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Title: Denmark
Author: Thomson, M. Pearson
Language: English
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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.

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Transcriber's notes:

      Text that is printed in italic style in the original is
      enclosed between underscores (_italic text_)

      The section of the book about Norway is not included.



Peeps at Many Lands

NORWAY
BY LIEUT.-COL. A. F. MOCKLER-FERRYMAN,
F.R.G.S., F.Z.S.

and

DENMARK
BY M. PEARSON THOMSON

With Sixteen Full-Page Illustrations
in Colour



The MacMillan Company
64 & 66 Fifth Avenue, New York
1921



DENMARK

[Illustration: SKETCH-MAP OF DENMARK.]



CONTENTS


DENMARK

_By M. Pearson Thomson_

   I. MERRY COPENHAGEN--I                               1

  II. MERRY COPENHAGEN--II                              6

 III. HANS ANDERSEN--THE "FAIRY-TALE" OF HIS LIFE      12

  IV. FAMOUS DANES                                     18

   V. LEGENDARY LORE AND FOLK-DANCES                   25

  VI. MANNERS AND CUSTOMS                              32

 VII. A JAUNT THROUGH JUTLAND--I                       39

VIII. A JAUNT THROUGH JUTLAND--II                      45

  IX. THE PEOPLE'S AMUSEMENTS                          51

   X. FARM LIFE--BUTTER-MAKING--"HEDESELSKABET"        54

  XI. SOLDIERS AND SAILORS                             59

 XII. THE PEOPLE OF THE ISLES                          66

XIII. FISHERMEN AT HOME AND AFLOAT                     72

 XIV. YOUTHFUL DANES AT WORK AND PLAY                  78

  XV. INGEBORG'S JOURNEY THROUGH SEELAND               83



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



DENMARK

_By F. J. Hyldahl_

                                                   FACING PAGE

FLOWER MARKET IN COPENHAGEN                                  9

DRAGÖR PEASANT                                              16

CHILDREN'S DAY                                              33

HARVEST-TIME                                                40

VAGT-PARADEN                                                57

SUNDAY IN THE ISLAND OF LÆSÖ                                64

SKAGEN FISHERMAN NEAR THE TOWER OF BURIED CHURCH            73

WINTER IN THE FOREST                                        80

_Sketch-Map, page ii, Denmark Section._



DENMARK



CHAPTER I

MERRY COPENHAGEN--I


Copenhagen, the metropolis of Denmark, is a large and flourishing city,
with all the modern improvements of a commercial capital. It has an
atmosphere of its own, an atmosphere of friendliness and gaiety,
particularly appreciated by English people, who in "Merry Copenhagen"
always feel themselves at home.

The approach to this fine city from the North by the Cattegat is very
charming. Sailing through the Sound, you come upon this "Athens of the
North" at its most impressive point, where the narrow stretch of water
which divides Sweden and Denmark lies like a silvery blue ribbon between
the two countries, joining the Cattegat to the Baltic Sea. In summer the
sparkling, blue Sound, of which the Danes are so justly proud, is alive
with traffic of all kinds. Hundreds of steamers pass to and from the
North Sea and Baltic, carrying their passengers and freights from
Russia, Germany, Finland, and Sweden, to the whole world. In olden times
Denmark exacted toll from these passing ships, which the nations found
irksome, but the Danes most profitable. This "Sundtold" was abolished
finally at the wish of the different nations using this "King's
highway," who combined to pay a large lump sum to Denmark, in order that
their ships might sail through the Sound without this annoyance in
future.

Kronborg Castle, whose salute demanded this toll in olden days, still
rears its stately pinnacles against the blue sky, and looking towards
the old fortress of Kjärnan, on the Swedish coast, seems to say, "Our
glory is of a bygone day, and in the land of memories."

Elsinore, the ancient town which surrounds this castle, is well known to
English and American tourists as the supposed burial-place of Hamlet,
the Prince of Denmark immortalized by Shakespeare. Kronborg Castle is
interesting to us, in addition, as being the place where Anne of Denmark
was married by proxy to James I. of England. Here, also, the "Queen of
Tears," Caroline Matilda, sister of George III., spent some unhappy
months in prison, gazing sadly over the Sound, waiting for the English
ships to come and deliver her.

We pass up the Sound viewing the luxuriant cool green beech-woods of
Denmark, and the pretty fishing villages lying in the foreground. Villas
with charming gardens--their tiny rickety landing-stages, bathing sheds,
and tethered boats, adding fascination to the homely scene--seem to
welcome us to this land of fairy tales and the home of Hans Andersen.

The many towers and pinnacles of Copenhagen, with the golden dome of the
Marble Church, flash a welcome as we steam into the magnificent harbour
of this singularly well-favoured city. Here she stands, this "Queen of
the North," as a gracious sentinel bowing acquiescence to the passing
ships as they glide in and out of the Baltic. The broad quays are
splendidly built, lined with fine warehouses, and present a busy scene
of commercial activity. The warships lying at their moorings in the
Sound denote that this is the station of the fleet; here also we see the
country's only fortress--the formidable bulwarks which surround the
harbour.

Kjöbenhavn in Danish means "merchants' harbour," and as early as the
eleventh century it was a trading centre for foreign merchants attracted
by the rich supply of herrings found by the Danish fishermen in the
Baltic. Bishop Absalon was the founder of the city. This warrior Bishop
strongly fortified the place, in 1167, on receiving the little
settlement from King Valdemar the Great, and had plenty to do to hold
it, as it was continually harassed by pirates and the Wends. These,
however, found the Bishop more than a match for them. His outposts would
cry, "The Wends are coming!" and the Bishop would leave his preaching,
his bed, or anything else he might be doing, gather his forces together,
and fight gallantly for his little stronghold. He perhaps recognized
that this might one day be the key to the Baltic, which it has since
become.

This city, therefore, is not a new one, but bombardment and
conflagrations are responsible for its modern appearance. Fortunately,
some of the handsome edifices raised during the reign of Christian IV.
(1588-1648) still remain to adorn the city. This monarch was a great
architect, sailor, warrior, and King, and is one of the most striking
figures in Danish history. He was beloved by his people, and did much
for his kingdom. The buildings planned and erected during this monarch's
reign are worthy of our admiration. The beautiful Exchange, with its
curious tower formed by four dragons standing on their heads, and
entwining their tails into a dainty spire; Rosenborg Castle, with its
delicate pinnacles; the famous "Runde Taarn" (Round Tower), up whose
celebrated spiral causeway Peter the Great is said to have driven a
carriage and pair, are amongst the most noteworthy. The originality in
design of the spires and towers of Copenhagen is quite remarkable. Vor
Frelsers Kirke, or Church of Our Saviour, has an outside staircase,
running round the outside of its spire, which leads up to a figure of
our Saviour, and from this height you get a fine view of the city. The
tower of the fire-station, in which the fire-hose hangs at full length;
the copper-sheathed clock and bell tower--the highest in Denmark--of the
Town Hall; the Eiffel-like tower of the Zoo, are among the most
singular. In all these towers there is a beautiful blending of copper
and gold, which gives a distinctive and attractive character to the
city. Other prominent features are the pretty fish-scale tiling, and the
copper and bronze roofs of many of the buildings, with their "stepped"
gables. Charming, too, are the city's many squares and public gardens,
canals with many-masted ships making an unusual spectacle in the
streets. But, after all, it is perhaps the innate gaiety of the
Copenhagener which impresses you most. You feel, indeed, that these
kindly Danes are a little too content for national development; but
their light-hearted way of viewing life makes them very pleasant
friends, and their hospitality is one of their chief characteristics.
Every lady at the head of a Danish household is an excellent cook and
manager, as well as being an agreeable and intelligent companion. The
Copenhagener is a "flat" dweller, and the dining-room is the largest and
most important room in every home. The Dane thinks much of his dinner,
and dinner-parties are the principal form of entertainment. They joke
about their appreciation of the good things of the table, and say, "a
turkey is not a good table-bird, as it is a little too much for one
Dane, but not enough for two!" A very pleasant side of Copenhagen life
has sprung up from this appreciation, for the restaurants and cafés are
numerous, and cater well for their customers. While the Dane eats he
must have music, which, like the food, must be good; he is very
critical, and a good judge of both. This gay café and restaurant life is
one of the fascinations of Denmark's "too-large heart," as this pleasant
capital is called by its people.



