Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Lisbeth Longfrock
Author: Aanrud, Hans, 1863-1953
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lisbeth Longfrock" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: LISBETH LONGFROCK]



LISBETH LONGFROCK

TRANSLATED FROM THE NORWEGIAN OF HANS AANRUD



BY

LAURA E. POULSSON



ILLUSTRATED BY

OTHAR HOLMBOE



GINN AND COMPANY
BOSTON · NEW YORK · CHICAGO · LONDON
ATLANTA · DALLAS · COLUMBUS · SAN FRANCISCO

COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY
LAURA E. POULSSON

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The Athenæum Press
GINN AND COMPANY · PROPRIETORS ·
BOSTON · U.S.A.



PREFACE


Hans Aanrud's short stories are considered by his own countrymen as
belonging to the most original and artistically finished life pictures
are generally concerned with peasant character, and present in true
balance the coarse and fine in peasant nature. The style of speech is
occasionally over-concrete for sophisticated ears, but it is not
unwholesome. Of weak or cloying sweetness--so abhorrent to Norwegian
taste--there is never a trace.

_Sidsel Sidsærk_ was dedicated to the author's daughter on her eighth
birthday, and is doubtless largely reminiscent of Aanrud's own
childhood. If I have been able to give a rendering at all worthy of the
original, readers of _Lisbeth Longfrock_ will find that the whole story
breathes a spirit of unaffected poetry not inconsistent with the common
life which it depicts. This fine blending of the poetic and commonplace
is another characteristic of Aanrud's writings.

While translating the book I was living in the region where the scenes
of the story are laid, and had the benefit of local knowledge
concerning terms used, customs referred to, etc. No pains were spared
in verifying particulars, especially through elderly people on the
farms, who could best explain the old-fashioned terms and who had a
clear remembrance of obsolescent details of sæter life. For this
welcome help and for elucidations through other friends I wish here to
offer my hearty thanks.

Being desirous of having the conditions of Norwegian farm life made as
clear as possible to young English and American readers, I felt that
several illustrations were necessary and that it would be well for
these to be the work of a Norwegian. To understand how the sun can be
already high in the heavens when it rises, and how, when it sets, the
shadow of the western mountain can creep as quickly as it does from the
bottom of the valley up the opposite slope, one must have some
conception of the narrowness of Norwegian valleys, with steep mountain
ridges on either side. I felt also that readers would be interested in
pictures showing how the dooryard of a well-to-do Norwegian farm looks,
how the open fireplace of the roomy kitchen differs from our
fireplaces, how tall and slender a Norwegian stove is, built with
alternating spaces and heat boxes, several stories high, and how
Crookhorn and the billy goat appeared when about to begin their grand
tussle up at Hoel Sæter.

_Sidsel Sidsærk_ has given much pleasure to old and young. I hope that
_Lisbeth Longfrock_ may have the same good fortune.

LAURA E. POULSSON

HOPKINTON, MASSACHUSETTS



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                                  PAGE

   I. LISBETH LONGFROCK GOES TO HOEL FARM                   1

  II. LISBETH LONGFROCK AS SPINNING WOMAN                  12

 III. LEAVING PEEROUT CASTLE                               22

  IV. SPRING: LETTING THE ANIMALS OUT TO PASTURE           33

   V. SUMMER: TAKING THE ANIMALS UP TO THE SÆTER           52

  VI. THE TAMING OF CROOKHORN                              68

 VII. HOME FROM THE SÆTER                                  84

VIII. ON GLORY PEAK                                        98

  IX. THE VISIT TO PEEROUT CASTLE                         113

   X. SUNDAY AT THE SÆTER                                 129

  XI. LISBETH APPOINTED HEAD MILKMAID                     139



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


LISBETH LONGFROCK                               _Frontispiece_

                                                         PAGE

HOEL FARM                                                   4

THE BIG KITCHEN AT HOEL FARM                               12

LISBETH'S ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS                            34

THE VALLEY AND THE FARMS                                   52

UP AT THE SÆTER                                            68



LISBETH LONGFROCK



CHAPTER I

LISBETH LONGFROCK GOES TO HOEL FARM


Bearhunter, the big, shaggy old dog at Hoel Farm, sat on the stone step
in front of the house, looking soberly around the spacious dooryard.

It was a clear, cold winter's day toward the beginning of spring, and
the sun shone brightly over the glittering snow. In spite of the bright
sunshine, however, Bearhunter would have liked to be indoors much
better than out, if his sense of responsibility had permitted; for his
paws ached with the cold, and he had to keep holding them up one after
another from the stone slab to keep from getting the "claw ache."
Bearhunter did not wish to risk that, because "claw ache" is very
painful, as every northern dog knows.

But to leave his post as watchman was not to be thought of just now,
for the pigs and the goats were out to-day. At this moment they were
busy with their separate affairs and behaving very well,--the pigs over
on the sunny side of the dooryard scratching themselves against the
corner of the cow house, and the goats gnawing bark from the big heap
of pine branches that had been laid near the sheep barn for their
special use. They looked as if they thought of nothing but their
scratching and gnawing; but Bearhunter knew well, from previous
experience, that no sooner would he go into the house than both pigs
and goats would come rushing over to the doorway and do all the
mischief they could. That big goat, Crookhorn,--the new one who had
come to the farm last autumn and whom Bearhunter had not yet brought
under discipline,--had already strayed in a roundabout way to the very
corner of the farmhouse, and was looking at Bearhunter in a
self-important manner, as if she did not fear him in the least. She was
really an intolerable creature, that goat Crookhorn! But just let her
dare--!

Bearhunter felt that he must sit on the cold doorstep for some time
longer, at any rate. He glanced up the road occasionally as if to see
whether any one was coming, so that the pigs and goats might not think
they had the whole of his attention.

He had just turned his head leisurely toward the narrow road that came
down crosswise over the slope from the Upper Farms, when--what in the
world was that!

Something _was_ coming,--a funny little roly-poly something. What a
pity, thought Bearhunter, that his sight was growing so poor! At any
rate, he had better give the people in the house warning.

So he gave several deep, echoing barks. The goats sprang together in a
clump and raised their ears; the pigs stopped in the very midst of
their scratching to listen. That Bearhunter was held in great respect
could easily be seen.

He still remained sitting on the doorstep, staring up the road. Never
in his life had he seen such a thing as that now approaching. Perhaps,
after all, it was nothing worth giving warning about. He would take a
turn up the road and look at it a little nearer. So, arching his bushy
tail into a handsome curve and putting on his most good-humored
expression, he sauntered off.

Yes, it must be a human being, although you would not think so. It
began to look very much like "Katrine the Finn," as they called her,
who came to the farm every winter; but it could not be Katrine--it was
altogether too little. It wore a long, wide skirt, and from under the
skirt protruded the tips of two big shoes covered with gray woolen
stocking feet from which the legs had been cut off. Above the skirt
there was a round bundle of clothes with a knitted shawl tied around
it, and from this protruded two stumps with red mittens on. Perched on
the top of all was a smaller shape, muffled up in a smaller knitted
shawl,--that, of course, must be the head. Carried at the back was a
huge bundle tied up in a dark cloth, and in front hung a pretty wooden
pail, painted red.

Really, Bearhunter had to stand still and gaze. The strange figure, in
the meantime, had become aware of him, and it also came to a
standstill, as if in a dilemma. At that, Bearhunter walked over to the
farther side of the road and took his station there, trying to look
indifferent, for he did not wish to cause any fright. The strange
figure then made its way carefully forward again, drawing gradually
closer and closer to its own side of the road. As it came nearer to
Bearhunter the figure turned itself around by degrees, until, when
directly opposite to him, it walked along quite sidewise.

Then it was that Bearhunter got a peep through a little opening in the
upper shawl; and there he saw the tip of a tiny, turned-up red nose,
then a red mouth that was drawn down a little at the corners as if
ready for crying, and then a pair of big blue eyes that were fastened
upon him with a look of terror.

[Illustration: HOEL FARM]

Pooh! it was nothing, after all, but a little girl, well bundled up
against the cold. Bearhunter did not know her--but wait a bit! he
thought he had seen that pail before. At any rate it would be absurd to
try to frighten this queer little creature.

His tail began to wag involuntarily as he walked across the road to
take a sniff at the pail.

The little girl did not understand his action at once. Stepping back in
alarm, she caught her heels in her long frock and down she tumbled by
the side of the road. Bearhunter darted off instantly; but after
running a short distance toward the house he stopped and looked at her
again, making his eyes as gentle as he could and wagging his tail
energetically. With Bearhunter that wagging of the tail meant hearty,
good-natured laughter.

Then the little girl understood. She got up, smiled, and jogged slowly
after him. Bearhunter trotted leisurely ahead, looking back at her from
time to time. He knew now that she had an errand at Hoel Farm, and that
he was therefore in duty bound to help her.

Thus it was that Lisbeth Longfrock of Peerout Castle made her entrance
into Hoel Farm.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Peerout Castle was perched high above the Upper Farms, on a crag that
jutted out from a barren ridge just under a mountain peak called "The
Big Hammer." The real name of the little farm was New Ridge,[1] and
"Peerout Castle" was only a nickname given to it by a joker because
there was so fine an outlook from it and because it bore no resemblance
whatever to a castle. The royal lands belonging to this castle
consisted of a little plot of cultivated soil, a bit of meadow land
here and there, and some heather patches where tiny blueberry bushes
and small mountain-cranberry plants grew luxuriantly. The castle's
outbuildings were a shabby cow house and a pigsty. The cow house was
built against the steep hillside, with three walls of loosely built
stone, and its two stalls were dug half their length into the hill. The
tiny pigsty was built in the same fashion.

      [1] It is customary in Norway for each farm, however small, to
      have a name.

As for the castle itself, that was a very, very small, turf-roofed
cabin lying out on the jutting crag in the middle of the rocky ridge.
It had only one small window, with tiny panes of glass, that looked out
over the valley. And yet, in whatever part of the surrounding country
one might be, by looking in that direction--and looking high
enough--one could always see that little castle, with its single window
peering out like a watchful eye over the landscape.

Since the castle from which Lisbeth Longfrock came was no more
magnificent than this, it may easily be understood that she was no
disguised princess, but only a poor little girl. Coming to Hoel Farm
for the first time was for her like visiting an estate that was, in
very truth, royal; and besides, she had come on an important "grown-up"
errand. She was taking her mother's place and visiting Hoel as a
spinning woman.

Lisbeth's mother, whose name was Randi,[2] had worked hard for the last
four years to get food for herself and her children up at Peerout
Castle. Before that the family had been in very comfortable
circumstances; but the father had died, leaving the mother with the
castle, one cow, and the care of the two children. The children were
Jacob, at that time about six years old, and Lisbeth, a couple of years
younger. Life was often a hard struggle for the mother; but they had,
at any rate, a house over their heads, and they could get wood without
having to go very far for it, since the forest lay almost within a
stone's throw.

      [2] (In the original, Roennaug.) This was the mother's first
      name. Her full name would be Randi Newridge, or Randi Peerout.

In the summer Randi managed to dig up her tiny plots of ground after a
fashion, so that she could harvest a few potatoes and a little grain.
By cutting grass and stripping off birch leaves she had thus far
managed each year to give Bliros, their cow, enough to eat. And where
there is a cow there is always food.

In the winter she spun linen and wool for the women on the farms far
and near, but as she had lived at Hoel Farm as a servant before she was
married, it was natural that most of her spinning should be for
Kjersti[3] Hoel.

      [3] Kyare'-stee.

In such ways had Randi been able to care for her family. Meanwhile
Jacob, now ten years old, had grown big enough to earn his own living.
In the spring before the last a message had come from Nordrum Farm that
a boy was needed to look after the flocks, and Jacob had at once
applied and been accepted. He and Lisbeth had often knelt on the long
wooden bench under the little window at Peerout Castle, and gazed upon
the different farms, choosing which they would work on when they were
big enough. Jacob had always chosen Nordrum Farm,--probably because he
had heard Farmer Nordrum spoken of as the big man of the community;
while Lisbeth had always thought that it would be pleasanter at Hoel
Farm because it was owned by a woman.

When autumn came Farmer Nordrum had concluded that he would have use
for such a boy as Jacob during the winter also, and so Jacob had stayed
on. This last Christmas, however, he had gone home for the whole day
and had taken with him a Christmas present for his sister from a little
girl at Nordrum. The present was a gray woolen frock,--a very nice one.

Jacob had grown extremely pleasant and full of fun while at Nordrum,
Lisbeth thought. When she tried the frock on and it reached way down to
the ground before and behind, he called her "Lisbeth Longfrock" and
Lisbeth Longfrock she had remained from that day.

After Christmas, times had been somewhat harder at Peerout Castle.
Bliros, who generally gave milk the whole year round, had become dry,
and would not give milk for several months. She was to have a calf in
the early summer. During the last few weeks there had not been milk
enough even for Randi's and Lisbeth's coffee.

To go to Svehaugen,[4] the nearest farm, for milk was no short trip;
and milk was scarce there too, as Randi well knew. Besides, she could
not spare the time to go. She had to finish spinning Kjersti Hoel's
wool. When she once got that off her hands, they could have plenty of
milk for their coffee, and other good things besides. What a relief it
would be when that time came!

      [4] Sva-howg-en.

So Randi worked steadily at her spinning, Lisbeth being now big enough
to help in carding the wool. For a week she spun almost without
ceasing, scarcely taking time for meals, but drinking a good deal of
strong black coffee. Not until very late one evening was Kjersti Hoel's
wool all spun and ready. By that time Randi was far from well. Whether
or not her illness was caused, as she thought, by drinking so much
black coffee, certain it is that when Kjersti Hoel's wool was all spun
Randi felt a tightness in her chest, and when she got up the next
morning and tried to get ready to go to Hoel with the spinning, she was
seized with such a sudden dizziness that she had to go back to bed
again. She was too weak for anything else.

Now it was the custom in Norway for the spinning woman to take back to
the different farms the wool she had spun, and for the farmers' wives
to praise her work, treat her to something good to eat and drink, pay
her, and then give her directions about the way the next spinning was
to be done. All this Randi would have to give up for the present--there
was no help for it; but she wondered how it would do to send Lisbeth to
Hoel Farm in her stead. The little girl would find her way safely,
Randi was sure, although Randi had never as yet taken her to that farm
because it was so far off. The payment for the spinning was to be in
eatables as well as money, and Lisbeth could bring home part of what
was due. Then, though they still might lack many things, their drop of
coffee could have cream in it, as coffee ought to have. The remainder
of the payment and the directions for the next spinning Randi herself
could get when she was better.

If she could only be sure that Lisbeth would behave properly and not
act like a changeling, a troll child!

Lisbeth eagerly promised that if her mother would allow her to go she
would behave exactly as a spinning woman should,--she would, really!
And she remembered perfectly well just how everything was done that
time she had gone with her mother to one of the nearer farms.

So Lisbeth put on her long frock, which was used only for very best,
and her mother wrapped her up snugly in the two shawls. Then the bundle
of yarn was slung over her back, the pail was hung in front, many
directions were given to her about the road, and off she started.

And that is the way Lisbeth Longfrock happened to come toddling after
Bearhunter to Hoel Farm on that clear, cold winter's day toward the
beginning of spring.



CHAPTER II

LISBETH LONGFROCK AS SPINNING WOMAN


When Lisbeth found herself in the farm dooryard, with the different
buildings all about her, she really had to stand still and gaze around.
Oh, how large everything was!--quite on another scale from things at
home. Why, the barn door was so broad and high that Peerout Castle
could easily go right through it, and each windowpane in the big house
was as large as their own whole window. And such a goat!--for just then
she caught sight of Crookhorn, who had come warily up to the doorway,
and who only saw fit to draw back as Bearhunter approached. Not that
Crookhorn was afraid of Bearhunter,--no, indeed!

The goat was larger than most goats,--about as large as a good-sized
calf. If the cows belonging to Hoel Farm were as much larger than
ordinary cows, thought Lisbeth, they would be able to eat grass from
the roof of Peerout Castle while standing, just as usual, on the
ground.[5] She glanced searchingly at the cow-house door. No, it was
not larger than such doors usually were, so the cows were evidently no
bigger than other cows.

      [5] Norwegian children in country districts are accustomed to see
      goats walking about on the roofs of turf-covered huts, nibbling
      the herbage; but the idea of a creature so large as to be able to
      eat from the roof while standing on the ground was very
      astonishing to Lisbeth.

Bearhunter had followed after Crookhorn until the latter was well out
of the way; then he had come back again, and now stood wagging his tail
and turning toward the house door as if coaxing Lisbeth to go in. Yes,
she must attend to her errand and not stay out there staring at
everything.

So she followed after Bearhunter and went into the hall way. She lifted
the latch of the inner door, turned herself around carefully as she
went in so as to make room for her bundle, fastened the door behind
her--and there she stood inside the big kitchen at Hoel!

[Illustration: THE BIG KITCHEN AT HOEL FARM]

There were only two people in the kitchen,--one a young servant maid in
the middle of the room spinning, and the other the mistress herself,
Kjersti Hoel, over by the white wall of the big open fireplace,
grinding coffee.

Both looked up when they heard the door open.

Lisbeth Longfrock stood still for a moment, then made a deep courtesy
under her long frock and said in a grown-up way, just as she had heard
her mother say, "Good day, and God bless your work."

Kjersti Hoel had to smile when she saw the little roly-poly bundle over
by the door, talking in such a grown-up fashion. But she answered as
soberly as if she also were talking to a grown-up person: "Good day. Is
this a young stranger out for a walk?"

"Yes."

"And what is the stranger's name, and where is she from? I see that I
do not know her."

"No, you could not be expected to. My mother and Jacob call me Lisbeth
Longfrock, and I am from Peerout Castle. Mother sent me here with the
woolen yarn she has spun for you. She told me to say that she could not
come with it before, for she did not get the last spool wound until
late last night."

"Indeed! Can it be a spinning woman we have here? And to think that I
wholly forgot to ask you to sit down after your long walk! You really
must take off your things and stay awhile."

What a pleasant woman Kjersti Hoel was! She got up from her own chair
and set one forward for Lisbeth.

"Thank you; I shall be glad to sit down," said Lisbeth.

She took off the pail and the bundle of wool and put them down by the
door, and then began to walk across the floor over to the chair. It
seemed as if she would never get there, so far was it across the big
kitchen,--nearly as far as from their own door to the cow-house door at
Peerout Castle. At last, however, she reached the chair; but it was
higher than the seats she was accustomed to and she could barely
scramble up on one corner of it.

Kjersti Hoel came toward her.

"I really think I must open this roly-poly bundle and see what is in
it," said she; and she began to take off Lisbeth's red mittens and to
undo the knitted shawls. Soon Lisbeth sat there stripped of all her
outer toggery, but nevertheless looking almost as plump and roly-poly
as ever; for not only did her long frock barely clear the ground at the
bottom, but its band reached almost up under her arms.

