either in the brewery or out in the court or up in the kitchen. And all at once terror overwhelmed me,—terror at being shut up in that small place. It was as if I were in a grave. So I screamed, and banged on the lid, and kicked. Then I listened again. Not a sound was to be heard.

It was hot as fire in the meal chest. My face burned. How I screamed!

"Help me! I'm in the meal chest! help! oh, help!"

No, not a sound. What in the world would happen to me? I could scarcely get my breath—no—I knew I couldn't breathe any more. Yet again I shrieked. I cannot understand why nobody heard me. My breathing was short and difficult. No, I could not hold out—I surely could not breathe any more.

"Oh, Mother! Mother! Help me!"

Then I heard some one in the court and then footsteps in the brewery. I screamed again. Some one opened the door to the wine cellar and I heard Maren's voice.[Pg 91]

"What's that? What's that?"

"Maren, oh, Maren!" I called from the meal chest. Like a flash the door was shut again and I heard Maren running as fast as her legs could carry her up the kitchen stairs.

To think that she should run away without helping me! That seemed too sad and dreadful, when I was in such distress, and I cried and sobbed as hard as I could. And now I could scarcely get my breath again.

"Oh! oh! help, help!"

I could not scream any more, I was so strangely weak. Then I heard many feet in the kitchen above my head. They came nearer, and down the stairs, and then the door was opened. All I could do now was to call very faintly.

"Oh! Mother, Mother!"

At the same instant the lid of the meal chest was quickly thrown open. There stood Mother and Maren and Ingeborg, the cook. Mother lifted me out; I was crying so hard I could not say a word, nor explain at all how[Pg 92] it happened. However, a little while after I was as lively as ever.

"Oh, you ugly Maren—who wouldn't help me!"

"I thought it was a shriek from the underworld!" said Maren. "And I was so frightened! It clutched my heart. Oh! I shall never get over it." Maren sat on the corner of the potato bin and wept aloud.

Mother didn't know whether to scold Maren or to laugh at her. She behaved exactly as if it were she and not I who had been shut up in the meal chest.

Maren took surely a hundred Hofmann's drops and still she was poorly, and for many days she whimpered and whined about her fright at the meal chest. And even yet she cannot hear any mention of meal, or of a chest or of screaming, without her invariably saying:

"Yes, it's a wonder that I didn't get my death that time you were shut up in the meal chest—but I've had a swollen heart ever since then—and that I can thank you for."

But Mother says that's all nonsense.

[Pg 93]



One day a man from Vegassheien came into our kitchen with four live chickens that he wanted to sell. All hens, he said. We had never had any pets at our house except Bouncer, our big black cat; and Karsten and I were seized at once with an overwhelming desire to own these four half-grown, golden-brown chickens, who lay so patiently in the bottom of the peasant's basket, put their heads on one side and looked up at us with their little round black eyes. Oh, if Mother only would buy these darling chickens for us! It is such fun to have pets.

Speaking of pets makes me think of Uncle Ferdinand, and the pet monkey he had.

You know Uncle Ferdinand? The elegant[Pg 94] old gentleman dressed in gray, who bows so politely, and has such a friendly smile for everybody. Yes, all the world knows him. He is not really my uncle—or any one's uncle, that I know of; every one just calls him Uncle, because it seems as if it exactly suited him. He is certainly the kindest person in the world. All poor people love him; and he likes all people and all animals.

His wife is Aunt Octavia, and they are very rich and live in a charming house, with lots of rooms, where there are a great many beautiful things, works of art and such things. Off in her little boudoir, Aunt Octavia lies on a sofa all day. She is not really ill, Mother says; she just lies there because she is so rich. My! if I had as much money as Aunt Octavia, I should do something besides lie on a sofa with my eyes shut!

Uncle Ferdinand and Aunt Octavia have no children. That is why they are both so terribly fond of pets. Aunt Octavia likes best little white silky poodles that are bathed in luke[Pg 95] warm soap-suds, wrapped in a bathing sheet and combed with a fine comb, and that roll across the floor like little white balls. I really believe she likes such silky poodles better than anything else in the world.

But Uncle Ferdinand likes monkeys best. The pet monkey he had was brought home on one of his ships. The sailors on board had named it "Stomach," because it was such a great eater, and it was called that all the rest of its life.

Uncle Ferdinand certainly was in a scrape that time. At first he didn't dare to tell Aunt Octavia that he thought of bringing a monkey into the house; but the ship that Stomach had come on was to leave, you see, and then Uncle Ferdinand had to tell. I can imagine just how it went for I know how they talk together.

"Wouldn't you like to have a nice new plaything, Octavia? really a charming plaything, my dear?"[Pg 96]

"A plaything? What do you mean?"

"A very amusing plaything that jumps about and plays tricks, and could climb up the curtains, for instance, or sit on your shoulder and eat cakes."

"Sit on my shoulder! The man has gone crazy! Don't come any nearer, Ferdinand, I beg of you. You are ill!"

"Oh no, Octavia my dear, my mind is all right. I mean—I mean—just a monkey, my darling."

"Good heavens! Is he calling me a monkey? What do you mean?"

"My love, I only mean that there is a monkey on board the ship, that I would so much like to have here at home."

"And that is what you were beating about the bush so for! Well, well, that is just like you. However, I agree to anything you like, of course; let the creature come—let it come. It will strangle me some fine day, but I am used to that—I mean, I am used to saying yes and yielding to others."[Pg 97]

And that is how Stomach came into the house.

It was the liveliest, most mischievous monkey you can imagine. It stayed most of the time in Uncle Ferdinand's office. Up and down the book-shelves it climbed, just like a squirrel; now and then it threw itself across the room from one bookcase to another. One time it sprang straight onto the big lamp that hung from the ceiling, and made the chimney and shade come down in jingling fragments. Stomach hung from one of the chains, miserable and screaming with fright. This performance it never repeated.

Stomach loved nothing in the world so much as matches. Whenever it got hold of a box of matches it was overjoyed, and immediately climbed up on the highest bookcase. Here it sat and tossed the matches one by one down on the carpet. When it grew tired of this it flung the whole box, aiming with amazing success right at the top of Uncle Ferdinand's head. Uncle Ferdinand always sat patiently waiting[Pg 98] for this last shot; then he got down on his knees, and picked up every single match!

But what caused Uncle Ferdinand the most trouble and care was that Aunt Octavia had strictly forbidden that the monkey should ever come anywhere near her. Uncle Ferdinand was on pins and needles for fear this should happen, and scarcely did anything all day but go around shutting doors to keep Stomach away from her.

All the servants had been instructed to do the same. Sometimes they were furious with Stomach, but when it had the toothache and sat with its hand under its little swollen cheek, and rocked sorrowfully back and forth like a little sick child, their hearts softened towards it and they forgave all its pranks. But to keep Stomach within bounds grew more and more difficult. It unfastened the window-catches, promenaded along the house walls and on the window-sills. Now and then it whisked through an open window of another house, returning with the most unbelievable things,[Pg 99] water-jugs and pillows, and cologne-bottles which it emptied out very thoughtfully and slowly over the dahlia bed.

No one must even mention Stomach's name before Aunt Octavia. "The mere name of that disgusting creature nauseates me," she said. Uncle went about as if on eggs and grew even more careful about shutting the doors. But one day, in spite of all the caution, the terrible thing happened; the monkey got into Aunt Octavia's room. Some one had forgotten to shut a door; like a flash Stomach darted through, ran noiselessly over the soft carpet even into the sacred boudoir, gave a spring up onto Aunt Octavia, who lay with closed eyes on her sofa, and burrowed its whole little body in under her arm.

Then there was a hullabaloo! Aunt Octavia shrieked at the top of her lungs, and people rushed in.

"I lie here helpless," said Aunt Octavia; "it could have strangled me. Ferdinand, what was its object? I ask you, Ferdinand, what[Pg 100] was it thinking of, when it burrowed in under my arm?"

"Perhaps it wanted to warm itself," said Uncle Ferdinand meekly.

"Warm itself!" said Aunt Octavia scornfully. "To bite me in the heart was what it wanted."

Nothing would satisfy her but that Uncle must take Stomach to the doctor to be chloroformed, though he would rather have done anything else in the world!

But Uncle Ferdinand's monkey really hasn't the least thing to do with the chickens from Vegassheien that Karsten and I wanted, and that I began to tell about.

Hurrah! Mother would buy the four chickens, but only on condition that Karsten and I should take care of them. Would we do this?

Why, of course; it would be only fun. I never imagined then all the bother and rumpus that would come of it.

Up in our old barn, that has stood for many[Pg 101] years unused, there is a room partitioned off that we call the salt stall, I don't know why. Here we established our four chickens. I immediately gave them names: Lova, Diksy, Valpurga, and Carola. Karsten and I stuffed them with food, and all day they went about scratching in our kitchen garden, where, however, nothing ever grows. With shallow, sandy soil, and a frightful lot of sun, you might know it couldn't amount to anything.

The first thing I did in the morning was to let out the chickens. They flapped and fluttered around me in the fresh, cool morning stillness under the maples. It always takes some time for the sunshine to get down to our place, because of the hill.

Lova, Diksy, and Valpurga were quite ordinary long-legged chickens that scratched and picked all day long, but Carola began little by little to behave with more dignity. She stepped out vigorously, and scratched sideways, stood still for minutes at a time, just as if she were listening for something, and always[Pg 102] let the others help themselves first. And one fine day she stood on the barn steps, flapped her wings, and crowed—a regular hoarse, cracked chicken's crow—but crow she did. Of course she had to be christened over again, and so I called her Carolus.

And it is Carolus' doings that I want to tell about. Not the first year he lived; he was well enough behaved then. All summer the chickens were up in the salt stall, but when winter came they were moved down into our cellar because of the cold. Br-r-r-r! Hens have a wretched time in winter. The snow lay thick against the cellar window and shut out what little gray daylight there was, and down there on the stone floor in the dampness sat all four chickens and moped, their heads drawn down into their feathers. At such times one can be very glad not to have been born a hen. However, I went down there every day and comforted them.

"Think of the summer," I said, "think of the rich ground under the dewberry hedges,[Pg 103] and of the whole kitchen garden in the long sunny days."

Carolus flapped his wings a little, but the others didn't even do that—they were utterly discouraged.

But at last came the summer.

Lova, Diksy, and Valpurga each laid a pretty little egg every day up in the salt stall. What fun it is to go and hunt for eggs! You go and poke around and hunt and hunt, but they are clever and sly, these hens, and hide themselves well under pieces of board and rubbish. By and by, off in some corner you see a gleam of white and there are the eggs, round and smooth and warm.

Carolus had become a fine noble-looking cock with long curved tail-feathers which shone with metallic colors in the sun; but oh, the trouble he gave me!

Right at the foot of our hill lives Madam Land in a little old gray house. Madam Land keeps hens, too. Well! nothing would do but that Carolus must go down to her[Pg 104] chicken-yard. It wasn't half as nice as our kitchen-garden but he couldn't keep away from it a single day.

The instant the hens were let out in the morning Carolus made a dash down the hill, flying and running straight to Madam Land's gate. If the gate were not open, Carolus flew over the board fence and down into the midst of Madam Land's flock of hens. I called and I coaxed; I scolded him and chased him. No, thank you! Carolus crowed and squawked, and flew up on the board fence; he put his head on one side and looked down at me, and no sooner was I well out of the way than he was in the yard again and there he stayed all day.

Every single night I had to go down to get him after he had gone to roost with Madam Land's hens. Then there was a racket, I can tell you! The hens cackled and squawked and flew down from the roost, even hitting against my face as they flew. You couldn't hear yourself think in Madam Land's hen-house.[Pg 105]

But I took firm hold of my good Carolus. He kicked and struggled, but I held his shining warm body close to me and could feel his heart beating and hammering as I ran home with him.

Every single night this performance had to be gone through, and every single night Madam Land stood in her kitchen door and scolded when I went past with Carolus in my arms.

"Oh, yes! he's the pampered one—oh, yes, he's the one that's getting fat—he eats enough for four hens—there's surely law and justice to be had in such cases—yes, indeed, he's the pampered one." I could hear Madam Land's voice following me all the way up our hill.

Madam Land herself doesn't look as if she were pampered. Her husband is a boatman. She is frightfully saving. They say in the town that Madam Land boils only three potatoes for dinner every day, "two potatoes for Land, one for the maid, and I don't need any," says Madam Land. And only think,[Pg 106] day after day she had to see that big Carolus of ours eating out of the dish she had filled for her own hens. Any one could understand Madam Land's being angry.

One day Madam Land came up to our house to complain to Mother about Carolus.

Now I hadn't said a word to Mother about the way Carolus had been behaving lately. I had a dark misgiving that it would work against my gallant Carolus in some way. Mother was very much annoyed, and said that I was to be so good as to keep Carolus shut up hereafter. For two days I kept him in the salt stall. He hopped up on the window-sill and pecked at the small green panes. But the third day I was so terribly sorry for him that I let him out.

"You'll see he has forgotten all about it," said Karsten. Forgotten!—no, thank you! Carolus was already off. He screeched for joy and flew straight into Madam Land's yard.

"Well, then, we'll tie him," said Karsten suddenly. That was an excellent idea, I[Pg 107] thought. First we found a long string, and then we went down after the sinner. Naturally he didn't want to come home again; Madam Land's whole yard was just one uproar of frightened hens, we ran about so, driving them here and there, before we got hold of Carolus. We tied the string around his leg and tethered him beside the barn steps.

After we had done this, I went in to study my lessons, but I hadn't been studying five minutes before I had a queer feeling of uneasiness, and had to go out to see how Carolus was getting on. There he lay on the ground; he had twisted and wound the string around himself countless times,—he just lay on his side and gasped. I freed him in no time; for a moment he lay still, then he got up suddenly, flapped his wings hard and—away he went, with outspread wings that fairly swept the ground, and disappeared in Madam Land's yard. That night I didn't go to get him. The fact is I didn't dare to, because of Madam Land.[Pg 108]

As I came home from school the next day I went round by Madam Land's. Carolus stood in the yard eating Madam Land's chicken-feed and sour milk with excellent appetite. His big red comb hung down over one eye. The other eye, that was free, he turned towards me as if he would say, "I know you well enough, Mistress Inger Johanne, but go your way—I intend to stay here for good and all."

"Well," I thought, "let them scold as they please about you, Carolus; you are surely the most beautiful cock in all the world—but you are mine, you must remember."

When evening came I had studied out a plan for catching Carolus without Madam Land's seeing me. She kept her hens in a part of the wood-shed that was boarded off. Behind this was an open field, and high up in the back wall, right under the roof, there was a little window that always stood open. Through that window I meant to go to get Carolus. There was an old ladder in our barn; I got Peter and Karsten to carry it down the hill and set it up[Pg 109] under the window. Both Peter and Karsten wanted to climb up, but I said no; such a difficult undertaking no one but myself could manage.

It was about nine o'clock in the evening and growing dark. I climbed the ladder and got to the top round all right. But whether it was that the ladder was rotten or that Peter and Karsten let go of it,—I had no sooner got hold of the window-sill and dragged myself in than down fell the ladder, breaking all to pieces as it fell.

So there I was in a pretty fix! And how Karsten and Peter laughed down below! I was furiously angry with them, especially at the way Peter laughed. When Peter laughs it is just as if some one had suddenly tickled him in the stomach; he doubles himself together, twists like a worm, and laughs without making a sound. But Karsten roared at the top of his voice.

"Will you stop your laughing, Karsten? You will betray me making such a noise."[Pg 110]

"How will you get down again?"

"Oh, I'll jump down." It was certainly ten or twelve feet to the ground. "Now I am going in after Carolus; I'll drop him down from here, and you must be sure to catch him."

I groped my way down the half-dark stairway from the loft, stumbled along, in the pitch-black darkness of the shed, over a chopping-block and a heap of shavings, and at last got to the part of the wood-shed where the hens were. I opened the door softly and fumbled with my hand along the roost they were sitting on. But, O dear! O dear! such a squawking and screeching! You haven't the least idea how Madam Land's hens could squawk. It was exactly as if I were murdering them all at once. Outside of the wall I could hear Karsten fairly howling with laughter. I kept fumbling around in the dark, for I wanted to find Carolus. I think I got hold of every single hen; all their beaks were stretched wide, letting out one and the same piercing squawk.

And how Karsten and Peter laughed down below!—Page 109. And how Karsten and Peter laughed down below!—Page 109.

[Pg 111]

Then I heard the door of Madam Land's kitchen thrown open, and footsteps across the yard—then Madam Land's voice, "Come with your stick, Land, there are thieves in the hen-house." The door of the wood-shed was opened and Madam Land's maid burst in and saw me. "It is the judge's Inger Johanne, madam," she called.

"Is it that spindleshanks again?" I heard Madam Land say—yes, she really said "spindleshanks"; but to me she only said, "Your cock is not here, girl; he has not been here all day—not for two or three days, I believe."

"But he was here this morning."

"Not at all. You didn't see straight. He is not here, I tell you."

I ran home completely at a loss. What in the world had become of Carolus? The next day I searched everywhere. I went around to all the houses in the neighborhood and asked after my cock. No, no one had seen him anywhere.

Then all at once a frightful suspicion arose[Pg 112] in my mind: Madam Land had cut off Carolus' head!

Oh, what a shame, what a shame!—what a shame for her to do that! How I cried that day! It did no good for them to say at home that perhaps Carolus would come back, and that even if he didn't, it wasn't at all sure that Madam Land had made an end of him; he might easily have just gone astray himself.

No, I didn't believe that for a moment. It was Madam Land who had murdered him, and I thought it was mighty queer of Father that he wouldn't put her on bread and water for twenty days, for she deserved it.

The only thing that consoled me was that I myself never had to see Carolus served up in white sauce in a covered dish on the dinner table. Never—never in the world—would I have tasted a bit of Carolus!

Well, something always does happen to pets—think of Uncle Ferdinand's monkey.

[Pg 113]



It was Christmas Eve when we went mumming, and oh! how glorious the moonlight was! Down in our streets and up over our hills the moon shines clearer than it does anywhere else on the face of the globe, I'll wager.

Massa, Mina and I had dressed ourselves up in fancy costumes. "If any one asks where you are from," said Mother, when we were ready to start, "you can safely say, 'From the Land of Fantasy.' You certainly look as if you came from there."

Massa had on a light blue dress trimmed with gold-colored cord. It was one of Mother's heirlooms from Great-grandmother Krag, and had a tiny short waist and big puffed sleeves. Massa wore also a green velvet hat,[Pg 114] and her thick long flaxen hair hung loose down her back.

Mina was dressed in silk from top to toe; an old-time dress of flowered brown silk with a train, a green silk shawl and a big white silk bonnet that came away out beyond her face.

When the others were ready, there was nothing fine left for me, so I had to take a white petticoat, and a dressing sacque, and a big old-fashioned Leghorn hat that Mother had worn when she was young. To decorate myself a little, I carried a beautifully carved tine in one hand and a red parasol in the other. We all wore masks, of course,—big pasteboard masks, which came away down over our chins, with enormous noses and highly colored red cheeks.