CHAPTER II

MERRY COPENHAGEN--II


The climate of Copenhagen is delightful in summer, but quite the reverse
in winter. Andersen says "the north-east wind and the sunbeams fought
over the 'infant Copenhagen,' consequently the wind and the 'mud-king'
reign in winter, the sunbeams in summer, and the latter bring
forgetfulness of winter's hardships." Certainly, when the summer comes,
the sunshine reigns supreme, and makes Copenhagen bright and pleasant
for its citizens. Then the many water-ways and canals, running up from
the sea as they do into the heart of the city, make it delightfully
refreshing on a hot day. Nyhavn, for instance, which opens out of the
Kongen's Nytorv--the fashionable centre of the town--is one of the
quaintest of water-streets. The cobbled way on either side of the water,
the curious little shops with sailors' and ships' wares, old gabled
houses, fishing and cargo boats with their forests of masts, the little
puffing motor-boats plying to and fro--all serve to make a distinctive
picture. On another canal-side the fish-market is held every morning. A
Danish fish-market is not a bit like other fish-markets, for the Dane
must buy his fish alive, and the canal makes this possible. The
fishing-smacks line up the whole side of the quay; these have perforated
wooden boat-shaped tanks dragging behind them containing the lively
fish. The market-women sit on the quay, surrounded by wooden tubs, which
are half-filled with water, containing the unfortunate fish. A
trestle-table, on which the fish are killed and cleaned, completes the
equipment of the fish-wives. The customers scrutinize the contents of
the tub, choose a fish as best they can from the leaping, gasping
multitude, and its fate is sealed. When the market-women require more
fish, the perforated tank is raised from the canal, and the fish
extracted with a landing-net and deposited in their tubs. Small fish
only can be kept alive in tanks and tubs; the larger kinds, such as cod,
are killed and sold in the ordinary way. This market is not at all a
pleasant sight, so it is better to turn our backs on it, and pass on to
the fragrant flower-market.

Here the famous Amager women expose their merchandise. This market
square is a gay spectacle, for the Dane is fond of flowers, and the
Amager wife knows how to display her bright blooms to advantage. These
vendors are notable characters. They are the descendants of the Dutch
gardeners brought over by Christian II. to grow fruit and vegetables for
Copenhagen, and settled on the fertile island of Amager which abuts on
the city. Every morning these Amager peasants may be seen driving their
laden carts across the bridge which joins their island to the mainland.
These genial, stout, but sometimes testy Amager wives have it all their
own way in the market-place, and are clever in attracting and befooling
a customer. So it has become a saying, if you look sceptical about what
you are told, the "story-teller" will say, "Ask Amager mother!" which
means, "Believe as much as you like." These women still wear their
quaint costume: bulky petticoats, clean checked apron, shoulder-shawl,
and poke-bonnets with white kerchief over them; and the merry twinkle of
satisfaction in the old face when a good bargain has been completed
against the customer's inclination is quite amusing. These interesting
old characters are easily irritated, and this the little Copenhageners
know full well. When stalls are being packed for departure, a naughty
band of urchins will appear round the corner and call out:

               "Amager mother, Amager mo'er,
               Give us carrots from your store;
               You are so stout and roundabout,
               Please tell us if you find the door
               Too small to let you through!"

The Amager wife's wrath is soon roused, and she is often foolish enough
to try and move her bulky proportions somewhat quicker than usual in
order to catch the boys. This of course she never manages to do, for
they dart away in all directions. By this means the Amager woman gets a
little much-needed exercise, the boys a great deal of amusement.

[Illustration: THE FLOWER MARKET, COPENHAGEN.]

Sunday is a fête-day in Copenhagen, and the Dane feels no obligation to
attend a Church service before starting out on his Sunday expedition. A
day of leisure means a day of pleasure to the Copenhagener. The State
helps and encourages him by having cheap fares, and good but inexpensive
performances at the theatre and places of entertainment on Sunday. Even
the poorest people manage to spare money for this periodical outing,
mother and children taking their full share in the simple pleasures of
the day. The Copenhagener looks forward to this weekly entertainment,
and longs for the fresh air. This is not surprising, for many homes are
stuffy, ventilation and open windows not seeming a necessity. A fine
summer Sunday morning sees a leisurely stream of people--the Danes never
hurry themselves--making for tram, train, or motor-boat, which will
carry them off to the beautiful woods and shores lying beyond the city.
Basking in the sunshine, or enjoying a stroll through the woods,
feasting on the contents of their picnic baskets, with a cup of coffee
or glass of pilsener at a café where music is always going on, they
spend a thoroughly happy day. In the evening the tired but still joyous
throng return home, all the better for the simple and pleasant outing.
No country uses the bicycle more than Denmark, and Sunday is the day
when it is used most. For the people who prefer to take their dinner at
home on Sunday there is the pleasant stroll along the celebrated
Langelinie. This famous promenade, made upon the old ramparts,
overlooks the Sound with its innumerable yachts skimming over the blue
water, and is a delightful place for pedestrians. A walk round the moat
of the Citadel, on the waters of which the children sail their little
boats, is also enjoyable. This Citadel, now used as barracks, was built
by Frederik III. in 1663, and formerly served as a political prison.
Struensee, the notorious Prime Minister, was imprisoned here and
beheaded for treason. A few narrow, picturesque streets surrounding this
fort are all that remain of old Copenhagen.

The art treasures contained in the museums of Copenhagen being renowned,
I must tell you a little about them. Two or three of the palaces not now
required by the Royal Family are used to store some of these treasures.
Rosenborg Castle, built by Christian IV., and in which he died, contains
a collection of family treasures belonging to the Oldenburg dynasty.
This historical collection of these art-loving Kings is always open to
the public. Besides Thorvaldsen's Museum, which contains the greater
portion of his works, there is the Carlsberg Glyptotek, which contains
the most beautiful sculpture of the French School outside France. The
Danish Folk-Museum is another interesting collection. This illustrates
the life and customs of citizens and peasants from the seventeenth
century to the present day, partly by single objects, and partly by
representations of their dwellings. The "Kunstmusæet" contains a superb
collection of pictures, sculpture, engravings, and national relics.
Here a table may be seen which formerly stood in Christian II.'s prison.
History tells how the unhappy King was wont to pace round this table for
hours taking his daily exercise, leaning upon his hand, which in time
ploughed a groove in its hard surface. The Amalienborg, a fine
tessellated square, contains four Royal palaces, in one of which our
Queen Alexandra spent her girlhood. From the windows of these palaces
the daily spectacle of changing the guard is witnessed by the King and
young Princes.

Copenhagen is celebrated for its palaces, its parks, porcelain,
statuary, art-treasures, and last, but not least, its gaiety.



CHAPTER III

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN, THE "FAIRY TALE" OF HIS LIFE


I suppose the Dane best known to English boys and girls is Hans
Christian Andersen, whose charming fairy-tales are well known and loved
by them all. Most of you, however, know little about his life, but are
interested enough in him, I dare say, to wish to learn more, especially
as the knowledge will give you keener delight--if that is possible--in
reading the works of this "Prince of Story-tellers."