Kjersti stood and looked at her a moment.

"That is just what I thought,--that I should find a nice little girl
inside all those clothes. You look like your mother."

At this Lisbeth grew so shy that she forgot all about being a spinning
woman. She cast down her eyes and could not say a word.

"But what is the matter with Randi, your mother?" continued Kjersti.
"Why could she not come herself?"

"She was a little poorly to-day."

"Indeed! Randi not well? And her health is generally so good. What ails
her?"

"Oh, she thought that very likely drinking strong coffee without milk
had not been good for her."

"So you have no milk at your house. Perhaps that is why you have
brought a pail with you."

"Yes; what do you think! Bliros has stopped giving us milk this
winter."

"Has she, indeed! That is rather inconvenient, isn't it? How long
before she can be milked again?"

"Not until the beginning of summer, after she has had her calf."

"H'm," said Kjersti thoughtfully. By and by, as if to herself, she
said: "I have often thought of going to see Randi, but have never done
so. Before this spring is over, I must surely pay her a visit."

                     *      *      *      *      *

Lisbeth Longfrock stayed a long time at Hoel that day. Although she had
come in the important character of spinning woman, she had never
imagined that a great person like Kjersti Hoel would be so pleasant and
kind to her. Kjersti treated her to coffee and cakes and milk and other
good things, just as if she had been an invited guest, and chatted with
her in such a way that Lisbeth forgot all about being shy. And oh, how
many curious things Kjersti showed her!

The cow house was the finest of them all. There were so many cows that
Lisbeth could scarcely count them. And then the pigs and sheep and
goats! and hens, too, inside a big latticework inclosure,--nearly as
many of them as there were crows in autumn up at Peerout!

And Kjersti wanted to know about _everything_,--whether Lisbeth could
read and write (she could do both, for Jacob had taught her), and how
they managed about food up at Peerout Castle, and how it went with the
farming.

Lisbeth could tell her that in the autumn they had gathered three
barrels of potatoes, and one barrel and three pecks of mixed grain; and
that they had stripped off so many birch leaves that they had fodder
enough to carry Bliros through the winter,--in fact, much more than
enough.

When Kjersti had shown Lisbeth the sheep and the goats, she declared
that she should certainly need a little girl to look after her flocks
when spring came; and then Lisbeth, before she knew what she was
saying, told Kjersti how she and Jacob used to look at the farms from
the window at home, and how she had always chosen Hoel as the place
where she should like to work when she was big enough.

"Should you really like to go out to work?" Kjersti inquired.

"Yes, indeed," Lisbeth said, "if it were not for leaving mother."

"Well, we will not think about that any more at present," said Kjersti,
"but I will go up and talk with your mother about it some time in the
spring. We certainly ought to go into the house now, so that you can
have time to take a little food before leaving. It is drawing toward
evening and you will have to start for home soon."

So they went into the house again, and Lisbeth had another feast of
good things. While she was eating she noticed that Kjersti brought from
the cellar some butter and cheese and other things and packed them in
the dark cloth in which the wool had been tied. The milk pail she did
not touch at all; but Lisbeth saw that she said something about it
softly to the servant maid, after which the maid left the room.

When Lisbeth had eaten and had said "Thanks and praise for both food
and drink," Kjersti remarked: "Now you must lift the bundle over there
and see if you can carry it."

The bundle _was_ rather heavy. Still, Lisbeth thought she could manage
it. But the pail! Not a word did Kjersti say, even now, about the pail!
She only added, kindly, "Come, and I will help you put on your things."

She drew on Lisbeth's mittens, wrapped her up snugly in the two little
shawls, and, in a trice, there stood Lisbeth Longfrock looking exactly
as she did when she had come to Hoel that morning.

Slowly and reluctantly Lisbeth went toward the door, where the pail
still stood. How strange that Kjersti had not even yet said a single
word about it! Lisbeth stood for a moment in doubt. After receiving so
much, it would never do to remind Kjersti about the pail; but she would
much rather have gone without the good things she herself had been
treated to than to go home without any milk for her mother's coffee.

She took up the bundle, drew her face with its turned-up nose tip back
into its little shawl as far as she could so that Kjersti should not
see the tears in her eyes, and then bent down and lifted the pail.

At that Kjersti said: "Oh, yes! the pail! I quite forgot it. Are you
willing to exchange pails with me if I give you one that will never get
empty?"

Lisbeth dropped her pail plump on the floor. She had seen and heard
many curious things on this eventful day,--things she had never seen or
thought of before; but that Kjersti, besides everything else, had a
pail that would never get empty! She stood and stared, open-mouthed.

"Yes, you must come and see it," said Kjersti. "It stands just outside
the door."

Lisbeth was not slow in making her way out. Kjersti followed her. There
stood the servant maid, holding the big goat, Crookhorn, by a rope.

"The goat is used to being led," said Kjersti, "so you will have no
trouble in taking it home. Give my greetings to your mother, and ask
her if she is satisfied with the exchange of pails."

Kjersti was not a bit displeased because Lisbeth Longfrock forgot to
express her thanks as she started off with Crookhorn. Bearhunter
followed the little girl and the goat a long distance up the road. He
did not understand matters at all!

                     *      *      *      *      *

It is not to be wondered at that Randi, too, was greatly surprised when
she saw Crookhorn following after Lisbeth as the little girl approached
the castle.

There was not time for Lisbeth to tell about everything at the very
first, for her mother and she had to clear up the stall next to the one
Bliros occupied, and put Crookhorn into it. When this was done they
felt exactly as if they had two cows. The goat took her place in the
stall with a self-important, superior air, quite as if she were a real
cow and had never done anything else but stand in a cow stall. Bliros
became offended at this remarkable newcomer, who was putting on such
airs in the cow house that had always belonged to herself alone, and so
she made a lunge with her head and tried to hook the goat with her
horns; but Crookhorn merely turned her own horns against those of
Bliros in the most indifferent manner, as if quite accustomed to being
hooked by cows.

Bliros gazed at her in astonishment. Such a silly goat! She had never
seen such a silly goat. And with that she turned her head to the wall
again and did not give Crookhorn another look.

That evening Lisbeth Longfrock had so many things to tell her mother
that she talked herself fast asleep!



CHAPTER III

LEAVING PEEROUT CASTLE


The next time Lisbeth Longfrock came to Hoel Farm, she did not come
alone; and she came--to stay!

All that had happened between that first visit and her second coming
had been far, far different from anything Lisbeth had ever imagined. It
seemed as if there had been no time for her to think about the strange
events while they were taking place. She did not realize what their
result would be until after she had lived through them and gone out of
the gate of Peerout Castle when everything was over. So much had been
going on in those last sad, solemn days,--so much that was new to see
and to hear,--that although she had felt a lump in her throat the whole
time, she had not had a real cry until at the very end. But when she
had passed through the gate that last day, and had stopped and looked
back, the picture that she then saw had brought the whole clearly
before her, with all its sorrow. Something was gone that would never
come again. She would never again go to Peerout Castle except as a
stranger. She had no home--no home anywhere. And at that she had begun
to weep so bitterly that those who had been thinking how wisely and
quietly she was taking her trouble could but stand and look at her in
wonder.

                     *      *      *      *      *

The last two months of the winter had passed so quickly up at Peerout
Castle that Lisbeth really could not tell what had become of them; and
this was owing not a little to the fact that, besides all her other
work, she had so much to do in the cow house.

Crookhorn had become, as it were, Lisbeth's cow, and consequently had
to be taken care of by her. Bliros showed very plainly that she would
not like at all to have Randi's attentions bestowed upon a rascally
goat. That would make it seem as if the goat were fully as important a
person in the cow house as Bliros herself; whereas the whole cow house,
in reality, belonged to her, and that other creature was only allowed
there as a favor.

So Lisbeth took care of Crookhorn exactly as she saw her mother take
care of Bliros. In fact, before long she had more to do in the cow
house than her mother had; for she soon learned to milk Crookhorn,
while Bliros, her mother's cow, could not then be milked.

And Crookhorn gave so much milk! Three times a day Lisbeth had to milk
her. There was no longer any scarcity of cream for coffee or milk for
porridge. Indeed, there was even cream enough to make waffles with now
and then.

Springtime came. It always came early up at Peerout Castle. The slopes
of heather, directly facing the sun, were the first in the whole valley
to peep up out of the snow. As soon as the heathery spots began to show
themselves, Lisbeth was out on them, stepping here and there with a
cautious foot. It seemed so wonderful to step on bare earth again
instead of snow! Day by day she kept track of the different green
patches, watching them grow larger and larger, and seeing how the snow
glided slowly farther and farther downward,--exactly as her own frock
did when she loosened the band and let it slip down and lie in a ring
around her feet. When the snow had slipped as far down as the big stone
where she and Jacob used to have their cow house (using pine cones for
cows and sheep), the outermost buds on the trees would swell and be
ready to burst,--she knew that from the year before; and when the buds
had really opened (she kept close watch of them every day now), then,
_then_ would come the great day when Crookhorn could be let out.
Lisbeth's mother had said so.

That great day was what she was waiting for, not only because it would
be so pleasant for Crookhorn to be out, but because no food was equal
to the first buds of spring for making goats yield rich milk.

Lisbeth's mother had been far from well ever since the day that Lisbeth
went over to Hoel Farm for the first time. But Lisbeth thought that as
soon as Crookhorn had fresh buds to eat and gave richer milk, her
mother would of course get entirely well.

It is very possible that a little streak of snow was still lying by the
upper side of the big stone (in spite of Lisbeth's having scattered
sand there to make the snow melt faster) on the bright spring day when
Lisbeth went into the cow house, unfastened Crookhorn, and led her out
of the stall.

As for Crookhorn, she followed her little mistress very sedately until
they reached the cow-house door. There she stopped short, looking
around and blinking at the sun. Lisbeth pulled at the rope, trying to
drag her over to the part of the ridge where the birch tree with the
fullest leaf buds stood. But Crookhorn would not budge. She merely
stood stock-still as if nothing were being done to her; for she was so
strong that, however hard Lisbeth pulled, it did not even make her
stretch her neck. Lisbeth then went nearer, thinking that she could
pull better without such a length of rope between her and the goat; but
at that, quick as a wink, Crookhorn lowered her head and butted
Lisbeth, causing the little girl to fall back against the hillside with
a whack. Upon which, Crookhorn stalked in an indifferent manner across
the road.

Lisbeth picked herself up and started to go after her charge; but, if
you please, as soon as she came near enough and tried to seize
Crookhorn, away would that naughty goat dart, not galloping as a goat
usually does, but trotting like a cow or an elk. She trotted by the
house and turned off on the road leading to Svehaugen Farm. Lisbeth
pursued swiftly; but, run as she might, she could not gain upon
Crookhorn. At last, stumbling over a stone, the little girl fell at
full length, having barely time, while falling, to look up and catch a
glimpse of Crookhorn's back as the goat, trotting swiftly, disappeared
over the brow of a hill.

There was no other way out of it,--Lisbeth would have to run home and
get her mother to help her. This she did, and they both set out in full
chase. It was a long run, for they did not overtake Crookhorn until
they had reached the Svehaugen gate. There stood the goat gazing
unconcernedly through the palings. She evidently felt herself superior
to jumping over fences,--she who imagined herself to be a cow!

Randi had become much overheated from running, and at night, when she
went to bed, she said she felt cold and shivery. That seemed very
strange indeed to Lisbeth, for when she laid her face against her
mother's neck, it was as hot as a burning coal.

In the morning Lisbeth's mother woke her and told her to get up and go
over to Kari Svehaugen's and ask Kari to come to Peerout Castle. Randi
felt so poorly that there was no use in her even trying to get up. She
was not able.

Not able to get up! That also seemed very strange to Lisbeth, for never
before had she seen her mother with cheeks so red and eyes so shining.
The child did not say anything, however, but got up, dressed herself
quickly and quietly, and ran off to Svehaugen.

After that there came several wonderful days at Peerout Castle. When
Lisbeth Longfrock thought about them afterward, they seemed like a
single long day in which a great many things had happened that she
could not separate from one another and set in order. In her
remembrance it was as if shadows had glided to and fro in an ugly
yellow light, while the sound of a heavy, painful breathing was
constantly heard, penetrating all other sounds.

She seemed dimly to see Kari Svehaugen gliding about and taking care of
things in the home and out in the cow house. She herself had climbed a
birch tree several times and picked leaf buds for the animals to eat.
One day Lars Svehaugen had flitted along the road in front of the
house, swiftly, as if he had not a moment to spare. Soon after this,
some one dressed in furs and with big boots on came driving to the
house, and all the neighbors flocked around him, listening to what he
said. And he brought such a curious smell with him! It filled the whole
house, so that, even after he had gone away, he seemed to be still
there.

She thought, too, that once she had seen Kjersti Hoel sitting on a
chair, taking many good things out of a big basket, and Jacob standing
by Kjersti's side with a great slice of raisin cake in his hand. And
Jacob had kept chewing and chewing on his raisin cake, as if it was
hard work to get it down. What she remembered chiefly, though, was
Jacob's eyes,--they looked so big and strange.

Then one morning she had awakened in a clear gray light, and from that
time she remembered everything very distinctly. She was lying in the
little trundle-bed that Jacob had slept in when he lived at home,--she
must, of course, have slept in it all these nights,--and Kari Svehaugen
was standing beside it, looking down upon her. The house was oh! so
still,--she did not hear the heavy, painful breathing any longer. The
only sound was a slight crackling in the fireplace, out of which a
stream of warmth issued.

Kari said very quietly: "Your mother is comfortable and happy now,
little Lisbeth; better off than she has ever been before. So you must
not cry."

And Lisbeth did not cry. She merely got up and went about the house
very, very quietly all that first day. Afterwards there were so many
preparations being made for some solemn festival that she did not seem
to get time to think about the great change that had taken place.

Lars Svehaugen came from the storekeeper's with ever so much fine
white, shining cloth,--she had never seen the like. Then a woman came
to help Kari cut out and sew, and they made pillows and a fine white
garment that mother was to have on when she lay upon the pillows. And
Lars Svehaugen began to make a new wooden bed for mother to lie in; and
Bliros had her calf, and the calf was slaughtered; and Lars Svehaugen
brought some small pine trees and nailed them at the gateposts and
outside the house door, one at each side, and he strewed pine branches
all the way from the door to the gate. And there came presents of
food--oh! so many good things--from Kjersti Hoel and others. Lisbeth
had never tasted such delicious food before.

Then came the day when mother was to be taken to the church and buried.
Many people came to the house that day,--among them Jacob in a bright
new suit of gray woolen homespun; and there was a feast for them all,
and everything was very still and solemn. Even the schoolmaster came;
and oh, how beautifully he sang when Lars Svehaugen and three other men
carried mother out through the door and set her couch upon a sledge.

Then they all went slowly away from the house, down the hill,--the
sledge first and the people walking slowly behind. But down at the
bottom of the hill, in the road, there stood two horses and wagons
waiting; and, just think! Lisbeth and Jacob were invited to sit up in
Kjersti Hoel's broad wagon and drive with her.

Then they came to the white church; and as they carried mother in
through the big gateway the church bells up in the tower rang, oh, so
beautifully!

After that Lisbeth did not see things quite so clearly, but they
lowered mother down into the earth in the churchyard and strewed
wreaths of green heather over her, and then the schoolmaster sang
again, and all the men took off their hats and held them a long time
before their faces.

After that the people went out of the churchyard, and Lisbeth and Jacob
climbed into Kjersti Hoel's broad wagon again and drove away,--only
this time they drove much faster. It looked as if the boards in the
fences ran after each other in an opposite direction from the one in
which she and Jacob were going. They both tried to count them, but
could not.

All the people came back with them to Peerout Castle,--Kjersti Hoel,
too. Kari Svehaugen, who had not gone to the church, had covered the
table with a white tablecloth, and set it with plates and good things
to eat. And all the people ate and talked,--but they did not talk very
loudly.

When the meal was over, Lisbeth got Jacob to go out into the cow house
to look at Crookhorn. Jacob conceded that the goat was an extremely
fine animal, but she was a vixen, he was sure,--he could tell that by
her eyelids.

Then they went over to the hill to look at the mill wheel that Jacob
used to have there; but it had fallen into complete decay because he
had been away from home so long. Such things need a boy's personal
attention.

After that they were called into the house again and everybody drank
coffee. When they had finished the coffee drinking, Kari began packing
into baskets the food that was left; and when that was done, Kjersti
Hoel said: "Well, now we have done everything that we can here. You may
bring Crookhorn with you, Lisbeth, and come to live with me. That was
the last thing I promised your mother."

Thus had it come about that Lisbeth Longfrock, holding Crookhorn by a
rope, stood outside the gate at Peerout Castle with Kjersti Hoel and
Bearhunter; and then it was that she looked behind her and began to
cry.

On one road she saw Kari Svehaugen with a big basket on her arm and
Bliros following her; and on the other she saw the back of Jacob, with
whom she had just shaken hands, saying, "May you fare well." He looked
singularly small and forlorn.

Last of all she saw Lars Svehaugen put a pine twig in the door latch as
a sign that Peerout Castle was now closed, locked, and forsaken.



CHAPTER IV

SPRING: LETTING THE ANIMALS OUT TO PASTURE


One morning, a few weeks after the sad departure from Peerout Castle,
Lisbeth Longfrock awoke early in the small sleeping room built under
the great staircase at Hoel. She opened her eyes wide at the moment of
waking, and tried to gather her thoughts together. She was conscious of
a delightful, quivering expectancy, and felt that she had awakened to
something great and new,--something that she had waited for and been
exceedingly glad over; but she could not at once remember just what it
was.

The little room, whose only furniture consisted of a bed, a chair, a
stove, and a small wooden shelf with a mirror over it, was filled with
daylight in spite of the early hour. The sun fell slanting down through
a window set high up in the wall directly over Lisbeth's bed, and the
windowpanes were pictured in bright yellow squares on the floor near
the tiny stove. The corner of one square spread itself against the
stove, and Lisbeth traced it with her eyes as she lay in bed. At the
tip of the corner glimmered something light-green and shiny. Was it
from there that a fine, wonderful fragrance came floating toward her?
She sniffed a little. Yes, indeed! now she remembered. The fragrance
came from the fresh birch twigs she had decorated the room with
yesterday. Out of doors it was spring,--the sprouting, bursting
springtime. To-day the cattle were to be let out and the calves named.
To-day she would begin work in earnest and be a responsible individual.
In short, she would be the herd girl at Hoel Farm.

It was now a month since Lisbeth had come to Hoel Farm, but up to this
time she had been treated merely as company. She had walked about the
place, sauntered after Kjersti here and there in the house, ground the
coffee, and brought out from a bowl in the pantry the small cakes that
they ate with their coffee every afternoon. Frequently, too, she had
had pleasant talks with Kjersti.