Well, off we went and soon stood at the foot of our hill in a most daring mood, ready for all sorts of pranks.

I don't know who proposed that we should go first to Mrs. Berg's, but we all chimed in at once. We crept softly up to her door-step.[Pg 115]

Unluckily for us, as it happened, Mrs. Berg has a great iron weight on her street door,—so that it will shut of itself, you know. What the matter was, I can't imagine, but as soon as we had given one knock at the door, down fell that iron weight to the floor with a thundering crash. We were so frightened that we were on the point of running away when Mrs. Berg and her husband came bustling out to the door with a lighted lamp.

"No, thanks," said Mrs. Berg, as soon as she caught sight of us. "I don't want anything to do with such jugglery as this! Out with you, and that quickly!"

"Oh, no, little Marie," said her husband. "You ought to ask the little young ladies in. They are not street children, don't you see?" Mina's magnificent clothes evidently made an impression on him.

Mrs. Berg mumbled something about its being all the same to her what sort of people we were, but Mr. Berg had already opened the door and respectfully asked us to walk in.[Pg 116]

It was as hot as a bake-oven in the sitting-room, and so stuffy and thick with tobacco smoke that I thought I should smother behind my mask. Mr. Berg bowed and bowed and set out three chairs for us in the middle of the room. Now we had planned at home that we would use only P-speech while mumming, for then no one would know us.

"May I ask where these three elegant ladies come from?" asked Mr. Berg.

Massa undertook to answer, but she was never very clever at P-speech and she got all mixed up:

"From-prom. Fan-tan-pan—pi-ta—sa-si p-p-p——" she stammered, in a hopeless tangle, while Mina and I were ready to burst with laughter.

"Bless us! These must be foreigners from some very distant land,—they speak such a curious language. You must treat them with something, Marie."

Marie didn't appear very willing to treat us to anything, but she went over to a corner cupboard[Pg 117] and brought out a few cookies,—pale, baked-to-death "poor man's cookies." They looked poor, indeed! I shuddered before I stuck a piece into my mouth.

To eat with a mask on, when the mouth is no wider than the slit in a savings-bank, has its difficulties, I can tell you. The little I did get in tasted of camphor. Mrs. Berg must have kept her medicines in the same closet with the cakes.

"Perhaps the little ladies would like something more," said Mr. Berg.

"No, thanks—No-po, thanks-panks." And we all three rose to go. We curtsied and curtsied. Mr. Berg bowed and bowed. Mrs. Berg turned the key in the street door after us with a snap, and I heard her say something about "that long-legged young one of the judge's!"

Oh! how we laughed! "Now we will go to Mrs. Pirk's," said I.

"Inger Johanne! Are you crazy? She is worse than Mrs. Berg!"[Pg 118]

"That makes it all the more wildly exciting! Come on!"

We crept stealthily into Mrs. Pirk's kitchen. It was pitch dark in there except for a little light through the keyhole of the sitting-room.

"Hush! Keep still!" Mrs. Pirk coughed suddenly and we all quaked.

"Now she will surely come!" Silence again. We were half-choked with laughter.

"I am going to clear my throat," said I. "Ahem!"

"Ahem!" I gave a very loud, strong one the second time.

A chair was hastily shoved aside in the sitting-room, the door opened, a sharp light fell on our three fantastic figures, and Mrs. Pirk stood in the doorway with her spectacles on her nose. I stepped forward.

"Good-pood day-pay!" Mrs. Pirk went like a flash to the fireplace and grabbed a broom-stick.

"Get out!" she cried. "Out with you!"

So out of the door we ran, stumbling and[Pg 119] tumbling over each other, Mrs. Pirk after us with her uplifted broom, out into the moonlit street. Oh! it was unspeakable fun to be chased out-of-doors that way by Mrs. Pirk!

Well—then we went on to the Macks'.

They were sitting alone in their big light sitting-room, as we went in. Mrs. Mack was playing "patience" and Mr. Mack sat by her side smoking his long pipe and pointing out with the end of it which card he thought she ought to take next.

We pressed close together around the door and curtsied.

"Why, see! Welcome to youth and joy!" said Mrs. Mack, rising. "What nice young people these are to come to visit a pair of old folks like us!"

Mr. Mack came forward and pointed with the end of his pipe over our heads, saying:

"Up on the sofa with you! Up on the sofa with you, all three!"

So there we sat, as if we were distinguished guests, with the lamp shining full upon us.[Pg 120]

"I see you have a tine with you," said Mr. Mack, looking at the tine I carried. "Have you something to sell, perhaps? And where may these pretty little ladies be from?"

"I-pi sell-pell butter-putter," said I.

"We are from the Land of Fantasy," said Massa, without attempting P-speech again.

"Why! They don't make butter in the Land of Fantasy, do they?" asked Mrs. Mack.

Just then the servant came in with an immense tray, and on it was something very different from Mrs. Berg's camphorated cookies, I assure you! I thought with grief of my mask mouth no bigger than a savings-bank slit.

"And now what about unmasking?" said Mr. Mack. "That is, if these ladies from the Land of Fantasy are willing to liven up an evening for a couple of old people."

Were willing! We took our masks off in a jiffy. But, would you believe it? Mr. Mack said he knew me the very minute we came in![Pg 121]

Mrs. Mack took a glass of Christmas mead and recited:

"Oh! I remember the happy ways
Of my gay and innocent childhood days.
And I love to feel that my old heart swells,
With the same pure joy that in childhood dwells."

"Mamma composed that herself," said Mr. Mack, gazing admiringly at his wife.

Later in the evening, Mrs. Mack danced the minuet for us, holding up her skirt and singing in a delicate old-lady voice. Then she said:

"Do you remember, Mack? Do you remember that they were playing that air the evening you asked me to marry you?"

"Do I remember?" And Mr. Mack and his wife beamed tenderly at each other.

"Think! That such a homely woman as I should get married!" said Mrs. Mack to us on the sofa.

"You homely!" and Mr. Mack gave the dear old lady a kiss right on the mouth.

"Now we shall see, children, whether, when you get old, you have done like Mack and me.[Pg 122] We have danced a minuet our whole life through, and the memories of youth have been our music."

When we went home at the end of the evening, we had our pockets crammed full of apples and nuts and cakes.

It is jolly fun to go out mumming at Christmas! Just try it!

[Pg 123]



It was an afternoon in the spring. There had been a heavy fall of snow the day before and then suddenly a thaw set in. So very warm was the air and the sun so burning hot that the water from the roof gutters came rushing and tumbling out in regular waterfalls; and big snowslides from the housetops thumped down everywhere, making a rumbling noise all along the streets.

The walking I won't try to describe. There were no paths made, just the frightfully soft melting snow, so deep that it came exactly half-way to your knees. So there wasn't much pleasure in walking, I assure you; and we hadn't a thing to do.

The steamships from both east and west[Pg 124] were delayed by the snow-storm, so there was no fun in going to the wharf and hanging around there. Usually it is amusing enough,—always something new to see and something happening; and now and then we have fun seeing the queer seasick people on board the ships. Just outside of our town there is a horribly rough place in the sea where cross currents meet, and the passengers look forlorn enough when the ship gets to the wharf.

But all this isn't really what I meant to tell about now; I started to tell about the afternoon when we played a lot of pranks simply because there wasn't a thing else to do. Truly, that was the reason. Now you shall hear.

Karen, Mina, Munda, and I were together that afternoon. Not a person was to be seen on the street and it was disgustingly quiet and dull everywhere. The only pleasant thing was that there came a tremendously big heavy snowslide right down on the little shoemaker, Jorgen.

The only pleasant thing was that there came a tremendously big, heavy snowslide right down on the little shoemaker.—Page 123. The only pleasant thing was that there came a tremendously big, heavy snowslide right down on the little shoemaker.—Page 123.

[Pg 125]

Well, I don't mean that that was a pleasure exactly, you understand, but it made a little variety.

Just as he came around the corner, by Madam Lindeland's, b-r-r-r! there was a rumbling above, and down upon him slid a whole mass of snow from Madam Lindeland's steep sloping roof. He was knocked completely over, and all we could see of him was a bit of his old brown blouse sticking up through the snow.

In a flash Mina, Munda, Karen, and I were on the spot, digging him out with our hands. Before you could count ten, he was up, but you had better believe he was angry! Not at us exactly, but at the snow, and the thaw, and the town itself that was so badly arranged that people walking in the streets might be killed before they knew it.

"Preposterous, the whole business," grumbled the shoemaker. "Who would dream that there would be such a thaw right on top of such an unreasonable snow-storm—and in March, too!"[Pg 126]

Then he noticed that he had lost his cap, so we dug in the snow again, searching for it, and had lots of fun before we finally found it.

All this excitement over the snowslide made us crazy for more fun, and we decided that we would go to Madam Graaberg and ask her if she had white velvet to sell. Madam Graaberg has a little shop in a basement and sells almost nothing but lu-de-fisk (fish soaked in lye, with a rank odor).

First we peeped in the window between the glasses of groats. Yes, there were many people in the shop and Madam Graaberg stood behind the counter as usual. She is as big as three ordinary women and her eyes are as black as two bits of coal; and my! how they can flash!

We plumped ourselves down into the shop, all four of us. It smelled frightfully of lu-de-fisk and the whole floor was like a puddle from all the wet feet. A fine place to go to ask for white velvet! And Madam Graaberg has an awful temper, let me tell you![Pg 127]

There were many customers to be waited on before us, so we stood together in a bunch at the farthest end of the counter. The time dragged on and on before they had all got their lu-de-fisk, for that was what they wanted, the whole swarm of them.

On the counter beside me, there was a big new ball of string in an iron frame, the kind that whirls around when you pull the string. The end of the string dangled so invitingly close to me, and waiting for Madam Graaberg to be ready to attend to us was so tedious, that I busied myself with taking the end of the string and slyly tying it fast to one of the buttons on the back of Munda's coat. Of course I meant to untie the string before we went out, but Madam Graaberg turned suddenly to us.

"What do you want, children?" asked she, portly and dignified, towering over the counter.

We were all a little bewildered because she had come to us so abruptly, but we pushed Munda forward. My, how uncomfortable she looked![Pg 128]

"Have you any white velvet for sale?" asked Munda feebly.

I gave a spring towards the door, for it seemed best to get away at once. Two maids stood there, who roared with laughter. "Ha ha! Ha ha! Madam Graaberg, that's pretty good. Ha ha!"

"White velvet," hissed Madam Graaberg. "White velvet! Make a fool of me in my own lawful business, will you? Out of my shop this instant!"

She didn't need to tell us twice. We dashed helter-skelter out of the door, all four of us, splashing the mud and slush recklessly.

Suddenly Munda cried out, "Oh, I'm fast to something! I'm fast to something behind!"

Just think! I had forgotten to untie the string from the button! I thought I heard a buzzing noise when we flew out of the door, but it never occurred to me that it could be the string-ball whirling around in its frame.

There was no time now to untie the knot, for Madam Graaberg was right out in the[Pg 129] street and calling after us. They were not exactly gentle words she was using, either, you may well believe!

"Oh, but I'm fast—I'm fast!" shrieked Munda again.

"Tear off the button!" I shouted. Munda made some desperate efforts to get hold of her own back. No use; so I took hold of the string and gave a great jerk and off came the button. Munda was free and we dashed round the street corner.

"Uh, uh huh!" sobbed Munda. "Mother'll be so angry about that button!"

"Pooh!" said I. "Just sew the hole up, and you can always find a button to put over it. But oh, girls! How jolly angry Madam Graaberg was!"

"Yes, and wasn't she funny when she said, 'Out of my shop this instant'?"

We were tremendously pleased with our joke. We talked and laughed—enjoying ourselves immensely; but we hadn't had enough tomfoolery yet.[Pg 130]

"Girls," I said, "now let's go to Nibb's shop and ask whether he has white velvet."

All were willing. To think of asking that queer Mr. Nibb for white velvet, when he kept only shoe-strings and paraffin for sale! My! but that would be fun! Mr. Nibb always has the window shades tight down over his shop windows, so that not the least thing can be seen from the street. He isn't exactly right in his mind—and do you know what he did once?

It was in church and I sat just in front of him and had on my flat fur cap. He is a great one to sing in church and he stands bolt upright and sings at the top of his voice. And just think! He laid his hymn-book on top of my cap just as if it were a reading desk, and I didn't dare to move my head because he might get in a rage if I did. So he sang and sang and sang, and I sat and sat there with the hymn-book on the top of my head.

Well—that was that time—but now we stood there in the street considering as to[Pg 131] whether we should go in and ask him if he had white velvet.

"No, we surely don't dare to," said Karen.

"Oh, yes we do," said I. "He can't kill us."

"Who knows?" said Karen. "He isn't just like other people."

"Pooh! When there are four of us together——" No, they didn't want to—so I suddenly threw the shop door wide open and then we had to go in. Mr. Nibb came towards us bowing and bowing. We pushed Munda forward again.

"Have you any white——" began Munda in a shaking voice. And then our courage suddenly gave way and Karen, Mina, and I sprang to the door as quick as lightning, slamming the door after us, and not stopping until we were at the farther corner of the street. And then we saw that Munda wasn't with us! Why in the world hadn't she come out? What was happening to her? We rushed back and listened outside the shop door. Not a sound[Pg 132] was to be heard. Karen and Mina were both as white as chalk.

"It's all your fault," they whispered to me. "Who knows what danger Munda is in?"

At that I was so frightened that I didn't know what I was doing, and I threw the door open at once.

There sat Munda on a chair in the middle of the shop, holding a big apple, and Mr. Nibb stood with his legs crossed, leaning against the counter in a jaunty attitude and talking to her.

"Are there many dances in the town nowadays—young ladies?" asked Mr. Nibb, turning to us, as we, pale as death, entered the shop.

No answer.

"Or engagements among the young people perhaps," he continued—polite to the last degree.

"People live so quietly in this town;—one might call himself buried alive here, so that a visit from four promising young beauties is—ahem—an adventure!"[Pg 133]

Dear me! how comical he was! None of us said a word. Suddenly Munda got up.

"A thousand thanks," she said and curtsied—the apple in her hand.

"Thank you," we echoed, all curtseying; though really I haven't the least idea what we were thanking him for!

"Ah—bah!" said Mr. Nibb waving his hand. "It is I who must thank you. I am much indebted to the young ladies for this delightful call."

With this he opened the door, and came away out on the steps and bowed.

Oh, how we laughed when he had gone in and the door was shut again. We laughed so we could scarcely stand.

"What did he do when you were alone, Munda?"

"He sprang after a chair," said Munda. "And then he sprang after an apple—and then he stood himself there by the counter just as you saw him and began to talk—oh! how frightened I was!"[Pg 134]

"What did he say?"

"Ha ha! he—ha ha!—he asked me if I were engaged!"

"Ha ha ha! that was splendid."

"And just then you all came in."

"Ha ha! Ha ha ha!"

By this time it was so late that we must start for home and we took the quickest way, over High Street. It was almost dark and there was scarcely a person in sight, as we ran up the street through the March slush and mud.

"Oh, let's knock on Mother Brita's windows!" said I, and we knocked gaily on the little panes as we ran past the house.

At that moment Mother Brita called from her doorway.

"Halloa!" she called. "Come here a minute. God be praised that any one should come! Let me speak to you."

We went slowly back. Perhaps she was angry with us for knocking on her windows.

"Here I am as if I were in prison," said Mother Brita. "My little grandchild is sick[Pg 135] with bronchitis and I can't leave him a single minute; and my son John, you know him, is out there at Stony Point with his ship, and is going to sail away this very evening, and he sails to China to be gone two years,—and I want so much to say good-bye to him—two whole years—to China—but I can't leave that poor sick baby in there, for he chokes if some one doesn't lift him up when the coughing spells come on—oh, there he's coughing again!"

Mother Brita hurried in, and all four of us after her. A tiny baby lay there in a cradle, and Mother Brita lifted him and held him up while the coughing spell lasted. He coughed so hard that he got quite blue in the face.

"O dear! You see how it is! Now he'll go away—my son John—this very evening, and I may never see him again in this world, uh-huh-huh!"

Poor Mother Brita! It seemed a sin and a shame that she should not at least see her son to bid him good-bye.[Pg 136]

"I'll sit here with the baby until you come back, Mother Brita," said I.

"Yes, I will too."

"So will I, and I." All four of us wanted to stay.

"Oh, oh! What kind little girls!" said Mother Brita. "I will fly like the wind. Just raise him up when the spells come on. I won't be long on the way either going or coming. Well, good-bye, and I'm much obliged to you." With that Mother Brita was out of the house, having barely taken time to throw a handkerchief over her head.

There we sat. It was a strange ending to an afternoon of fun and mischief. The room was very stuffy; a small candle stood on the table and burned with a long, smoky flame, and back in a corner an old clock ticked very slowly, tick—tock!—tick—tock!

We talked only in whispers. Very soon the baby had another coughing fit. We raised him up and he choked and strangled as before, and after the coughing, cried as if in pain, without[Pg 137] opening his eyes. Poor little thing! Poor baby!

Again we sat still for a while without speaking; then—"I'm so frightened—everything is so dismal," whispered Karen.

Deep silence broken only by the clock's ticking and the baby's breathing.

"I think I must go," she added after a minute.

"That is mean of you," whispered I.

"I must go, too," whispered Munda. "They are always so anxious at home when I don't come."

"I must go too," whispered Mina.

Then I got a little angry. "Oh well, all right, go, every one of you! All right, go on, if you want to be so mean."

And only think, they did go! They ran out of the door, all three, without a word more. Just then the baby had another attack and I had to hold him up quite a long time before he could get his breath again.

And now I was all alone in Mother Brita's[Pg 138] little house. Never in my life had I been in there before, and it was anything but pleasant, you may well believe. It was very dark in all the corners, and the poor baby coughed and coughed; the candle burned lower and lower and the clock ticked on slowly and solemnly. No sign of Mother Brita.

Well, I would sit here. I wouldn't stir from here even if Mother Brita didn't come back before it was pitch-dark night—no, indeed, I would not. I would not. Not for anything would I leave this pitiful little suffering baby alone.

He was certainly very sick, very, very sick; perhaps God would come to take him to-night. Just think, if He should come while I sat there!——

At first this made me feel afraid, but then I thought that I need not be afraid of God—of Him who is kinder than any one in the world! The baby coughed painfully and I lifted him up again.

Everything was so queer, so wonderfully[Pg 139] queer! First had we four been racing about, playing pranks and thinking only of fun all the afternoon—perhaps it was wrong to play such mischievous pranks—and now here was I alone taking care of a little baby I had never known anything about;—a little baby that God or His angels might soon come for and take away. I had not the least bit of fear now. I only felt as if I were in church,—it was so solemn and so still. In a little while, this poor baby might be in Heaven,—in that beautiful place flooded with glorious light,—with God. And I, just a little girl down here on earth, was I to be allowed to sit beside the baby until the angels came for him?

I looked around the bare, gloomy room. It might be that the angels who were to take away Mother Brita's grandchild were already here. Oh, how good it would be for the poor little baby who coughed so dreadfully!