Andersen himself said: "My life has been so wonderful and so like a
fairy-tale, that I think I had a fairy godmother who granted my every
wish, for if I had chosen my own life's way, I could not have chosen
better."

Hans C. Andersen was the son of a poor shoemaker, an only child, born in
Odense, the capital of the Island of Funen. His parents were devoted to
him, and his father, who was of a studious turn of mind, delighted in
teaching his little son and interesting him in Nature. Very early in
life Hans was taken for long Sunday rambles, his father pointing out to
him the beauties of woods and meadows, or enchanting him with stories
from the "Arabian Nights."

At home the evenings were spent in dressing puppets for his favourite
show, or else, sitting on his father's knee, he listened while the
latter read aloud to his mother scenes from Holberg's plays. All day
Hans played with his puppet theatre, and soon began to imagine plays and
characters for the dolls, writing out programmes for them as soon as he
was able. Occasionally his grandmother would come and take the child to
play in the garden of the big house where she lived in the gardener's
lodge. These were red-letter days for little Hans, as he loved his
granny and enjoyed most thoroughly the pleasant garden and pretty
flowers.

The boy's first great trouble came when his father caught a fever and
died, leaving his mother without any means of support. To keep the
little home together his mother went out washing for her neighbours,
leaving little Hans to take care of himself. Being left to his own
devices, Hans developed his theatrical tendencies by constructing
costumes for his puppets, and making them perform his plays on the stage
of his toy theatre. Soon he varied this employment by reading plays and
also writing some himself. His mother, though secretly rejoicing in her
son's talent, soon saw the necessity for his doing something more
practical with his time and assisting her to keep the home together. So
at twelve years of age Hans was sent to a cloth-weaving factory, where
he earned a small weekly wage. The weavers soon discovered that Hans
could sing, and the men frequently made him amuse them, while the other
boys were made to do his work. One day the weavers played a coarse
practical joke on poor sensitive Hans, which sent him flying home in
such deep distress that his mother said he should not again return to
the factory.

Hans was now sent to the parish school for a few hours daily, and his
spare time was taken up with his "peep-show" and in fashioning smart
clothes for his puppets. His mother intended to apprentice her son to
the tailoring, but Hans had fully made up his mind to become an actor
and seek his fortune in Copenhagen. After his Confirmation--on which
great occasion he wore his father's coat and his first new boots--his
mother insisted on his being apprenticed without further delay. With
difficulty he finally succeeded in persuading her to let him start for
the capital with his few savings. His mother had married again, so could
not accompany him; therefore, with reluctance and with many injunctions
to return at once if all did not turn out well, she let him go.
Accompanying him to the town gate, they passed a gipsy on the way, who,
on being asked what fortune she could prophesy for the poor lad, said he
would return a great man, and his native place would be illuminated and
decorated in his honour!

Hans arrived in Copenhagen on September 5, a date which he considered
lucky for ever after. A few days in the city soon saw an end to his
money. He applied and got work at a carpenter's shop, but was driven
away by the coarseness of his fellow-workers. Hans made a friend of the
porter at the stage-door of the theatre, and begged for some employment
in the theatre; so occasionally he was allowed to walk across the stage
in a crowd, but obtained scanty remuneration, and the lad was often
hungry. Starving and destitute, the happy idea occurred to our hero to
try and earn something by his voice. He applied to Siboni, the Director
of the Music School, and was admitted to his presence whilst the latter
was at dinner. Fortunately for Hans, Baggersen the poet and Weyse the
celebrated composer were of the party, so for their amusement the boy
was asked to sing and recite. Weyse was so struck by the quality of his
voice and Baggersen with his poetic feeling, that they made a collection
among them there and then for him, and Siboni undertook to train his
voice. Unfortunately, in six months' time his voice gave way, and Siboni
counselled him to learn a trade. Hans returned to the theatre in the
hope of employment, and his persistence finally gained him a place in a
market scene. Making a friend of the son of the librarian, he obtained
permission to read at the library, and he wrote tragedies and plays,
some of which he took to the director of the theatre. This man became
Andersen's friend for life, for the grains of gold which he saw in his
work, marred though it was by want of education, roused his interest.
The director brought Andersen to the notice of the King, and he was sent
to the Latin school, where he took his place--although now a grown
man--among the boys in the lowest class but one. The master's tongue was
sharp, and the sensitive youth was dismayed by his own ignorance. The
kindness and sympathetic encouragement of the director was the only
brightness of this period of Hans' life. University life followed that
of school, and Andersen took a good degree. He now wrote a play, which
was accepted and produced at the theatre with such success that he wept
for joy. Soon his poems were published, and happiness and prosperity
followed. Later the King granted him a travelling stipend, of forty-five
pounds a year, and travelling became his greatest pleasure. Andersen
visited England two or three times, and reckoned Charles Dickens among
his friends. He was the honoured guest of Kings and Princes, and the
Royal Family of Denmark treated him as a personal friend.

Though his "Fairy Tales" are the best known of his writings, he wrote
successful novels, dramas and poems. Andersen's tastes were simple, and
his child-like, affectionate nature made him much beloved by all. His
native town, which he left as a poor boy, was illuminated and decorated
to welcome his return. Thus the gipsy's prophecy came true. He died
after the public celebration of his seventieth birthday, leaving all his
fortune to the family of his beloved benefactor, the director of the
theatre. A beautiful bronze monument is erected to his memory in the
children's garden of the King's Park, Copenhagen. Here the little Danes
have ever a gentle reminder of their great friend, Hans C. Andersen, who
felt--to use his own words--"like a poor boy who had had a King's mantle
thrown over him."

[Illustration: DRAGÖR PEASANT.]



CHAPTER IV

FAMOUS DANES


Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), the famous Danish sculptor, was born in
Copenhagen. His father was an Icelander, his mother a Dane, and both
very poor. Bertel's ambition when a little boy was to work his mother's
spinning-wheel, which, of course, he was never permitted to do. One
bright, moonlight night his parents were awakened by a soft, whirring
sound, and found their little son enjoying his realized ambition. In the
moonlit room he had successfully started the wheel and begun to spin,
much to his parents' astonishment. This was the beginning of his
creative genius, but many years went over his youthful head before he
created the works which made him famous. His father carved wooden
figure-heads for ships, and intended his son to follow the same calling.
Bertel, however, soon showed talent and inclination for something
better, and was sent to the Free School of the Art Academy, there making
great progress. He received very little education beyond what the Art
School gave him, and his youthful days were hard and poverty-stricken.
When his hours at the Academy were over he went from house to house
trying to sell his models, and in this way eked out a scanty living. In
spite of his poverty he was wholly satisfied, for his wants were few.
His dog and his pipe, both necessities for happiness, accompanied him in
all his wanderings.

His true artistic career only began in earnest when he won a travelling
scholarship and went to Rome, where he arrived on his twenty-seventh
birthday. Stimulated to do his best by the many beautiful works of art
which surrounded him, he found production easy, and the classical beauty
of the Roman school appealed to him. Regretting his wasted years, he set
to work in great earnest, and during the rest of his life produced a
marvellous amount of beautiful work. A rich Scotsman bought his first
important work, and the money thus obtained was the means of starting
him firmly on his upward career. This highly talented Dane founded the
famous Sculpture School of Denmark, which is of world-wide reputation.
Thorvaldsen's beautiful designs--which were mainly classical--were
conceived with great rapidity, and his pupils carried many of them out,
becoming celebrated sculptors also. Dying suddenly in 1844, while seated
in the stalls of the theatre watching the play, his loss was a national
calamity. He bequeathed all his works to the nation, and these now form
the famous Thorvaldsen Museum, which attracts the artistic-loving people
of all nations to the city of Copenhagen.