As for helping with the animals,--the sheep and the goats had been let
out, to be sure, but nevertheless they did not need her care because
they were allowed, so early in the season, to run about everywhere
except in the garden, and that Bearhunter stood guard over. In the cow
house there was nothing for her to do, for a milkmaid and an
under-milkmaid did the work there. Of course the girl who tended the
flocks ought really to be able to help in milking the cows; but it was
thought that Lisbeth had better wait a year before she tried to do
that,--her hands being rather too small as yet. Lisbeth had kept
measuring her hands every now and then and pulling her fingers to make
them grow; and after a while she had asked the milkmaid if she did not
think they had grown large enough, but the milkmaid did not see that
they were any larger. She could not have very good eyes!

Lisbeth had, of course, expected to take care of Crookhorn,--Kjersti
and she both thought she ought to do that; but it had proved to be
impossible. Crookhorn had become so freakish that sometimes they almost
thought her out of her wits. In the building shared by the sheep and
goats she ranged back and forth from wall to wall, knocking against the
sheep and the other goats so hard as she went that their ribs rattled.
At last she had to be tied to one of the walls, and with the shortest
rope possible at that. Nor would she allow herself to be milked
peaceably in that building. The first time Lisbeth tried it, Crookhorn,
with a toss of the head, gave a kick that sent Lisbeth and the pail
rolling off in different directions. Afterward the milkmaid herself
took Crookhorn in hand at milking time; but even for her it was always
a feat of strength, and she had to have some one to help her by holding
the goat's horns.

When Crookhorn was let out with the other goats, would she ramble with
them over the fields and meadows, seeking food? No, indeed! She would
station herself poutingly by the cow-house door and stand there the
livelong day,--"bellowing like a cow" the farm boy said; and then in
the evening, when the other goats came home plump and well fed, there
Crookhorn would stand as thin and hungry as a wolf.

Lisbeth thought that Crookhorn, if provided with a stall in the cow
house, would act like a reasonable creature again. But neither Kjersti
nor the milkmaid would consent to the removal; they thought a goat
ought not to be humored in such unreasonable fancies.

Thus it was that Lisbeth had not had much to do during her first month
at Hoel Farm. The only thing that Kjersti had required of her was to
keep her own little room under the hall staircase in nice order, and
that she had done. Every day she had made the bed herself, and every
Saturday she had washed the floor and the shelf, and spread juniper
twigs about. Last Saturday Kjersti had come out to take a look at it,
and had said to her that she kept her room in better order than the
grown-up girls in the south chamber kept theirs; and Lisbeth knew that
this was true, for she had noticed it herself.

[Illustration: LISBETH'S ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS]

But now everything was going to be different. Kjersti Hoel had come to
Lisbeth's room the night before and said that the cows were to be let
out early in the morning, and that Lisbeth, like all the rest of the
Hoel Farm people, must be up early to help. Later in the day the calves
that had been born in the cow house during the winter were to be let
out for the first time, and Lisbeth would have to look after them for
that afternoon at any rate. Kjersti had said also that Lisbeth was to
be allowed to give the calves their names,--names that they would keep
all their lives, even after they had grown to be full-sized cows.

The next day after the letting out of the animals Lisbeth was to take a
lunch bag and begin her spring work of going into the forest all day to
watch the sheep and goats. It would not do to have them running about
the fields at home any longer, Kjersti said.

Suddenly Lisbeth recollected what it was that she had pondered over so
long as she lay awake the evening before,--it was the names of the
calves. In spite of all her pondering she had got no farther than to
wonder whether the cow with the red sides and white head and the gentle
but bright-looking face should not be called Bliros. That idea,
however, she had given up; it seemed to her that only one cow in the
world could be called Bliros. Then she had determined to think no
longer about Bliros or the names of the calves, and so had fallen
asleep.

What if she had overslept herself now! She hoped not, with all her
heart, for she had heard Kjersti Hoel say that she did not like girls
to lie abed late and dally in the morning. How mortifying it would be
for her not to be on the spot as early as the others to-day, her very
first working day!

Wide-awake now, Lisbeth hopped quickly out of bed and popped into her
long frock. Then, having made her bed[6] with all haste, she opened the
door, went out through the hall way, and stood on the outside steps.

      [6] Lisbeth meant to be very neat and tidy, but she should have
      let her bed air longer before making it!

The sun had just risen above the highest spruce tops over the edge of
the eastern hills, and the light was flooding the sides of the valley
like a waterfall. In the meadows and on the sloping fields the sunbeams
quivered in the dew. They sifted in gold, they glittered in green, they
silvered the clear brooks that babbled down the hills. From every bush
came a twittering and chirping and clapping of wings. From everything,
everywhere, came a message of joy and activity and sprouting life.
Mingled in one great morning effervescence, single sights and sounds
were lost; only the call of the cuckoo, far up on the birch-clad slope,
was heard above the other sounds, and from every shining window glanced
a big, serene eye of reflected sun rays.

And just as there were thousands of different sounds, so were there
also thousands of different odors,--from the steaming earth, from the
growing grass, from buds and blossoms; and above them all, like the
cuckoo's call that was heard above the thousands of blended sounds,
rose the fine, penetrating fragrance of newly sprouted birch trees.

Lisbeth stood still awhile, drawing deep breaths and letting the sweet
air and the effervescence of spring stream in upon her. Then she looked
around at the different farm buildings. Quiet brooded within them and
every door was shut. Of all the living creatures belonging to the farm,
not one was to be seen except Bearhunter, who got up slowly from the
flat stone where he had been lying, comfortably sunning himself, and
came over to her, looking up into her face and wagging his tail.

Truly, she believed she was the first one up on the whole farm to-day.

Well, of course she would have to wait. So she sat herself down on the
steps.

Oh, no; it was just as she might have known it would be. Kjersti Hoel
was up. Lisbeth heard her come out of her own room into the kitchen,
take a big stick, and knock three times on the ceiling to waken the
girls in the south chamber.

In a moment Lisbeth heard a thump! thump! as the girls hopped out of
bed, and then a clattering noise as they put on their shoes. Soon
Kjersti came out of the house. She was going over to the building where
the men slept to waken them.

Catching sight of Lisbeth, she exclaimed: "No! this cannot be Lisbeth
already up. What a wide-awake little girl! I think I shall have to make
you head milkmaid."

At this Lisbeth became so shy that she could not raise her eyes to look
at Kjersti; but it must be acknowledged that when the head milkmaid and
the other girls came downstairs a certain small nose was tilted a
little higher than usual.

Soon there was life and motion over the whole farm. The activity was
very different from that of ordinary days, for everything was done with
extra haste, and all that was done seemed to have some connection with
the cow house. The doors at both ends of this building stood wide open,
and every one seemed to have an errand which obliged him to pass
through. The spring air streaming in made the cows turn around in their
stalls, stretch their nostrils, and look out. When Kjersti herself
appeared on the scene, after the girls had begun milking, and talked to
the cows and patted the neck of the bell cow, the creatures at once
realized what day it was. The bell cow threw up her head and bellowed
till the cow house echoed. That was a signal for all the other cows.
They pulled at their chains, swung their tails, and one after another,
along the whole row, joined in a manifold bellow of joyful expectancy
that shook the entire cow house and seemed as if it would never end.
Above the many-voiced chorus could be heard the bellowing of the big
bull, deep and even and good-natured, as if he did not need to exert
himself in the least in order to be heard.

Although everything went so much more speedily to-day than usual, the
time seemed long to Lisbeth Longfrock. When the farm people went into
the house to eat their early breakfast, she could not understand how
they could sit at the table so long. She finished her meal very quickly
and asked if she might not go and let out the smaller animals,--the
sheep and the goats,--so that that would be done. Yes, Kjersti said she
might. In a trice, therefore, she had them out, and as usual they
scattered in every direction, leaping and capering,--all except
Crookhorn, who seized her chance to slink into the cow house through
the open door; but Lisbeth was so busy that she did not notice this.

All at once there came an instant's stillness, as if everything
listened. Then from the farmhouse the tuneful clanging of a deep-toned
bell was heard, and in a moment this was answered by such a joyful
lowing and bellowing, such a sniffing and rattling of chains, that it
seemed as if a thunderstorm were passing over the farm; for when the
animals recognized the sound of that deep-toned bell, which they had
not heard since they were shut up in the cow house the autumn before,
they knew that the time for being let out into the open air was close
at hand.

A formal procession now issued from the farmhouse. Kjersti marched at
the front, carrying the big iron-bound cow collar to which the
deep-toned bell was fastened; next came the head milkmaid, followed by
the under-milkmaid; then the girls who worked in the farmhouse; and
then the two farm hands, with thick sticks, which they afterwards dealt
out to the company, giving one to Lisbeth as well as to the rest. Last
of all came Bearhunter, who also wanted to have a part in what was
going on.

When the procession reached the cow house there was again a sudden
silence. The cows, one and all, turned their heads toward the people as
they came in, and looked at them with large, expectant eyes.

The procession then divided into groups, and definite work was assigned
to each person. The head milkmaid was to unfasten the cows; Lisbeth and
the under-milkmaid and the housemaids, each with her stout stick, were
to steer the cows out through the door; the farm hands were to stand in
the cow lane to meet the creatures and guide them into the right road
(they were to be pastured up in the north meadow) and to separate those
who fought with each other; and Kjersti and Bearhunter were to watch
everything from the gateway.

All was ready. The moment for the start had come.

Kjersti went into the stall of the cow who was to wear the bell. The
cow straightened herself up, lifted her head as high as she could, and
then stood stock-still. She knew very well that she was the principal
cow of the herd, and that the first place when they went out and in
through the cow-house door belonged to her; but she knew also that even
she had to be on her best behavior when Kjersti, the mistress of the
whole farm, did her the honor of clasping around her neck the cow
collar with its bell,--emblem of dignity and power,--and of unfastening
the chain that held her in the stall. Kjersti clasped on the bell and
unloosed the chain, which fell rattling to the floor; and then the bell
cow swung slowly and deliberately out of the stall, like a big, heavy
ship out of its dock, and wended her way with solemn dignity toward the
door. She carried her head so high and so stiffly that you could not
see the least swaying of her horns, and her bell gave only a single
decided stroke at each step.

The next to be let out was the big bull. The head milkmaid unloosed
him, and he sailed out just as stiffly and heavily as the bell cow had
done, with horns so high that they nearly touched the cow-house roof,
and so wide apart that they seemed to stretch across the whole
passageway. Lisbeth had never realized before how large the bull was.

And then, one by one, in regular turn, the rest of the cows marched
out. They were Brindle, Morlik (which means "like its mother"), Goldie,
Speckle, Blackie, Pusher, Summer-Leaf, Darkey, Wee Bonny, Trot-About,
Wreathie, and Moolley.[7] Wreathie was so named because the white marks
on her hide looked something like a wreath.

      [7] Mulley (cow without horns).

Beyond the cow stalls, now empty, were the stalls of the heifers, whose
names no one quite remembered as yet, and of the half-grown bulls, who
did not have any names at all.

When it came to the unloosing of the heifers and young bulls, the scene
grew livelier and livelier. They stretched their necks and rubbed
against their chains. They fell on their knees as soon as the unlooped
chains slipped from their necks, and as they sprang up again you could
hear their legs creak,--so stiff were they from standing in the stall
all winter. They ran plump against the side wall or up into the wrong
passageway. They dashed noisily against the door, two reaching it at
the same time and trying to rush through together but getting wedged by
their fat sides; while those who had been set free after them came
close on their heels, pushing, clashing their horns, butting and
bellowing,--until suddenly, the blockade being broken, out rushed the
whole throng.

Directly in the wake of the heifers and young bulls, to Lisbeth's
extreme surprise, followed Crookhorn, who, kicking up her heels, made a
swift dash out through the doorway.

Outside the cow house, too, all was life and stir. As the animals came
into the lane, they lifted their heads, sniffed the air from the
mountain side, and became eager and excited. Stiff-legged old cows, as
well as young calves, kicked up their hind legs and made frolicsome
leaps this way and that. They rushed playfully or angrily at each
other, clashing their horns, and giving a short bellow if worsted in
the tussle; then they dashed off to assail other members of the crowd.
Everything combined to form a hubbub of lowing and bellowing, horn
clashing and fence creaking, whacking of sticks and shouting of people;
while back and forth through all the confusion, with his horns high
above all the other horns, went the big bull, like a great heavy
snowplow, clearing the way. Of the whole herd, only one cow stood
undisturbed amid the wild uproar, calmly waiting and looking about.
That was the bell cow, whom, of course, none of the other cows dared to
disturb.

At last the head milkmaid came to the front and gave a call. The bell
cow threw up her head and with a loud, echoing bellow started to follow
her. Next came Brindle, still sniffing with anger after her many
encounters. She had got the best of all who were worth getting the best
of, and if she could not be the bell cow, she would, at any rate, stand
next to her.

Directly after Brindle came Crookhorn, with a self-important air and
making herself as tall as possible. But Brindle was in no mood for
seeing the funny side of things to-day, so she lunged out with one of
her long hind legs and gave Crookhorn a blow on the head that made the
prideful goat see stars. But Crookhorn merely tossed her head and went
on as if nothing had happened. Such actions, she thought, were probably
customary among cows.

The head milkmaid kept on calling, and the cows, one after another,
hearing her voice, started toward her. Soon the whole noisy herd, led
by the deep-toned bell and urged by shouts and flourishing of sticks,
was going in full swing toward the north meadow.

Up in the meadow, which they reached after a while, the ground was
level and there was plenty of room, so that the danger of collisions
and other accidents was lessened. The young creatures danced around in
wild play, and those of the cows who had not settled the question of
mastery fought now a battle that was to be decisive for the whole
summer. Soon, however, everything became quiet again, and in a couple
of hours all of the animals, even the worst combatants, were grazing
placidly side by side.

After this the farm people began to go home,--all except the head
milkmaid and Lisbeth, who were to remain a while longer so as to be on
hand in case anything happened. And something did happen. Brindle,
whose quiet behavior had been only temporary, soon began to rove
uneasily back and forth, sniffing hard. _She_ was really the one who
ought to be wearing the bell, she sniffed to herself; and then
suddenly, with a violent rush, she hurled herself at the bell cow. Such
a fight as there was then! The turf flew in all directions. Soon a
sharp crack was heard, and a short, wild bellow, and one of Brindle's
horns hung dangling.

Brindle shook her head till the blood splashed; then, giving another
bellow, she turned and ran the shortest way home as fast as her legs
could carry her, never stopping until she had reached the cow-house
door. There she gave vent to a terrible bellowing, as if she wanted to
bring all the farm buildings down over the people's ears.

                     *      *      *      *      *

After dinner the calves were let out. Lisbeth had finally named the
three cow calves Yellow Speckle, Redsides, and Young Moolley, but as
yet she had found no name to suit her for the bull calf. Lisbeth saw
plainly that Kjersti wondered why she had not called any of the calves
after Bliros (Gentle Cow), but she gave no sign of having noticed
Kjersti's thought.

This is the way the calves were induced to leave their pen and to cross
the cow-house floor. To begin with, a good-sized pail with a little
milk in it was held out to each calf. In their eagerness to get the
milk the calves thrust their heads clear into the pails; and when the
persons holding these began to run, the calves ran too, with the pails
over their heads like hats. Outside the cow-house door the pails were
snatched off and there stood the calves, who had never before been
beyond their pen, in the very midst of the great, wonderful new world.

The startled creatures gave an amazed look and then began to back, just
as if they felt themselves suddenly standing at the head of a steep
stairway; but soon they ventured to put one foot carefully forward,
then another, and another. It was slow work, one step at a time; but at
length they found that there was firm ground in this new region. They
concluded that the world was only a larger calf pen, after all; but it
was a wonderfully light calf pen, and its walls were certainly a long
way off. Swish! up went their tails into the air and away they
scampered like the wildest of forest animals.

Then began a great race in the big field,--from fence to fence, this
way and that, crosswise, and round and round. Every time the calves
jumped over a hillock Kjersti and Lisbeth saw their tails stand
straight up against the sky like tillers. Lisbeth thought she had never
seen anything so funny. But they could not keep together long. They
soon ran off in various directions, and in the evening Lisbeth had to
go to the farthest corners of the field with a pail and coax them home
one by one; for of course they did not have sense enough to know when
to go home,--they who were out in the world for the first time!

                     *      *      *      *      *

Lisbeth was lying again in her little room. It was the evening of her
first working day. She had said her simple evening prayer, as usual,
and then stretched herself out on the bed, feeling how good it was to
rest, for her body was tired through and through.

What a day it had been! A long day, too, she knew; nevertheless, she
could not imagine where it had gone. She felt that she must think over
all that had happened. But drowsiness came stealing upon her and threw
the scenes of the day into confusion. She saw a pair of big horns that
plowed like a snow plow through a swarming crowd, and then she saw
Brindle standing in her stall with her head on one side and a big
bandage over one of her horns, looking exactly like an old peasant
woman with a kerchief tied around her head for a headache; and then she
thought she saw, written in the air, a couplet that she had once heard:

    Rearing its tail against the sky,
    Danced the calf on the hilltop high.

And then Lisbeth Longfrock fell asleep.

                     *      *      *      *      *

The next day, with the lunch bag upon her back, Lisbeth Longfrock set
out for a forest that lay not far off, taking the sheep and goats with
her. She had not succeeded in getting Crookhorn to go along, however.
The self-willed goat had taken the shortest cut up to the north meadow,
where the cows were again pastured.

Lisbeth's second working day, like her first, seemed a very long one,
for the forest was wonderfully lonesome and still. The little girl had
time to think of many, many things,--of her mother and Jacob and
Peerout Castle; and it must be acknowledged that she cried a wee bit,
too.



CHAPTER V

SUMMER: TAKING THE ANIMALS UP TO THE SÆTER


Upward over the open slope across the valley from Hoel Farm a lengthy
procession was taking its way.

Kjersti Hoel stood at the window of her room, following the procession
with her eyes as long as she could, for soon it would vanish from the
open slope into the wooded part of the mountain. The herds belonging to
Hoel Farm were that day being taken up to the sæter,[8] to spend the
summer grazing on the rich grass which grows in sunny spaces here and
there on the mountain heights.

      [8] Pronounced (approximately) say'ter.

At the head of the procession rode the milkmaid on the military
horse,[9] which for this occasion had a woman's saddle upon its back.
The saddle had a high frame, so that it looked almost like an
easy-chair; and the milkmaid sitting aloft on it, dressed in her best,
and with a white linen kerchief on her head, was rosy, plump, and also
somewhat self-conscious, for was not she the most important person in
the company, the one who was to give all the commands?

      [9] In some districts of Norway the farmers are required to keep
      one or more horses subject to the needs of the government, under
      certain conditions of use and payment.

After her came two farm hands, each leading a horse whose back fairly
curved in under its heavy load. Then followed the herds in order of
rank. First came the bell cow, then Brindle with her wounded horn that
had grown on awry, then Crookhorn, then Darkey, and behind Darkey the
whole long train of cows,--all except two, old Moolley and the pet, Wee
Bonny, who were to stay at home to furnish milk for the people there
and to teach the new calves to follow. After the cows stalked the big
bull, as if acting as rear guard for his herd.