The clock had struck for half-past seven, for eight o'clock, and half-past eight, and there was just a small bit left of the candle. The[Pg 140] sick baby had quieted down at last, and now lay very still.

There came a rattling at the door; some one fumbled at the latch and I stared through the gloom with straining eyes, making up my mind not to be afraid. The door opened slowly a little way, and Ingeborg, our cook, put her round face into the opening.

"Well, have I found you at last? And is it here you are? I was to tell you to betake yourself home. Your mother and father have been worrying themselves to pieces about you, and——"

"Hush, Ingeborg! Be still. He is so sick, so very sick."

Ingeborg came over to the cradle and bent down. Then she hurriedly brought the bit of candle to the cradle.

"Oh, he is dead," she said slowly. "Poor little thing! He is dead,—poor little chap!"

"Oh no, Ingeborg, no!" I sobbed. "Is he dead? For I lifted him up every single time he coughed. Oh, it is beautiful that he is dead,[Pg 141] he suffered so, and yet,—oh, it seems sad, too!"

"I will stay here with him now until Mother Brita comes home," said Ingeborg. "For you——"

"How did you know I was here?"

"Why, Karen and Munda came into the kitchen just a few minutes ago, and told me."

She said again that she would stay in my place, but I couldn't bear to go before Mother Brita came back.

Shortly after, Mother Brita hurried in, warm, and out of breath. "Oh, oh! how long you have had to wait," she said in distress. "I couldn't find John at Stony Point, I had to go away into town. I suppose you are angry that I stayed so long."

"The baby had to give up the fight, Mother Brita," said Ingeborg.

"Give up? What? What do you say?"

"I lifted him up, Mother Brita, every time he coughed, I did truly," said I, and then I burst out crying again. I couldn't help it.[Pg 142]

"Yes, I am sure you did, my jewel," said Mother Brita, "and God be praised that He has taken the baby out of his poor little body. Never can pain or sin touch him now."

Mother and Father said that I had done just right to stay, and when Mother kissed me good-night she said she was sure that the dear God Himself had been with me and the poor little baby. And that seemed so wonderful and beautiful and solemn that I could never tell any one, even Mother, how beautiful it was.

Up in the churchyard there is a tiny grave, the grave of Mother Brita's grandchild. I know very well just where it is and I often put flowers upon it in the summer. What I like best to put there are rosebuds, fresh, lovely, pink rosebuds.

[Pg 143]



Ugh! I can't stand rainy weather! Especially in summer! Perhaps some people may like a nasty drizzling rain that keeps on day after day right in the middle of summer, so that the gooseberries drop from the bushes, and there is only a soft wet plot of ground where one expected big, magnificent strawberries and had joyfully kept watch for them day after day. As for the rose-bushes, only the yellow hips are left on them. Half decayed rose petals lie sprinkled on the wet earth, and the mignonette and daisies lie flat on the ground all mouldy and limp.

Our old house on the hill is the most delightful house in town,—that is really true—but in rainy weather it is perhaps a little wet up there.[Pg 144] All the water which gathers on the hilltop back of the house runs down towards us, you see. It trickles and streams in brooks and tiny waterfalls over the stones, through moss and heather, takes with it a lot of earth from the kitchen garden (where, truth to tell, there wasn't much beforehand), and washes out deep gullies in our hillside, leaving only the clean stones. Every time that it rains really in earnest for several days, Father has to put wagon-loads of new earth on the hill to make it look a little respectable again.

Detestable as these long rainy spells are, Karsten and I have lots of fun afterwards, when it has poured down by tubfuls for several days and the hilltop is really soaking and running over with water.

Karsten and I build waterworks, you see; we build dams and make sluices and waterfalls. That's fun, I can tell you!

Massa and Mina can't imagine how I can enjoy myself with anything like that now that I am so old—thirteen. They make fun of me[Pg 145] and tattle about it at school and to the boys; but I don't bother myself the least grain about that. I get my feet sopping wet, sure enough, and the bottom of my dress, and way up my sleeves; and then I have to creep up the back stairs to change my clothes so that Mother won't see how wet they are. But oh! the fun Karsten and I have!

Sometimes we begin away back on the hilltop and make sluices, and wall them up with heather and moss, so as to make the water run where we want it to. Karsten carries the stones and gets fiery red in the face, even with his hat off. I do the walling up and give the orders, for I am the engineer, you see.

It must be awfully nice to be an engineer when you are grown up, but sad to say, I never can be, since I am a girl. However, Karsten can be the engineer and I can sit in his office and be the one to manage the whole concern, just as I do on the hilltop here; for Karsten can never think of anything new to do, but I can.[Pg 146]

A little way down the hill we have our reservoir which all the streams run into. It is in a particularly good place, a deep hollow close to the top of the steepest precipice on the whole hill. All it needs is a little walling up on one side, but that has to be very strong and solid; for sometimes we have more than two feet of water in the reservoir, and then it will easily overflow.

After we have it all built, comes the great moment of letting the waterfall loose. Karsten and I each have a stout stake,—quick as lightning we punch a hole through the dam, and down rushes the waterfall over the precipice. The yellowish marsh water which we have led to the pool from way back on the hilltop is one mass of white foam. It thunders and crashes and spatters just like a real waterfall.

The only nuisance about it is that it lasts so short a time. Even if the pond is full up to the brim the water can all run out in five minutes. On that account we always try to let off the waterfall when there is some one besides our[Pg 147]selves to see it. It doesn't matter who it is, even if it is only the stone-breaker's child, but we must have at least one spectator, or we shouldn't care to let off the waterfall.

Right on the slope below the precipice is the cottage of Soren, the mason. Our land joins on to his farm. When we let out the waterfall the water streams down over our land right behind the big walnut tree. It had always taken the very same course and it never entered my head that it could take any other.

But now you shall hear. It had rained twelve days on a stretch, and that just as the summer vacation had begun. In fact, it seems to me it always does—every year. Well, never mind that. At any rate Karsten and I were almost bored to death. It was all right for Karsten to stand out in the rain and sail birch bark boats in the brewing vat which stood full of water out in the farmyard, but I outgrew such play years ago, of course. As for sitting and reading books in the very middle of the summer, there is no sort of sense in that. At[Pg 148] least I don't think there is any fun in it; so I will say outright that I was dreadfully bored.

Finally, one day, out came the sun. It shone and it glittered. The grass, the fences, and the washed-out stones all dripped and sparkled as the sun sent its blazing light upon them. And there wasn't a crack or a crevice on the whole hilltop that wasn't brimming over with water.

Oh! what a waterfall we could make to-day!

"Karsten! Karsten! Will you come with me and make a waterfall?"

Karsten had been so desperately bored the afternoon before that he had put up a swing in the loft. As I called him I saw his face up there in the dusty green window. The second after, he was down in the yard, and we were both off for the hilltop. The one single tool that we have to work with is a little old trough which we use for dipping up water when we need to.

Oh! such a summer day as it was up on that hilltop! with the sun sparkling on the wet purple heather, on the blueberries and red whortleberries[Pg 149] and great wavy ferns covered with pearly water-drops! But Karsten and I had something else to do, I can assure you, than to look at all this beauty. For to-day we were going to make Niagara Falls! We had water enough.

O my! how Karsten and I slaved that morning! We made an entirely new watercourse so that we had ever so much more water for the pond. And then the pond itself had to be made better and bigger. It was ready to overflow any minute,—it was so full. Karsten slipped in twice and got wet way above his knees. My! how we laughed!

It seemed as if there was always a little tuft of moss to stuff in or a stone to lay in better position, in order to make the pond really tight and firm; but at last we had it finished.

But now there was no one at hand, not a single person, to admire the glorious sight of the waterfall, and I didn't want to have all our hard work go for nothing. Karsten wanted to let the waterfall loose anyway, but I wouldn't[Pg 150] do it, and we had almost got into a quarrel when, as good luck would have it, Thora Heja came trudging along across the hilltop. Thora Heja is an old peasant woman who used to work in the fields but now goes round getting her living by drowning cats and cutting hens' heads off for people.

"Thora Heja, where are you going?" I called out.

"Oh! I am going down to attend to two hens at the sexton's," shouted Thora across to us.

"Wait a little and you shall see Niagara Falls!"

"See what?"

"Wait a little and you shall see something wonderful!"

Karsten and I grabbed our big stakes and quick as lightning tore away the dam. However it happened, I really don't know, but it must be that we tore away some big stones we had never disturbed before, and that our doing this made the whole waterfall take an entirely[Pg 151] different direction. It foamed and crashed—you couldn't hear yourself think!—It was really magnificent.

"Hurrah!" shouted Karsten and I.

But right through the tremendous roar of the waterfall, there came cleaving the air the wildest pig squeal you ever heard, from the ground down below us. The waterfall kept on roaring, and the pig squeals grew worse and worse.

It never occurred to me for a moment that the pig squeals had anything to do with our waterfall. We couldn't see what was going on below from where we stood. I thought Thora Heja was behaving in the queerest way, however, for instead of standing quietly and admiring the waterfall as we had expected, she began to shriek and point and throw up her arms beseechingly and try to tell us something; finally she took to her heels and vanished through the wet grass down the steep hillside, shouting and screaming as she went.

Soon after we heard many voices down below[Pg 152] all talking at once, but the waterfall kept on with its rush and noise, for, as I have said, there was a tremendous lot of water in the pond that day. All this happened in a much shorter time than it takes me to write it, you know.

I heard Soren, the mason's, angry voice.

"Such a thing as this sha'n't be permitted! I won't have it—not if I swing for it! Even if it is the judge's children themselves——"

A sudden suspicion popped into my head.

"Karsten! Something must have gone wrong with our waterfall!"

"I'll run down and see!"

"No! Are you crazy? Don't go! Can't you hear how angry Soren, the mason, is?"

By this time the whole pond had emptied itself out. The waterfall had subsided into little trickling rills, coursing in straggling lines down the precipice. Then Soren, the mason, appeared in the distance, having reached a piece of ground where he could look across to where we were.

She began to shriek and point and throw up her arms.—Page 151. She began to shriek and point and throw up her arms.—Page 151.

[Pg 153]

He is a thin old man, and dresses in white mason's clothes, and has a frightfully sharp chin. He was as red in the face as a boiled lobster, shook his fists at us and shouted:

"Aha! it's a good thing I have witnesses here against you—you two rapscallions! setting waterspouts running all over people. You shall hang for it! you shall hang for it! Two little pigs are dead and the others nigh unto it. If there never has been a lawsuit before, there shall be one now for such imposition and abuse. I am going to your father this very minute to complain of you."

And Soren, the mason, started up the hill in a terrible hurry, straight to Father's office.

Karsten and I looked for an instant at each other. I had a cowardly wish to run away at once.

"What shall we do?" asked Karsten. "Shall we hide up on the top of the hill here all day?"

"No—we had better go down right away. We shall have to defend ourselves from Soren, the mason."[Pg 154]

"Yes, perhaps he will say that we set the waterfall on his pigs on purpose."

When we got home, there stood Father on the door-steps and Soren, the mason, down in the yard.

Oh! how Soren looked! He was wringing his hands and crying and threatening. Father had a deep wrinkle between his eyes. That's always a sign that he is angry.

"What is this I hear? Have you drowned two young pigs of Soren's?"

"The waterfall went into his pig-pen instead of over our ground," whimpered Karsten.

"Explain how it happened," said Father to me; and I explained the whole of it exactly as it was. I tell you it was lucky for us that we had come down from the hilltop!

"Here are ten crowns to pay for your little pigs, Soren," said Father, "and I hope that will make it all right between us."

But for Karsten and me it wasn't all right by any means—for I had to break open my savings-bank and pay Father back for the pigs.[Pg 155] And I had been saving ever since Christmas and had over seven crowns in it. Ugh! it is horrid that young pigs are such tender little creatures! And all that afternoon I was kept under arrest up in the trunk-room on account of the waterfall disaster.

Karsten got a whipping. He had to give up his savings, too, but there were only fifteen öre in his bank, for Karsten shakes the money out of the slit of his savings-bank almost as soon as he has put it in.

That was the last time in my whole life that I made a waterfall.

[Pg 156]



Right below our old house on the hillside stands the church. It is a little wooden church, white-painted and low, with irregular windows, one low and another high, over the whole church. The doors are low and even the tower is low; the spire scarcely reaches up over the big maple-trees, as we can see from our windows. But then the maple-trees are tremendously big.

Every one in town says that the bells in our church tower are remarkable. They are considered unusually musical, and I think they are, too; and nothing could be more fun than to stand up in the tower when those great bells are being rung!

It is awfully thrilling—exactly as if your[Pg 157] ear-drums would be split. When you put your fingers in your ears, draw them quickly out, stuff them in again—it is like a roaring ocean of sound. You should just hear it!

It is great fun to slip in after old Peter, the bellows-blower, when he is going up to ring the bells; to grope your way up the steep worm-eaten stairs with cobwebs in every corner,—and the higher you go the narrower and steeper are the stairs; to hide yourself back of the timbers and in the corners so that Peter sha'n't see you; to stand there in that tremendous bell-clanging and then to rush down over the old stairs as if you were crazy, before Peter has shut the tower windows again and shuffled his way down.

Peter would be furious if he saw us, you know. However, he has seen us sometimes, for all our painstaking, though he can't hear us—he is deaf as a post—and he certainly can scold; and when he scolds he threatens us with all the worst things he knows of—telling the minister and the dean and everybody.[Pg 158]

But his scolding doesn't make much difference. Our clambering up into the tower certainly can't do the least harm to any one; so, even after he has scolded us, the next time we see him slinking along and squeezing himself in through the church door (he never opens it wider than just enough to push himself through exactly like a little black mouse creeping through a crack), we are right after him, you may be sure. Sometimes there will be ten or twelve of us, without his knowing a thing about it.

But once I got rather the worst of it when I stole up to the church tower after Peter. It was grewsome, I can tell you, for only think, I got locked in the church! I have been up in the tower since, just the same, only I don't dare to go alone any more, though I wasn't exactly alone that time I'm telling you about, either; I had my little brother, Karl, with me. But as he was only a little bit of a fellow, he wasn't any help.

It was one Saturday afternoon. Every[Pg 159] Saturday at five o'clock the church bells are rung to ring the Sabbath in. Karl and I were just passing the church when Peter came slinking along with his trousers turned up as usual. It was an afternoon towards autumn, not dark yet—far from it—but not so very light either. And how the wind blew that day! almost a gale. The big maple-trees creaked and groaned. All at once I had an overwhelming desire to run up into the tower and hear how the bells sounded when the wind blustered and howled so around the church.

"You go home now, Karl," said I, "run as fast as you can. Just let me see how fast you can run." Oh no! indeed, he wouldn't. He just clung fast to me and wanted to go with me. Oh well—pooh!—I could just as well take him along. It would be fun for him, too, to hear the bells.

When I thought Peter was well up the first flight of stairs I pushed open the heavy church door with its lead weight, and Karl and I squeezed into the church. He was heavy to[Pg 160] drag up the stairs and I hauled and dragged as hard as I could, and he never whimpered once,—just thought it was great fun.

Peter had already begun to ring. The gale raged up here as if we were out on a wild sea, and sent mournful wails through all the cracks and openings. The church tower itself seemed to sway!

I had got Karl up the last flight of stairs. Back of the great cross-beam we were splendidly hidden. I peeped out once or twice. Peter stood with his eyes shut and pulled and pulled on the great rope. The big bells swung back and forth over our heads.

Oh! how the bells clanged and how the wind howled and roared! I had to force myself to stand still and not jump over to the window to look down upon the trees as they swayed and bowed in the strong blast. But I must not do it, of course, for then Peter would see me and I should only get another long scolding preachment. Besides, I had all I could do to keep fast hold of Karl. He was[Pg 161] determined to go out from behind the beam, and every time the bells rang louder than usual he screamed with delight. He was welcome to scream as loud as he liked, Peter could hear nothing of it anyway.

But all of a sudden, and very much sooner than I had expected, Peter stopped ringing. One, two, three—he slammed the tower windows shut. As quickly as possible I hurried Karl down the first two flights, but by that time Peter was almost upon us. Without thinking of anything except that Peter mustn't see us, I dragged Karl back into a dark corner, though it was dusky everywhere. At that moment Peter passed us. He shuffled along close to us and I could hear how carefully he groped his way down the stairs.

All at once it flashed over me that he would get down from the tower before we did, lock the door and go away. I clutched Karl and dragged him along over the nearly dark stairs, he stumbling, falling and crying a little. Peter was already in the weapon-room.[Pg 162]

"Peter, Peter!" I shouted anxiously. "Don't lock it! Don't lock it! I am up here."

But do you suppose that Peter heard? Not a bit!

He opened the heavy church door and slammed it shut again. By that time I was right there, shouting and hammering at the door; but the key turned in the lock and Peter went his way round the corner.

Yes, he had gone, and there were we!

I was so afraid,—I don't believe I was ever so afraid in my whole long life! I hammered on the door with my fists, I shouted and screamed. Nobody heard me. Outside, the storm howled and roared.

No, I knew well enough that in such weather no one would think of coming to the churchyard, not even a child or a maid with a baby-carriage. And the church door opened on the churchyard, not on the street. It was impossible for any one to hear us all the way from the street in such a storm.

I turned around almost wild with fright.[Pg 163] What could I do? Perhaps—perhaps we could get out through a window.

But if we tried that, we must go into the church itself. And just think! I got more afraid than ever when I thought of that, for all the ghost stories I had ever heard came to my mind. Suppose that Mina's great-grandfather, for instance, whose tomb was in there, should come walking down the church aisle, stiff and white!

I clutched Karl's hand so tightly that he screamed.

"Karl dear—little man—we must go into the church. You won't be afraid, will you?"

Karl looked uncertain as he gazed at me and asked:

"Are you afraid?"

Then I realized that I must be brave; and when there is a "must" you can, you know; and there is no use in whimpering, anyway.

"Are you afraid?" asked little Karl again.

"Oh, no—no, indeed."

So I opened the door of the church and[Pg 164] peeped in. Rows upon rows of empty seats showed dimly through the half darkness, but there wasn't the least sign of Mina's great-grandfather.

I pulled Karl along, and we almost ran up the church aisle. The whole time I felt as if something was behind me that I must be on the watch against.

O dear, O dear, how frightened I was!

No, the windows were altogether too high up in the wall even to think of reaching. For an instant I had a desperate idea of piling seats up on top of the pulpit and trying to reach a window in that way, but all the seats were fastened to the floor, and, of course, to move the pulpit was impossible for me.

All at once the thought of the bells struck me—I could ring the bells! I need only climb up to the tower, shove the shutters aside as I had seen Peter do many a time, and then just ring and ring till people came and unlocked the church.

But, O dear!—then the whole town would[Pg 165] know of it and talk of it forever. How frightfully embarrassing that would be!

No, no, I wouldn't ring the bells. I'd rather shout myself hoarse. So Karl and I screamed: "Open the door for us! Open the door, open the door!" But the storm outside roared and howled louder than we could and no one heard us. We didn't keep quiet an instant. We ran back and forth screaming, and banging and kicking on all the doors.