In the courtyard of this museum lies the great man's simple grave, his
beautiful works being contained in the building which surrounds it.

At the top of this Etruscan tomb stands a fine bronze allegorical
group--the Goddess of Victory in her car, drawn by prancing
horses--fitting memorial to this greatest of northern sculptors.

Holger Drachmann was the son of a physician, and quite early in life
became a man of letters. Following the profession of an artist, he
became a very good marine painter. This poet loved the sea in all its
moods, and was never happier than when at Skagen--the extreme northern
point of Jutland--where he spent most of his summers. His painting was
his favourite pastime, but poetry the serious work of his life. He was a
very prolific writer, not only of verse and lyrical poems, but of plays
and prose works, and was a very successful playwright. Drachmann's
personality was a strong one, though not always agreeable to his
countrymen. He had a freedom-loving spirit, and lived every moment of
his life. Some of his best poems are about the Skaw fishermen, and later
in life he settled down among them, dying at Skagen in 1907. He was a
picturesque figure, with white flowing locks, erratic and unpractical,
as poets often are. Like other famous Danes, he chose a unique
burial-place. Away at Grenen, in the sand-dunes, overlooking the
fighting waters of the Skagerack and Cattegat, stands his
cromlech-shaped tomb, near the roar of the sea he loved so much, where
time and sand will soon obliterate all that remains of the Byron of
Denmark.

Nikolai Frederik Grundtvig, the founder of the popular high-schools for
peasants, was born at his father's parsonage, Udby, South Seeland. He
was sent to school in Jutland, and soon learned to love his wild native
moors. While attending the Latin School in Aarhus he made friends with
an old shoemaker, who used to tell him interesting stories of the old
Norse heroes and sagas, often repeating the old Danish folk-songs. The
lad being a true Dane, a descendant of the old vikings, he soon became
very interested in the history of his race. Being sent to the University
of Copenhagen, he chose to study Icelandic in order to read the ancient
sagas, English to read Shakespeare, and German to read Goethe. This
studious youth was most patriotic, and the poetry of his country
appealed to him especially. Øehlenschläger's (a Danish poet) works fired
his poetical imagination.

Grundtvig's poems were for the people, the beloved Jutland moors and
Nature generally his theme. His songs and poems are loved by the
peasants, and used at all their festivals. He wrote songs "that would
make bare legs skip at sound of them," and, "like a bird in the
greenwood, he would sing for the country-folk." So successfully did he
write these folk-songs, that "bare legs" do skip at the sound of them
even to-day at every festivity. He was an educational enthusiast, and
his high-schools are peculiar to Denmark. It is owing to these that the
country possesses such a splendid band of peasant farmers. Being a
priest, he was given the honorary title of Bishop, and founded a sect
called "Grundtvigianere."

This noble man died in 1872, over ninety years of age, working and
preaching till the last, his deep-set eyes, flowing white hair and
beard, making him look like Moses of old.

Adam Øehlenschläger, the greatest Danish dramatist and poet, was a
Professor at the University of Copenhagen, and a marvellously gifted
man. He developed and gave character to Danish literature, and is known
as the "Goethe of the North." Some of his finest tragedies have been
translated into English. These have a distinctly northern ring about
them, dealing as they do with the legends and sagas of the Scandinavian
people. These tragedies of the mythical heroes of Scandinavia, the
history of their race, and, indeed, all the works of this king of
northern poets, are greatly loved by all Scandinavians. Every young Dane
delights in Øehlenschläger as we do in Shakespeare, and by reading his
works the youths of Denmark lay the foundation of their education in
poetry. This bard was crowned Laureate in Lund (Sweden) by the greatest
of Swedish poets, Esaias Tegner, 1829. Buried by his own request at his
birth-place, Frederiksberg, two Danish miles (which means eight English
miles) from Copenhagen, his loving countrymen insisted on carrying him
the whole distance, so great was their admiration for this King of
dramatists.

Niels Ryberg Finsen, whose name I am sure you have heard because his
scientific research gave us the "light-cure"--which has been established
at the London Hospital by our Queen Alexandra, who generously gave the
costly apparatus required for the cure in order to benefit afflicted
English people--was born at Thorshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands.
These islands are under Denmark, and lie north of the Shetlands. His
father was magistrate there. His parents were Icelanders. At twelve
years of age Niels was sent to school in Denmark, and after a few years
at the Grammar School of Herlufholm, he returned to his parents, who
were now stationed in their native town, Reykjavik, the capital of
Iceland. Niels continued his studies there, and when old enough returned
to Denmark to commence his medical work at the University of Copenhagen.

Hitherto he had shown no particular aptitude, but in his medical work he
soon distinguished himself, and his skill gained him a place in the
laboratory. He now began to study the effect of light as a curative
remedy. All his life Finsen thought the sunlight the most beautiful
thing in the world--perhaps because he saw so little of it in his
childhood. He had watched its wonderful effect on all living things,
being much impressed by the transformation caused in nature by the warm
life-giving rays. With observations on lizards, which he found
charmingly responsive to sun effects, he accidentally made his
discovery, and gave to the world this famous remedy for diseases of the
skin, which has relieved thousands of sufferers of all nations.



CHAPTER V

LEGENDARY LORE AND FOLK DANCES


The legend of Holger Danske, who is to be Denmark's deliverer when heavy
troubles come upon her, is one which has its counterpart in other
countries, resembling that of our own King Arthur and the German
Frederick Barbarossa. When Denmark's necessity demands, Holger Danske
will come to her aid; till then he sits "in the deep dark cellar of
Kronborg Castle, into which none may enter. He is clad in iron and
steel, and rests his head on his strong arms; his long beard hangs down
upon the marble table, into which it has become firmly rooted; he sleeps
and dreams. But in his dreams he sees all that happens in Denmark. On
each Christmas Eve an angel comes to him and tells him all he has
dreamed is true, and that he may sleep again in peace, as Denmark is not
yet in real danger. But should danger ever come, then Holger Danske will
rouse himself, and the table will burst asunder as he draws out his
beard. Then he will come forth in all his strength, and strike a blow
that shall sound in all the countries of the world."

Holger Danske was the son of the Danish King Gotrick. While he was a
youth his father sent him to Carolus Magnus, whom he served during all
his wars. Thus he came to India, where he ate a fruit which made his
body imperishable. When Denmark is near ruin, and all her young men have
been slain in defending her, then Holger Danske will appear, and,
gathering round him all the young boys and aged men, will lead them on
to victory, routing the enemy, and thus saving the country. When a
little plant growing in the Lake of Viborg has become a tree, so large
that you can tie your horse to it, then the time draws near when all
this will happen.

Once upon a time the Danes were in great trouble, for they had no King.
But one day they saw a barque, splendidly decked, sailing towards the
coast of Denmark. As the ship came nearer the shore they saw it was
laden with quantities of gold and weapons, but not a soul was to be seen
on board. When the Danes boarded the ship, they found a little boy lying
asleep on the deck, and above his head floated a golden banner. Thinking
that their god Odin had sent the boy, they brought him ashore and
proclaimed him King. They named him Skjold, and he became a great and
good King. His fame was such that the Danish Kings to this day are
called "Skjoldunger." When this King died, his body was placed on board
a ship which was loaded with treasure; and when it sailed slowly away
over the blue water, the Danes stood on the shore looking after it with
sorrow. What became of the ship no one ever knew.