Next came the goats, hurrying along and trying to get ahead; then the
sheep in a tight clump; and behind these, four great pigs and a few
calves; while at the very end of the train came the under-milkmaid, and
Lisbeth Longfrock with her lunch bag on her back.

In the beginning all had gone as gayly as a dance, for almost every one
had pleasant memories of the summer before, and it seemed impossible to
reach the mountain top quickly enough; but as they mounted, the way
became steeper and steeper, and the sun rose higher and higher, burning
their backs. The pigs began to lag behind, trying to branch off at
every side path so as to get a little nap in the shade or cool
themselves in a mudhole. The sheep and goats, feeling the need of
something in their stomachs, slipped aside whenever they spied a young
birch tree whose leaves they could nibble, or a fence to peep through,
or a plot of green grass. The last year's calves, who had not been to
the sæter before, saw no reason at all for hurrying, and made no
attempt at it except when the stick was used upon them.

So Lisbeth Longfrock had to keep rushing off the road into side paths,
behind bushes, into forest thickets and boggy marshes, to drag the
various creatures back into line; and scarcely did she get them safely
into the road from one side before they slipped out again on the other.

She had to take off one of her long knitted garters and tie it around
her waist so that she could tuck her long frock up out of the way; for
she was constantly on the run, coaxing, shouting, and circumventing.

It was a hard struggle. Her light hair became dripping wet and her face
was as red as a half-ripe mountain cranberry; but Lisbeth did not
notice her discomfort, so absorbed was she in what she had to do. The
under-milkmaid would return to the farm with the men when the sæter was
reached. It was Lisbeth who was to have the responsibility for the
smaller animals during the whole summer, and who was to bring them home
in the autumn fat and glossy. She and the head milkmaid had their
special responsibilities, each at her own end of the line, as it were;
and even if Lisbeth's was only the tail end, she did not wish to have
the disgrace of being unable to keep it in order.

The procession continued mounting higher and higher, and soon the whole
valley lay below, deep and wide and delicately green. The fir trees
became smaller and more scattered, the slender birches grew closer
together. Before long the first specimens of black crowberries and "old
woman's switches" (dwarf birch trees) were seen; and with that the
procession was up over the crest of the mountain side.

[Illustration: THE VALLEY AND THE FARMS]

Then, all at once, it seemed as if a heavy weight slipped off; as if
all weariness was smoothed away from man and beast. The whole mountain
sent its freshness and peace streaming over them. They were in a new
world. Before them, with its boundless surface broken into level spaces
and undulating slopes, lay the mountain top, stretching itself far, far
away, until lost in the deepening blue of a snow-streaked summit. If
they looked back, the valley seemed to have sunk out of sight; but on
the mountain top across the valley they could see wide expanses of open
land dotted with shining water and grassy sæter districts.

Drawing a long breath, all gazed silently around. What a tranquillity
lay over everything! Of their own accord the animals fell into order
along the stony road curving endlessly beyond them. They made no more
attempts to branch off into side paths, but walked slowly along at an
even pace. That gave Lisbeth a little time to view her surroundings.
She had never seen a place so broad and open. And up here she was to
spend the whole bright summer.

All at once, in the midst of this vastness and space, Lisbeth felt
herself so wonderfully little! But she was not at all terrified; she
only felt very solemn and peaceful.

She began to think of the future,--of the rest of the day, the coming
summer, and the many summers that would follow. Sometime she herself
would be big and grown up, like the head milkmaid, whom she could now
see sitting on the high saddle far ahead. Sometime she herself would
sit up there, perhaps, and ride at the front.

The pack horses refused to go slowly now, even under their heavy loads.
They forged ahead, passed the mounted milkmaid, and soon disappeared
over a distant ridge. The procession followed slowly. Hour after hour
it wound its curving way over ridges and brooks, past sæters and
shining mountain lakes. Lisbeth had the honor of sitting up in the
saddle and riding awhile, the milkmaid feeling that she would gladly
walk a little.

Evening began to draw nigh. They took their way high up through a gap
in the mountain which they had seen in the distance early in the
morning. After that the road began to descend. They met with birch
trees again and one single warped fir tree; and from below they heard
the rushing sound of a large river.

They reached at last the edge of the sæter valley to which they were
bound, and stood still to look down. Below them lay a comparatively
level space, peaceful and green, with its three sæter huts, belonging
to Hoegseth,[10] Lunde,[11] and Hoel farms. From the chimneys of two
of the huts smoke was ascending in the still afternoon air.

      [10] Pronounce the _oe_ like the _e_ in _her_ and _th_ like
      _t_.

      [11] Loond'eh (_oo_ as in _good_).

The gazers were filled with delight. This, then, was the spot where
they were to spend the summer! The cows began to bellow. The smaller
animals, one and all, started on a run past the cows and down the hill.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Early the next morning Lisbeth was on her way across the mountain
pasture with the small animals in her charge. She did not have the
lunch bag on her back now, for while she was up at the sæter she was to
take dinner at the hut every noon.

The sunshine was brilliant. The cows had been turned loose and were
walking away on the nearest cow path, going in single file as if strung
on a line. The leader's bell rang deeply and regularly, its tone
mingling with others quite as deep from the neighboring sæters; and in
upon this solemn ringing broke the delicate, brisk dingle-dangle of the
smaller creatures' bells.

The time had now come when Lisbeth Longfrock was to make her first
entrance into the vast unknown. The milkmaid had told her that while
tending her animals this first day she should not wander too far, lest
she might not be able to find her way back. She was to listen to the
other herders and keep near them. The milkmaid did not know whether the
other herders were boys or girls this year.

Lisbeth kept looking back every now and then to keep track of the way
she had come, and was apparently loath to lose sight of the hut; but
the animals drifted rapidly off in the distance and she had to follow
so as not to lose sight of them altogether, and after a while, when she
looked back, the hut could not be seen. Around her were only the
unending wastes of hill and marsh and the faraway mountain peaks. How
spacious and silent it was! Not a sound was to be heard except that of
the bells; not even the river's rushing harmonies reached up to where
she stood.

She suddenly felt herself so utterly alone and remote and had such a
longing to caress some living creature that she went among the flock
and petted now this one and now that. The bell goat became so envious
that it butted the others out of the way and stood rubbing itself
against her.

All at once there came a call, "Ho-i-ho! ho-i-ho!" so loud and clear
that the mountains echoed with it. The goats pricked up their ears, and
Lisbeth, too, listened breathlessly. The call was so unexpected that
she had not distinguished from what quarter it came. It sounded near,
and yet, because of the echoes, from all directions.

"Ho-i-ho! ho-i-ho!" This time the call was still louder. Presently she
heard bells, several bells, and then she saw a large flock of sheep and
goats come straggling over the crest of a hill.

Very likely it was the other herders who were calling. Lisbeth saw two
straw hats rise above the hill, and by degrees two tall boys seemed to
grow up out of the hilltop,--boys about as big as Jacob.

At sight of them Lisbeth felt so shy that she kneeled down and hid
herself behind a bushy little mound.

The boys shaded their eyes with their hands and looked down from the
hilltop.

"Ho-i-ho!" they called, and then listened. "Ho-i-ho!"

No answer. All was still.

Then one of the boys cried out:

    Oh, ho! you boy from Hoel, don't you hear?
    If you have pluck, we call you to appear!

They stood awhile, watching. Then they darted forward, turned two or
three somersaults, and ran down the hill toward her, repeating their
call and shouting. Again they stopped and listened, as if uncertain.

"Ho-i-ho!" Again they challenged:

    If you lie hid behind some bush or stone,
    Come out and show there's marrow in your bone!

Then the two boys came to the bottom of the hill, where Lisbeth's flock
was, and looked around. No, they did not see any one. The new herder
from Hoel, who dared to lose track of his flock the first day, must be
a reckless young scamp--a fellow it might be fun to get acquainted
with. Very likely he had heard of their bathing place in the Sloping
Marsh. Probably that was where he had gone now.

Well, they would take his animals with them and go there themselves;
but first they would give another call. Perhaps he was not so far away
but that he might hear if they gave a good loud one.

"Ho-i-ho!" From far away echo repeated the sounds in "dwarf language,"
as the Norwegian boys call it.

When all was still again, there sounded close at hand, as thin and
clear as the peep of a bird, "Ho-i-ho!"

This was from Lisbeth, who, when she heard that they were going to take
her flock away, felt that she ought to call out, although it was
extremely embarrassing.

The boys stopped short, greatly astonished. From behind the bushy
little mound there arose something small, just like a tiny "hill
woman," in a plaid neckerchief and a long frock, who stood stock-still
and looked at them with large, shy eyes.

At sight of her the boys were somewhat abashed. It was a little
embarrassing for them to find that their boastful, taunting rhymes had
been directed against a poor timorous "young one," and a girl at that;
but it was exasperating, too, for they had expected to see a comrade of
their own size.

Humph! any one could see that Hoel Farm had women folk at the head of
it. The mistress was not willing that even the herder should be a boy.

If the "young one" had only been bigger,--bigger than themselves,--they
could have shown their contempt for her and chased her; but that little
midget! no, indeed, grown-up fellows like them did not waste either
words or blows on such small fry! It would be a good plan, however, to
talk with her a bit and hear whether another herder was not coming to
take her place. After that they would have nothing more to do with her.
They could get along by themselves for one summer. All that was
necessary was to frighten her a little, so that she would keep out of
their way.

They came over to Lisbeth and stood before her, big-boy-like, with
their hands in their pockets. Then one of them said, "Are you going to
be the Hoel herder this summer?"

"Yes," answered Lisbeth. Then, as if to excuse herself, she added
quickly, "Kjersti wanted me to."

"What is your name?"

"Lisbeth; and Jacob calls me Longfrock."

"Where are you from?"

"From Peerout."

"Are you Jacob Peerout's sister? We went to school with him last
winter."

"Yes, I am."

"What a nuisance that Jacob himself did not come! We haven't any use at
all for young ones like you up here."

The speaker, who was the larger of the two boys, stood awhile waiting
for a reply; but Lisbeth did not know what answer to make to his remark
and therefore said nothing. So he continued: "Well, we only wanted to
say to you--I'm Ole Hoegseth and that fellow over there is Peter
Lunde--that you must keep out of our way. You must not dare to come a
step beyond a line running from Pancake Stone down around the Sloping
Marsh to the Pointing Stump near the Hoegseth cow path. If you let
your animals graze beyond that line, your brother Jacob, next winter,
shall get all the thrashings you ought to have this summer."

Lisbeth was dreadfully frightened and her mouth began to tremble. Then
the second boy said to the larger one, "Yes, but Jacob is so strong
that he will get the best of you."

"Not when I have brought myself into good training. Hoi!" and he turned
a handspring.

"Now you know what Jacob may expect, so take care what you do! We boys
are going up to the Sloping Marsh to bathe. Ho-i-ho!"

With shout and call they took their way up over the hill again. At the
top they looked back and then glanced a little dubiously at each other.
Lisbeth Longfrock was still standing where they had left her, and--she
was crying!

Lisbeth felt very small and forlorn as she stood there. She certainly
did not want to do anything that Jacob would get a thrashing for. If
she only knew where it was that she was not allowed to go! but she had
not the least idea where either the Pointing Stump or the Sloping Marsh
lay. All that she could do would be to keep with her animals and find
out about these places later.

Sometime afterwards, when Lisbeth had mounted a small round hill, she
heard the bells of the boys' flocks again. That gave her a fright, and
she began to chase her animals off in another direction. But as she
turned around to do so she saw, far, far down the marsh, two white
figures running, jumping, and playing leapfrog in the sunshine beside a
gleaming pond. The boys had let their flocks stray away from them!

Lisbeth dreaded incurring more displeasure, but surely something ought
to be done. There was no help for it; she would really have to take
care of the stray animals for a while. The boys could not be angry at
that, she knew, because the greatest disgrace that can befall a herder
is the losing of his flock, and for boys so big as these to go back to
the sæter without any animals would be especially humiliating.

So Lisbeth went to work gathering the flocks together, jumping up on a
mound every now and then to see if the boys were not ready to come; but
they appeared to have forgotten everything except their play.

At length she saw that the boys suddenly stood still and listened,
peering about in all directions. Then they started into activity again,
snatched up their clothes, put them on in great haste, and started off
on a run toward the opposite edge of the marsh. Every little while they
would stop and listen, and then run on again. They were so far off that
there was no use in Lisbeth's shouting to them or trying to give the
call "Ho-i-ho!"

When the boys reached a round hill that lay on the other side of the
marsh, they ran to the top and again peered in all directions for a
long time. Then, as fast as their legs could carry them, they made
their way back across the marsh straight toward the small round hill
where Lisbeth was. As they neared it Lisbeth thought that now was the
time to give the herder's call, for the flocks were on the other side
of the hill and their bells could not be heard by the boys. Her first
call was too weak. She gave another somewhat stronger.

The boys stopped and answered.

Lisbeth called again, "Ho-i-ho!" and then the boys came up the hill.
They found it a little difficult to break the silence. It was rather
annoying to be obliged to question that "young one" about their flocks;
but there was no other way.

"Have you seen our animals?"

Lisbeth looked at them pleadingly. "They are here at the foot of the
hill. I have been taking care of them, but you must not thrash Jacob
for it."

The boys looked as they felt,--rather crestfallen. But they had to say
something, so Ole remarked, as they turned and left her, "Oh, well, we
'll let him off for this one time."

                     *      *      *      *      *

When Lisbeth went to fasten the gate of the fold that evening Peter
Lunde came bobbing along outside the fence.

"You haven't a strange sheep here, have you?"

"No; I have counted mine."

"Well, perhaps I counted mine wrong. Very likely they are all there."

The two stood looking at each other for a while; then both grew shy and
had to turn their eyes away. At last Peter said: "Lisbeth, if you want
to, you may tend your flock wherever we tend ours, and you may come to
our pond. I understood Ole to say that he is willing, too; but if he
makes any fuss about it, why I _can_ thrash him if I really want to."

"Yes, I will come gladly, you may be sure."

"Well, then, I will come after you to-morrow morning, back of the hill
here."

Lisbeth did not get a chance to say anything more, for Peter was off
like a flash around the corner. He had seen Ole coming.

Ole came lounging along in his usual fashion, with his hands in his
pockets.

"You haven't seen a strange sheep, have you?"

"No."

"Humph!"

"Is one of yours missing?"

"Oh, I don't know exactly. Humph! I thought I would tell you that you
need not bother yourself about what I said to-day. I did not mean
anything by it. It was Peter that made me say it; and if you want me
to, I can thrash him for it to-morrow."



CHAPTER VI

THE TAMING OF CROOKHORN


It was early morning in the latter part of the summer, and the sun was
shining brightly over Hoel Sæter.

Lisbeth was alone inside the fold, milking goats. All was quiet and
peaceful. Not a bell was heard. The only sounds were the gentle rush of
the river far below and an occasional soft thud from the cow house when
a cow bumped her horns against the wall in getting up. The milkmaid was
inside the cow house, milking the cows. Lisbeth's hands were still too
small for that work, so it had been arranged that she should have
entire charge of the goats instead of helping with the larger animals.

Suddenly from the hill above the sæter rang out "Ho-o-i-ho!" and in a
few minutes the call was answered a little farther off with a touch of
irritation in the tone, "Ho-o-i-ho!"

[Illustration: UP AT THE SÆTER]

Lisbeth looked up and listened. Then with a smile of happy satisfaction
she went over to the fence and called, "Ho-o-i-ho!" Now she could send
out the tones with vigor, so that they rang back from all the hills
around; her voice no longer trembled when she answered the big boys'
call.

To-day she knew that they were calling especially to summon her, and
that they dared to come close to the sæter with their animals because
they had an errand,--something that they had planned with the milkmaid
and Lisbeth.

By the sound of the bells she could tell that the boys were driving the
animals as fast as they could. The boy that was behind--Peter, of
course--was provoked at not being first.

But, if you please, they would have to wait until she had finished her
work. They were out extremely early to-day!

                     *      *      *      *      *

However strange it may seem, Lisbeth Longfrock, soon after her arrival
at Hoel Sæter, had become a prime favorite with the other herders. The
day after her first painful experiences the boys, as proposed, had met
her behind the hill, Peter first and then Ole. No reference was made to
the previous day; it was merely taken for granted that in future she
would be with them. Ole said that she could look after their animals,
together with her own, while they went off to bathe. Peter thought she
could, too. So she agreed to the arrangement.

But the boys did not play very long on the bank of the pond that day
when they had finished bathing. It was not much fun, after all, to be
down there by themselves.

So it had come to pass that Lisbeth and her animals never came
strolling over the hill in the morning without meeting the boys. They
generally came at nearly the same time, each from the direction of his
own sæter, apparently trying to see who could be the first to give the
call. But when they met each did his best to make out to the other that
he had come there by the merest chance, both sheepishly realizing that
the very evening before they had put on big-boy airs about "that young
one whom they could never get rid of," and had said that they would go
off in an entirely different direction the next day, to avoid her if
possible.

Often the boys would have athletic contests, turning handsprings and
wrestling from one meal-time to another because neither boy was willing
to give up beaten. More than once in a single morning or afternoon
would Lisbeth have to remind them to look after their animals, because,
completely forgotten by the boys, the flocks had strayed nearly out of
sight.

Occasionally it happened that one boy would reach Hoel Sæter ten or
fifteen minutes before the other and would find Lisbeth ready to set
out. In that case the first comer would insist that he and Lisbeth
should start out by themselves, urging that the other boy had probably
gone somewhere else that day. Such times were almost the pleasantest,
Lisbeth thought, for then the one boy had always so much to show her
that the other boy did not know about,--a marshy ledge, white as snow
with cloudberry blossoms, where there would be many, many berries in
the autumn (that ledge they could keep for themselves,--it was not
worth while to let the other boy know about everything they found); or
a ptarmigan nest with thirteen big eggs in it; or a ridge where
scouring rushes[12] grew unusually long and thick.

      [12] A species of horsetail rush (_Equisetum hyemale_), having a
      rough, flinty surface. It is used for scouring and polishing.

Each boy talked more with her, too, when by himself, and was less
boastful and rough. And the one boy would climb trees and get spruce
gum for her, while she would seek scouring rush for him. Scouring rush
is something that requires a special knack in the one who is to
discover it, and the boys had never seen Lisbeth's equal in spying it
out. Peter said that if there was a single spear growing anywhere, you
might be sure that she would find it; to which Ole jokingly responded
that, for his part, he believed she could find one even where there
wasn't any!