Suddenly I thought of the vestry. Like a flash I darted in there. Oh! what a relief—what a relief! The windows here were low—only a few feet above the ground; here it would be easy enough to get out. I rushed to a window—but would you believe it! there wasn't a sign of a hook or a hinge! These windows hadn't been opened in all the hundreds of years the church had stood. That's the way people built in old times.

Here I was right near the ground and yet couldn't get out. In my desperation I seized an old book with a clasp that lay there, and[Pg 166] smashed a window-pane with it, and then I stuck my face through the broken pane and shouted out into the storm, "Open the door!"

Not a person was to be seen; but merely to feel the fresh air blowing on my face gave me more courage.

"Has God a knife?" suddenly asked Karl.

Yes, I thought He had.

"Well, if He has a knife, He could just cut the door to pieces, and then we could go out."

At that moment I saw old Jens pass the window as he came shambling through the churchyard. He is a dull-witted fellow who lives at the poorhouse.

I wasn't slow in getting my face to the window again, you may be sure!

"Jens, Jens-s-s! Come and open the door. I'm locked in the church."

Never in my life shall I forget how Jens looked when he heard me call. He sank almost to his knees; his lips moved quickly but without a sound coming forth.

And smashed a window-pane with it.—Page 165. And smashed a window-pane with it.—Page 165.

[Pg 167]

At last, when he had quite got it into his head that it was my familiar face he saw at the vestry's broken window, he drew near very cautiously.

"Is she in the church?" was what came from him finally in the utmost amazement.

"Why, yes, you can see that I am," said I. "Run as fast as you can and get some one to open the door. Get the minister or the deacon or Peter, the bellows-blower."

Jens set down a tin pail he carried and seemed to be thinking deeply.

"But how came she in church?"

I had no wish to explain to him.

"Oh, never mind that! Just run and get the key, do please, Jens." Then Jens trudged away.

Oh, how long he was gone! I stared and stared at the lilac bushes swaying back and forth before the window, twisting and bending low in the storm, and I waited and waited, but no Jens appeared. It grew darker and darker and Karl cried in earnest now, and wanted to smash all the windows with the clasped book.[Pg 168] The only thing that gave me comfort was Jens' tin pail. It lay on the ground shining through the dark. I reasoned that Jens was sure to come back to get his pail. Finally I heard footsteps and voices, a key was put in the lock, and there at the open door stood the deacon, Jens, and the deacon's eight children.

"Who is this disturbing the peace of the church?" asked the deacon with the corners of his mouth drawn down.

"I haven't disturbed anything," said I. "I only want to get out."

"There must be an explanation of this," said the deacon. "I have no orders to open the church at this time of the day."

I began to be afraid that the door would be shut again!

"Oh, but you will let me out!" said I pleadingly.

"Ah, in consideration of the circumstances," said the deacon. I did not wait to hear more, but squeezed myself and Karl out and through the deacon's flock of children.[Pg 169]

Since that day when I meet old Jens, he bows to me in a very knowing way; and if I want to tease him I say, "Weren't you the 'fraid-cat that time I called to you from the church?"

I myself was more afraid than he was, but old Jens couldn't know that.

And what do you think of my having to pay for the pane of glass I broke in the vestry? Well—that was exactly what I had to do, if you please.

[Pg 170]



Now you shall hear about my summer vacation and all sorts of things.

We stayed at a farm in the country in a high valley. The farm was called Goodfields, and they certainly were good fields, for such fat horses, and such round cows, and such rich milk I never saw before in all my life. For the horses could hardly get between the shafts of the wagons—that is really true—and the cows were like trolls' cows; the trolls' cows (in the fairy stories) are so well taken care of that they shine so you can almost see your face in them, you know. The Goodfields cows could thank old Kari, the milkmaid, for their plumpness.

Kari is seventy and looks very, very old.[Pg 171]

All through the week she never sat down, but went puttering about the whole day long; on Sunday evenings she sat out on the hill and smoked her clay pipe. I used to lie beside her on the grass.

"The horse and the man
Have to bear all they can.
But the cow and the wife
Fare the hardest in life,"

said old Kari. And therefore she always raked away the best hay from the horses and stuffed the cows with it.

It was out on the hill that Kari told about the Goodfields brownie in the old days. Old Kari's mother had often driven in a sledge over Goodfields hill while the brownie stood behind on the runner chuckling and laughing. But the queer thing was that when they stopped at the top of the hill or down in the valley, they didn't see him, but no sooner had they started off than there was the brownie on the runner again.[Pg 172]

It is really horrid that there are no brownies in the world any more!

Goodfields lay high up among the mountains. There were great green hills and meadows stretching down towards the fjord, and dark spruce forests above on the mountain, and far below, the still, shining fjord. And behind each other as far as we could see there were just mountains, exquisite blue mountains, rising into the bright sunny air.

The buildings were very big; there was nothing small at Goodfields, two big main houses with big drawing-rooms and big canopied beds and big down puffs, and big goats' milk cheeses like mountains, and big milk-pans.

That's the way it was at Goodfields, beauty and plenty everywhere. And it all belonged to Mother Goodfields. And she was the nicest person in the world, for she was so kind. She wasn't the least bit cross when we tagged after her in the dairy and the grain-house, and we might eat all the green gooseberries in the garden, if we wanted to. And everybody who was[Pg 173] poor and sick went to Mother Goodfields, as all the people in the neighborhood called her. She was big and strong and earnest and helped them all. She was a widow and had no children, and it seemed to her so lonely on the big farm that she took summer boarders.

On the fjord the little steamboat went up one day and down the next, with foreigners who sat stretching their legs out on the deck and stared sleepily at the mountains.

I am not fond of mountains, to tell the truth. Ugh! when you stay among them it seems so cramped and horrid. You feel just like a little ant at last. No, give me the sea, with its seaweed tossing on the waves, and its rocking boats and vessels, and the reefs and the fresh wind.

There were many times at Goodfields when it was so downright hot in the valley that I felt like crying when I thought of the sea. My brother Karsten felt exactly the same.

There were eight mothers and eleven children and five teachers at Goodfields that summer.[Pg 174] I can't describe them, it would take too long; besides all grown up women are alike, it seems to me. There were only two big children of my age at Goodfields, Petter Kloed and Andrine Voss. Petter Kloed was very elegant; only think, he wore yellow gloves way off there in the country. And what he liked best in the world was ice-cream and champagne. Never in my life had I tasted either ice-cream or champagne, but I didn't say so, for that would be awkward. And then Petter Kloed was not really nice to his mother, I think, and that was a great shame, for Mrs. Kloed doted on him, and would give him anything if he only looked at it.

Andrine Voss was hardly pretty at all, but she had awfully long eyelashes and when she half shut her eyes she looked very mysterious. But she only looked so, she wasn't the least bit mysterious, for she was my best friend and did everything I wanted her to the whole summer.

We have decided that she shall marry a[Pg 175] county judge, and I a doctor, but we will live in the same house and have just the same number of children. And we are going to be friends all our lives.

The other children who were at Goodfields that summer were just little ones, some roly-polys and some thin, pale, little things who were dressed in laces and took malt extract, and had legs no bigger than drumsticks.

One Sunday we went to church. Four fat horses and four wagons started from Goodfields with the churchgoers.

It was so peaceful and so beautiful; down on the fjord one boat after another set out from the opposite side bringing people to church; the boats left a broad streak behind them in the calm, smooth water.

We drove past little groups of peasants—women and girls with white linen head-dresses, and men in shirt-sleeves with their jackets over their arms, for the sun was roasting hot on the open roads. "Good cheer," they all greeted us with, and when we had passed I heard them[Pg 176] whisper to each other: "They are the summer folk from Goodfields."

More and more people gathered along the quiet roads; and there on a height stood the church,—a white wooden church with a low tower, and a church-bell which rang with a cracked sound out over the leafy forest and the fields and the still water.

The horses were tied in a long row on the other side of the road, and the boys and men stood leaning against the stone wall around the churchyard, but the women were farther in among the graves. They all exchanged greetings, shaking hands loosely, standing well away from each other. "Thanks for our last meeting," they said, looking quickly away. It was so queer. People don't do like that in town.

They sang without an organ, and it sounded so innocent, somehow, and the church door stood wide open to the sunshine. But what do you think happened? In came a goat right in the midst of the hymn.[Pg 177]

The church clerk stood in the choir door and led the singing; one of his arms was of no use; I had heard of that. All at once there in the open church door stood a goat. I wonder what's going to happen now, thought I.

The goat turned his head first one way, then the other,—then as true as you live he came pattering in. Patter, patter, sounded short and sharp over the church floor. Every one turned to look, and the singing died away, little by little, but no one got up to put the goat out.

Farther and farther up towards the choir pattered the goat. Suddenly the clerk saw him. For a moment he looked terribly bewildered, then very thoughtfully he laid his psalm-book aside and walked down the aisle.

Then you should have seen the clerk engineer the goat out with his one arm. He had hold of one horn, and the goat resisted, and the clerk shoved, and so, little by little, they worked themselves down the church. Oh, I shall never forget it!

The singing stopped altogether, except that[Pg 178] one and another old woman off in the corners held the tune with shaky voices. I was awfully interested in seeing how the goat and the clerk got on. If it had been I, I should have hurried that goat out faster than the clerk did, I'll wager.

Down by the door the goat got all ready to jump, wanting to start up the aisle again. If the tussle had lasted a moment longer I should have had to laugh—but then the clerk made a mighty effort, turned the goat entirely around, and there it was—out!

The clerk in the meantime had risen to the occasion, for at the very instant that the goat went head over heels down the steps, he took up the tune just where he had left off, and sang all the way up the aisle. Awfully well done of him, I think.

There! Now you understand what it was like at Goodfields, and now you shall hear about all the different things that happened in our summer vacation.

[Pg 179]



At Goodfields, the houses for the farm laborers are up in the forest. Towards Goodfields itself, the forest is thick and dark, but up where it has been cleared, willows and alders grow in clumps, and there are tiny little fields and still smaller potato patches, belonging to each sun-scorched hut with its turf roof and windows of greenish glass. From the clearing you can look upward to the mountains, or downward, over the thick pines and through the leafy trees, to the smooth, shining fjord.

All the huts for the farm-hands were full to running over with children. In Henrik-hut there were nine, in Steen-hut eight, and in North-hut eleven; and they were all tow-headed and bare-footed and all had mouths stained with blueberries.[Pg 180]

Henrik-hut was the place we summer-boarder-children liked best because there was a dear old grandmother there with such soft, kind eyes. She could not go out any more, but sat always in an armchair beside the window; on the window-sill lay her much-worn brown prayer-book.

Oleana was Grandmother Henrik-hut's daughter. She was big, very much freckled, always good-natured, and talked a steady stream, often about her husband. She didn't seem highly delighted with him.

"Poor Kaspar!" said Oleana. "He hasn't brains enough for anything. No, I can truly say he hasn't much sense under his hat. Things would be pretty bad at Henrik-hut if there were no Oleana here." And Kaspar agreed with her perfectly.

"I haven't much sense, or learning either," said Kaspar. "But that's the way it goes in the world,—one clever one and one stupid one come together; and so Oleana manages everything, you see."[Pg 181]

Even with Oleana to manage, however, things had often been bad enough at Henrik-hut. They had almost starved at times, Grandmother, Kaspar, Oleana and all the nine children.

"It isn't worth speaking of now," said Oleana, "the hard scratching we have had many a time. But when the summer boarders,—fine city folk,—came to Goodfields, luck came to Henrik-hut."

Oleana did the washing for these summer guests and earned money that way, you see.

"It's just as if all this money were given to me!" said Oleana. "For our Lord fills the brooks with water and the work I put on the clothes is nothing to count."

There were beds everywhere in the one room of the hut, and what with shelves and clothes, wooden bowls and buckets and even shiny scrap-pictures on the walls, there wasn't a vacant spot anywhere. The floor was shiningly clean, however, and strewn with juniper boughs, and the sun shone cheerily through the[Pg 182] greenish window-panes, on Grandmother and the nine tow-headed children, and all.

Oleana had been married twenty-one years and in all that time had never owned a clock. Through the long darkness of the winter afternoons and evenings, when the snow lay thick and heavy on the pine-trees round about, and the roads were blocked in every direction with high drifts, there they would be in the hut;—Oleana and Grandmother and the nine tow-heads and the husband without much sense under his hat,—and not even the clever Oleana would have the remotest idea what o'clock it was. In summer she looked at the sun to tell the time, and on clear winter nights at the stars; though to see these, she had to get up in the cold and breathe on the thickly frosted window-pane to make a space to peep through.

One day while I was at Henrik-hut talking with Oleana, it occurred to me that we summer-boarder-children might put our money together and buy a clock for Oleana. The grown-up people wanted to help, and so we got[Pg 183] a lot of money; and a big clock with a white dial and red roses was bought in the city.

Then it was such fun surprising Oleana with it! We had an awfully jolly time. A message was sent to her asking her to come to Goodfields; and down she came with her hair wet and smooth, and a clean stiff working-dress on, but having no notion what we wanted of her.

The clock had been hung up in the hall at Goodfields and its shining brass pendulum was swinging with a slow and sure tick-tock. All the ladies stood around and I was to present the clock.

"Oleana," said I, "we wanted to give you a clock;—and that's it."

Oleana looked as if the sky had fallen.

"Oh no, no, no!" she cried. "It isn't possible—of course not! Why should I have that clock?"

"Because you have so many children," said I.

Just then the clock struck six clear strokes, and Oleana began to cry.[Pg 184]

"I never knew there were such kind people in the world," said Oleana, as she stood with folded hands, looking up at the clock through her tears. "Never, never!"

She didn't know how she got home, she told us later, only she had felt as if she were walking on air, she was so happy.

"And I didn't know enough to thank any one either. I was as if I had clean gone out of my wits!"

The first few nights that the clock hung on the wall at Henrik-hut, Oleana did not have much sleep, for every time the clock struck, she awoke and called down blessings on all the guests at Goodfields.

"Everything goes by the clock with us now," said Oleana. "It's nothing at all to do the work at Henrik-hut when you have a clock."

"Oleana," said I, "we wanted to give you a clock."—Page 183. "Oleana," said I, "we wanted to give you a clock."—Page 183.

[Pg 185]

When the dark winter comes, when it snows and blows and the roads are blocked, how pleasant it will be to think that Oleana Henrik-hut, away up in the forest above Goodfields, has a clock ticking and ticking, and striking the hours; and that she does not need now to get up in the cold, dark nights, breathe upon the frosted panes and peep up at the stars to find out the time!

[Pg 186]



Mother Goodfields had made us a regular promise,—and shaken hands on it,—that we should go to the saeter some time during the summer. Goodfields saeter lay about fourteen miles west in the mountains. Every day I reminded Mother Goodfields of her promise so that she should not forget it, you see. For it often seems to me that grown-up people forget very easily.

We had decided beforehand that it was to be Petter Kloed, Karsten, Andrine, and I who should go.

None of the grown-ups would join us. Mrs. Proet said she should have to be well paid to go, and really, such fine, fashionable ladies as she aren't fit for a saeter anyway. Miss Mangelsen was afraid there would be fleas, and Miss Melby was afraid that she being so stout,[Pg 187] the boat we had to cross the mountain lake in would not be strong enough to bear her. Miss Jordan had been at a hundred saeters, she said, and the only difference among them was that one was a little dirtier than another; and that degree of difference she wouldn't bother herself to see, she said. Mrs. Kloed is so nervous she never dares do anything. So at last there were none to go but Petter, Karsten, Andrine, and myself, as I have said.

Karsten had taken it into his head that at saeters there were always bears, and that cream at saeters was always exactly an inch thick; and bears and inch-thick cream were what he wanted to see. Petter Kloed wished to get hold of certain mountain flowers that he could classify. Such botany I will have nothing to do with. I smell the flowers and think they are charming, but I don't care a button which class they belong to, not I! As for going to the saeter, Andrine and I wanted to go just for the fun of going.

Well, one day in August, Olsen, the farm-boy,[Pg 188] and Trond Oppistuen were going to the saeter to cut hay. If we wished, we were welcome to go along with them.

If we wished! Hurrah!

The next morning off we went. The lunch, and Andrine, and I, and Karsten, and Petter Kloed were in a wagon, and Trond and Olsen walked alongside with their scythes and rakes on their shoulders.

Far, far up the mountain we were to go—away up where the trees looked no taller than half a pin's length, and the thin light air was white and shining; up there and then far along to the west.

Olsen was red-haired and freckled, small and wiry. He kept step with the horse the whole way, but Trond lagged behind us down the slope.

We all sang, each our own tune, as we climbed. The air was clear, oh! so clear! The farms in the valley grew smaller and smaller, and the birch trees we passed were little and stunted.[Pg 189]

Whenever Petter Kloed jumped out of the wagon after a flower or anything, we whipped the horse so as to get as far ahead of him as possible; Petter is as lazy as a log and hates to walk a step, so it was good enough for him.

Any boy with more grown-up, mannish airs than Petter Kloed puts on could not be found the world over. He wears long trousers and has been in the theatre a thousand times, he says; he smokes cigarettes too; and, always, about everything, no matter what it is, he says, pooh! he has seen that before; so it seems as if there were nothing left that could amuse him. Andrine admires him sometimes, I know that very well, but such silly puppies can go or stay for all I care. However, it was jolly to have him with us on the saeter trip,—just for the fun of teasing him, you know.

Karsten and Petter disputed the whole time as to how high we were in the air and how high up it was possible to breathe. At last they got all the way to the moon and Jupiter.[Pg 190]

"I'll bet you anything you choose that Jupiter has air that people could breathe," said Karsten.

"That's just the kind of thing such a cabbage-head as you would bet on," said Petter Kloed.

At that—only think! Karsten pitched into Petter and then they began to fight in the back of the wagon.

"Are you Tartars both of you?" said I, and took a tight grip in the back of Karsten's jacket. "Don't you jump out of your skin now! If you fly at people this way as you are always doing, you shall trot back to Goodfields alone!"

"He—he is just as much of a cabbage-head as I am," mumbled Karsten, but he didn't dare to say another word, for after all, he has to respect me, you see.

Then I suggested that we should eat some of our luncheon. It's so pleasant to eat out-of-doors!

We were high, high up on the mountain,[Pg 191] where we could see nothing but forests and mountains, a whole sea of dark, thick pine forests, and just mountains and mountains and mountains. There we drank toasts to Norway, to the summer, and to each other, and sang: "Ja, vi elsker dette landet," our national song, you know, and had an awfully jolly time.

But up there it was so still, so still! Nothing but gray-brown moor and dwarf birches, and willows and ice-cold mountain brooks. Far over across the moor we could see the road like a narrow gray ribbon in the monotonous brown. Far west were the snow-capped peaks, sharp, jagged and blue, and with great snow-drifts. It was very beautiful, unspeakably strange and still. We all grew silent.

"Ugh! I wouldn't be alone here for a good deal," said Andrine.

"I would just as soon be here in pitch darkness—if I only had my knife with me," said Karsten.

At that instant a ptarmigan flew up right at the side of the road, and Karsten came near[Pg 192] falling backwards out of the cart and measuring his length on the ground.