Denmark is rich in legends. There is the legend about the "Danebrog,"
Denmark's national flag, which is a white cross on a crimson ground.
This bright and beautiful flag looks thoroughly at home whatever its
surroundings. The story goes that when Valdemar Seir (the Victorious)
descended on the shores of Esthonia to help the knights who were hard
pressed in a battle with the heathen Esthonians (1219), a miracle befell
him. The valour of his troops soon made an impression on the pagans, and
they began to sue for peace. It was granted, and the priests baptized
the supposed converts. Very soon, however, the Esthonians, who had been
secretly reinforcing while pretending submission, in order to throw dust
in the eyes of the too confiding Danes, brought up their forces and
commenced fighting anew. "It was the eve of St. Vitus, and the Danes
were singing Vespers in camp, when suddenly a wild howl rang through the
summer evening, and the heathens poured out of the woods, attacked the
surprised Danes on all sides, and quickly thinned their ranks. The Danes
began to waver, but the Prince of Rugen, who was stationed on the hill,
had time to rally his followers and stay the progress of the enemy. It
was a terrible battle. The Archbishop Andreas Sunesen with his priests
mounted the hill to lay the sword of prayer in the scales of battle; the
Danes rallied, and their swords were not blunt when they turned upon
their enemies. Whilst the Archbishop and others prayed, the Danes were
triumphant; but when his arms fell to his side through sheer weariness,
the heathens prevailed. Then the priests supported the aged man's arms,
who, like Moses of old, supplicated for his people with extended hands.
The battle was still raging, and the banner of the Danes had been lost
in the fight. As the prayers continued the miracle happened. A red
banner, with the Holy Cross in white upon it, came floating gently down
from the heavens, and a voice was heard saying, 'When this sign is borne
on high you shall conquer.' The tide of battle turned, the Christians
gathered themselves together under the banner of the Cross, and the
heathens were filled with fear and fled. Then the Danes knelt down on
the battle-field and praised God, while King Valdemar drew his sword,
and for the first time under the folds of the Danebrog dubbed
five-and-thirty of the bravest heroes knights." Another legend tells the
fate of a wicked Queen of Denmark, Gunhild by name. This Queen was first
the consort of a Norwegian monarch, who, finding her more than he or his
people could stand, thrust her out of his kingdom. She made her way to
Denmark, and soon after married the Danish King. Though beautiful, Queen
Gunhild's pride and arrogance made her hateful to her new subjects, and
her attendants watched their opportunity to rid themselves of such an
obnoxious mistress. The time came for them when the Queen was travelling
through Jutland. A sign was given to her bearers, whilst journeying
through the marshes near Vejle, to drop her down into the bog. This was
done, and a stake driven through her body. To-day in the church at Vejle
a body lies enclosed in a glass coffin, with a stake lying beside it,
the teeth and long black hair being in excellent preservation. This body
was found in 1821, when the marshes near Vejle were being drained for
cultivation. The stake was found through it, thus giving colour to the
tradition. Poor Queen! lost in the eleventh century and found in the
nineteenth.


_Folk-dancers._

The Danes, like all the Scandinavians, are renowned for their love of
dancing. Lately they have revived the beautiful old folk-dances,
realizing at last the necessity of keeping the ancient costumes, dances
and songs before the people, if they would not have them completely
wiped out. A few patriotic Danes have formed a society of ladies and
gentlemen to bring about this revival. These are called the
folk-dancers, their object being to stimulate the love of old-time
Denmark in the modern Dane, by showing him the dance, accompanied by
folk-song, which his forefathers delighted in. Old-time ways the Dane of
to-day is perhaps a little too ready to forget, but dance and song
appeal to his northern nature. The beautiful old costumes of the Danish
peasants have almost entirely disappeared, but those worn by the
folk-dancers are facsimiles of the costumes formerly worn in the
districts they represent. These costumes, with heavy gold embroidery,
curious hats, or pretty velvet caps, weighty with silver lace, must have
been a great addition to local colouring. The men also wore a gay dress,
and it is to be regretted that these old costumes have disappeared from
the villages and islands of Denmark.

In olden times the voice was the principal accompaniment of the dance,
and these folk-lorists generally sing while dancing; but occasionally a
fiddler or flautist plays for them, and becomes the leader in the dance.
Some of these dances are of a comical nature, and no doubt were invented
to parody the shortcomings of some local character. Others represent
local industries. A pretty dance is "Voeve Vadmel" (cloth-weaving). In
this some dancers become the bobbins, others form the warp and woof;
thus they go in and out, weaving themselves into an imaginary piece of
cloth. Then, rolling themselves into a bale, they stand a moment,
unwind, reverse, and then disperse. This dance is accompanied by the
voices of the dancers, who, as they sing, describe each movement of the
dance. A very curious dance is called "Seven Springs," and its principal
figure is a series of springs from the floor, executed by the lady,
aided by her partner. Another two are called respectively the "Men's
Pleasure" and the "Girls' Pleasure." In these both men and girls choose
their own partners, and coquet with them by alluring facial expressions
during the dance. The "Tinker's Dance" is a solo dance for a man, which
is descriptive and amusing; while the "Degnedans" is more an amusing
performance in pantomime than a dance, executed by two men. Many more
than I can tell you about have been revived by the folk-dancers, who
take a keen delight in discovering and learning them. They are
entertaining and instructive to the looker-on, and a healthy, though
fatiguing, amusement for the dancers.

In the Faroe Islands the old-time way is still in vogue, and the dance
is only accompanied by the voice and clapping of hands. Thus do these
descendants of the old vikings keep high festival to celebrate a good
"catch" of whales.

The old folk-songs, which were sung by the people when dancing and at
other times, have a national value which the Danes fully realize, many
being written down and treasured in the country's archives.



CHAPTER VI

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS


The Danes being a polite and well-mannered race, the children are early
taught to tender thanks for little pleasures, and this they do in a
pretty way by thrusting out their tiny hands and saying, "Tak" (Thank
you). It is the Danish custom to greet everybody, including the
servants, with "Good-morning," and always on entering a shop you give
greeting, and say farewell on leaving. In the market-place it is the
same; also the children, when leaving school, raise their caps to the
teacher and call out, "Farvel! farvel!" In the majority of houses when
the people rise from the table they say, "Tak for Mad"[1] to the host,
who replies, "Velbekomme."[2] The children kiss their parents and say
the same, while the parents often kiss each other and say, "Velbekomme."
The Danes are rather too eager to wipe out old customs, and in
Copenhagen the fashionable people ignore this pretty ceremony. The
majority, however, feel uncomfortable if not allowed to thank their host
or hostess for their food.

[Illustration: CHILDREN'S DAY.]

A Danish lady, about to visit England for the first time, was told
that here it was customary to say "Grace" after meals. The surprise of
the English host may be imagined when his Danish guest, on rising from
the table, solemnly put out her hand and murmured the word "Grace!"
After a day or two, when this ceremony had been most dutifully performed
after every meal, the Englishman thought he had better ask for an
explanation. This was given, and the young Dane joined heartily in the
laugh against herself!

The Danes begin their day with a light breakfast of coffee, fresh rolls,
and butter, but the children generally have porridge, or "öllebröd,"
before starting for school. This distinctly Danish dish is made of
rye-bread, beer, milk, cream, and sometimes with the addition of a
beaten-up egg. This "Ske-Mad"[3] is very sustaining, but I fear would
prove a little too much for those unaccustomed to it. Øllebröd also is
the favourite Saturday supper-dish of the working-classes, with the
addition of salt herrings and slices of raw onion, which doubtless
renders it more piquant.

At noon "Mid-dag"[4] is served. Another peculiar delicacy common both to
this meal and supper is "Smörrebröd," a "variety" sandwich consisting of
a slice of bread and butter covered with sausage, ham, fish, meat,
cheese, etc. making a tempting display, not hidden as in our sandwich by
a top layer of bread. The Danes are very hospitable, and often invite
poor students to dine with them regularly once a week. Dinner consists
of excellent soup (in summer made of fruit or preserves), meat, pudding
or fruit, and cream, and even the poorest have coffee after this meal.