And how many, many things both boys thought of that they could make!
One day when it rained Ole made Lisbeth a hat out of birch bark, and
the next day Peter came with a pair of birch-bark shoes for her. The
milkmaid must have laughed when she saw Lisbeth coming home that second
day wearing the birch-bark hat and shoes, and carrying her ordinary
shoes in her hand. Another day Ole gave her a pocketknife. She ought to
have something to whittle with, he thought, and he did not need that
knife because he had one with a sheath that he always wore in his belt.
The next day Peter brought her a musical horn that he had made in the
evenings from a goat's horn. It had an unusually fine tone. You could
manage to play that funny tune, "Old Woman with a Stick," on it after a
fashion.

Ole speculated a while as to what he could do to beat that, and then he
hit upon an idea,--he would tame Crookhorn!

They had often seen Crookhorn going with the cows as if she were one of
them; and they knew that though she was Lisbeth's own goat there was no
use in trying to make her go with the other goats. The little girl had
told them how impossible it had been to manage the creature at the
farm, and that Kjersti had said the men would have to make an end of
her when winter came.

So Ole offered to tame Crookhorn. He was sure that he could teach her
to go with the others. There had never been a goat yet that had not
been forced to yield when he attempted to master it.

Yes, indeed, Lisbeth was more than willing for him to try. If he
succeeded, she would gladly give him all she owned.

No, Ole did not want any payment for doing it; but if she insisted on
giving him something, he would like the goat's horns after the goat was
slaughtered, as it would have to be some day. They would make matchless
horns to blow upon.

But Peter, too, wanted to have a share in the undertaking. If the goat
proved to be very cross and obstinate, two persons would surely be
needed to tame her. Then they could have one horn apiece.

Ole did not know whether he would agree to that or not, for it was he
who had thought of the plan.

Yes, but how could he carry it out? Peter did not believe that
Crookhorn could be made to go with the other goats unless there was a
stronger goat for her to be fastened to. Ole did not have such a one.
It was Peter who had the big billy goat, the only one strong enough for
the task.

Yes, that was true; so Peter might help in taming Crookhorn if he would
lend his billy goat.

Lisbeth, for her part, thought they ought all to help; that was the
only proper way. And her suggestion was finally followed.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Ole's taming of Crookhorn was the errand that brought the boys to the
Hoel Sæter on the morning that Lisbeth and the milkmaid were doing
their milking so early.

The two flocks came pushing and crowding over the hill; but as soon as
the animals realized that they were to be allowed to go close to the
sæter, they began to run at full speed. It was always such fun to go to
a strange place! They would be sure to find something new to see and to
stick their noses into,--perhaps a little milk stirabout in the pig
trough, a little salt on the salting stone, or a hole in the fence
where one could get a chance to squeeze through without being seen.

The bells clanged, the boys ran about shouting and hallooing and giving
their musical calls, trying to keep the worst goats in order, but
perhaps making a little more noise than was necessary.

Where all had been so still before there was now the liveliest
commotion. The milkmaid could not resist going to the cow-house door to
look out; and Lisbeth would surely have forgotten to milk the last of
her goats if it had not come over to her of its own accord and stood
directly in her way as she was going out of the fold.

When Ole saw the milkmaid at the cow-house door he called out, "Shall
you not let out your cattle soon?"

"Yes; I am just ready to," answered the milkmaid. "Are you ready,
Lisbeth?"

"I am milking my last goat."

Soon everything was done, and the animals stood waiting to be let out.

Ole had with him a strong band woven of willow withes, with an
ingeniously fastened loop at each end. One loop was for Peter's billy
goat, the other for Crookhorn. Ole thought it was a very fine apparatus
indeed.

"Where is Crookhorn?"

"In the cow house."

"Then I had better go in and get her myself. Bring your goat, Peter,
and hold him ready."

Peter called his big billy goat. It knew its name and came at once.

"Let me see how strong you are," said Peter. He took hold of its horns,
held its head down, and pushed against it. The billy goat bunted, took
a fresh start, bunted again,--they often played in this way,--and sent
Peter against the fence.

"There!" exclaimed Peter, picking himself up; "I rather think that
billy goat is strong enough to drag any goat along, no matter how big a
one." Peter fairly glowed with pride.

Ole, too, wanted to try the strength of the goat. Yes, it was an
amazingly strong goat.

Then Ole went into the cow house, and in a few moments came back
leading Crookhorn by the band of willow withes. The next step was to
fasten the other loop around the billy goat's neck, and behold! there
stood the two goats harnessed together. But neither of them seemed to
notice that anything had been done.

Lisbeth and the milkmaid and the boys waited a while expectantly; but
the billy goat rather enjoyed being looked at, and would not budge so
long as they and the flocks were near by. He merely stood still and
wanted to be petted.

So Ole said: "Let your animals out, Lisbeth, and start ours on the
path, Peter. Then we shall see a double-team grazing contest."

Lisbeth opened the gate and her animals crowded out, taking their
customary way up over the hill. Peter drove his own flock and Ole's
after them.

Seeing this, the billy goat thought it was high time for him to be
jogging along, so he took a step forward; but something was the matter.
He looked back. Who was playing tricks and hindering him?

He saw Crookhorn with all four legs planted fast on the ground and her
neck stretched out.

"Pooh! nothing but that," thought the billy goat, taking a couple of
steps forward. Crookhorn found herself obliged to follow, but she laid
her head back and struggled. Then the billy goat gathered all his
force, set his horns high in the air, and tugged at the band. He would
show her that he was not to be kept back by any such foolery!

Crookhorn again found herself obliged to follow, but she resisted and
resisted with all her might. At length her fore legs doubled up under
her and she sank upon her knees; but the billy goat went on as if
nothing had happened, and Crookhorn had to follow on her knees across
the whole flat part of the sæter field.

Lisbeth and the boys shrieked with laughter, and even the milkmaid
found it impossible not to join in.

When Crookhorn reached the beginning of the hill, where the ground was
more uneven, she thought it wiser to get up and trot along on her four
feet; but although she yielded thus far for the sake of her own
comfort, she still continued to struggle against being forced to go at
all.

The animals took the customary path leading farther over the mountain.
Little by little Crookhorn seemed to conclude that she must submit to
the inevitable. During the first part of the morning she was sullen and
contrary, merely allowing herself to be dragged along; but as the day
wore on and her stomach felt empty and slack, she grew more subdued and
began to walk quietly forward, eating as she went like any other
goat,--only looking up once in a while when she heard the heavy cow
bell in the distance.

The fun was gone when Crookhorn took to behaving well, so the boys
began as usual to wrestle and turn somersaults; and this they kept up
until it was nearly time to go home for their nooning. Then Ole said:
"Now let us slip her loose on trial. I think she must be cured by this
time."

Yes, the others agreed to that.

So they called to the billy goat coaxingly. He came jogging along with
his big horns straight up and Crookhorn trailing after him. Ole first
set the billy goat free, and then, kneeling down before Crookhorn, he
took hold of her beard. Crookhorn pawed with her feet as goats do when
they want to get rid of this hold, but Ole would not let go. He wished
to give her a few admonitions first.

Now that she had found her master, he told her, she need no longer
imagine that she was a cow. Hereafter she was to behave like other
goats or she would have him to deal with; and at this he gave her beard
a wag, as if to add force to his words. That hurt Crookhorn, and she
made a bound straight at him and sent him rolling backward. Then,
passing directly over him, with the willow band trailing behind her,
she set out on a trot across the marsh in the direction from which the
sound of the cow bell had come.

Ole scrambled up again, stamped the ground with rage, and started after
her.

Lisbeth and Peter were already on the way. They shouted and screamed as
they ran, and threatened Crookhorn with all sorts of punishments if she
did not stop; but Crookhorn acted as if she did not understand. She
ran, and they after her. The boys became more and more angry. It had
never happened before that they had been unable to capture a goat; and
besides, each boy was eager to get ahead of the other. So they ran
faster and faster. Although Lisbeth Longfrock was light-footed,
especially with her birch-bark shoes[13] on, she lagged behind. It was
like wading in deep water to try to run in that long frock of hers,
which, in the hasty start of the morning, she had forgotten to tuck up
in her belt as usual.

      [13] Lisbeth's ordinary shoes were clumsy wooden ones.

Soon she caught a last glimpse of the boys as they disappeared over a
hill on the other side of the marsh. Peter was ahead (she believed he
really was the faster runner of the two). But she herself was only in
the middle of the marsh.

So she stopped. Certainly the best thing that she could do was to go
back and get the animals together; otherwise all three flocks were
likely to stray away.

She turned back, recrossed the marsh, and had climbed the hill a little
way when she heard a rumbling and thudding noise, which grew constantly
louder and louder, while the ground seemed to roll in waves under her
feet. What could it be? Around the foot of the hill came a big herd of
horses[14]--oh, what a big herd! There were horses old and young, and
foals running beside their mothers; horses brown, dun-colored, black,
and white; and all of them were so bright and shiny and fat and
skittish! They trotted and ran, with heads tossing,--those ahead being
passed by others, then those behind getting ahead again,--making a
noise almost like the booming of thunder.

      [14] Horses, as well as other animals, are sent up on the
      mountains to graze during the summer. They roam about at will,
      and sometimes go home of their own accord at the end of the
      season, if no one has been sent to fetch them.

Lisbeth stood still and watched them, half afraid. She had never seen
so big a herd before. They noticed her, too, but they did not run at
her at all. Only two or three stopped, pricked up their ears, and gazed
at her, trying to make out what kind of little creature she could be.
Then they ran on again, and in an instant the whole herd had gone past.
Lisbeth could only hear the thunder of their hoofs as they galloped
into the path leading to the sæter.

But her animals! and the boys' flocks! Naturally the horses had
frightened them. Lisbeth could see no trace of them anywhere. She ran
from hill to hill, stopping to listen and then running again.

It was all of no use; she could not find them. The only wise course for
her was to go back to the sæter.

This was the first and only time that Lisbeth Longfrock went home
without taking her animals with her.

But when she reached the sæter there lay the whole flock peacefully
within the fold, chewing the cud. They had gone home of their own
accord. The horses that had given Lisbeth such a fright were there
also, walking about and licking up the salt which the milkmaid had
strewn for them.

In the afternoon the milkmaids from the other sæters came to inquire
after the boys, for their goats had also come home of themselves long
before the usual time.

It was not until much later that Ole and Peter arrived, dragging
Crookhorn between them.

When the milkmaids laughed at them the boys could not help feeling a
little chagrined. That they had let their flocks stray away could not
be denied; but no one could say that they had come home without any
animal at all,--although two big boys _did_ seem a rather liberal
number to be in charge of a single goat, however large that goat might
be.

Things had gone wrong for that day, Ole acknowledged; but Crookhorn was
not to think that she had seen the end of the struggle. They would take
her with them again the next day. She should get her deserts.

But it turned out otherwise. Crookhorn knew better than to let such a
thing happen. When they took off the willow band she stood still awhile
with her neck stretched up, looking at the horses which were at that
moment going out of the inclosure. Suddenly she kicked up her hind legs
in real horse fashion, and then away she went after the herd as fast as
she could go.

The milkmaids, as well as the boys, could do nothing but stand and gape
when they saw her join the horses.

"Probably she imagines now that she is a horse," thought they.

For a while they stood in silence watching the receding herd. Then Ole
said in his dry fashion, "If there had been any elephants here, it
would have been just like Crookhorn to imagine herself an elephant."



CHAPTER VII

HOME FROM THE SÆTER


Summer, with its light nights and brilliant days, comes rapidly to full
power on the mountains in Norway. The season is brief but intense.

It begins with a creeping of light green over the gentle slopes and
unending marshes, and a trickling of light green down around each
_tue_, or little mound of earth covered with moss and tiny berry
plants. Ptarmigans roam about in solitary pairs, murmuring when any one
comes too near their nests; gnats and horseflies buzz through the air;
and cows, with tails set straight up, scamper friskily about, trying to
escape the irritating stings.

Over everything lies a thick, warm, dark-blue haze, hindering a free
outlook.

But soon come the blueberries, the marsh wool or cotton grass, and
later the cloudberries; and on some fine day when the mother ptarmigans
go out to walk, peeping sounds are heard around them, here, there, and
everywhere. The mother birds scold more than ever, now that their young
ones are whirling like so many feathery balls a yard or more upward,
and two or three yards forward, and then tumbling down into the heather
again, head foremost. By this time the cows roam about quietly and
meditatively over the mountain, seeking the juiciest, best-flavored
herbage to nibble; the warm haze melts away and the air becomes so
sparklingly clear that mountain peaks miles distant are as delicately
and sharply outlined as the nearest little mound. Then the cloudberry
blossoms fall, and soon the marshes grow yellow and red, the tiny
blossoms of the heather color all the knolls and rocky places, the
greenness vanishes, and over the patches of white reindeer moss, which
shine out like snow here and there on the mountain, comes a blush of
red and a tinge of brown. Autumn is now drawing near.

Much of the time the sun shines brightly, and when it does, how
glorious to be the herder of a flock!

But there come days also when the fog spreads itself like a close gray
blanket, under which the ground, with its mounds and bushes and
heather, creeps stealthily, disappearing a few yards away. And out of
the fog comes a fine, mist-like rain, which deposits itself in tiny
gray beads on every blade and every pine needle, so that wherever any
one goes there is a little sprinkling of water.

In such weather it is far from pleasant to be in charge of a flock. If
the animals move forward quietly, the herder must seek shelter under
every bush, with a piece of sacking over his shoulders to shield him
from the wet. But it is far more likely that he will be obliged to run
about, with the water squeezing in and out of his shoes, trying to keep
track of his animals; for in weather like this the mushrooms spring up
plentifully and the animals scatter eagerly in all directions to find
them, scorning other food when these may be obtained. Sometimes when
the herder is speeding along the edge of the marsh, a pair of large,
powerful cranes, who are on their journey south, will loom suddenly
before him out of the fog. This startles him greatly, for the cranes
seem to the herder much larger than they really are. They look like a
couple of great sheep with wings on.

Later in the season comes a morning when all is glistening white. A
little snow has fallen during the night,--not enough to last, however;
it melts away as the day goes on. But after this the animals no longer
like to go up on the higher parts of the mountain. The cows stand
lowing at the gate of the sæter inclosure; they know that sooner or
later they will be allowed to slip in there to enjoy the last of the
mountain's good grazing. The goats look inquiringly backward as they
are let out of the fold. Summer is over. Every one longs to go down
again to the home farm.

At last a day comes when the gate is opened and the cows rush into the
sæter inclosure. They know now that they will not have to go up on the
bare mountain again this year. Then the farm hands come up with pack
horses, and other horses that have been running wild on the mountain
all summer are found and taken home. The packs are tied up; there is a
great washing, a clearing away of rubbish and putting things in order
for the next summer, and at last _Bufar_ day, the long-expected day of
returning to the home farm, arrives.

                     *      *      *      *      *

On Bufar day Lisbeth Longfrock stood up on the ridge of the
turf-covered cow-house roof, taking a final look at the surrounding
scene. She was all ready for the journey. Her lunch bag was on her
back, her birch-bark hat on her head, and the goat horn which Peter had
given her hung on a string around her neck. In her hand she carried a
stout stick. Within the sæter inclosure the cows and smaller animals
were roving back and forth from fence to fence impatiently. They knew
that Bufar day had come, for along the wall of the sæter hut, in a row,
stood the horses' packs, filled with butter tubs, cheese tubs, and
cheese boxes; and tied to the fence were the horses themselves. All of
these had pack saddles on, except the military horse, which stood
foremost among them, bearing a woman's saddle. The farm hands stood
outside, too, smoking their pipes. They were all ready, and were only
waiting for the milkmaid, who was inside the hut making the last batch
of cheese from the morning's milk, which she could not allow to be
wasted.

While Lisbeth was standing on the ridge of the cow house Ole and Peter
came bobbing along past the fence of the fold. They were not so
boisterous as usual to-day, and stopped at the gate, looking at Lisbeth
without saying a word at first. Then Peter asked, "Are you going back
to the farm to-day, Lisbeth?"

"Yes, I am all ready."

With one impulse Lisbeth and the boys gazed over the mountain's
familiar expanse.

"The mountain begins to look barren now," said Peter; "but I shall be
here a week longer."

"So long as that?" said Lisbeth. "And you, Ole?"

"I am going day after to-morrow."

All three were silent again for a while. Then Lisbeth said: "I suppose
I must go with the others now. They surely must be ready."

She descended from the roof and went over to where the boys were. The
conversation came to a standstill again; they could not think of
anything to say. Finally Peter spoke.

"Are you coming again next summer, Lisbeth?"

"Yes, if Kjersti Hoel is pleased with me; but that can hardly be
expected, since I am going home without Crookhorn."

"It would take a horse trainer to look after her," said Ole.

Again there was silence. Then Ole said: "We did not go up to Glory Peak
this summer, to see the spot the king once visited."

"No, we didn't."

"We two boys are coming here again next summer, both of us."

"Perhaps we can go to Glory Peak after all then, even if it is so far
away."

"Yes, we can," said Ole. "And I can tell you a good deal about the
king's visit, for my father went with him and drove."

"Drove the king's carriage?"

"No, not the king's; the county magistrate's."

"My father went with him, too," said Peter, "and drove; so I can tell
about it as well as you."

"Yes, but whose carriage did he drive? A homely old woman's!"

"But that homely old woman was next in rank to the queen. She was the
one who went off to walk with the queen at the foot of Glory Peak."

Just then came a call for Lisbeth. She hesitated a moment, then
stretched out her little hand and said: "Good-by. May you both fare
well. Thanks for this summer."

"Thanks to you for the same," said Ole. "We are to meet again, then,
next summer?"

"Yes."

"May you fare well," said Peter.

He stood holding her hand awhile; then, thinking he ought to say
something more, he added, "I will greet Jacob from you, Lisbeth."

After that the boys vanished along the fence as noiselessly as they had
come.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Inside the sæter inclosure the farm hands were putting the packs on the
horses, and the military horse had been led to the gate. Lisbeth ran
into the inclosure, drove her animals together and counted them,
certainly for the tenth time that day. Soon everything stood ready for
the homeward march.

The milkmaid appeared in the doorway, clad in her Sunday best, as on
the day she came. She closed the sæter door with a bang, turned the
large key solemnly in the lock, took it out and put it in her pocket.
That key she would not intrust to any one else; she wanted to deliver
it to Kjersti Hoel with her own hand. After trying the door vigorously
to be sure that it was securely locked, she went to the window and
looked in to assure herself that everything was in order and the fire
entirely out. Then, going over to the military horse, she climbed into
the saddle. One of the farm hands opened the gate for her as if she had
been a queen, and out she rode.

After her followed the pack horses, one by one, and the cows in the
same order as when they came up,--the bell cow, Brindle, and the whole
long line. Behind the cows came the smaller animals, and, last of all,
Lisbeth Longfrock with a stick in her hand, her birch-bark hat on her
head, and her lunch bag on her back.