You may be sure we all made fun of him then.

"He would like to be alone on the mountain, he would! And yet he tumbles over in fright at a ptarmigan!"

"If you can stand like a lamp-post in a cart that wobbles the way this rickety old cart does, I'll cover you with gold," said Karsten, offended.

That's the way we kept on. We quarreled and had a jolly time.

All at once a flock of goats came scrambling down the road as scared as if their lives were in danger. And we all wished that we might see a bear. Can you think of anything more exciting than to meet a bear on the road?

Petter Kloed would just go very quietly to him and scratch his back. He had done that a hundred times in the menagerie, he said. For if you just approached a bear in the right way it was a very good-natured beast, said Petter[Pg 193] Kloed, as he lit a cigarette back there in the cart.

Karsten would rather wrestle with the bear and strangle him; for if any one wanted to see a muscle that was a stunner, they could just look here; and Karsten turned up his jacket sleeves while we all examined his muscle.

The road was unspeakably long, however. The horse jogged on and on but we didn't seem to get a bit farther. After we had eaten all the luncheon, I thought that never in the world would this road come to an end. When we asked Olsen how much farther we had to go, he would only say, "Far away there—and far away there." All I could think of was the fairy tale about the prince who had to go beyond the mountain into the blue. Andrine got drowsy and wanted to sleep, and I had to take Karsten in front with us; for, strangely enough, the longer we rode the less room there was for Karsten's and Petter's legs in the back of the wagon. At last they did nothing but[Pg 194] kick each other, so Karsten had to come in front and Petter could sit in lonely grandeur on the wooden lunch-box.

Finally we came in sight of the water that we had to cross. It was a large lake, black and still.

"Hurrah! You must wake up now, Andrine!"

There lay the boat we were to row over in, and there was the enclosure where the horse was to be left. Oh, how good it was to stretch one's legs after sitting so long!

But now Karsten began to put on airs. He wanted to show how clever he was in a boat, so he took command, gave orders, and thrashed the air with his arms,—you never saw such behavior.

"He's a great fellow in a boat," said Trond.

The stones at the edge of the lake were wet and slimy. Petter Kloed clambered into the boat with great care.

"Look out for yourself, you landlubber!" said Karsten. Then he pressed an oar hard[Pg 195] against a stone to shove the boat out from shore. Everything was to go at full speed, you see, but the oar slipped and Karsten went head over heels into the water. It was only by a hair's breadth that we escaped having that flat, rickety boat turn upside down with us all. I can tell you I was thoroughly frightened then. I have always heard that there is no bottom to these mountain lakes, but that the water goes straight through the earth! Although we were scarcely more than a fathom's length from shore, the water was deep black, and you couldn't see any bottom.

"Oh! Karsten! Karsten!"

His head bobbed up between the water-lilies and broad green leaves, and Olsen hauled him up into the boat.

"Ah-chew! Pshaw! Ah-chew! that horrid oar!" sneezed and scolded Karsten, as soon as he got his breath. "Horrid old boat! Horrid old water! Ah-chew!"

"Now we must row fast," said Trond—"so that this body doesn't get sick, he is so wet."[Pg 196] And Trond and Olsen began rowing briskly over the water. But Karsten lay in the bottom of the boat with Andrine's and my raincoats over him, looking awfully fierce and gloomy. I can't tell you how tempted we were to tease him, but we were so high-minded and considerate that we didn't do it. Of course, I might have teased him myself, but if Petter Kloed had tried it, he would have had me to reckon with. Karsten was furious if we even spoke to him.

"Are you cold?" I asked.

"Hold your tongue," said Karsten.

Trond and Olsen rowed so that the sweat ran down their faces, and soon there we were, across. We saw Goodfields saeter above the hill and began running, all four of us. Nobody was to be seen outside the hut, and we nearly frightened the life out of Augusta, the milkmaid, when we stormed in upon her. But when she had gathered herself together, she laughed and her white teeth fairly glistened.

"Now this is grand! I never could have[Pg 197] thought of anything like this!" said Augusta, the milkmaid.

Then Karsten had to be undressed and put into Augusta's bed, and all his clothes were hung by the hearth and Augusta built up such a hot fire to dry them that they made everything steamy. Suddenly she remembered that the son from Broker farm was staying at a near-by saeter just now. Perhaps he had some clothes that Karsten might borrow. Olsen was sent over there and came home with some things. It was mighty good that Karsten could get up, for he wasn't very agreeable while he lay in bed, you may be sure.

What a sight he was when he was dressed! I shall never forget it. With a jacket that reached below his knees and Augusta's kerchief on his head—oh, he did look so funny! But not the least shadow of a smile did we dare allow ourselves, for he would at once have flown under the sheepskin bedclothes again, crosser than ever. That's the way Karsten is, you see.

Oh, pshaw! A fine rain had begun, the[Pg 198] mountains were perfectly black, and patches of fog lay all around.

"Perhaps you'd like to fish," said Augusta; "they usually bite in such weather."

Trond and Olsen had begun to cut the grass around the hut, and Petter Kloed and Karsten started off with fishing-rods over their shoulders. You should have seen Karsten with the fishing-rod and with the kerchief on his head.

Andrine and I wanted to help Augusta get dinner, for it was exactly like playing in a doll-house, only much more fun! Augusta made some cream-porridge and her face shone like a polished sun—with the heat and the anxiety that the porridge should be good. We had salt in a paper cornucopia, milk in wooden bowls, and shining yellow wooden spoons to eat with.

What fun! Even if the rain were trickling down the window, we were enjoying ourselves tremendously.

Well, now you shall hear what a hullabaloo there was at the saeter that afternoon.

It had begun to grow dark, for it was the[Pg 199] last of August. Trond and Olsen had gone to another saeter to see some friends of theirs. Immediately after dinner Petter and Karsten had gone out to fish again, because before dinner they had caught only a baby trout about as long as your finger. However, Karsten broiled that, insides and all.

Just as Augusta, Andrine and I were milking out in the barn, we heard a scream that I shall never forget. I thought it was Karsten's voice, and I was so frightened I didn't know what to do with myself. The whole moor was so dark that nothing was to be seen. There came another scream, and without a word Augusta ran out on the moor. But an instant after Karsten came rushing around the corner of the barn, with face pale as death and his hair standing straight up.

"A bear! A bear! He is after me! Oh, help! Oh, oh!"

Into the barn he dashed, Andrine and I at his heels, hastily shutting the door. It was pitch-dark in the barn.[Pg 200]

"Was he after you? Where is Petter?"

My heart was pounding. Bears usually knocked a barn-door in with one whack, and here we stood in pitch-black darkness.

Karsten was so out of breath he could scarcely speak.

"Oh! the way he ran! I never would have believed a bear could run so!" panted Karsten.

"Oh!—oh!—oh!" shrieked some one outside the barn. "Help! oh, help!"

It was Petter's voice, and we heard also an animal breathing quickly and then something like a growl.

As with one impulse Andrine, Karsten, and I sprang into a stall behind a cow. The bear would surely take the cow first before it took us. How unspeakably frightened I was! Karsten wanted to get behind Andrine and me too, and puffed and pushed himself in, and we got to fighting there in the stall just from sheer fright.

There came a horrible thump against the barn-door, it burst open and Petter Kloed tumbled[Pg 201] into the barn on all fours; and leaping on his back was a big black beast.

How Petter howled I could never give you any idea, for such a howl must be heard if you are to know what it was like. Karsten and I shrieked with him; and all the cows got up, rattled their chains, and bellowed.

"Ha ha! Ha ha!" laughed Augusta from the barn-door. "Did any one ever see such doings! Oh, I really must laugh! I was pretty sure it was the dog, old Burmann. There hasn't been a bear on this mountain the whole year. Shame on you, Burmann, to frighten folk this way!"

"How you did howl, Petter!" said Karsten, coming out of the stall.

"Perhaps you didn't scream," said Petter Kloed.

They quarreled and disputed till the sparks flew, as to which had been the most scared. But my knees trembled so I had to sit down on a milking-stool, and Andrine cried and sobbed, she had been so frightened.[Pg 202]

Karsten got braver and braver.

"I was no more scared out of my wits than I ever am," said he. "I screamed only because—because—well, just so that Petter could hear where I was!"

"Such a horrid dog!" said Petter, reaching after Burmann.

"You could just have scratched his back as you do to bears in menageries," said I. Augusta laughed so that her laughter echoed through the whole place, and I teased them as much as I could. When I really make a point of it, I'm awful at teasing—it is such fun.

"Ugh! Girls are nothing but rubbish," said Karsten.

"To think that you didn't strangle the bear with such muscles as you have," I said.

"If you don't keep still!" said Karsten threateningly.

It was such fun! I laughed till my cheeks ached.

My! but that was an awfully jolly and delightful visit to the saeter. But at night Andrine[Pg 203] and I slept in a bed that was as hard as a stone, and Andrine lay the whole night right across the bed and squeezed me almost to death.

In the morning the air and everything was oh, so fresh! Our hair blew all over our faces; we washed in the brook and the water was so cold that our finger-nails ached.

After breakfast we started home again. We stood up in the wagon and shouted hurrah as long as we could see Augusta in the saeter hut door, and after that we sang all the way down the mountain.

But that story of the bear at the saeter Petter and Karsten had to hear all summer long, for they were just as puffed up as ever.

Nothing impresses such conceited boys, you know.

[Pg 204]



Oh, that awful, awful time! Even now I can wake in the middle of the night, start up in bed and stare around frightened and trembling, for I dream that I am in the dark forest alone, as I was that time at Goodfields. Well, I wasn't absolutely alone, but I was the oldest, you see, and so I had all the responsibility for both of us, and that is almost worse than to be alone.

It was little brother Karl who was with me. We children were going to have a blueberry party—that was the beginning of the whole thing. We wanted to treat all the grown-up boarders, and Mother Goodfields, and the maids too. They should all have blueberries with powdered sugar, nothing else; anyway that was enough. But we should need a lot of blueberries, oh, a frightful lot of them!

So we went off, each choosing his own clump[Pg 205] of bushes, and picked and picked; and then Karlie-boy and I got lost. Now, you shall hear.

It was in the morning, a very hot morning. The air in the valley had been perfectly still all night. We had slept beside open windows with only a sheet over us.

Immediately after breakfast I flew to the forest, for I knew a place where I wanted to pick berries all by myself. Just as I was climbing over the fence of the home hill-pasture, Karl saw me and called out, "I want to go with you—it's mean of you—oh! oh! to run away from me—I want to go too."

He made such a hullabaloo with his screaming that I had to stop and wait for him. But one ought never in the world to humor screeching children, for no good comes of it. How much better it would have been for Karl if he had not been with me that long frightful day in the forest, and that queer evening in crazy Helen's hut,—for that is where we finally found ourselves.[Pg 206]

Yes, when I have children, I shall be awfully strict and decided with them.

It was cool there in the forest. The sunshine came in only in golden stripes and spots. Never in my life have I seen so many blueberries and such high blueberry bushes as we found that day. I picked and picked. Meanwhile Karl ate and ate, till he was nothing but one big blueberry stain,—he smeared himself so with the juice.

"Did Noah have berries with him in the ark?" asked Karl.

"No, indeed."

"Then all the blueberries must have been drowned in the flood."

"Ugh, what a silly you are!"

"Well, anyway, Noah had cannon with him in the ark."

Oh, I get so sick of cannons with Karl! Whatever he talks about, he always mixes up something about cannons in it.

It was unspeakably fresh and still in the forest. I ran from one blueberry patch to another,[Pg 207] but you may chop my head off if I understand in the least how it happened that we got lost; for I usually keep my eyes open and have my wits about me too.

All at once Karl sat himself down in a blueberry patch.

"Ugh—blueberries are disgusting," said he.

"That's because you have stuffed yourself with them," I replied.

"I want some bread and butter," said Karl. "And I'm tired—so tired."

"Oh, keep still."

A minute after, it was exactly the same.

"I'm so tired, so tired."

O dear! I should certainly have to take him home. We were in a little open space. Pine-trees stood close together around it, whispering softly. To save my life, I could not remember which direction we had come from; there were little mounds and moss and blueberry patches and pine-trees everywhere.

Whoever knew such a pickle as this? How in the world had we come here? I couldn't[Pg 208] tell—no matter which way I looked. I sprang here and I ran there to find something I recognized, but I got more and more bewildered and Karl grew crosser and crosser. He kicked at his basket of blueberries.

"Horrid old berries! I want to go home—I'm just mad at everything here. I'm mad as can be."

If you have never been in a great forest, you cannot possibly imagine anything so bewildering. Trees and trees and trees in every direction and nothing else; no clear space, no opening anywhere. But even yet I wasn't a bit afraid. The sunshine was bright, the forest air fragrant and I had three quarts of blueberries in my basket—three quarts at the very least. But Karl was heavy to drag along and my berry basket weighed down my other arm, and there was no end to the trees.

How we wandered,—round and round, up and down, hither and thither.—Page 208. How we wandered,—round and round, up and down, hither and thither.—Page 208.

[Pg 209]

O me! How we wandered,—round and round, up and down, hither and thither! We would go ten steps in one direction, then five steps in another—I didn't know where we had been or where we hadn't. All at once everything seemed to be rough and horrid; great trees, uprooted, lay topsy-turvy in our way, rotten branches were under foot everywhere, and the ground was boggy and swampy. The whole place was dreadful.

I remember perfectly that it was right there that I began to be afraid—so terrified that I felt as if down inside of me I was shivering with fear, for I happened to think that we might meet a bull in the forest,—Kaspar's bull that is horribly fierce; and of all things in the world I am most afraid of a bull.

"Oh, Karlie boy, Karlie boy! We are lost!"

He gave one glance at me and burst out crying. Louder and louder he cried, and heavier and heavier he was to drag along, as if he were a big log that would not budge from its place. It was weird and uncanny somehow,—that he should scream so loud in the silent forest. And if there were a bull anywhere in the forest, even far away, it could hear his crying; and then it[Pg 210] would come leaping—it would come leaping——

I listened and listened, I seemed to hear with a thousand ears—and I looked and searched to see if I could not recognize even one tree or one blueberry clump. But no; never in the world had I been in this place before. Then we turned and went in exactly the opposite direction. Ugh! No, no—the forest was just as thick and dark there. Hark! Did something crash then?

"Oh, do be still, Karlie boy!" I listened, holding my breath; perhaps it was only a bird flying.

Well, now we would go straight on this way. And there was nothing to be afraid of; the bright sun was shining, and I had lots and lots of blueberries, and going this way we would surely get out of the forest. Thus I comforted myself.

"Pooh! We'll soon find the way out, you and I."

"If we had a cannon, we could fire it off,[Pg 211] and then they would hear it at Goodfields," said Karl.

For once I was glad of Karl's cannon. I talked and talked about cannon simply to fix my thoughts on something else than the forest, and Karl dried his tears and asked whether there were any great big cannon, as big as—as the whole earth, and didn't I think that the Pope had more cannon than any one else in the world?

"Hush, Karlie boy! keep still. Do you hear something?"

Yes, it was cow-bells. Oh, perhaps Kaspar's bull was coming, that awful bull. "Oh, hurry, hurry, Karlie boy!" We dashed ahead, over branches and mounds; we ran and ran; I stopped and listened, scarcely breathing.

"Do you hear it, Karlie boy?"

Yes, the cow-bells sounded loud and clear through the silence. Well, anyway, we should soon be out of the forest—I thought I knew where we were now.[Pg 212]

"Run, Karlie boy! Run, run." There now! There was an opening in the forest! We rushed forward; but just imagine! We were in that little open place again,—there where everything was so horrid, where the great split tree-trunks lay in the swampy moss,—just where I had begun to have that shivery fear deep down inside of me. We had walked round and round in a circle.

And there were the cows! Beyond where the trees were close together, I saw a black cow that lifted its head and sniffed at us; and other cows, many cows,—and oh! there was Kaspar's bull!

I was wild with fright; probably it was then that I threw away my basket, for I saw it no more. Over hillocks and moss, through bushes and thickets, I dragged Karl—who was now pale as death, with big wide open staring eyes, and utterly silent.

The whole herd was after us, now at a slow trot, now leaping; the bull was ahead and gave a short, low roar from time to time.[Pg 213] Oh! oh! What should we do! Oh! Karl, Karl!——

We had nowhere to turn and no one to help us. What should we do? Then I prayed—not aloud, but oh, how earnestly! And suddenly I saw that there was a rock just beyond us—an enormous moss-grown rock. Thither we rushed. I tore myself on the bushes till I bled. I fell, but rushed on again till we reached the rock; then I climbed up, gripped tight with hand and feet, hauled Karl up after me, higher and higher up, as far as we could get. The rock was perhaps two or three yards high. We were saved from the bull. And it was God who had saved us, I was sure of that. I had never seen that rock before anywhere in the forest.

The bull had made a great leap and stood just below us pawing the ground, tail in the air. Oh, how he bellowed!

I held Karl in my arms. The bull could not reach us. He pawed the earth so that moss and dirt rose in a whirl; he ran around the[Pg 214] rock and bellowed horribly, making as much noise as ten ordinary bulls would make. And all the cows followed him round and round the rock, lowing and acting crazy like him.

Never, never in my life have I been so frightened. Karl grew paler and paler. Oh, what if he should die of terror?

"There's nothing to be afraid of now, Karlie boy," I said in a shaky voice. "The bull could never get up here. No indeed—he can be mighty sure of that, horrid old beast!"

"He can be mighty sure of that, horrid old beast!" repeated Karlie boy with white lips.

How long did we sit there? I'm sure I don't know. It must have been a long time, for the sunshine disappeared from among the trees, the cows laid themselves down in a circle around the rock, the bull went to and fro. If he went a little way off, he would come rushing back again and begin to behave worse than ever. The ground about the rock was torn up as if there had been a great battle there.

I have often tried to remember what I[Pg 215] thought of, all those long hours on the rock, with that fierce bull below us. I really believe I didn't think of anything but keeping tight hold of Karl; nor did we talk very much either. Karl didn't even mention cannon a single time.

A gentle breeze stirred the tree-tops and the shadows had grown darker under the close branches when the cows finally began to stir themselves. Slowly, very slowly, they trailed off between the trees, the bull being the last to go. As if for a farewell, he dug his horns into the earth and sent bits of moss flying up to us. At last, at last, he, too, had gone.

When the cows started homeward it must have been five or six o'clock, and we had been in the forest the whole day long. Oh, how hungry, how awfully hungry I was! And Karl was as pale as a little white flower. Never—even if I live to be ninety years old—never shall I forget that summer day on the big moss-grown rock with Kaspar's bull down below.[Pg 216]

Well, then I did something unspeakably stupid. Instead of going the way the cows had taken (which of course led right to Kaspar's farm), Karl and I went exactly the opposite way, farther into the forest. Ugh! how could any one be such a stupid donkey! I'm disgusted whenever I think of it.

Karl and I walked on and on for an eternity it seemed. It grew darker and darker and the air was full of mysterious sounds, low murmurs and rustlings; my heart thumped frightfully. Just think, if we had to stay in the forest all night when it was pitch dark! Suppose we never found our way out to people again——

Oh, that big, big forest!