Prunes, stewed plums or apples, and sometimes cranberry jam, are always
served with the meat or game course, together with excellent but rather
rich sauce. The Danish housewife prides herself on the latter, as her
cooking abilities are often judged by the quality of her sauces. It is
quite usual for the Danish ladies to spend some months in learning
cooking and housekeeping in a large establishment to complete their
education.

"Vær saa god"[5] says the maid or waiter when handing you anything, and
this formula is repeated by everyone when they wish you to enter a room,
or, in fact, to do anything.

Birthdays and other anniversaries are much thought of in Denmark. The
"Födelsdagsbarn"[6] is generally given pretty bouquets or pots of
flowers, as well as presents. Flowers are used on every joyous occasion.
Students, both men and women, may be seen almost covered with bright
nosegays, given by their friends to celebrate any examination
successfully passed.

Christmas Eve, and not Christmas Day, is the festive occasion in
Denmark. Everybody, including the poorest, must have a Christmas-tree,
and roast goose, apple-cake, rice porridge with an almond in it, form
the banquet. The lucky person who finds the almond receives an extra
present, and much mirth is occasioned by the search. The tree is lighted
at dusk, and the children dance round it and sing. This performance
opens the festivities; then the presents are given, dinner served, and
afterwards the young people dance.

Christmas Day is kept quietly, but the day after (St. Stephen's Day) is
one of merriment and gaiety, when the people go from house to house to
greet their friends and "skaal" with them.

New Year's Eve brings a masque ball for the young folk, a supper,
fireworks, and at midnight a clinking of glasses, when healths are drunk
in hot punch.

On Midsummer's Night fires are lighted all over the country, and people
gather together to watch the burning of the tar-barrels. Near a lake or
on the seashore the reflections glinting on the water make a strangely
brilliant sight. On some of the fjords a water carnival makes a pretty
addition to these fires, which the children are told have been lighted
to scare the witches!

The Monday before Lent is a holiday in all the schools. Early in the
morning the children, provided with decorated sticks, "fastelavns Ris,"
rouse their parents and others from slumber. All who are found asleep
after a certain time must pay a forfeit of Lenten buns. Later in the day
the children dress themselves up in comical costume and parade the
streets, asking money from the passer-by as our children do on Guy
Fawkes' Day.

A holy-day peculiar to Denmark is called "Store-Bededag" (Great Day of
Prayer), on the eve of which (Danes keep eves of festivals only) the
church bells ring and the people promenade in their best clothes.
"Store-Bededag" is the fourth Friday after Easter, and all business is
at a standstill, so that the people can attend church. On Whit-Sunday
some of the young folks rise early to see the sun dance on the water and
wash their faces in the dew. This is in preparation for the greatest
holiday in the year, Whit-Monday, when all give themselves up to outdoor
pleasure.

"Grundlovsdag," which is kept in commemoration of the granting of a free
Constitution to the nation by Frederik VII., gives the town bands and
trade-unions an opportunity to parade the streets and display their
capability in playing national music. "Children's Day" is a school
holiday, and the children dress in the old picturesque Danish costumes;
they then go about the town and market-places begging alms for the
sanatoriums in their collecting-boxes. In this way a large sum is
collected for these charities.

"Knocking-the-cat-out-of-the-barrel" is an old custom of the peasantry
which takes place the Monday before Lent. The young men dress themselves
gaily, and, armed with wooden clubs, hie them to the village green. Here
a barrel is suspended with a cat inside it. Each man knocks the barrel
with his club as he runs underneath it, and he who knocks a hole big
enough to liberate poor puss is the victor. The grotesque costumes, the
difficulty of stooping and running under the barrel in them, when all
your energies and attention are required for the blow, result in many a
comical catastrophe, which the bystanders enjoy heartily. Puss is
frightened, but not hurt, and I think it would be just as amusing
without the cat, but the Danish peasants think otherwise. Another
pastime which takes place on the same day is called "ring-riding." The
men, wearing paper hats and gay ribbons, gallop round the course, trying
to snatch a suspended ring in passing. The man who takes the ring three
times in succession is called "King," he who takes it twice "Prince."
When the sport is over, King and Prince, with their train of
unsuccessful competitors, ride round to the farms and demand refreshment
for their gay cavalcade, of which "Æleskiver," a peasant delicacy,
washed down by a glass of aqua-vitæ, forms a part.

On the eve of "Valborg's Dag" (May-Day) bonfires are lighted, and the
young Danes have a dinner and dance given to them. Each dance is so long
that it is customary for the young men to change their partners two or
three times during the waltz.

A beautiful custom is still preserved among the older peasantry: when
they cross the threshold of their neighbour's house they say, "God's
peace be in this house."

All domestic servants, students, and other people who reside away from
home for a time, take about with them a chest of drawers as well as a
trunk. I suppose they find this necessary, because in Denmark a chest of
drawers is seldom provided in a bedroom.

When the first snowdrops appear, the boys and girls gather some and
enclose them in a piece of paper, on which is written a poem. This
"Vintergække-Brev," which they post to their friends, is signed by
ink-spots, as numerous as the letters in their name. The friend must
guess the name of the sender within a week, or the latter demands a
gift.

Confirmation means coming-out in Denmark. As this is the greatest
festival of youth, the young folk are loaded with presents; then girls
put up their hair and boys begin to smoke.

The marriage of a daughter is an expensive affair for parents in
Denmark, as they are supposed to find all the home for the bride, as
well as the trousseau. The wedding-ring is worn by both while engaged,
as well as after the marriage ceremony.

The Epiphany is celebrated in many homes by the burning of three
candles, and the children are given a holiday on this, the festival of
the Three Kings. No doubt you know this is a commemoration of the three
wise men of the East presenting their offerings of gold, frankincense,
and myrrh to our Lord.

Storks are considered the sacred birds of Denmark. These harbingers of
good-luck the children take great interest in, and more especially in
the growth of the stork family on the roof-tree.



CHAPTER VII

A JAUNT THROUGH JUTLAND--I


Jutland is the only province left to Denmark which can claim to be
mainland, and though it is the most northern part of the country, some
of its scenery is very beautiful.

The "Jyde," as the people of Jutland are called, are proud of their
birthplace, of their language, and of their pronunciation, which the
Copenhageners call "accent," but the Jyde declare they speak the purest
Danish in the kingdom. However this may be, I am not in a position to
judge, but I do know that I can understand the Jyde Danish better, and
that it falls upon my ear with a more pleasing sound than does the
Danish of the Copenhageners.

The east coast of Jutland is quite charming, so we will start our tour
from the first interesting spot on this route, and try to obtain a
glimpse of the country.

In Kolding stands a famous castle, which was partially burnt down in
1808. This gigantic ruin is now covered in, and used as an historical
museum for war relics.

Fredericia is a very important place. Here that part of the train which
contains the goods, luggage, and mails, as well as the first-class
passenger carriages for Copenhagen, is shunted on to the large steam
ferry-boat waiting to receive it. This carries it across the smiling
waters of the Little Belt. A fresh engine then takes it across the
island of Funen to the steam-ferry waiting to carry it across the Great
Belt to Korsör, on the shores of Seeland, when a locomotive takes the
train to Copenhagen in the ordinary way. These steam-ferries are
peculiar to Denmark, and are specially built and equipped for this work.
Danish enterprise overcomes the difficulties of transport through a
kingdom of islands by these ferries.

Fredericia is an old fortified town with mighty city walls, which make a
fine promenade for the citizens, giving them a charming view of the
Little Belt's sunlit waters. In this town the Danes won a glorious
victory over the Prussians in 1849.