Lisbeth turned and looked at the scene she was leaving. There lay the
sæter, desolate now. The mountain, too, appeared lonely and forsaken.
Of course she, like all the others, had longed for home during these
last days; but it was strange, after all, for her to be going away from
everything up here. A little of the same feeling she had had when
leaving Peerout Castle crept over her. How singular that she should
happen to recall that sad time just at this moment! She had not thought
of it at all since coming up on the mountain,--not once during the
whole long summer.

Nor would she think of it now; there were other and happier things to
remember. God be praised, all had gone well at the sæter, and the whole
procession was on its way home. She was taking her animals safely
back,--all except Crookhorn. Of her she had seen nothing since that day
when the boys had tried to tame her; but she had heard that far off on
the mountain a big goat went about with a herd of horses.

                     *      *      *      *      *

All day long the great procession went on its way over the mountain in
steady, plodding fashion. The animals were fatter and heavier than in
the spring; they trod the hills with a brisker and firmer step, and
none showed any sign of being tired or lagging behind. The milkmaid was
rosy-cheeked and plump ("Butterpack" she was always called in the
autumn). As she and Lisbeth looked at the procession, one from the
front and the other from the rear, they agreed in thinking that the
animals, as well as the butter and cheese, were such as they need not
be ashamed to take home to Kjersti Hoel.

Evening was drawing near, when suddenly the road pitched down over the
edge of the mountain, the valley began to open before them, and they
could even catch a glimpse of the slope on the other side. Every one
looked over there, but all that could be seen as yet was a strip along
the uppermost edge. The only one to distinguish a house upon the strip
was Lisbeth Longfrock. Away up and off to one side she saw the setting
sun glittering on a little pane of glass in a low gray hut. That hut
was Peerout Castle.

Then all at once they came out upon the open mountain side, and the
whole valley lay before them, broad and peaceful, with its yellow
fields and stacks of grain, its green spaces, and its slope of birch
trees flaming in yellow, with here and there a red mountain ash among
them. And over across they spied Hoel,--large, substantial, and well
cared for,--with its broad, shining windows and its general air of
comfort. Smoke was issuing from its chimney,--such an inviting,
coffee-suggesting, welcoming smoke! Kjersti had probably hung the
coffee kettle over the fire already, so as to receive them in a
suitable manner.

The whole procession now began to show more life. Every member of it
knew that Kjersti Hoel stood over there in the window watching the long
line as it curved down the open slope. All moved forward more quickly.
The horses hurried ahead; the cows began to trot, the bell cow sending
out an eager Moo-oo! across the valley; the bells jingled merrily; and
Lisbeth Longfrock trilled a vigorous call through her little goat horn.
They wanted every one to hear that the great company of animals
belonging to Hoel Farm was now coming back again.

Thus they hastened down to the bottom of the valley and then up the
opposite side. It was not long before they were actually at home.

Kjersti Hoel herself stood at the cow-house door and opened it for
them. The cows recognized her, and each one of them, as they went by
her in turn, received a word or a pat on the head; after which, proud
and satisfied, they went to their separate stalls,--not a single cow
making a mistake. They went swiftly, too, for they knew that there was
something good in the mangers to welcome them. And they needed
something, surely, for there had not been time to eat anything along
the road that day.

When the milkmaid had dismounted from her horse Kjersti took her hand
and said, "Welcome home!" Then Kjersti went over to the door of the
sheep barn, opened that also, and counted the goats and sheep as they
went in; and when Lisbeth Longfrock came following in their wake,
Kjersti took her hand also and said, "Welcome home!"

"But," faltered Lisbeth, "I have not brought Crookhorn back with me."

"No, I see that you have not; and it is a good thing. Now we shall be
rid of her capers for a while. You have been a faithful and capable
little worker, there is no doubt of that. And how you have grown! Why,
your long frock is far above your toes now!"

Then the milkmaid and Lisbeth fastened the cows in their stalls, while
Kjersti went to watch the unloading of the packs and to look at the
tubs and boxes containing the butter and cheese that had been made at
the sæter.

After that Kjersti came to them again and asked them to "Please walk
in," exactly as if they were grand strangers. And when they had gone
into the house they were invited into Kjersti's own sitting room, both
Lisbeth and the milkmaid. Here the table was set with a welcoming meal,
and oh, how delicious the food smelled! There were large hot pancakes
as thin as paper, and pease bread, and hot new potatoes,--the finest
feast you can give to people just home from a sæter. And Kjersti
herself poured coffee for them and begged them to help themselves. Then
they had to give an account of everything that had happened on the
mountain; to tell about the cows,--which of them had given the most
milk and which of them had stopped giving; about the sheep, goats, and
pigs; and about the butter and cheese that had been made. And then
Kjersti praised her two servants for their faithfulness and industry,
and the trio rejoiced together over the success of the summer.

That evening when Lisbeth Longfrock again lay stretched out on her
little bed in her room under the hall stairs and thought back over the
summer and about the mountain, it seemed to her that she had had a
glorious time, as delightful as could be thought of; but, all the same,
it was pleasant to come home again, too,--especially when one was
welcomed by such an unusually fine woman as Kjersti Hoel.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Autumn was passing away. The leaves had fallen and the trees spread out
naked branches into the cold air. In the fields where grain had grown
stood only the poles, now bare and slanting, on which the crops had
been stacked. The verdure of the meadows was changed to yellowish
brown.

There was no more food for the animals out of doors, so slaughtering
day had come. That is the end of the season for the young herder, for
on that day he gives up his responsibility. Thenceforward he is no
longer a person with a special duty; he must be at every one's beck and
call. And when winter comes with its long evenings, when the wood fire
gleams out over the huge kitchen from the great open fireplace, while
wool is being carded and the spinning wheel whirs, and the farm hands
make brooms out of twigs and whittle thole pins and ax handles, then
must the herder sit by the pile of twigs and logs at the side of the
fireplace and feed the fire so that the rest can see to work while he
studies his lessons.

By the pile of wood in Kjersti Hoel's big kitchen Lisbeth Longfrock had
her place on the long winter evenings. She studied and listened, and
heard so many curious things talked about that it seemed as if the
evenings were too short and the days too few, in spite of the long,
dark Norwegian winter. Before she knew it spring had come again; and
when she looked down at her long frock she found that the hem reached
no farther than the tops of her ankles.



CHAPTER VIII

ON GLORY PEAK


It was again high summer, and the sun shone bright on all the mountain
tops when, one morning, an ear-splitting call played on three goat
horns rang suddenly out from the inclosure belonging to Hoel sæter. One
call was thin and fine, the other two were heavier.

That triple signal meant "Forward, march!" Lisbeth Longfrock, Ole, and
Peter were going to take their trip to Glory Peak to see the spot that
had been visited by the king.

The boys now owned goat horns to blow on, and they were good ones, too;
for Lisbeth Longfrock had kept her word about Crookhorn's horns and had
given one to each boy.

After Crookhorn's running off with the herd of horses, things had not
gone any better with that proud-minded goat. When she finally came
home, late in the autumn, with the last of the horses, she was so
conceited that there was no getting her to live in the barn with the
other goats. They had to put her in the cow house; but not even the cow
house was good enough for her after her summer experiences. Every time
she got an opportunity, out she bounded, trotting over to the door of
the stable as if she belonged in there. The stable boy insisted that he
had even heard her neigh. One day, when the men were feeding the
horses, they saw her dash in, and, with her usual self-important air,
attempt to squeeze her way into the stall of the military horse. But
that she should not have done. It was dark, and the military horse
failed to see that it was only Crookhorn at his heels; so up went his
hind legs and out went a kick that landed plump on Crookhorn's cranium
and sent her flying against the stable wall. That was the last of
Crookhorn.

It cannot be said that any one, except perhaps Lisbeth Longfrock,
sorrowed particularly over her; but Lisbeth could not help remembering
that Crookhorn had given them milk for their coffee that winter up at
Peerout Castle. At any rate, if not much sorrowed for, the queer,
ambitious creature was held in honorable esteem after her death. Such
horns as hers Ole had never seen. Not only were they extremely large,
but they gave out a peculiarly fine sound. Any one would know at once
that they were not the horns of an ordinary goat. There had always been
something about Crookhorn that no one understood, Ole said. Yes, Peter
had noticed that too. Afterward, when he had thought a little more on
the subject, he said he believed that horses' horns would have exactly
the same sound as those of this remarkable goat, if there were any
horses with horns!

On the day of the visit to Glory Peak the goat horns, as musical
instruments, were brand-new, being used that day for the first time. In
fact, the trip had been put off until they were ready.

But new goat horns were not the only things the travelers were provided
with. All three wore their best clothes, and each carried a lunch bag
full of food on his back and a stout stick in his hand. The trip was so
long that it would take a whole day.

Once more they blew their horns,--all three together. The animals
looked up in surprise at the unusual volume of sound, and the milkmaid
came to the cow-house door with a smiling face. Then off the party
started. The flocks were mingled together to-day, and driven straight
ahead,--no time for them to graze by the wayside with Glory Peak lying
so far away, blue against the sky. This excursion was a much longer one
than Lisbeth had ever before taken, and even Ole and Peter had been to
Glory Peak but once.

                     *      *      *      *      *

It was drawing on toward dinner time when they came to the last gentle
ascent leading to the top of Glory Peak. There the juniper bushes and
"old woman's switches" (dwarf birch) grew so high that the animals were
quite lost to sight among them. Lisbeth and the boys could only see the
course of their charges by a wavelike movement that passed over the
tops of the bushes and by the sticking up of a pair of horns here and
there. Ole thought that this was a good place to leave the flocks for a
time, while they themselves went on ahead. The animals were so tired
and hungry that they would stay there quietly for an hour or so; then,
when rested, they would be sure to follow to the peak, for a goat was
never satisfied until it had mounted to the highest possible point,
where it could look about in all directions. Ole's plan was assented
to, and it proved to be a good one.

Ole led Lisbeth and Peter around a curve toward the north. He wanted to
show them exactly where the king and queen came up on the day of their
visit. To be sure, they were not really king and queen that day, but
they were on the very point of being: they were crown prince and crown
princess. They had left their horses down on the mountain side where
the road grew too steep for driving, and had walked the rest of the
way. Oh, what a large company they had with them!--the county
magistrate, the district judge, and officers so richly dressed that
they could scarcely move. Seven or eight of the principal farmers of
the district were also in the company, and first among these were
Nordrum, Jacob's master, and the master of Hoel Farm, who was then
living. These two wore queer old-fashioned swallow-tailed coats. All
around over the whole mountain top were crowds of other people gazing
at the lively scene.

"The king looked wonderfully fine, didn't he?" asked Lisbeth.

"No. The county magistrate looked much finer, and so did the officers,
and even the people who waited upon them. But it could easily be seen
that he was the king, for he was a head taller than any of the others."

"The king must be tremendously strong," said Peter.

"Strong! Of course he is! And he must have use for every bit of his
strength, too, for he has to govern all the others."

"Was the queen also very large?" asked Lisbeth.

"No, she was not much larger than an ordinary woman. She was unusually
earnest and modest-looking, father said. There was not so much fuss and
feathers with her as with the other women folk."

"No," said Peter; "the old frump that my father drove laughed even at
the magistrate, and found fault because his hands were too big."

"Humph!" said Ole; "that _was_ a joke. As if a grown-up fellow should
not have big fists! Anyhow, I don't see how she could have seen them,
for the magistrate wore his white gloves, although it was high summer."

Ole resumed the part of showman.

"Next they came up over this way,--the whole company, close by that
very stone there; and then the king ran on ahead of them. He wanted to
be the first to reach the top, as one might know. And now I will show
you exactly what he did. Follow me. I will be the king, and you,
Lisbeth, may be the queen. Come along!"

Ole walked hastily over the last spur of the ground, the others
following. Then, running the last few steps, they found themselves
suddenly on the very top of the mountain! Ole threw out his hand and
stood a long time in silence.

The others stood still also, involuntarily, impressed by the wonderful
sight. Here and there over the endless expanse of mountain shone
glistening lakes and mountain pools, and away off in the distance rose
snow-clad peaks. On every open slope lay green sæters; and toward the
south, as far as the eye could reach, were beautiful farming districts
and dark-green, forest-clad ridges.

Ole, in his character of king, threw out his hand again. "This is the
most beautiful spot I have ever seen!" he cried. Then, after a short
pause, "Come, Sophie, and see!" Ole took Lisbeth's hand and drew her
forward.

"Yes," assented Peter, "that is exactly the way the king did. I have
heard about it, too."

"Of course it was," said Ole. "Don't you think I know?"

"What else did he do?" asked Lisbeth.

"The king and queen then went around and spoke to all the other people,
who began to take out long spyglasses and gaze in all directions and
ask the name of everything.

"The county magistrate, as the highest of the local officials, stood
near the king and queen and pointed things out to them.

"'See that group of distant white peaks,' said the magistrate; 'and
there to the north is Snow-Cap, although I am not sure that you can
distinguish it; and that little black thing farthest away' (Ole pointed
as the magistrate had done) 'is the highest peak in Norway.'[15]

      [15] The mountain referred to is Galdhoepiggen.

"After a while the company turned around, facing the south. When they
saw the view in that direction,--with the great shining lake lying so
far away down there, and the forests stretching farther and farther in
the distance,--even the king himself was astonished. He thought that
the forests must reach almost to Sweden. He had never seen so vast an
extent of forest at one view, king though he was. When they had
finished looking at the surrounding landscape, Nordrum went to that
patch of reindeer moss over there and gathered a whole handful of it. A
good many of the people wondered, of course, what he was going to do
with it. He went over to the king, showed it to him, and then said,
'Should you like to see the moss that we mixed with birch bark to make
bread during the war?'

"The king took a piece and chewed it. 'Yes, there is bird lime in it,'
he said.

"Nobody else had moved or spoken since Nordrum picked the moss,--they
were so surprised. At last father heard one of the officers say, 'It is
astonishing how tactless these farmers can be!'"

"What is _tactless_?" asked Lisbeth.

"Oh, I don't know; but no doubt it is something pleasant, for the king
clapped Nordrum on the shoulder and said: 'Thanks, my good man. We can
all thank God that there are happier days in Norway now.'

"'That was what I was thinking of when I showed you the moss,' said
Nordrum.

"Then they took the king to the great heap of stones that was piled up
as a memorial of his visit, and asked him to scratch his name upon the
stone slab beside it. And so he did, '_O. S._,' which stands for Oscar
and Sophia; and then the number of the year, too,--see, here it is! It
was all cut into the slab afterwards, exactly as the king himself had
scratched it."

The three looked at the letters. Yes, indeed, that was beautiful
writing, almost like print. How remarkably well the king must be able
to write on paper, when he could write like that on stone!

Just then the animals came crowding up over the edge of the mountain
top. They also went to the pile of stones and the big flat stone, like
a table, that stood beside it. They began to lie down, for now, after
eating, they wanted to rest.

"What else did the king and the others do?" asked Lisbeth.

"There wasn't much more. Oh, yes! after the king had finished writing,
he seemed to think that they needed something to eat; so he began
singing to the magistrate a line from an old song that they all knew.
The king had a good voice and it rang out with jolly zest:

    Oh, have you a drop in your bottle?

Then they laughed, and came forward with a basket, and set the table on
the stone here. And they had something to drink, and some little cakes,
and after that they went away again. And now," concluded Ole, "I think
that we also need something to eat. Let us sit here at the king's table
and have our lunch, too."

They took their lunch bags from their backs and sat down on the big,
thick stone table, while the animals lay around them chewing the cud.
When the bags were opened many good things came out. There was butter,
and pork, and pease bread, and, in Lisbeth's, cream waffles besides. In
each bag there was also a bottle of milk, except in Ole's--he had
forgotten his. But that did not matter, for the others had plenty. They
shared their food with each other, and when Ole wanted milk he merely
sang,

    Oh, have you a drop in your bottle?

And so he got rather more than his share, after all.

They did not talk much at the beginning of the meal, for it was so good
to get a chance to eat; but when they had eaten quite a while, and
their jaws began to work more slowly, Peter said, as if he had been
pondering upon it, "I wonder what the king has to eat,--for every day,
I mean."

"Loppered-cream[16] porridge, all day long," said Ole with conviction.

      [16] Cream that has been allowed to stand until it has attained a
      jellylike consistency. Loppered milk is sometimes called
      bonnyclabber.

"Yes; but when he wants a little solid food, once in a while?" asked
Lisbeth.

Peter had just put a very delicious piece of pork on some pease bread.
He looked at it with real enjoyment before eating it.

"I am sure that he has pork and pease bread," said he.

Lisbeth took the last waffle and bit a piece off. Then she said, "Yes;
but the queen,--she certainly does not eat anything but cream waffles!"

                     *      *      *      *      *

While they sat there on the stone, eating and talking, they saw a
figure far off on the mountain. It was coming in the direction of Glory
Peak. So unusual is it to meet another person up on the mountain that
it gives one a strange feeling when it happens. Soon they could think
of nothing except this stranger.

"It must be a man trying to find his horses," said Ole.

"Yes, it must be, surely," said Peter. "But what farmer could be
sending up for his horses now?"

"Let me see,--it must be Nordrum."

"Yes, that is true. They have only Old Blakken[17] at home now, and
they will have to begin their haymaking soon."

      [17] A pet name for the dun-colored Norwegian horses.

"Yes; but this man is going on a wild-goose chase to-day. The Nordrum
mare is over on the other side of our sæter. I saw her a fortnight
ago."

"If we set him right he can find her to-morrow."

"Yes, easily."

They sat still and watched, for they knew it would be a long time
before the figure could reach them. It is so strange to watch any one
coming toward you on the mountain. He walks and walks, and it can be
seen from his motions that he is walking quickly, too, but he does not
appear to be getting the least bit nearer. He continues to seem small
and far away, and to increase very slowly in size, because the
distances from point to point are so great.

The animals had risen and had begun to descend the peak in the
direction of the sæter; but they concluded to lie down again and await
the stranger's approach.

At last he reached them.

They had guessed aright. He was walking about trying to find the
Nordrum horses. The boys told him what they knew, and said that
although he could not get them that day, he could the next day, surely.

When the question of the horses was settled the man turned to Lisbeth.

"Isn't it you who are called Lisbeth Longfrock?"

"Yes," answered Lisbeth, "they do call me that."

"Then I bring you a greeting from Jacob, your brother. I have a letter
with me from him. He wants me to bring him an answer, but there is no
hurry about it until to-morrow. I shall spend the night at Hoel Sæter,
whether I find the horses to-day or not. But now I must look around a
little before evening comes on. I want to be sure that the horses are
not on this side of the sæter." So off he went.

Lisbeth was still sitting on the king's table. It was the first time
she had ever received a letter. Indeed, even Ole and Peter had never
received any. They were entirely overwhelmed with respectful surprise
and took their stand at a suitable distance.

On the outside of the letter stood:

    _Salve Titel._[18]
        To the Highly Respected Maiden,
            Lisbeth Jacob's-daughter Longfrock,
                at Hoel Sæter, on the West Mountain.