I did not cry once, I didn't dare to, you see, for Karl's sake. I just stared and listened, and the forest murmured softly—softly, the whole time.

Once in a while we sat down and then Karl would weep bitterly with his head in my lap, poor little fellow![Pg 217]

"Now we'll soon get to Goodfields, Karlie boy, and Mother will be so glad to see us—oh, so glad! Won't it be jolly?"

"Yes—and then I'm going to have a hundred pieces of bread and butter."

Suddenly we stumbled against a fence! And as suddenly my weariness vanished. Where there was a fence, there must be people. We jumped over the fence. Beyond it was a little cleared space where stood—yes—really—a tiny hut. Then—wasn't it queer? I was so glad that I began to cry violently as I dashed towards the house.

It was so very dark that I could not distinguish anything clearly, but I could see that there was some one sitting on the door-stone. And just imagine! When we drew nearer, I saw that it was Crazy Helen, an old half-witted woman who went about among the farms begging. Many a time through the summer had she been at Goodfields, and she had told us that she lived all alone in the forest, high, high up on the mountain.[Pg 218]

I can't possibly tell how I felt when I saw her; not that I was really afraid of poor Helen, but it was all so strange—so queer.

"Are you coming here?" asked she, looking up at us and laughing. She had on the same old brown coat, a man's coat, that she always wore, and was smoking a clay pipe.

"Can you tell us the way to Goodfields?" I asked.

"Goodfields—nice folks at Goodfields; nice mistress there. I know her very well," said Crazy Helen.

"Yes—but how shall we go to get there?" I asked again as I sat down beside her on the door-step.

"Why, just over that way," said Crazy Helen, pointing back where we had come from. "Just go that way and you'll get to Goodfields."

What in the world should I do? How frightened Mother must be about us! And there was Karl asleep at my side on the bare ground. All kinds of thoughts were whirling[Pg 219] round in my head. Perhaps it was best to let Karl sleep here in Crazy Helen's hut, and in the morning people might find us; or Helen could go with us and show us the way to Goodfields.

"May I lay him on your bed?" I asked, pointing to Karl.

"Nice little boy is asleep," said Helen. So I put Karl on Crazy Helen's bed. The floor of the hut was just bare earth, and there was no furniture but one old stool, I think; but Karl was in a sound sleep and safe, perfectly safe.

Then I seated myself again on the door-step beside poor Helen. They had always said at Goodfields that she had never in the world been known to do any harm, so I was not really afraid of her. The twinkling stars shone down upon us, and the forest trees waved noisily.

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed Crazy Helen, slapping her knees.

Ugh! it wasn't exactly pleasant here; but sleep I would not; no, no, I would not. I[Pg 220] would just sit up and take care of Karl, but oh, how unspeakably tired I was!

"Shall I dance a little for you?" asked Crazy Helen.

"Oh, no!" I answered.

Ugh! That would be horrible. On the lawn at Goodfields where, laughing and joking, we all sat around together and watched Helen dance, it was very jolly, but it wouldn't be so in the least here in the dark forest, and alone with her. But if you'll believe it, she began to dance, notwithstanding—such a queer dance!

She whirled herself about, hopped off slant-wise, then whirled again like a spinning top, while the trees sighed in the wind, and the bright, clear stars looked down on the little space before the hut and on Crazy Helen dancing.

Never in my life had I seen anything so queer, so weird.

"Ho! Heigho!" she sang, as she spun round and round.[Pg 221]

"Hi! Halloa!" some one answered from the forest.

I sprang up. "Halloa!" I shouted. It must be some one from Goodfields, some one who was trying to find us, oh, thank God!

"Halloa!" "Hey there!"

The shouting was nearer; there were lights among the trees and now the people came nearer still—now over the fence—oh! oh—it was Trond and Lisbeth from Goodfields. Oh, oh! how glad I was! I flew in and began to shake Karl.

"Karlie boy, wake up—get up—we're going to Mother." But Karl's eyes would not open, he was so sound asleep. Trond, the farm man, came in and took him in his arms. Oh, oh! it is impossible to say how glad I was!

They had been searching for us since four o'clock and now it was ten. They had called and shouted, and not a sound had we heard.

Mother had been unspeakably anxious and terrified and wanted to go to the forest herself, to search, but Mother Goodfields had said no to[Pg 222] that, "because Trond and Lisbeth know the forest better," she had told Mother.

Crazy Helen sat herself down on the door-step again, and slapped her knees and laughed, as before, out into the night.

Just think of all I lived through in that one day! And still I haven't told half how strange and uncanny it all was,—the long, long day in the forest and Crazy Helen dancing under the stars.

When I got to Goodfields, I ate three eggs and eight slices of bread and butter, and drank four cups of chocolate. I truly did.

[Pg 223]



Would you believe it? Karsten got a live billy-goat as a present from Mother Goodfields, and I got a live wild forest-cat from Jens Kverum's mother. Of course I wanted something alive since Karsten had the goat, so I begged and teased Agnete Kverum until she finally said I might have the yellow-brown cat I wanted. Not that I would not rather have had the goat, you may be sure, though naturally I wouldn't let Karsten know that. He was puffed up enough over it, as it was.

Well, anyway, we took both the goat and the cat with us when we went home; but anything so difficult to travel with you can't possibly imagine. Now you shall hear the whole story from first to last; for if anybody else has a desire to take a real live goat or cat with them on the train or into the ladies' cabin of the[Pg 224] steamboat, they had better know all the bother and row-de-dow it will make. I advise every one against doing it. All the people who are traveling with you get angry, although it is scarcely to be expected that a billy-goat or a wild cat will behave nicely in a ladies' cabin. At any rate, ours didn't. Listen now.

Mother Goodfields had any number of goats. They were all up at the saeter except two, and these roamed in the forest with the cows, because each of them had an injured leg. But one day one goat was missing and nobody in the world could find it.

Old Kari mourned for it constantly and talked of nothing else. Every day she pictured to herself a new horrible way it had met its death. Either it had got caught in a mountain crevice and starved to death, or a wolf had taken it, or Beata Oppistuen had butchered it without any right to. "That Beata! You could expect any kind of doings from her." Old Kari went to and fro in the forest seeking the goat till far into the night.[Pg 225]

But one fine day there on the forest side of the farm fence stood the lost goat with a tiny little baby-goat at her side. And that kid was the prettiest and cunningest you ever set eyes on. It had a soft silky little beard, and it stood on its hind legs and hopped and skipped as if it would jump over into the field.

The cows came and sniffed at it; the other goat, that had stayed at home with them, examined it very particularly; and the little kid danced, zigzag and every which way; and so it was introduced to society, you might say.

How we children ran after that little billy-goat! But Karsten was the worst, for he went to the forest every single day to tend it and brought it home every single night.

"I rather think I shall have to give you that kid," said Mother Goodfields to Karsten one night as he came along carrying it.

From that time Karsten was a changed boy altogether, for he didn't give a thought to the big lake that he had cared so much about all summer. In his brain there was absolutely[Pg 226] nothing but that billy-goat. It ate bread and butter and drank out of a teacup; and one night when Mother went up to bed she caught a glimpse of Billy-goat's beard above the blanket beside Karsten's head. Just imagine! Karsten was going to let the kid sleep with him. But Mother put a stop to that and Karsten had to hurry down-stairs and out to the barn with the goat.

Karsten never allowed me to touch Billy-goat and so I wanted to have a pet animal of my own. I considered seriously for a day or two as to whether I should not ask Mother Goodfields for a brown calf that was kept out in the pasture; but one fine morning it was slaughtered, so there was an end to that plan. Then I brought my desire down to Agnete Kverum's cat. It was golden-brown and had long hair and was exactly like a big cosy muff; and in the muff were two great yellow eyes. Whenever I went up to the Kverum place it sat curled together on the door-sill and purred and was perfectly charming. I didn't give[Pg 227] Agnete a minute's rest or peace, and so, as you know, I got the cat.

Strangely enough, Mother was not in the least overjoyed when I came back carrying the forest-cat.

"I don't like these presents," said Mother. "There will only be tears and heartbreak when you have to leave them."

"Leave them!" exclaimed Karsten and I in one breath. "Oh, but you know they must go back home with us!"

"The goat is so smart about going up and down stairs," said Karsten. "And it likes to drink out of a teacup and it can perfectly well stay in the hotel garden over night in the city."

"Are you crazy, you two?" said Mother. "It would never do in the world."

But we teased and begged so, that Mother finally said yes—we might take them. For the potato-cellar was full of rats, she said, that the cat might take care of; and you could always get rid of a goat in our town. And I promised that I would hold on to the cat[Pg 228] through the whole journey, and Karsten would hold on to the kid, and Mother needn't think they would be any worry or nuisance to her at all. No indeed—far from it.

Well, off we went. When Mother talks of our journey home from the country that time, she both laughs and cries. First we had to drive nearly twenty-five miles. Mother and Karl and Olaug, and the kid and Karsten, and the forest-cat and I, and the hold-all and lunch-basket and bundle of shawls—all were in one carriage. Nobody kept quiet an instant, for Karlie boy wanted to know who lived in every single house along the road, and Olaug whimpered and wanted to eat all the time, and the forest-cat could not by hook or crook be made to stay in any basket, but would sit on the driver's seat and look around; so you see, I had to stand and hold it so it should not fall out of the carriage. And the goat kicked into the air with all its four legs and would not lie in Karsten's lap a minute. You had better believe there was a rumpus![Pg 229]

Mother said afterwards that she just sat and wished that both the cat and the goat would fall out of the carriage; she would then whip up the horse and drive away from them, she was so sick of the whole business.

At last we came to the first place where we were to stay over night. Karsten and I took our pets with us to our rooms. They should not be put into a strange barn and be frightened, poor things! But oh, how those rooms looked in the morning! I can't possibly describe it.

Mother was desperate.

"Do let us get away from this place," she said. "There's no knowing how much I shall have to pay; it will be a costly reckoning, I'll warrant you."

It was.

Well, we all hurried, and flew down to the little steamer. It was cram-jam full of passengers,—ladies who sat with their opera-glasses and were very elegant and looked sideways at you; and sun-burnt gentlemen with[Pg 230] tiny little traveling caps. They all looked hard at Karsten and me with our animals in our arms.

The billy-goat bleated and was determined to get down on to the deck, and the cat miaowed and the ladies drew their skirts close and looked indignant.

"Go into the cabin!" said Mother.

Karsten and I scrambled down below with the goat and the cat. There wasn't a living soul there, nothing but bad air and red velvet sofas. We let go of both the goat and the cat. It would be good for them to stir their legs a little, poor creatures!

Pit-pat! pit-pat! Away went the goat to a sofa, and snatched a big bite out of a bouquet of stock that lay there. One long lavender spray hung dangling from Billy-goat's mouth.

"Oh, are you crazy? Catch your goat! Catch your goat!"

But the flowers were gone and the goat was dancing sideways over the cabin floor.

From the sideboard sounded a thud and a[Pg 231] horrible rattle te-bang of glass and silver. The cat had sprung right up into a big bowl of cream and all the cream was running down on the sofa.

It is a horrible sight to see two quarts of cream flowing over a red velvet sofa! Oh, how frightened I was!

"Hold the door shut, Karsten!" I said. "I'll try to dry it up."

With shaking hands I tried to mop up the cream with my pocket-handkerchief, while the cat and the kid lapped and drank the cream that trickled down to the floor; and Karsten held the door shut with all his might.

But it was like an ocean of cream. It was impossible—impossible for me to dry it up.

"Oh, Karsten! what shall we do?"

"It was your cat that did it."

"Yes, but your goat ate the stock."

"Let's run away," said Karsten; and carrying the goat and the cat we rushed up the narrow cabin stairs. But, O horrors! There wasn't any sort of a place where we could[Pg 232] hide.—And how it did look down in the cabin! And Mother didn't know the least thing about it. O dear! O dear!

"If they only don't throw Billy-goat and the cat overboard!" said Karsten thoughtfully.

"Are you up here again?" called Mother.


We ran away out forward, away to the bow of the boat. Usually I think there is nothing so jolly as to sit far, far out in the bow, seeing nothing of the boat back of me, just as if I were gliding forward high up in the air. But to-day it wasn't the least bit jolly, for all that cream down on the sofa was frightful to think of. Karsten and I couldn't talk of anything else. He was angry, however, because I hadn't mopped it up.

"Well, but I couldn't wipe it up with nothing."

"Oh, you could have taken your waterproof or something out of our trunk."

I was really struck by that thought. Perhaps—perhaps[Pg 233] I could get hold of something to wipe up all that disgusting cream with. We both got up from the box where we had been sitting. O horrors! There stood the dining-room stewardess facing us. No sight could have been more terrible to me.

"Oh, here you are, are you? Of course it was you who have got things in such a condition in the dining-saloon."

I looked at Karsten and Karsten looked at me.

"Yes, the cat upset the bowl," I said faintly.

"Well, it's a pretty business," said the stewardess. "And we are in a fine fix and no mistake. Dinner spoiled, no more cream for the multerberries, and they're nothing without it, the whole cabin running over with cream, the sofa absolutely ruined, glasses broken,—oh, you'll have a handsome sum to pay! Well, you've got to go to the Captain," and she swaggered across the deck.

But now Mother had heard about it, and she came towards us with a face I can't describe,—and[Pg 234] the Captain came; and there Karsten and I stood holding the goat and the cat in our arms.

Oh, it was an awful interview! The Captain wasn't gentle, not he, and Mother had to pay heaps of money.

"There is no sense in traveling with such a menagerie," said the Captain.

The passengers who had nothing but dry multerberries for dessert were certainly angry with us, and Mother was most unhappy. But the cat lay in my lap and blinked with its yellow eyes and purred like far-away thunder,—it was so happy; and Billy-goat rubbed its head with that silky beard against Karsten's jacket and looked up at him with its trustful black eyes; so neither Karsten nor I had the heart to scold. And it wouldn't have done any good, anyway.

At the train, trouble began again, for just imagine! No one knew what the freight charges should be for a kid. The ticket-agent stuck his head out of his window to stare at[Pg 235] the innocent little creature, and the station-master pulled at his mustache and stared too; and they turned over page after page in their books and whispered together. At last they made out that the cost would be the same as for a cow. Mother shook her head but paid. (I was glad I had my cat in a basket where no one noticed it, and it slept like a log.)

Since the kid was so very tiny, Karsten was allowed to take it into the compartment with us, for it was absolutely impossible to let that baby go alone into the cattle-car.

"Thank goodness!" said Mother when she finally got us all settled. "Now there are only five hours more of this part of the journey."

Two ladies were in the compartment—one very severe-looking who had a lorgnette, the other fat and jolly, with awfully pretty red cherries on her hat. Little Billy-goat stood on the seat and ate crackers, making a great crunching. The fat lady laughed at it till she shook all over, but the severe lady drew the[Pg 236] corners of her mouth down, looking crosser than ever.

Karsten was so glad to have some one admire the kid that he made it do all the tricks it could. However, that was soon over, for it could not do anything except stand on two legs.

Just as it stood there on two legs, with the most innocent face you can imagine, it gave a little leap—oh, oh! up towards the hat of the fat lady; and that very instant the beautiful red cherries crackled in Billy-goat's mouth.

"Oh, my new hat!" screamed the fat lady.

"It is outrageous that one should be liable to such treatment," said the cross lady.

"That's the time you got fooled, Billy-goat!" said Karl, "for you got glass cherries instead of real cherries."

Mother had lost all patience now and no mistake; and the kid had to go under the seat and lie there the whole time. And Mother offered the fat lady some chocolates and some of Mother Goodfields' home-made cakes that we had brought for luncheon, and begged her pardon again and again for Billy-goat's behavior; so that finally the fat lady was a little appeased. The goat had eaten four of the glass cherries and there were eight still left on the hat, so it wasn't wholly spoiled.

The beautiful red cherries crackled in Billy-goat's mouth.—Page 236. The beautiful red cherries crackled in Billy-goat's mouth.—Page 236.

[Pg 237]

"Well, all I know is I would never have stood it," said the lady with the lorgnette.

The forest-cat behaved beautifully, sleeping the whole time on the train; and we all grew tired, oh! so tired. I couldn't look out of the window at last, I was so utterly tired out. And I did not bother myself about either the cat or the billy-goat.

Finally we rumbled into the city and to the station platform.

But Mother was altogether right in saying that it would never do in the world to have a billy-goat in the city. When we got to the hotel where we were to spend that night, there stood the host at the door. He is a very cross man. When he saw Billy-goat in Karsten's arms he was furious at once. He had not[Pg 238] fitted up his rooms for animals, he said, and the goat would please be so good as to keep itself entirely outside of them. So Billy-goat was put into the pitch-dark coal-cellar—and had to stay there the whole night.

When we went down the next morning it stood on two legs and danced sideways from pure joy. But when Karsten took it out into the court, pop! away went the goat over the low fence into the hotel-keeper's garden, then out by an unlatched gate into the wide, wide world.

"No," said Mother firmly, "you may not go to look for it, nor will I ask the police to find it. If I haven't suffered and paid enough for that creature——"

Poor little Billy-goat! It was a sin and a shame that we ever took you away from the forest at Goodfields!

[Pg 239]



Oh, such fun as we had in school that time when Mr. Gorrisen was our teacher! It was a regular comedy. He was a tiny little man. Antoinette and I were taller than he, so you can judge for yourself. And I never in my life saw any one with such round eyes as he had.

You should just have seen those eyes when we were having a little fun at our desks. With a hard, fixed stare, not letting his gaze wander for an instant, his eyes bored themselves right into the culprit.

Down from the platform he came, with slow, measured step across the floor,—his eyes not moving for a second,—came nearer and nearer and nearer; ugh! then his finger tips grabbed the very tip-end of your ear and there they held tight like a vise. No one can have the[Pg 240] faintest idea how painful it was. And all without one word; not a syllable came over Mr. Gorrisen's lips.

I wonder, I really do, that there is anything left of the tips of my ears since then, considering the many times Mr. Gorrisen took hold of them!

And he was mighty quick about giving us poor marks! If I didn't know every single thing in the lesson by heart, so that I could rattle it off, I got a "4" immediately.

It was at that time, however, that I hit upon the plan of cutting out the bad marks from my report book, for a "4" or "5" looks perfectly disgusting in a report. But an innocent little square hole,—that's no harm, as it were.

"But, Inger Johanne," said Father, "what is that?"

"Oh, well, Father, there was a bad mark there," I answered. "And I didn't dare come home with such a mark, so I just cut it out."

The first time I did it, Father wasn't so very[Pg 241] angry; but when I did it again and again, he was furious. So I had to give it up. Then when I really came to think about it, I saw it was wrong, so I would not do it any more, anyway.

Once we had Mr. Gorrisen on Examination Day. Mrs. White, with her light kid gloves on, sat in a chair on the platform and listened, holding Karen's dirty German reading-book by the tip edge. She looked continually at the book but she didn't understand a word,—I'll wager anything you like she didn't,—for she never turned over the page when she should have. I saw that plainly. On a seat near the door sat Madam Tellefsen, who had come to listen to Mina; she did not put on any airs, though. She never once pretended to understand German, but laid the book down beside her on the seat and sat there sweltering in her French shawl and looking rather helpless.