Vejle is one of the most picturesque places on the east coast. Along the
Vejlefjord the tall, straight pines of Jutland are reflected in the
cool, still depths of blue water, and the tiniest of puffing steamers
will carry you over to Munkebjerg. The fascinating and famous Munkebjerg
Forest is very beautiful--a romantic place in which the youthful lovers
of Denmark delight. These glorious beech woods extend for miles, the
trees sloping down to the water's edge from a high ridge, whence you
have a magnificent view of the glittering fjord. Most inviting are
these cool green shades on a hot summer's day, but when clothed in the
glowing tints of autumn they present to the eye a feast of gorgeous
colour. A golden and warm brown carpet of crisp, crackling leaves
underfoot, the lap of the fjord as a steamer ploughs along, sending the
water hissing through the bowing reeds which fringe the bank, make the
soothing sounds which fall on lovers' ears as they wander through these
pleasant glades.

[Illustration: HARVEST TIME.]

In winter this forest is left to the snow and hoarfrost, and cold, cairn
beauty holds it fast for many days.

The pretty hotel of Munkebjerg, standing on the summit of the ridge,
which you espy through a clearing in the trees, is reached by some
scores of steps from the landing-stage. Patient "Moses," the hotel
luggage-carrier, awaits the prospective guests at the pier. This
handsome brown donkey is quite a character, and mounts gaily his own
private zigzag path leading to the hotel when heavily laden. His
dejection, however, when returning with empty panniers, is accounted for
by the circumstance of "No load, no carrot!" at the end of the climb.

Grejsdal is another beautiful spot inland from the fjord, past which the
primitive local train takes us to Jellinge. In this quaint upland
village stand the two great barrows, the reputed graves of King Gorm and
Queen Thyra, his wife, the great-grandparents of Canute the Great, the
Danish King who ruled over England for twenty years. A beautiful Norman
church stands between these barrows, and two massive Runic stones tell
that "Harald the King commanded this memorial to be raised to Gorm, his
Father, and Thyra, his Mother: the Harald who conquered the whole of
Denmark and Norway, and Christianized the Danes." Steps lead to the top
of these grassy barrows, and so large are they that over a thousand men
can stand at the top. The village children use them as a playground
occasionally.

Skanderborg, which is prettily situated on a lake, is a celebrated town.
Here a famous siege took place, in which the valiant Niels Ebbesen fell,
after freeing his country from the tyrannical rule of the German Count
Gert.

Aarhus, the capital of Jutland, is the second oldest town in Denmark.
Its interesting cathedral is the longest in the kingdom, and was built
in the twelfth century. The town possesses a magnificent harbour, on the
Cattegat, the shores of which make a pleasant promenade.

Randers is a pretty place, with many quaint thatched houses belonging to
the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. The Gudenaa,
Denmark's only river, skirts the town. This river is narrow and
slow-moving, as there are no heights to give it force.

Hobro, situated on a fjord, wears an air of seclusion, lying as it does
far away from the railway-station. A sail on this fjord will bring us to
Mariager, the smallest town in Denmark. Renowned are the magnificent
beech-woods and ancient abbey of this tiny town. In the surroundings we
have a panoramic view of typical Jutish scenery--a charming landscape in
the sunset glow, forest, fjord, farmsteads, and moor affording a rich
variety of still life.

Aalborg, the delightful old market town on the Limfjord, is fascinating,
especially at night, when its myriad lamps throw long shafts of light
across the water. Scattered through the town are many old half-timbered
houses. These beautiful buildings, with their cream-coloured rough-cast
walls, oak beams, richly carved overhanging eaves, and soft-red tiled
roofs, show little evidence of the ravages of time. The most famous of
these houses was built, in the seventeenth century, by Jens Bang, an
apothecary. The chemist's shop occupies the large ground-floor room, the
windows of which have appropriate key-stones. On one is carved a man's
head with swollen face, another with a lolling tongue, and similar
grotesques.

To be an idler and watch the traffic going to and fro over the pontoon
bridge which spans the Limfjord is a delightful way of passing the time.
Warmed by the sun and fanned by the breezes which blow along the fjord,
you may be amused and interested for hours by the life that streams past
you. Occasionally the traffic is impeded by the bridge being opened to
allow the ships to pass through. Small vessels can in this way save time
and avoid the danger of rounding the north point of Jutland. If you
look at your map you will see that this fjord cuts through Jutland, thus
making a short passage from the Cattegat to the North Sea.

Jutland north of the Limfjord is called Vendsyssel. Curious effects of
mirage may be seen in summer-time in the extensive "Vildmose"[7] of this
district.



CHAPTER VIII

A JAUNT THROUGH JUTLAND--II


As we pass through Vendsyssel homely farmsteads and windmills add a
charm to the landscape, while tethered kine and sportive goats complete
a picture of rural life.

When we arrive at Frederikshavn we come to the end of the State railway.
This terminus lies close to the port, which is an important place of
call for the large passenger and cargo steamers bound for Norway and
other countries, as well as being a refuge for the fishing-fleet.

A slow-moving local train takes us across the sandy wastes to Skagen, a
straggling village, with the dignity of royal borough, bestowed upon it
by Queen Margaret, in the fourteenth century, as a reward to the brave
fishermen who saved from shipwreck some of her kins-folk. Skagen is a
picturesque and interesting place, the home of many artists, as well as
a noted seaside resort.

Bröndum's Hotel, a celebrated hostelry, where the majority of visitors
and artists stay, is a delightfully comfortable, homely dwelling. The
dining-room, adorned with many specimens of the artists' work, is a
unique and interesting picture-gallery.

On the outskirts of the town the white tower of the old church of Skagen
may be seen peeping over the sand-dunes. This "stepped" tower, with its
red-tiled, saddle-back roof, forms a striking feature in this weird and
lonely landscape. The church itself is buried beneath the sand, leaving
only the tower to mark the place that is called the "Pompeii of
Denmark," sand, not lava, being answerable for this entombment. It is
said that the village which surrounded the church was buried by a
sandstorm in the fourteenth century. This scene of desolation, on a
windy day, when the "sand fiend" revels and riots, is best left to the
booming surf and avoided by those who do not wish to be blinded.

To the south of Skagen lie other curious phenomena created by this
"Storm King." The "Raabjerg Miler" are vast and characteristic dunes of
powdery sand in long ridges, like huge waves petrified in the very act
of turning over! In the neighbouring quicksands trees have been planted,
but refuse to grow.

Viborg, the old capital of Jutland, possesses an historically
interesting cathedral. In the crypt stands the tomb of King Eric
Glipping, as well as those of other monarchs. The interior of the
cathedral is decorated with fine frescoes by modern artists.

As we journey to Silkeborg we pass through the vast heathland, "Alhede,"
and are impressed by the plodding perseverance of the heath-folk. The
marvellous enterprise of the Danes who started and have so successfully
carried out the cultivation of these barren tracts of land deserves
admiration. The convicts are employed in this work, planting, trenching,
and digging, making this waste land ready for the farmer. These men have
a cap with a visor-like mask, which can be pulled over the face at will.
This shields the face from the cold blasts so prevalent on these moors;
also, it prevents the prying eyes of strangers or fellow-workers.

Many baby forests are being nursed into sturdy growth, as a protection
for farm-lands from the sand and wind storms.

This monotonous-looking heath is not without beauty; indeed, it has a
melancholy charm for those who dwell on it. The children love it when
the heather is in bloom, and spend happy days gathering berries from out
of the gorgeous purple carpet. The great stacks of peat drying in the
sun denote that this is the principal fuel of the moor-folk.

From Silkeborg we start to see the Himmelbjerget, the mountain of this
flat country. It rises to a height of five hundred feet, being the
highest point in Denmark.