    At Convenience, by Messenger.

        Post Free.

      [18] An expression from the Latin, often used in old-fashioned
      Norwegian correspondence. It meant, in a general way, "Pardon any
      error in the address."

Lisbeth broke the seal solemnly and opened the letter. Then she read,
half aloud:

                                   NORDRUM SÆTER, 15th of this month.

    _Salve Titel._

    TO THE MAIDEN LISBETH LONGFROCK.

    _Good Sister:_ Since time and opportunity permit, I now take my pen
    in hand to write to you and tell you that I have nothing to write
    about except that it is a long time since I last saw you. But I
    have a spare day due to me from Hans. I took care of his animals
    for him when he went to his mother's burial. It was really two
    days, but I only reckoned it as one, because it was his mother. And
    now I will take that day from him on the next Sunday of this month.
    In case you have a day due to you from Peter or Ole, I write to ask
    if you cannot take it from them. But if you have not, you can take
    a day, all the same, because I am stronger; but I did not mean
    anything by it when I gave Peter a thrashing last winter. So I
    wanted to write to you and ask if we could not meet at Peerout
    Castle, for I have not been there since--

    You are requested to come to the meeting in good season. Bring
    something to eat with you.

                             With much regard,

                                       Respectfully,

                             Jacob Jacob's-son Nordrum, Esq.

    P.S. Please answer.

That evening Lisbeth Longfrock sat with her tongue thrust into one
corner of her mouth, and wrote her response.


                                    HOEL'S SÆTER, 17th of this month.

    TO BACHELOR JACOB JACOB'S-SON NORDRUM.

    _Good Brother:_ I will now write a few words to you, and thank you
    for your welcome letter which I have duly received. I am glad to
    see that you are in good health. The same can be said of me, except
    for toothache. But I will gladly come, and the milkmaid says I may
    be away over night, because it is too far. And so Ole and Peter can
    each have a day from me. For I have not had any day from them. They
    wrestle almost all the time, but Peter is nearly as strong.

    I must now close my poor letter to you, with many greetings from
    them. But first and foremost are you greeted by me.

                             Your affectionate sister,

                                  Lisbeth Jacob's-daughter Longfrock.

    P.S. Excuse the writing. Burn this letter, dear.



CHAPTER IX

THE VISIT TO PEEROUT CASTLE


Late on Saturday evening Lisbeth Longfrock went jogging slowly up over
the hilly road to Hoel Farm. The milkmaid had given her leave to go to
the farm and to stay away until Monday evening.

She had risen early that day, for she would not think of such a thing
as leaving the sæter before she had done her morning chores, and milked
the goats, and let out the cows. And she had had to do this very early,
not only because she was in a hurry to get away, but also because she
knew that Ole would not oversleep himself after having insisted so
strongly that he should take care of her flock the first day. She had
barely finished when Ole came. Peter was not with him; but she had had
a talk with Peter the evening before, and he was quite as well pleased
to take her flock on Sunday by himself, and then on Monday he and Ole
could watch all the flocks together.

Ole had been very modest and ceremonious with Lisbeth as he bade her
good-by. He had shaken hands and asked her to greet Jacob from him, and
to say that he, Ole Hoegseth, would not keep close account of these
days Lisbeth was taking, since Jacob really needed to speak with his
sister. He did not know, of course, that Peter had said the very same
thing the evening before.

And then she had given her animals over to Ole's care and had begun her
long walk down the mountain. She walked and she walked, hour after
hour. She had now gone over this sæter road several times, but had
never before noticed that it was so long as it seemed to-day. She
rested by a brook, took out her lunch, ate it and drank some water with
it, and then set out again. In order to forget how slowly time was
passing, she began to count her steps, first by tens and then by
hundreds, and each time she had finished counting, she looked back to
see how far she had walked; but this did not avail in the least, so she
made up her mind to count to a thousand. When she had counted almost up
to a thousand, she could not remember whether it was eight or nine
hundred she had had last, so she counted four hundred more in order to
be altogether certain that she had counted enough.

But even that did not make the time pass any more quickly, and she did
not reach the point where she could look down into the valley until the
sun was setting. The shadow had begun to creep up on the opposite side.
Above the dark shadow line the slope was still bathed in the rosy
evening sunlight, but the shadow steadily ate its way upward.

Then Lisbeth forgot to count her steps any more. What fun it would be
to try to reach the sunshine again before the shadow had passed Hoel,
which lay shining so brightly up there!

She went down the long slope on a run; but, run as fast as she might,
it took time, and when she had reached the bottom of the valley and
started up the hilly road on the other side, the sun had gone down. She
could only catch its last gleam through the tops of the spruce trees,
and a last tiny reflection as it left the window of Peerout Castle.

She stopped to get her breath after running. It was so still and warm
and close down there in the valley,--so different from what it had been
up on the mountain. It seemed as if the earth sent out a deep breath
the moment the sun went down,--a strange, heavy fragrance that made
her, all at once, feel anxious and downhearted, just as if she had done
something wrong which she could not remember. Then it came into her
mind that she ought to have sent word to Kjersti Hoel that she was
coming. People in the valley were always afraid that something was the
matter when a person came from the sæter unexpectedly; and it would be
too shameful for any one to give Kjersti Hoel a fright.

That was the reason she was now jogging so slowly up over the hilly
road leading to Hoel Farm. She was in hopes that some one would catch
sight of her, or that at least Bearhunter would give warning of her
approach; for then they would see that she was not coming in haste, and
that she therefore could not be bringing any bad news.

But no one caught sight of her, and no one was stirring on the farm; so
she would have to go right in, after all.

Yes, Kjersti Hoel was really startled when she saw her. Lisbeth had no
time to offer a greeting before Kjersti said: "What in the world! Is
this a mountain bird that has taken flight? There is nothing the matter
at the sæter, is there?"

Lisbeth made haste to answer: "Oh, no, indeed! I was to greet you from
the milkmaid and say that you must not be frightened at seeing me, for
everything is going very well with both man and beast. I have only come
down to make a visit and meet Jacob, my brother."

"God be praised!" said Kjersti. "And now you are heartily welcome."

At these words all Lisbeth's downheartedness vanished, and she felt
only how festive and cozy it was to be at home again. And Kjersti was
in the best of humors. She gave Lisbeth something good to eat, and
treated her with as much ceremony as if she had been the milkmaid
herself. When the time came for Lisbeth to go to bed, Kjersti went with
her all the way to the little sleeping room under the hall stairs,
which looked just as neat and orderly as when she had left it. And
Kjersti sat on the edge of the bed and asked after every single one of
the animals,--she remembered them all. And Lisbeth told about
everything. There was only one provoking thing that she shrank from
confessing (it might as well be acknowledged first as last, however,
for it was sure to come out sometime), and that was her mistake in
naming one of the calves. She had called it Young Moolley,[19] but the
name had proved not at all suitable, for the calf's horns had begun to
grow, although Lisbeth had done her best to prevent it by strewing salt
upon them.

      [19] See note on page 45.

                     *      *      *      *      *

The next day was Sunday, and Lisbeth thought it certainly began well
when no less a person than Kjersti Hoel herself came out into the
little hall room carrying a big tray with coffee and cakes on it, for
Lisbeth to indulge in as she lay in bed. Such grandeur as that Lisbeth
had never before experienced. She scarcely believed that such a thing
had ever happened to the milkmaid herself. And what was more, when she
hopped into her long frock Kjersti said that she must hurry up and
grow, for there would be a new dress for her as soon as this one had
crept up to her knees. And although Lisbeth had not said a word about
where she was going to meet Jacob, it seemed just as if Kjersti knew
that, too; for she made up a package with a remarkably fine lunch in
it, and told Lisbeth that she must treat Jacob to some of it, because
he would probably have to go back to Nordrum Sæter that evening and
would not have time to come down to Hoel. But after the lunch was put
up Kjersti did not seem to see any necessity for further haste. In
fact, she thought that it would not be possible for Jacob to get to
Peerout Castle very early, because he would have to come all the way
from Nordrum Sæter that morning. So, finally, Lisbeth had to show
Kjersti her letter and point out the place where it said, "You are
requested to come to the meeting in good season." Then, of course,
Kjersti understood that there was no time to spare.

Shortly afterward Lisbeth was on her way to Peerout Castle, Bearhunter
following her up the road to where the slope of birch trees began; then
he turned around and jogged home with the blandest and prettiest of
Sunday curls in his tail.

The valley lay before her in its quiet Sunday-morning peace. No one was
out on the road or in the fields. Here and there in the farmhouses
across the valley could be seen a man leaning against the frame of the
doorway, bareheaded, and in shirt sleeves as white as the driven snow.
From all the chimneys smoke was slowly arising in the still air.
Lisbeth looked involuntarily up at Peerout Castle. There everything
appeared gray and desolate. No smoke ascended from its chimney; and the
window eye that gazed out over the valley looked as if it was blind,
for the sunlight did not shine upon it now. And that brought to mind a
blind person whom Lisbeth had once seen and whose strange, empty eyes
made her shiver. She felt just the same now, and her pace slackened.
She did not wish to get to the house before Jacob did.

When she finally reached Peerout Castle the first thing she saw was the
pine branches that had been nailed to the gateposts the last time she
was there. They stood in their places still, but they were dry, and the
pine needles had fallen off. She glanced hastily at the door of the
house. Yes, the pine trees stood there, too, just the same, but a
fresher twig had been stuck in the doorlatch,--some one had evidently
been there since that last day. The path that led from the gate to the
door and from there over to the cow house had vanished; grass covered
it. The cow-house door had fallen off, and around the doorposts had
grown up tall stinging nettles. No trace was to be seen of the foot of
man or beast.

Lisbeth had rejoiced at the idea of coming back to her old home. It had
never entered her mind that Peerout Castle could be anything but the
pleasantest place in the whole world to come to. Now, on the contrary,
she felt all at once very, very lonely, more lonely than when on the
mountain or in the forest. She felt like one who, afraid of the dark,
is obliged to walk in it; as if every step must be taken warily, that
no creaking be heard.

Without realizing it she veered away from the castle and the cow house,
feeling that she would rather go over to the big stone by the brook,
where she and Jacob used to have their playthings. Perhaps it was not
so desolate there.

When she came to the heather ridge she saw Jacob already sitting on the
stone. At the sight of him Lisbeth felt as if there was life again in
all the desolation. She was so happy that she was about to run toward
him; but then she remembered that such behavior would not be suitable
at a ceremonious meeting like this, and that really it was so long a
time since she had seen Jacob that he was almost a stranger to her.
When he saw her, he jumped down from the stone and began to brush his
gray breeches with his hands and to set his cap straight,--he wore a
cap with a visor now, and not a straw hat like hers. Both of them were
as embarrassed as if they were entire strangers to each other, and they
could not look each other in the eye while shaking hands. He made a
heavy bob with his head, while she courtesied so low that her long
frock drooped down to the ground. After that, each dropped the other's
hand and they remained standing a long time, looking around. It was not
easy to find something to say, although both had fancied that they had
a great deal to talk about. At last Jacob thought of something. He
looked about for quite a while longer, and then said, as if he had
weighed the matter deliberately and thoroughly, "It is delightful
weather to-day."

"Yes, really delightful."

"If it holds out a fortnight longer, it will not be bad weather for
haying."

"No, it will not be at all bad."

"But we can scarcely expect that."

"Oh, no! scarcely."

Then there was silence again, for not much more could be said on that
subject. Lisbeth stole a look at Jacob. She thought of saying something
about his having grown so large; but then again it did not seem to her
quite proper for her to speak first, he being the elder. The package of
food caught her eye,--she could certainly begin to speak about that.

"Kjersti Hoel sent you her greetings, and bade me ask if you would not
try to put up with the lunch she has sent to-day."

"Yes, thank you; but I have some with me, too."

"You must be hungry after your long walk."

"Yes, I can't say that I'm not."

"Then we will set the table here on the stone."

Little by little Lisbeth set out on the stone all the good things which
Kjersti had put in the package; and then she said, as she had heard was
the custom when one entertained strangers, "Be so good as to draw up
your chair, Jacob."

And Jacob hesitated, also according to custom, and said, "Oh, thanks!
but you should not put yourself to any trouble on my account."

They sat down. Ceremonious manners were kept up during the first part
of the meal, and Lisbeth did not forget to say "please" whenever it was
proper. But when Jacob had eaten one of Kjersti's pancakes (a large,
very thin kind, spread with fresh butter or sweetmeats) and was just
beginning on the second, he forgot that he was at a party, so to speak,
and said quite naturally and with conviction, "That was a remarkably
good pancake!"

"Yes, of course; it is from Hoel."

At that it was as if they suddenly knew each other again; as if it had
been only yesterday that they had kneeled on the bench under the window
and looked over the valley and made up their minds where they would
like best to live when they went out to service; as if they had never
been parted from each other. And an instant after they were in eager
dispute about which was the better place to live at, Nordrum or Hoel.
Agree upon that question they could not; but when Jacob's appetite had
been more than satisfied he finally admitted that they were both fine
places, each one in its own way, and that, at any rate, those two were
the best in the whole valley.

And now there was no end to all they had to talk over together and to
tell each other. Jacob told about Nordrum and the Nordrum Sæter and the
goats there; and Lisbeth told about Ole and Peter, and gave Jacob their
greetings. She had much to tell about them both, but Jacob thought it
was queer that she had more to say about Ole than about Peter; for
while Ole was a straight-forward fellow, it could not be denied that he
was a bit of a boaster.

Then they talked about their future. Jacob was going to stay at Nordrum
Farm until he was grown up, and perhaps longer. Nordrum had said that
when Jacob was a grown man and married he could take Peerout Castle,
with the right of buying it as soon as he was able. But Jacob thought
that very likely Nordrum meant it only as a joke; and anyway it was a
little early for him to be thinking about marriage. Nordrum was getting
on in years, however; he would be sure to need a head man about the
place by that time. Lisbeth said that she was going to stay at Hoel.
She was as well off there as she could expect to be, for Kjersti was
exceedingly kind to her. Lisbeth did not say anything about her
ambition to become a milkmaid. Indeed, that goal was so far off that
she did not dare to set her heart upon reaching it.

When they had talked thus freely for a while they began to look around
and call to mind all the plays they used to play and all the places
they used to frequent. There, right by the castle itself, they had had
their cow house with its pine-cone animals--why, yonder lay the big
bull even now! And there, on the other side of the heather ridge, had
been their sæter, where they had driven their animals many times during
the summer. And there on the hill Jacob had had his sawmill, that
Lisbeth was never to touch; and farther down she had had her dairy,
where he came and bought cheese in exchange for planks made out of
carrots that he had sliced in his sawmill. Not a stone or a mound could
be seen the whole way up to the stony raspberry patches on Big Hammer
Mountain that did not have some memory connected with it.

The brother and sister now felt themselves much older than when they
had lived at Peerout Castle. Lisbeth thought that Jacob had grown to be
very large, and he secretly thought the same about her. It was
therefore like holding a sort of festival for them to be visiting the
scenes together and talking of their former life as of something long
gone by, saying to each other now and then, "Do you remember?" What is
talked of in that way assumes unwonted proportions and appears to be
without flaw.

Thus they went about the whole day,--they had even been close up to Big
Hammer itself,--and it was already late in the afternoon when they
again drew near Peerout Castle. They did not seem to be in any haste to
reach it. They lingered by brook and stone to say, "Do you remember?"
often both at once and about the same thing. They chased each other in
aimless fashion. Their chief idea seemed to be to think continually of
something new to do, so that there should come no silent pause, and so
that the time of getting back to the castle should be put off as long
as possible. Neither of them had yet mentioned a single memory
connected with the castle itself or with the cow house. They had not
visited either of these places yet, and they had avoided all mention of
their mother.

But now they knew that the time had come when these sad things could be
avoided no longer. They dragged themselves slowly down over the last
ridge, talking more rapidly and nervously, and with loud and forced
laughter. Then suddenly their laughter ceased as if it had been cut
straight across,--they had come out on the ridge just back of the cow
house. They became very, very quiet, and stood awhile with heads cast
down. Then they turned toward each other and their eyes met. It did not
seem at all as if they had just been laughing,--their eyes were so
strangely big and bright. While they stood looking at each other there
came suddenly the "klunk" of a bell over from Svehaugen. At that Jacob
shook his head, as if shaking himself free from something, and said in
a most indifferent manner, "Do you think that is the Svehaugen bell we
hear over there?"

Lisbeth answered as unconcernedly as she could, "Yes, it is; I remember
it."

"What cow do you believe they have at Svehaugen now for their home
milking?"

"We could go over there and see whether it is--Bliros."

That was the first time since her mother's death that Lisbeth had
spoken Bliros's name aloud. But to do that was easier than to name her
mother.

It was not long before Lisbeth and Jacob were on their way over to
Svehaugen. They had gone round the castle and the cow house without
going very near them,--it was not worth while to tread down the grass,
Jacob said. As they had expected, they found Bliros at Svehaugen; she
was standing close by the gate. And they really thought that she knew
Lisbeth again. They petted her, and talked to her, and gave her waffles
and pancakes. It was just as if they wanted to make amends for not
having had courage to stir up the memories connected with their old
home itself. Jacob's heart was so touched at the last that he promised
to buy Bliros back and give her to Lisbeth as soon as he was grown up.
At that Lisbeth could contain herself no longer. She put her arms
around Bliros's neck, looked at her a long time, and said, "Do you
believe, Jacob, that Bliros remembers mother?" And then she began to
cry.

That question came upon Jacob so unexpectedly that at first he could
say nothing. After a moment's struggle he, too, was crying; but he
managed to declare with decision, "Yes; if she remembers any one, it
certainly must be mother."



CHAPTER X

SUNDAY AT THE SÆTER


Five summers had passed away since Lisbeth Longfrock first went up on
the mountain; and no one who had not seen her during those years could
have guessed that she had grown into the tall girl sitting by herself
one Sunday on the stone which, so far back as any herder could
remember, had been called the Pancake Stone, and which lay hidden away
in a distant and lonely part of the mountain. She had grown so tall
that the long frock, now used as a petticoat, came above her knees, and
she no longer wore the birch-bark hat and birch-bark shoes. On this
special Sunday her Sunday kerchief was on her head, and she sat with a
book in her lap; for in the winter she was to go to the priest to be
prepared for confirmation and in the spring she was to be confirmed.
The reading did not progress very rapidly. The book had sunk down into
her lap, and her calm blue eyes, now grown so womanly and earnest, were
roving from one to another of the dear familiar places about her. Her
flock lay quietly around the stone, chewing the cud. Indian summer was
near its close. The sky was high vaulted and the air clear and cool. As
far as the eye could reach all things were sketched in sharpest
outline. Hills and marshes already glowed in autumnal tints, for these
make their triumphal entry on the mountains earlier than below. The sun
shone tranquilly and, as it were, a little coolly also. Everything was
very still. Not even the sound of a bell was heard, for the animals
were taking their afternoon rest; and no movement was discernible
except far, far away, where Lisbeth spied a falcon flapping out from
Glory Peak.