Enough of that. I was just carving my name on my desk-lid—very deep and nice it was to be—when all at once I noticed that Mr.[Pg 242] Gorrisen was looking at me. He stared as if he were staring right through me, stared steadily as he came across the room.

Oh, my unlucky ear-tip! His fingers held it as tight as a vise. Up I must get from my seat and across the floor was I led by the ear to the corner of the room. There he let go of me.

Well! Imagine that! A pretty sight I made standing in the corner on Examination Day! If only Mrs. White and Madam Tellefsen had not been sitting there! They would surely go and tattle about it all over town.

Truly I would not stand there any longer. Mr. Gorrisen was reading a piece aloud just then, so all at once I lay flat down on the floor and crept over to the desks. Once I had got under the desks, it was easy enough. Kima Pirk gave me a horrid kick in the back, and Karen whacked my head when I was directly under her desk, but that was only because I pinched them as I passed. I could hear them all whispering and whispering above me—it was great fun—and I crept farther and farther.[Pg 243] I thought I would go to the last desk, you see. There, now I had reached it. I got up and settled myself in the seat, wearing a most innocent expression.

I looked at Mrs. White. Her face seemed to get sharper and narrower just from severity; but Madam Tellefsen laughed so that she had to hold the end of her French shawl over her face. I had got very warm and my hair was very dusty from that expedition under the desks, but I didn't mind that.

Fully five minutes passed before Mr. Gorrisen saw me. But all at once when I had begun to feel pretty safe, came:

"Why, Inger Johanne! Have you walked out of the corner without permission?"

"No, I have not walked, Mr. Gorrisen," said I.

"She crept," the others murmured faintly.

"She crept," said Kima aloud from her desk in the front row.

"What is this, Inger Johanne?" asked Mr. Gorrisen severely.[Pg 244]

"It was so tedious to stand there, Mr. Gorrisen," I said.

"Yes, that was exactly why you were put there."

"And so I crept over here when you didn't see me."

Without another word, down across the floor he came. I turned my right ear towards him, for the left ear burned horribly even yet from the other time. But he evidently thought that an ear-pinch was too gentle a punishment for creeping through the whole class-room. I was taken by the arm and led along out of the door. Outside in the hall he shook me by the arm. Oh, well! it was just a little shake anyway,—but then I had to hang around in that hall until the lesson was all over.

I can't understand now how I ever dared to creep that way in Mr. Gorrisen's class. O dear! I have been awfully foolish many times—unbelievably foolish!

Then there was that day Mr. Gorrisen fell off his chair. I was put out in the hall that[Pg 245] day, too. But all the others ought to have been sent out as well, for we all laughed together. It was just because I couldn't stop laughing that I had to go. I surely have spasms in my cheeks, for long after all the others have stopped I keep on—I can't help it.

We were having our geography lesson. Mr. Gorrisen sat in an armchair by the table and stared at us, for he was not the kind of teacher that sharpens pencils or polishes his finger nails or does anything like that. He just sits and sways back and forth in his chair and stares incessantly. Well, never mind that. The lesson was on the peninsula of Korea. I remember distinctly.

"Now, Minka, Korea lies——" He swayed and swayed in his chair.

"Korea lies—ahem! Ko-re-a lies——"

Minka glanced anxiously around to see whether any one would whisper to her—"Korea lies between——"

There came a frightful explosive bang; the chair had gone over backward, making a horrible[Pg 246] noise, and Mr. Gorrisen's small legs were up in the air above the corner of the table.

Oh, what shrieks of laughter pealed out through the class-room! But quick as a flash Mr. Gorrisen was up again. He sat himself in the armchair as if nothing had happened, only his face was flaming red up to his hair. It was exactly as if there had been no interruption whatever, to say nothing of such a noisy comical topsy-turvy.

"Korea lies where, Minka?"

But that was more than I could bear. I burst out laughing again—he, he! ha, ha!—and all the others joined in. If he had only laughed himself, I don't believe it would have seemed so funny—but he was as solemn as an owl.

"Stop laughing instantly." He struck the table with his ruler so that the room rang. We quieted down at once except for a hiccough here and there, but the worst of it was that Mr. Gorrisen stared only at me. I fixed my eyes on an old map on the wall and thought[Pg 247] of all the saddest things I could, but it was of no use. My laughter burst out again; I was so full of it that it just bubbled over.

Mr. Gorrisen swayed back and forth in his chair as usual as if to show how perfectly unembarrassed he was. But suddenly—true as Gospel—if he didn't almost tip over again! He clutched frantically at the table, gave a guilty glance at me. "Ha, ha! Ha, ha!" I could hear my own laughter above all the rest.

Mr. Gorrisen was up in a trice, and I was hurried out of the door so quickly that, almost before I knew it, I stood out in the cold hall. I nearly froze, it was so bitterly cold there; for it was nearly Christmas time, you see.

I opened the door a tiny bit just far enough to put my nose through the crack.

"Mr. Gorrisen."


"It's so cold out here. I won't laugh any more."

"Very well. Come in."[Pg 248]

And so I went in again. At recess they all said they wondered how I ever dared ask Mr. Gorrisen to let me come in from the hall.

"Pooh!" said I. "I dare do anything with Mr. Gorrisen."

"Oh-h! you don't either! Far from it!"

"Well, I'd really dare pretty nearly anything. I'm not afraid of him."

"Would you dare sing right out loud in his class?" asked Karen.

"Pooh! that wouldn't be anything much to do," said Minka. Then they all began to tease me.

"Fie, for shame! She is so brave and yet she does not dare to do such a little thing as that!"

"You shall see whether I dare or not," I said. And, would you believe it? I did sing aloud one time in Mr. Gorrisen's geography class.

It was several days after he had tipped over. I had been watching my chance in all his classes, but somehow it didn't seem to come.[Pg 249] One day, however, I was just in the humor, and in the midst of the silence, while Mr. Gorrisen sat and wrote down marks in the record book, I sang out at the top of my voice:

"'Sons of Norway, that ancient kingdom'"—

I did not once glance at Mr. Gorrisen but looked around at all the others who lay over their desks and laughed till they choked. And I sang on:

"'Manly and solemn, let the sound rise!'"

Not a sound had come from the platform till that instant. Then I heard behind me the click, click, click of Mr. Gorrisen's heels across the floor and out of the door.

"You'll catch it! oh, you'll catch it, Inger Johanne."

"Oh, I wouldn't be in your shoes for a good deal!"

"Well, it was you who teased me to do it," I said.

"Yes, but to think that you should be so stupid as to do such a thing."[Pg 250]

I did really get a little scared, especially because it was so long before Mr. Gorrisen came back.

"Run away!" said one.

"Hide under your desk," said another.

But there he was in the doorway and the Principal with him.

"What is all this, Inger Johanne?" said the Principal. "You are too big to be so wild now. You are not such a bad girl, but you are altogether too thoughtless and use no judgment."

"Yes," I said. I was so glad the Principal didn't scold any harder.

"Of course you will be marked for this in your report-book; and remember this," the Principal shook his finger at me threateningly, "it won't do for you to behave like this many times, Inger Johanne. You won't get off so easily again." But as he went out of the door I saw that he smiled. Yes, he did, really.

But Mother didn't smile when she saw the marks.[Pg 251]

"Are you going to bring sorrow to your father and mother?" she said. And those beautiful brown eyes of hers looked sad and troubled.

Just think! It had never occurred to me that it would be a sorrow to Father and Mother for me to sing out loud in class. Oh, I was awfully, awfully disgusted with myself. I hung around Mother all the afternoon.

First and foremost I must beg Mr. Gorrisen's pardon, Mother said. It seemed to me I could ask the whole world's pardon if only Mother's eyes wouldn't look so sorrowful. I wanted very much to go right down to Mr. Gorrisen's lodgings; but Mother said she thought it was only right that I should beg his pardon at school, so that all the class should hear. It was embarrassing, frightfully embarrassing, to ask Mr. Gorrisen's pardon—but I did it notwithstanding. I said, "Please excuse me for singing out in class."

"H'm, h'm," said Mr. Gorrisen. "Well, go back now and take your seat."[Pg 252]

Since then I have sat like a lamp-post in his classes—yes, I really have. Many a time I should have liked to have some fun—but then I would think of Mother's sorrowful eyes and so I have held myself in and kept from any more skylarking.

[Pg 253]



I was going to school one day, but was pretty late in getting started. The trouble was that our yellow hen, Valpurga, had been sick, and since, of course, I couldn't trust any one else to attend to her, I had made myself late.

When hens begin to mope, keeping still under a bush, drawing their heads way down into their feathers, and just rolling their eyes about, that's enough;—it is anything but pleasant when it is a hen you are fond of. That's the way Valpurga was behaving. I gave her butter and pepper, for that is good for hens.

But it wasn't about Valpurga I wanted to tell. It was about the circus-riders being here.

The clock in the dining-room said five minutes of nine, and I hadn't eaten my breakfast,[Pg 254] hadn't studied any of my German grammar lesson, and had to get to school besides. Things went with a rush, I can tell you; with a piece of bread and butter in one hand, the German grammar open in the other, I dashed down the hill.

"Prepositions which govern the dative: aus, ausser, bei, binnenaus, ausser, bei,"—pshaw, the ragged old book! There went a leaf over the fence, down into Madam Land's yard. It was best to be careful in going after it, for Madam Land's windows looked out to this side, and she was furious when any one trod down her grass. I expected every moment to hear her knock sharply on the window-pane with her thimble. She didn't see me though, and I climbed back over the fence with the missing leaf.

—"aus, ausser——"

Round the corner swung Policeman Weiby with a stranger, a queer-looking man. The stranger was absolutely deep yellow in the face, with black-as-midnight hair, and black piercing[Pg 255] eyes. On his head he wore a little green cap, very foreign-looking, and on his feet patent leather riding-boots that reached above his knees.

Weiby puffed, threw his chest out even more than usual and looked very much worried. It must be something really important, for day in and day out Weiby has seldom anything else to do than to poke his stick among the children who are playing hop-scotch in the street.

Though I was so terribly late, of course I had to stand still and look after Weiby and the strange man until they disappeared around the corner up by the office. Something interesting had come to town, that was plain. Either a panorama, or a man who swallowed swords, or one who had no arms and sewed with his toes. Hurrah, there was surely to be some entertainment!

I got to school eleven minutes late. A normal-school pupil, Mr. Holmesland, had the arithmetic class that morning. He sat on the platform with his hand under his cheek supporting[Pg 256] his big heavy head, and looked at me reproachfully as I came in. I slipped in behind the rack where all the outside things hung, to take off my things, and to finish the last mouthful of my bread and butter.

Pooh, I never bother myself a bit about Mr. Holmesland. I walked boldly out and took my seat. Another long reproachful look from the platform.

"Do you know what time it is, Inger Johanne?"

"Yes, but I couldn't possibly come before, Mr. Holmesland, because I had to attend to some one who was sick."

"Indeed,—is your mother sick?"

"Oh, no"—he didn't ask anything more, and I was glad of it.

"What example are you doing?" I asked Netta, who sat beside me.

"This," she showed me her slate, but above the example was written in big letters: "The circus has come!"

The arithmetic hour was frightfully long.[Pg 257] At recess we talked of nothing but the circus. Netta had seen an awfully fat, black-haired lady, in a fiery red dress, and a fat pug dog on her arm; they certainly belonged to the circus troupe, for there was no such dark lady and no such dog in the whole town. Mina had seen a little slender boy, with rough black hair and gold earrings—and hadn't I myself seen the director of the whole concern? It was queer that I was the one who had most to tell, though, as you know, all I had seen of the circus troupe was the strange man with Policeman Weiby as I passed them on the hill.

We had sat down to dinner at home; Karsten hadn't come; we didn't know whether it was the circus or our having "lu-de-fisk" for dinner that kept him away.

Suddenly the dining-room door was thrown open, and there he stood in the doorway, very red in the face and so excited he could hardly speak.

"Can the circus-riders keep their horses in our barn?" he asked, all out of breath. You[Pg 258] know we had a big, old barn that was never used. Karsten had to repeat what he had said; we always have to speak awfully clearly to Father; he won't stand any slovenly talk.

Father and Mother looked at each other across the table.

"Well, I don't see any objection," said Father.

"But is it worth while to have all that hub-bub in our barn?" said Mother. I was burning with eagerness as I listened.

"It is probably not very easy for them to find a place for all their horses here in town," said Father, "and I shall make the condition that they behave themselves there."

"Well, as you like," said Mother.

Outside in the hall stood the same man I had seen in the morning, and another fellow of just the same sort, but smaller and rougher-looking. Father went out and talked with them; the one in the green cap mixed in a lot of German. "Danke schön—danke schön," they said as they went away.[Pg 259]

Hurrah!—the circus-riders were to keep their horses in our barn, right here on our place—hurrah!—hurrah! what fun!

The horses were to come by land from the nearest town, nobody knew just when. I took my geography up on the barn steps that afternoon to study my lesson. I didn't want to miss seeing them come, you may be sure.

Little by little, a whole lot of children collected up there. Away out on the Point they had heard that the circus-riders were to have our barn. Some of the boys began to try to run things, and to push us girls away, but they learned better soon enough.

"No, sir," I gave one a thump—"be off with you; get away, and be quick about it, or you'll catch it."

Most of the boys in the town are afraid of me, I can tell you, because I have strong hands and a quick tongue, and behind me, like an invisible support, is always Father, and all the police, who are under him—so it's not often any one makes a fuss. Besides, I should like[Pg 260] to know when you should have the say about things if not on your own barn steps.

More and more children gathered; they swarmed up the hill. I stood on the barn steps with a long whip. If any one came too near—swish!

At last—here came the horses! First a big white horse that a groom was leading by the bridle, then two small shaggy ponies, then a big red horse that carried his head high, and then the whole troop following. Some were loose and jumped in among us children; the grooms scolded and shouted both in German and in Polish; a few small, rough-coated dogs rushed around catching hold of the skirts of some of the girls, who ran and screamed.

Suddenly a little swarthy groom got furious at all of us children who were standing around and drove us down the hill. It made me angry to have him chase me away too, especially because all the others saw it. At first I thought of making a speech to him in German and telling him who I was and that the barn was mine; but I didn't know at all what barn was in German, so I had to give it up.

I stood on the barn steps with a long whip.—Page 260. I stood on the barn steps with a long whip.—Page 260.

[Pg 261]

In the moonlight that evening the fat lady in the red dress, and two little girls came to see to the horses. Afterwards they sat for a long time out on the barn steps watching the moon. The two little girls had long light hair down their backs and short dresses above their knees.

I leaned against the dining-room window with my nose pressed flat, and stared at them. Oh, what a delightful time those little girls had! Think! to travel that way—just travel—travel—travel, to ride on those lovely horses, and wear such short fancy skirts, and have your hair flowing loose over your back.

I never was allowed to go with my hair loose,—and I suppose I shall have to stay in this poky town all my days; and never in the world shall I get a chance to ride on a horse, I thought.

At night I lay awake and heard the horses stamping and thumping up in the barn. After[Pg 262] all, even this was good fun, almost like being in the midst of a fairy tale.

The next day I was again late to school. There was not a single one of the swarthy fellows to be seen around the barn, so I climbed up on the wall and stuck grass through a broken window-pane to the big white horse. I patted him on his smooth pinky nose: "Oh, you sweet, lovely horse!"—I must go down for more grass, the very best grass to be found he should have.

"Inger Johanne, will you be so good as to go to school? It's very late"—it was Father calling from the office window; so there was an end to that pleasure.

Down by the steamboat-landing, in the big open square, the circus tent had been set up. Karsten and I were down there two hours before the performance was to begin. I was the first of all the spectators to go inside. It was a tremendously big, high tent, three rows of seats around it, and a staging of rough boards for the orchestra. Anything so magnificent[Pg 263] you never saw. At last the performance began.

But to describe what goes on at a circus, that I won't do. About ordinary things, such as are happening every day at home, I can write very well, as you know, but anything so magnificent as that circus I can't describe.

I was nearly out of my wits, people said afterwards. I stood up on the seat—those behind me were angry, but that didn't bother me at all—clapped my hands and shouted "Bravo!" and "Hurrah!" Towards the last the riders, when they came in, gave me a special salute in that elegant way, you know, holding up their whips before one eye. I liked that awfully well. I was fairly beside myself with joy.

Well, now I knew what I wanted to be: I wanted to be a circus-rider! For that was the grandest and jolliest thing in the whole world. Did you ever feel about yourself that you were going to be something great, something more than every one else, as if you stood on a high[Pg 264] mountain with all the other people far below you? Well, I had felt like that, and now I knew what it was that I should be.

I lay awake far into the night and thought and thought. Yes, it was plain, I should have to run away with the circus-riders. I could not have a better opportunity. Certainly Father and Mother would never let me go. It would be horrid to run away, but that was nothing; a circus-rider I must be, I saw that plainly. The worst was, all the oil I had heard that circus-riders must drink to keep themselves limber and light. Ugh! no, I would not drink oil; I would be light all the same, and awfully quick about hopping and dancing on the horses.

And after many years I would come back to the town. No one would know me at first, and every one would be so terribly surprised to learn that the graceful rider in blue velvet was the judge's Inger Johanne.

I forgot to say that we were to have two free tickets every evening because Father was town[Pg 265] judge. The first evening Karsten and I went, but the second evening Mother said that the maids should go.

"You were there last night," said Mother. "We can't spend money on such foolishness; to-morrow evening you may go again."

Oh, how broken-hearted I was because I couldn't go to the circus that evening! and Mother called it foolishness! If she only knew I was going to be a circus-rider! I wouldn't dare tell her for all the world.

In the evening, when it was time for the performance to begin, I went down to the steamboat-landing just the same. The fat lady with the shining black eyes sat there selling tickets; the people crowded about the entrance, some had already begun to stream in; the big flag which served as a door was constantly being drawn aside to let people in, and at every chance I peeked behind the flag. To think that I wasn't going to get in to-night! Suppose I ran home and asked Father very nicely for a ticket; perhaps there was still time.[Pg 266]

"Won't you have a ticket?" asked the black-eyed lady. She said she remembered me from the evening before when I had been so delighted.

"No, I have no money," said I, and my whole face grew red. It really was embarrassing, but since she asked me I had to tell the truth.

"If you will stand there by the door and take the tickets, you may come in and look on," she said.

Wouldn't I! Just the thing for me! Not even a cat should slip in without a ticket. I was very strict at the door and pushed away the sailors who wanted to force themselves in. I was terribly clever, the lady said.

And so I went in again, and enjoyed it just as much as I had the evening before. I was tremendously proud of having earned my ticket, for in that way it was as if I were taken at once right into the circus troupe. Every single night they performed I would take the tickets—yet no one in the whole town would[Pg 267] know that Inger Johanne meant to go away with the circus. I would wait till the very last day it was in town before I asked the fat dark lady, who was the director's wife, if I might go. Of course I knew her now.