Just as it was now had Lisbeth seen the mountain at the close of each
summer all these years. It had become familiar and dear to her, and she
thought to herself how unchanging it was through all its variableness,
while so much else altered never to be the same again. For much had
changed since she first sat on this same stone and looked out over this
same landscape. Few of the animals she now took care of had belonged to
her original flock; the oldest had gone out and new ones had come in.
The unlucky Morskol (Mother's Moolley) was now a full-grown cow, with
horns of more than usual beauty. The former milkmaid was gone and
another had taken her place. Ole and Peter, with whom Lisbeth in
earlier years had tended her flock almost daily, were her companions
no longer. They had not been up at the sæter since they were
confirmed,--two years ago. Ole had even sailed to America. Lisbeth had
missed the boys very much, and had many a time been lonely during the
last two summers, for no new herders had come from the Hoegseth or
Lunde farms. At home, too, at the Hoel Farm, there had been changes
among the people, and Bearhunter had become blind. Lisbeth herself no
longer occupied her old place by the heap of firewood in the great
kitchen on winter evenings, but sat beside Kjersti on the wooden
carving bench; that is, she sat there when she did not have to study
her catechism or learn her hymns to be ready for school the next day.

And now still further changes were in store for her. This was to be the
last summer she would be sitting up here tending her flock. What would
come next? Kjersti Hoel had not said anything to her about the
future,--perhaps Kjersti would not want her any longer. But Lisbeth put
these thoughts aside,--she would not allow her mind to dwell on such
perplexing subjects when all was so delightfully peaceful and beautiful
around her. Whatever her lot might be, or wherever she might go, of one
thing she was certain,--she would never forget these mountain scenes
nor this stone which had always been her favorite resting place,
especially since she had been so much alone; and she gazed around her
again.

As her eyes wandered about she caught sight of a man far off on the
marsh, sauntering along in her direction, stopping once in a while and
stooping down, apparently to pluck an occasional cloudberry, for they
were now beginning to ripen. This sent her thoughts into another
channel.

Who could it be coming over the marsh? Not a man looking for horses,
for no one goes out for that purpose on Sunday; nor a cloudberry
picker, for the berries were not yet ripe enough to pay for the trouble
of seeking. Surely it was some one who had made the ascent of the
mountain for pleasure only. What if it should be Jacob! She had not
seen him since the last autumn, and he had said then that he would come
up to see her this summer. Nevertheless the young man did not look like
Jacob; and Jacob, not being very well acquainted on the western
mountain, would not be trying to find the Pancake Stone. Yet this
person was steering his course exactly toward where she sat, and it was
plain that he knew the marsh thoroughly,--where the cloudberries grew,
and where it was not so wet but that you could get across. It could not
possibly be----? She blushed the instant she thought of the name, and
at the same moment the stranger disappeared behind a hill, so that she
saw no more of him for the time.

Involuntarily she tied her kerchief freshly under her chin, stroked her
light hair under the edge of the kerchief, and smoothed out the folds
in her skirt. Then, sitting with her back half turned to the quarter
where he might be expected to appear, she took up her book and bent her
head over it as if reading.

Shortly afterward a young man shot up over the hill behind her. He had
on brand-new gray woolen clothes, a "bought" scarf around his neck, and
top-boots outside his trousers. He was not tall, but his figure was
well knit and manly. In his youthful face, on which the merest shadow
of down could be distinguished, was set a pair of brown eyes, trusting
and trustworthy. He stopped a moment and looked down at the open space
where Lisbeth sat upon the stone with the flock of animals around her.
It was evident that he had a memory of the scene,--that he had seen
that picture before. Lisbeth did not look up, but she knew he was
there,--felt in her back, so to speak, that he was standing there
gazing at her. He smiled and then swung his course around so as to
approach her from the side, and so that the animals might have time to
become gently aware of his presence and not scramble up in a flurry.
Silently he drew near to her, until at last his shadow fell upon her
book. Then she looked up and their eyes met. At that both of them
flushed a little, and he said hastily, "Good day, Lisbeth Longfrock."

"Good day. Why, is it you, Peter, out for a walk?"

They shook hands.

"Yes; I thought it would be pleasant to have a look at the old places
again; and since Jacob was coming up to visit you, I made up my mind to
keep him company."

"Is Jacob with you?"

"Yes, but he is waiting down at the sæter, for he was tired. We were
out early to-day, and tomorrow we are to take home a pair of nags to
Hoegseth Farm. He sent you his greeting and will see you this evening."

"Were you sure that you could find me?"

"Oh, yes! I knew just about where you would be in such weather. And, of
course, it is more fun for me to ramble around here than for him, I
being so familiar with the region."

He sat down beside her on the stone and gazed slowly around.

"Does it look natural here?"

"Yes, everything is unaltered. It seems only yesterday that I was here
taking care of the Lunde flocks. But I hardly recognized _you_ again.
You have grown so large."

"Do you think so?"

"Yes. But still it is two years since I last saw you."

There was a short pause. Then Peter continued: "I walked over Sloping
Marsh, by our bathing pond. The water has all run out."

"Yes, it has."

"I wondered if it would not be a good plan for me to build the dam up
again, so that you could use the pond."

"No, you need not do that, for I have my bathing place somewhere
else,--a place that no one knows about."

"Oh, have you?"

"Yes; I had it the last year that you and Ole were here, too."

"So it was there you used to be on the days that you kept away from
us?"

"Yes, sometimes."

The animals began to get up and stray off, thus attracting attention.
Lisbeth made Peter look at the older goats to see if he recognized
them, and she was glad to find that he did remember them all. Then she
told him about the new ones; but soon that topic was exhausted and
there was apparently nothing more to talk about. They still remained
seated on the stone. Then Peter said, "You haven't that birch-bark hat
any longer, have you, Lisbeth?"

"No; it was worn out long ago."

"But what is it you have on this string?"

He took hold carefully of a string she wore around her neck, and,
pulling it, drew out from her bosom the little goat horn he had given
her.

"I did not think you would have that horn still," said Peter.

A deep blush covered Lisbeth's face at the idea of appearing childish
to Peter. She hastened to say, "Oh, yes; I carry it with me sometimes."

"I have mine, too. It is the only thing I have left from my herding
days." And he drew one of Crookhorn's horns out of an inner pocket.
"Shall we try them?"

Then they both laughed and played "The Old Woman with a Stick"
together, as they had so often done in the old days. It did not sound
as if either of them had forgotten it in the least. When the tune was
finished there was another pause. At last Lisbeth said, "I must look
after the animals a little now, or I shall lose track of them."

"Can't you let them go home alone to-night? It is time for them to seek
the fold, and they will surely find the way safely. Then we can walk to
the sæter more at our leisure."

"Yes, I will gladly. I can trust them to find their way home, I am
sure."

Again there was silence for a time. Then Lisbeth rose, saying, "I think
we must go now."

Peter did not stir. He merely said very quietly: "Can't you sit a
little longer? There was something I wanted to ask you."

Lisbeth bowed her head and seated herself again without speaking.

"I have a greeting to you from Ole. I received a letter from him a
fortnight ago. He asked me very particularly to give you his
greetings."

"Thank you. Is all going well with him?"

"Yes, it seems so from his letter. He has a good place and earns large
wages."

"Ole deserves it. He grew to be a fine fellow."

"Yes, he did. He asks me whether I will go to America in the spring. He
will send me a ticket, if I will."

On hearing that Lisbeth looked up at Peter for an instant, then drooped
her head again without saying a word. Peter continued: "It was that I
wanted to ask you about. Do you wish me to go?"

A dead silence ensued, during which Peter sat looking inquiringly at
her. For a long time she was motionless; then, suddenly lifting her
head, she fastened her blue eyes upon him and said, "No, I do _not_
wish you to go."

                     *      *      *      *      *

There was no more conversation on that subject, and soon they were on
their way to the sæter. They went around by all the familiar, memorable
places, including both the bathing pond and Pointing Stump; and all
these places had so many reminders for them of the time when they
watched their flocks together there, that more than once they said how
much they pitied Ole, who would perhaps never be able to come to Norway
again. The sky arched high and clear above them, the mountain stretched
beyond them with its unending, silent wastes; and Lisbeth and Peter
felt strangely buoyant and glad. Although they had made no agreement,
they felt as if they had a hidden bond between them--as if they two had
a wonderful secret that no one, not even Jacob, could share.



CHAPTER XI

LISBETH APPOINTED HEAD MILKMAID


It was the first Sunday after Easter, early in the morning. Lisbeth sat
by the small table in her little sleeping room, with one elbow leaning
on the table and her hand under her chin, while she stared down at a
big black book which lay open before her. The book was the New
Testament, and Lisbeth's lips moved softly as she read. That morning,
for the first time in several years, she had not gone into the cow
house. Kjersti Hoel had said that she was to have a couple of hours in
which she could be alone. No one was to disturb her.

She sat there somewhat stiff and helpless, in a long black dress with a
strip of white in the neck. The dress seemed to her rather tight, so
tight that she held her elbows close to her side and hardly dared to
bend her back. It was the first time she had had a close-fitting dress
on,--her usual costume being a jacket and skirt. Her light hair was
drawn smoothly back and twisted into a knot at her neck. That was for
the first time, too. She was a trifle paler than usual, and her lips,
as she moved them, were dark red and dewy; but her eyes shone with
peace. All in all, she was beautiful, as she sat there in her little
room waiting for church time to come. This was the day that she was to
be confirmed.

A knock was heard at the door, and in stepped Kjersti Hoel. She also
was dressed in her very best,--an old-fashioned black dress with a
gathered waist, and a freshly ironed cap with a frill around the face
and strings hanging down. In her hand she carried the big psalm book, a
handsome one printed in large type, which she used only on the greatest
occasions. On top of the psalm book lay a neatly folded pocket
handkerchief.

Standing still for a moment and looking earnestly at Lisbeth, Kjersti
said, "Do you think you are ready now, Lisbeth?"

Lisbeth answered quietly, "Yes, I think so."

"Then it is time for us to start. Come, let me tie your kerchief, so
that your hair will not get untidy."

She tied the kerchief on Lisbeth's head and then they went slowly out
through the hall way. Outside, at the door, stood the broad wagon with
the military horse harnessed to it.

"You may come and sit up here by me, Lisbeth," said Kjersti.

So they both got into the wagon and drove off. Not a word was spoken
the whole way. As they drove down the hill from the farm and out on the
main road, they were encompassed by all the effervescence of the
spring,--its myriads of sights, sounds, and odors. The brooks and
rivers rushed tunefully along, birds by the thousands were singing and
calling, insects were buzzing, trees and plants of many sorts were
pouring their fragrance over the whole valley; and above it all stood
the sun, shedding down its glittering light. But these things failed to
arouse in Lisbeth the feelings they usually awakened. They had,
instead, the effect of a roar and a disturbance, of something
inharmonious that caused her to quiver with discomfort. Involuntarily
she drew nearer to Kjersti on the wagon seat. She felt a longing for
one thing only,--silence. Thus they drove for a while along the sunlit
valley road.

Then suddenly a broad wave of sound came rolling toward them. The
church bells were adding their tones--broad, peaceful, sure--to the
general chorus. They did not drown the sounds of the spring, but took
them up, as it were, and ordered them, harmonized them, used them as a
gentle accompaniment; so that the whole seemed like a great psalm
singing and organ playing.

At the sound of the bells there came to Lisbeth a feeling of peace,
solemnity, and holiness, such as she had never known before. She felt
lifted up. A change came over the world about her: everything became
lighter, loftier, as if prepared for a sacred festival. She felt a
mighty gladness within her.

From that time on she had but a confused consciousness of what took
place. On arriving at the church she thought that the gathering of
people around it had never been so large or so reverent in demeanor,
and that the church had never looked so tall and shining.

As she went inside and walked up the church aisle she felt very erect
and free. The same wonderful light was within the church, too. And when
she looked down the lines of those who were to be confirmed with her,
as they stood with bowed heads on each side of the middle aisle, she
thought that their faces were strangely radiant.

When the priest came into the chancel it seemed to her that he was much
larger than ever before, and that his face was, oh, so mild! He began
to speak; and though she did not really hear or understand what he
said, she felt that it was something great and good, and it thrilled
her like music.

As soon as the psalm singing began she joined in with a stronger voice
than usual, her breast swelling involuntarily. When it came her turn to
be questioned she hardly knew whether she had heard what the priest
asked or not, but she was sure, nevertheless, that her answer, which
came forth clear and firm, was the right one. And when she knelt down
and gave the priest her hand, as the ceremony required, it seemed to
her that the awkward figures in the old altar pictures smiled
benignantly upon her.

She did not come wholly to herself until the confirmation ceremony was
entirely over and she had gone to her seat beside Kjersti Hoel in one
of the church pews.

As Lisbeth drew near, Kjersti took her hand and said half aloud, "May
it bring you happiness and blessing, Lisbeth!"

Lisbeth stood a moment, looked up at Kjersti as if just awakening,
smiled, and whispered softly, "Thanks, Kjersti Hoel."

Then, when the service was over, they walked out of church.

Outside the church door stood Jacob and Peter. They lifted their caps
to Kjersti and shook hands with her. Afterward they shook hands with
Lisbeth, lifting their caps to her, too, which had not been their
custom before her confirmation. They also said to her, "May it bring
you happiness and blessing!"

After that Kjersti and Lisbeth walked about the grassy space in front
of the church. They made slow progress, because there were so many
people who wanted to greet the mistress of Hoel and to ask what girl it
was that she had presented for confirmation on that day. At last they
reached the broad wagon, to which the horse had already been harnessed,
and, mounting into it, they set forth on their homeward way, returning
in silence, as they had come. Not until they had reached home did
Kjersti say, "You would like to be alone awhile this afternoon, too?"

"Yes, thank you," responded Lisbeth.

                     *      *      *      *      *

In the afternoon Lisbeth Longfrock again sat alone in the little room
in the hall way. Bearhunter, who had now become blind, lay outside her
door. Whenever he was not in the kitchen, where, as a rule, he kept to
his own corner, he lay at Lisbeth's door, having chosen this place in
preference to his old one on the flat stone in front of the house. To
lie on the doorstep where so many went out and in--and nowadays they
went so rudely--was too exciting for him; but Lisbeth always stepped
considerately.

As Lisbeth sat there in her room she was not reading in any book; in
fact, she was doing nothing at all. Spread out on the bed before her
lay her long frock, which she had not used that winter. It looked very
small and worn.

When she had come into her room, where the afternoon sun fell slantwise
upon the coverlet of her bed, picturing there the small window frame,
she had had a wonderful feeling of peace and contentment. It seemed to
her that there was not the least need of thinking about serious things
or of reading, either. She felt that the simplest and most natural
thing to do was merely to busy herself happily, without putting her
thoughts on anything in particular. She had no earthly possessions of
value, but she did have a small chest which she had received in the
second year of her stay at Hoel, and in this chest there was a tiny
side box and also a space in the lid where she had stored away the
little she owned that seemed worth keeping. She had pulled the chest
forward and opened it. To take the things out, look at each one, and
recall the memories connected with them was very pleasant.

There was a good-for-nothing old pocketknife that had been given to her
by Ole the first summer on the mountain. There was a letter from Ole,
too, that she had received the last autumn, and that no one knew about.
In it he had asked if he might send her and Jacob tickets to America
after she had been confirmed. She had not answered the letter yet, but
she would do it soon now, and thank him, and say that she was not
coming,--for she knew that she could never leave Norway.

And then she took out the goat horn that Peter had given her. She was
seized with a strong desire to play on it, but did not dare to, because
it would sound so strange in the house. Next to the place where the
goat horn had lain was a silk neckerchief that Peter had given her for
Christmas. He had sent it by Jacob. She herself had not seen or spoken
with Peter since that Sunday last year when he had found her on the
mountain, until to-day at the church.

And there was the letter she had received from Jacob in regard to their
meeting at Peerout Castle. It was the only letter she had ever had from
him,--Jacob was not one to write much; but she had a few small gifts
that he had sent her.

Down at the very bottom of the chest lay a kerchief that she had never
taken out before,--her mother's kerchief. It seemed to Lisbeth that now
was the first time she had really dared to think about her mother. She
took out the kerchief and spread it on the bed; and when, as she did
so, her eye caught sight of her old long frock hanging on the wall, she
spread that, too, on the bed. Then she seated herself and gazed upon
these simple objects. The time had arrived when it was possible for her
to look back without becoming hopelessly sorrowful; when she could
ponder over the rich memories which these poor relics hid,--the
memories from Peerout Castle not being the least precious. She sat
nourishing these thoughts a long time, beginning at the beginning, as
far back as she could remember, and going forward to this very Sunday.
The memories came easily and in regular succession, and all of them
were good memories. Everything that had seemed hard at the time either
had been forgotten or was seen now in a softer light.

Suddenly there came a knock at the door; and before Lisbeth had had
time to conceal the things, or presence of mind enough to rise from her
chair, in walked Kjersti Hoel.

Lisbeth saw that Kjersti noticed the things at once, but she was not in
the least embarrassed, for Kjersti only smiled kindly and said: "I see
that you are thinking about your mother to-day, Lisbeth, and that is
right; but now come with me into my room. There is something I wish to
talk with you about."

Lisbeth was half alarmed at this, for never before had Kjersti spoken
so seriously to her; but she rose quietly and did as she was bidden.

Kjersti went ahead, through the kitchen and across to the door of her
own room, Lisbeth following close behind her. The others in the kitchen
looked at them curiously, wondering what was going to happen.

Once in her room, Kjersti took a seat beside the table and asked
Lisbeth to sit at the opposite side. Then said Kjersti: "You are now
grown up, Lisbeth Longfrock, and hereafter you will be free to decide
things for yourself. I have kept the last promise I made to your
mother, and I can to-day say that it has been only a pleasure for me to
do so. You have turned out well, as may be expected of every good girl;
if you do as well in the future, I really believe that your mother
would be satisfied with both you and me. But from to-day I have no
longer any right to decide things for you. You must decide for yourself
what you will do and what you think is right. I will therefore ask
you--and you are to choose with entire freedom--whether you wish to
stay here with me any longer, or whether, now that you are to earn your
own living, you would rather try something else. I can add that I
should like very much to have you stay here."

For a while there was a deep silence. Then Lisbeth looked up with big
tears in her eyes and said, "I should like to stay with you, Kjersti
Hoel, as long as you are pleased with me."

"That is what I thought, and therefore I have also thought of another
thing. Of course you are very young yet, but it is not always unwise to
put responsibility on young shoulders. You have shown yourself so
faithful and capable, not only at the cow house but at the sæter as
well, that I have no fear in intrusting both to your care. If you wish
it to be so, I will now appoint you head milkmaid at Hoel Farm."





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lisbeth Longfrock" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home