And I must say good-bye to Father and Mother and my brothers and sister, or I couldn't bear it. I wouldn't stay away forever, no, far from it, only a little while, until I was a perfectly splendid performer.

All at once it occurred to me that I ought to practise a little on horseback before I offered myself to the circus troupe. I ought at least to know what it was like to sit on a horse.

There certainly couldn't be any better opportunity than there was now, when our whole barn was full of horses. But I must take Karsten into my confidence; he would have to help me to climb through a hole in the back of the barn, for the grooms always fastened the barn door when they went away. At noon there was never any one up there, so I planned to crawl in then and practice getting on and off[Pg 268] of a horse. Yes, I would stand up on him too,—on one leg—stretch out my arms, and throw kisses as they do at the circus.

"Karsten," said I the next day, "what should you say if I became a circus-rider?"

"You—when you're knock-kneed!—you would look nice, Inger Johanne, you would."

"You look after your own knees, Karsten, I'm going to be a circus-rider, all the same, I really am."

"Oh, what bosh!"

"Well, you'll see; when the circus-riders go I'm going with them. You mustn't tell a soul, Karsten, but a circus-rider is what I'm going to be."

Karsten looked at me rather doubtfully.

"But you must help me to get into the barn through that hole at the back, for I shall have to practice, you understand."

"Well, will you give me that red-and-blue pencil of yours then?"

"Oh, yes, only come along."

We stole behind the barn. Karsten kept[Pg 269] hold of me while I climbed up—there, now I was in the barn. How it looked! When twelve horses must stand in five stalls, there isn't much room left, you know, and they had been put every which way,—one pony stood in the calf-pen.

All the horses except two were lying down resting. The white horse over by the window was standing up; he turned around and looked at me with big sorrowful eyes. It had really been my plan to get on him, for he was the handsomest of them all, but I didn't dare to venture among the big shining bodies of the horses lying all over the floor. No, I should have to be satisfied with the little black one that stood in the calf-pen. Karsten had thrust the upper part of his body in through the hole. I went up to the black horse.

"He is angry; he is putting his ears back; look out, Inger Johanne!" called Karsten.

"Pooh—do you think I mind that?" I climbed up on the calf-pen. For a moment I[Pg 270] wondered whether I should try to stand on the horse at once. I put out my foot and touched him—no, he was so smooth and slippery, it would certainly be best to sit the first time I got on a horse. I gave a little jump, and there I sat.

O dear! What in the world was happening? I didn't know, but I thought the horse had gone crazy. First he stood on his fore legs with his hind legs in the air, and then on his hind legs, and threw me off as if I were nothing at all. I fell across the edge of the calf-pen—oh, what a whack my arm got! I literally couldn't move it for a whole minute; and there was a grand rumpus in the barn; some of the horses got up and whinnied, and the black one that I had sat on kicked and kicked with his hind legs every instant.

I could just see the top of Karsten's head at the hole now.

"Oh, Karsten—Karsten."

"Are you dead, Inger Johanne?"

I don't really know how I got out through[Pg 271] the hole with my injured arm. But outside of the barn I sat down right among all the nettles and cried.

When I went into the house there was a great commotion. Everybody was scared and the doctor was sent for. My sleeve was cut up to the shoulder, and the doctor said I had broken a small bone in my wrist, and besides had sprained and bruised my arm about as much as I could.

"You do everything so thoroughly, Inger Johanne," said the doctor.

When I was in bed with my arm in splints and bandages, I began to cry violently. Not so much because of my arm—though I cried a little about that, too—but most that I should have thought I could run away from Father and Mother, who were so good. I told Mother the whole thing.

"But now I'll never—never—never think of running away again, Mother."

The day the circus-riders left with the[Pg 272] horses, I stood at the window with my arm in a sling and watched them.

But only think! Karsten wouldn't give up, and I had to hand over my red-and-blue pencil to him even though I didn't run away with the circus-riders!

[Pg 273]



Twice, that I can remember, Father had tried to get a position off in the country, and each time I had been so sure we were going to move that I had imagined exactly how everything would be in our new home. A big old farmhouse, yes, for I like old, old houses; an immense garden, with empress pears and every possible kind of berry; big red barns and out-houses; big pastures all around; cows and calves, and horses to go driving with wherever I wished. I should like best a red horse with a white mane, a horse that looked wild; and a little light basket-phaeton. And I would drive, and crack my whip—oh, how I would snap it! And there would be a lot of hens[Pg 274] that I would take care of myself, for I am dreadfully interested in hens.

Once, I told all around town that we were to move to Telemarken. I really believed it myself. Everybody in town heard of it and at last it got into the paper, and, O dear! it wasn't true at all, and it was I who had told it. That time Father was furious with me.

After that I never heard a word about Father's looking for a position; I suppose they were afraid I should tell of it again. And so it was like lightning from a clear sky and I was completely astounded when Mother told me one morning at breakfast that Father had got a position in Christiania, and that we were to move away.

"Well, may I tell about it now?" I asked. "Yes, now you may say all you like," said Mother.

I couldn't get another mouthful down after hearing the news, but hurried off to school. Not a soul had come when I got there, so I had to wait, alone with my great news, for five long[Pg 275] minutes. The first to come was Antoinette Wium; she had hardly opened the door when I called out:

"I am going to move away from town."

Then I planted myself firmly at the door, and told every single one that came in. Before the first recess was over, the whole school and all the teachers knew that we were to move to Christiania.

I was so glad, I didn't know what to do. The first few days I just went around telling it down on the wharves and everywhere.

All at once everything seemed so tedious in town. I didn't care any longer about what my friends were talking of; all I wanted was to talk about Christiania. When I was alone I sang to myself: "We shall travel, travel, travel," mostly to the tune of

"Ja, vi elsker dette landet,"

for that has such a swing to it.

I must say that now, for the first time, I understood how Lawyer Cold felt. He is a fat young man from Christiania who has settled[Pg 276] in our town, but is in despair because he has to live here. He comes up to Father's office and sits and talks by the hour, complaining, until he puts Father in a bad humor, too. It is Karl Johan Street that he misses so frightfully, he says. And to think that now I was going to Karl Johan Street and should see all the cadets and all the fun! I could understand Lawyer Cold's feelings perfectly now. Oh, oh, how delightful it will be!

I began at once to go around to say good-bye, although we were not to leave for three or four months. I went to all the cottages and huts round about. One day I went by Ellef Kulaas' house up on the hill. He was standing outside of his door. He is tall, and his whole body seems to be warped, and he never looks at people, but off anywhere else.

"Good-bye, Ellef, I am going away," said I.

Ellef didn't answer; he only turned his quid in his mouth.

"We are going to Christiania," I went on.[Pg 277]

"Yes, I was there once," said Ellef. "It's a dangerous Sodom."

"But aren't there plenty of splendid things to see, Ellef?"

"Oh, yes—I wanted most to see that big mountain Gausta. They told me I'd have to take a horse and wagon to get there; but I went to see the old dean that used to be here,—he lived high up—and when I looked out of his skylight I saw everything, Gausta and the churches and the whole kit and boodle. I saved a lot of money that way. I went up there twice and looked through the skylight, and so I saw the whole show,—for nothing too. I suppose hardly anybody sees it any better."

Humph! As if I'd be satisfied like Ellef Kulaas with seeing things through the dean's skylight!

There were many places where I said good-bye several times. At last they laughed at me, and I had to laugh too. One day I went by Madam Guldahl's house. Madam Guldahl[Pg 278] always stands at her garden gate and talks with people who are passing.

"Good-bye, Madam Guldahl, we are going to Christiania," said I.

"You may if you want to. I am thankful to live here rather than there."

"Why is that?"

"Oh, I was there six weeks on account of my bad leg—such hurrying and running in the streets you never saw. I didn't know a soul in the streets; what pleasure could there be in that, I'd like to know! One day I saw Ellef Kulaas on the street there, and I was so glad I wanted to throw my arms around his neck. People went by each other without once looking at each other—not at all as though it was immortal souls they were passing."

I wondered a little whether I should want to throw my arms round Ellef Kulaas' neck if I met him on Karl Johan Street; but I hardly thought I should.

There were three farewell parties for me in the town, with tables loaded with good things[Pg 279] at all the places, and at table they always "toasted" me, singing:

"Og dette skal vaere Inger Johanne's skaal!

I sang with them myself, and it was quite ceremonious. It's awfully good fun to be made so much of. The girls all wanted to walk arm in arm with me and be awfully good friends, and I promised to write to them all.

At home all the floors were covered with straw and big packing-cases; chairs and sofas were wrapped in matting; a policeman went around sorting and packing for several days, and Mother wore her morning dress all day long. It was all horribly uncomfortable and awfully pleasant at the same time.

I packed a box of crockery, and it was really very well done, but the policeman packed it all over again. After that I wasn't allowed to do anything except run errands.

At school I gave away my scholar's-companion and my eraser and my pencils and pen-holders, and an old torn map, as keepsakes.[Pg 280]

On Saturday, after prayers, the Principal said:

"There is a little girl here who is soon to leave us. It is Inger Johanne, as we all know. We shall miss you, Inger Johanne. You are a good girl in spite of all your pranks. May everything go well with you. God bless you."

This was terribly unexpected. Oh, what a beautiful speech—I began to cry—oh, how I cried! The very moment the Principal said: "There is a little girl here who is soon to leave us," everything seemed perfectly horrid all at once.

Just think, to leave the school and my friends, and the town, and everything, and never, never come back!

I laid my head down on the desk and cried, and cried, and couldn't stop. I had thought only of all the new things I was going to, and not that I should never in the world live here again,—here where I had been so happy.

O dear! if we were only not going, if we were just to stay here all our lives. At last[Pg 281] the Principal came down and patted me on the head, and then I cried all the more.

When I got home they could hardly see my eyes, I had cried so.

"Now you see, Inger Johanne, it's not all pleasure, either," said Mother.

The last day, I ran up on the hill, and said good-bye to all the places where we used to play, to Rome and Japan, to Kongsberg and the North Cape,—for we had given names to some of them.

"Good-bye!" I shouted across the rocks and the heather and the juniper, "Good-bye!" I ran and ran, for I wanted to see all the places where we had played, before I went away forever. At home, on the outside wall of our old house, I wrote in pencil, "Good-bye, my beloved home!"

But I didn't cry, except that time at school.

At the steamboat-wharf, when we were leaving, it was only fun. The wharf was packed full of people, and they all wanted to talk to us and shake hands, and they gave Mother[Pg 282] bouquets and gave me bouquets; and there was such a crowd and bustle and talk and noise before all our things were finally on board! Only one thing was horrid, and that was that Ingeborg the maid cried so sorrowfully. She was not going with us; she stood on the wharf by herself and cried and cried.

"Don't cry, Ingeborg; you must come and visit us—yes, you must, you must; don't cry!"

"I can't do anything else," said Ingeborg, sobbing aloud.

Now I had to go on board and the steamboat started.

"Good-bye, good-bye"—I ran to the very stern right by the flag, and waved and waved. I could see Massa and Mina on the wharf all the way to where we swung around the islands.

I stood staring back at the town.

Now Peckell's big yellow house vanished, and now the custom-house; now I could see nothing but the little red house high up on the hill; and at last that vanished too.

But I still stood there, looking back and[Pg 283] looking back at the gray hills. Among them I had lived my whole life long!

Other hills and islands came into view, and the sea splashed up over them, but not one of them did I know.

How strange that was!

Nevertheless, I suddenly felt awfully glad, and I began to sing at the top of my voice to the old tune (no one heard me, the sea roared so mightily):

"Oh! I love to travel, travel!"



Translated from the Scandinavian Languages
Illustrated in two colors by Florence Liley Young

These stories of magic and adventure come from the countries at the "top of the world," and will transport thither in fancy the children who read this unusual book. They tell of Lapps and reindeer (even a golden-horned reindeer!), of prince and herd-boy, of knights and wolves and trolls, of a boy who could be hungry and merry at the same time—of all these and more besides! Miss Poulsson's numerous and long visits to Norway, her father's land, and the fact that she is an experienced writer for children are doubtless the reasons why her translations are sympathetic and skilful, and yet entirely adapted to give wholesome pleasure to the young public that she knows so well.

"In these stories are the elements of wonder and magic and adventure that furnish the thrill so much appreciated by boys and girls ten or twelve years of age. An aristocratic book—one that every young person will be perpetually proud of."—Lookout, Cincinnati, O.

"In this book the children are transported to the land they love best, the land of magic, of the fairies and all kinds of wonderful happenings. It is one of the best fairy story books ever published."—Argus-Leader, Sioux Falls, S. D.



Fully illustrated and decorated
12mo Cloth Price, $1.50

The varying forms of Christmas observance at different times and in different lands are entertainingly shown by one trained in choosing and presenting the best to younger readers. The symbolism, good cheer, and sentiment of the grandest of holidays are shown as they appeal in similar fashion to those whose lives seem so widely diverse. The first chapter tells of the Yule-Tide of the Ancients, and the eight succeeding chapters deal respectively with the observance of Christmas and New Year's, making up the time of "Yule," or the turning of the sun, in England, Germany, Scandinavia, Russia, France, Italy, Spain, and America. The space devoted to each country has at least one good illustration.

"The descriptions as presented in this well-prepared volume make interesting reading for all who love to come in loving contact with others in their high and pure enjoyments."—Herald-Presbyter, Cincinnati.

"The way Yule-Tide was and is celebrated is told in a simple and instructive way, and the narrative is enriched by appropriate poems and excellent illustrations."—Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"It is written for young people and is bound to interest them for the subject is a universal one."—American Church Sunday School Magazine.

Famous Children

By H. Twitchell Illustrated

We have here a most valuable book, telling not of the childhood of those who have afterwards become famous, but those who as children are famous in history, song, and story. For convenience the subjects are grouped as "Royal Children," "Child Artists," "Learned Children," "Devoted Children," "Child Martyrs," and "Heroic Children," and the names of the "two little princes," Louis XVII., Mozart, St. Genevieve, David, and Joan of Arc are here, as well as those of many more.

The Story of the Cid For Young People

By Calvin Dill Wilson Illustrated by J. W. Kennedy

Mr. Wilson, a well-known writer and reviewer, has prepared from Southey's translation, which was far too cumbrous to entertain the young, a book that will kindle the imagination of youth and entertain and inform those of advanced years.

Jason's Quest

By D. O. S. Lowell, A. M., M. D. Illustrated

Nothing can be better to arouse the imagination of boys and girls, and at the same time store in their minds knowledge indispensable to any one who would be known as cultured, or happier than Professor Lowell's way of telling a story, and the many excellent drawings have lent great spirit to the narrative.

Heroes of the Crusades

By Amanda M. Douglas Cloth Fifty illustrations

The romantic interest in the days of chivalry, so fully exemplified by the "Heroes of the Crusades," is permanent and properly so. This book is fitted to keep it alive without descending to improbability or cheap sensationalism.

For sale by all booksellers or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the publishers.



A Book for Boys and Girls

Compiled by ELVA S. SMITH
Cataloguer of Children's Books, Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh,
Supervisor of Children's Work, St. Louis Public Library
Illustrated from Famous Paintings

In their experience in providing reading for children, these trained and efficient librarians saw the need of a book that should group the best of real literature regarding Christmas. With wide research and great pains they have gathered the noblest, grandest, sweetest, and most reverent of all that eminent writers in varying lands and in different times have told us in prose and verse of the origin and sentiment of this "gracious time." The style and decoration of the book are in keeping with its contents.

"Clad in green, red and gold, the Christmas colors, comes this collection of all the sweetest and noblest stories and legends that have gathered round the birthday of the Son of Man. This is an interesting volume, full of the spirit of Christmas."—The Churchman.

"It is a superb book, beautifully printed, illustrated from famous paintings and splendidly bound. It is as well adapted to the adult as to the children, and will be read with interest, enjoyment and delight by many an older one."—The Brooklyn Citizen.

"The literary standard of all these tales is exceptionally high, and the two editors of the volume are to be congratulated on their choice of selections for it."—The Christian Register.

"It is redolent of Christmas cheer and reverence. The Yuletide spirit breathes from every page. The illustrations, taken for the most part from old paintings, are an invaluable embellishment of the attractive text."—Columbus Dispatch.

"Perhaps the best and most comprehensive collection of good literature published regarding the birth of Christ and the celebration of His birthday is this well illustrated, clearly-written and plainly-printed book by two experts in children's reading. It will help to keep the spirit of Christmas alive throughout the year."—The Continent.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the publishers

Lothrop, Lee & Sherpard Co. Boston

New Editions of Two Favorite Books



By HARRY W. FRENCH ("Abd el Ardavan")

Two-color illustrations by Garrett Net, $1.25

Kanana, a Bedouin youth, though excelling in athletic prowess, is branded, even by his father, as a coward because he prefers the humble lot of a shepherd to the warrior's career that he, the son of a sheik known as the "Terror of the Desert," was expected to follow. "Only for Allah and Arabia will I lift a lance and take a life," he maintained. Opportunity to prove his worth soon comes, and the supposed coward, understood too late, becomes in memory a national hero.

"The stirring story of the loyalty and self-sacrifice of a Bedouin boy is well worth the attractive new edition in which it now presents its rare picture of fervid patriotism."—Continent, Chicago.



Frontispiece by John Goss Illustrated by "Boz"

Here is a child classic reissued in a finer and handsomer form, in response to the persistent demand of those who know the mirth-provoking quality of the exploits of the ingenious small boy named Miltiades Peterkin Paul and spoken of as "a great traveler, although he was small." Whoever has once enjoyed the story of the restless little lad who imitated Don Quixote, and did many other things, is permanently charmed by it.

"This youthful Don Quixote, with his travels and exploits, drives 'dull care' away from the elders and delights the juniors."—Watchman, N.Y.

For sale by all booksellers or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the publishers.

Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. Boston

The Young Folks' Book of Ideals


Fully illustrated 8vo Cloth 500 pages

This is intended to be the fundamental book in the library of boys and girls between twelve and eighteen, and it deserves its place in interest, fullness, and worth. The great educator, G. Stanley Hall, has demanded "a secular Bible," and it is not too much to say that this meets the demand. One may go farther, and say that no other modern writer has so wisely, so safely, and at the same time so entertainingly provided what young people long to be told if only it be done capably and pleasingly. Dr. Forbush is a sincere man, and in both writing and speaking combines keen wit and great learning with a rich store of personal experience in a way that entitles him to rank as the leading authority on making the best of youthful life. The book is produced in a style worthy of its really great contents.

"A book of general culture for young people which deserves a fundamental place in the library of boys and girls between twelve and eighteen, because of its interest, fullness and worth. The invaluable knowledge for young people imparted, is presented in a style so pleasing and entertaining that young readers will find it not only convincing, but intensely interesting. It is an ideal book to place in the hands of young people."—Zion's Herald.

"It is a book of unusual inspiration. It will help teachers and parents and will prove a stable balance for the young mind in forming its habits of thought and living."—Buffalo News.

"There is a combination of keen wit and great learning with a rich store of personal experience that entitles the author to rank among the leading writers of youthful life."—Atlanta Constitution.

For sale by all booksellers or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the publishers

Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. Boston