'Tis the joy and pride of the Danes, who select this mountain and lake
district before all others for their honeymoons!

A curious paddle-boat, worked by hand, or a small motor-boat will take
us over the lake to the foot of Himmelbjerget. Our motor-boat, with
fussy throb, carries us away down the narrow river which opens into the
lake. The life on the banks of the river is very interesting. As we sail
past the pretty villas, with background of cool, green beech-woods, we
notice that a Danish garden must always have a summer-house to make it
complete. In these garden-rooms the Danes take all their meals in
summer-time. The drooping branches of the beech-trees dip, swish, and
bend to the swirl of water created by our boat, which makes miniature
waves leap and run along the bank in a playful way. How delightfully
peaceful the surrounding landscape is as we skim over the silvery lake
and then land! The climbing of this mountain does not take long. There
is a splendid view from the top of Himmelbjerget, for the country lies
spread out like a map before us. This lake district is very beautiful,
and when the ling is in full bloom, the heather and forest-clad hills
encircling the lakes blaze with colour.

At Silkeborg the River Gudenaa flows through the lakes Kundsö and Julsö,
becoming navigable, but it is only used by small boats and barges for
transporting wood from the forests. The termination "Sö" means lake,
while "Aä" means stream. Steen Steensen Blicher, the poet of Jutland,
has described this scenery, which he loved so much, quite charmingly in
some of his lyrical poems. He sings:

     "The Danes have their homes where the fair beeches grow,
     By shores where forget-me-nots cluster."

This poet did much to encourage the home industries of the
moor-dwellers, being in sympathy with them, as well as with their lonely
moorlands.

The old-time moor-dwellers' habitations have become an interesting
museum in Herning. This little mid-Jutland town is in the centre of the
moors, so its museum contains a unique collection from the homes of
these sturdy peasants. The amount of delicate needlework these lonely,
thrifty folks accomplished in the long winter days is surprising. This
"Hedebo" needlework is the finest stitchery you can well imagine,
wrought on home-spun linen with flaxen thread. Such marvellous patterns
and intricate designs! Little wonder that the best examples are
treasured by the nation. The men of the family wore a white linen smock
for weddings and great occasions. So thickly are these overwrought with
needlework that they will stand alone, and seem to have a woman's
lifetime spent upon them. Needless to say, these family garments were
handed down as heirlooms from father to son.

Knitting, weaving, the making of Jyde pottery and wooden shoes (which
all wear), are among the other industries of these people.

As we journey through Skjern and down the west coast to Esbjerg, the end
of our journey, we notice the picturesque attire of the field-workers.
An old shepherd, with vivid blue shirt and sleeveless brown coat, with
white straggling locks streaming over his shoulders, tends his few
sheep. This clever old man is doing three things at once--minding his
sheep, smoking his pipe, and knitting a stocking. The Danes are great
knitters, men and women being equally good at it. Many girls are
working in the fields, their various coloured garments making bright
specks on the landscape. Occasionally a bullock-cart slowly drags its
way across the field-road, laden with clattering milk-cans. We pass
flourishing farmsteads, with storks' nests on the roofs. The
father-stork, standing on one leg, keeping guard over his young, looks
pensively out over the moors, thinking, no doubt, that soon it will not
be worth his while to come all the way from Egypt to find frogs in the
marshes! For the indefatigable Dalgas has roused the dilatory Danes to
such good purpose that soon the marshes and waste lands of Jutland will
be no more.



CHAPTER IX

THE PEOPLE'S AMUSEMENTS


"Have you been in Tivoli?" is the first question a Copenhagener would
ask you on your arrival in the gay capital. If not, your Danish friend
will carry you off to see these beautiful pleasure-gardens. Tivoli is
for all classes, and is the most popular place of amusement in Denmark.
This delightful summer resort is the place of all others in which to
study the jovial side of the Danish character. Even the King and his
royal visitors occasionally pay visits, incognito, to these fascinating
gardens, taking their "sixpenn'orth of fun" with the people, whose good
manners would never allow them to take the slightest notice of their
monarch when he is enjoying himself in this way. To children Tivoli is
the ideal Sunday treat. Every taste is catered for at Tivoli, and the
Saturday classical concerts have become famous, for one of the Danes'
chief pleasures is good music. Tivoli becomes fairyland when illuminated
with its myriad lights outlining the buildings and gleaming through the
trees. The light-hearted gaiety of the Dane is very infectious, and the
stranger is irresistibly caught by it. The atmosphere of unalloyed
merriment which pervades when tables are spread under the trees for the
alfresco supper is distinctly exhilarating. These gardens have
amusements for the frivolous also, such as switchbacks, pantomimes of
the "Punch and Judy" kind, and frequently firework displays, which last
entertainment generally concludes the evening.

The Royal Theatre in Copenhagen is a national school of patriotism, and
the healthy spirit of its plays has an ennobling effect on the people.
Everything is Danish here, and Denmark is the only small nation in
Europe which has successfully founded a national dramatic art. The
"Molière of the North," Ludwig Holberg, was the father of the Danish
drama, and the first to make the people realize the beauty of their own
language. This gifted Dane was a great comedy-writer, and had the
faculty of making his fellows see the comic side of their follies.

The "Royal Ballet" played at this theatre is quite distinctive.
Bournonville, its creator, was a poet who expressed himself in motion
instead of words, and these "dumb poems" appeal strongly to the
Scandinavian character. This poet aimed at something more than
spectacular effects upon the people: his art consisted in presenting
instructive tableaux, which, while holding the attention of his
audience, taught them their traditional history. The delicate daintiness
of the Danish ballet everyone must appreciate. The exquisite and
intricate dances, together with the magnificent tableaux, are
accompanied by wild and magical music of Danish composition.
Bournonville ballets represent scenes from classical mythology, as well
as from ancient Scandinavian history, and the Danish people are much
attached to this Northern composer of ballet. "Ei blot til Lyst"--Not
only for pleasure--is the motto over this National Theatre door, and it
is in the Ballet School here that the young Danes begin their training.
These young folk take great pleasure in learning the beautiful dances,
as well as in the operatic and dramatic work which they have to study,
for they must serve a certain period in this, as in any other
profession.

Another place of amusement which gives pleasure to many of the poorer
people is the Working Men's Theatre. Actors, musicians, as well as the
entire management, are all of the working classes, who are trained in
the evenings by professionals. The result is quite wonderful, and proves
the pleasure and interest these working people take in their tuition,
and how their artistic abilities are developed by it. On Sundays, and
occasionally in the week, a performance is given, when the working
classes crowd into the theatre to see their fellows perform. This
entertainment only costs sixpence for good seats, drama and farce being
the representations most appreciated. Notwithstanding that smoking is
prohibited during the performances--a rule which you would think no Dane
could tolerate, being seldom seen without pipe or cigarette--it is a
great success, and denotes that their love of the play is greater than
their pleasure in the weed.



CHAPTER X

FARM LIFE--BUTTER-MAKING--"HEDESELSKABET"


Farming in Denmark is the most important industry of the kingdom, and
gives employment to half the nation. The peasant is very enlightened and
advanced in his methods; agricultural and farm products form the
principal exports of the country. England takes the greater part of this
produce. Three or four times a week the ships leave Esbjerg--this port
being the only Danish one not blocked by ice during some part of the
winter--for the English ports, laden with butter, bacon and eggs for the
London market. Now, why can the Danish farmer, whose land is poorer and
his climate more severe than ours, produce so much? Education,
co-operation and the help given by the State to small farmers lay the
foundation, so the Danes will tell you, of the farmer's prosperity. The
thrift and industry of the peasant farmer is quite astonishing. He is
able to bring up a large, well-educated family and live comfortably on
seven or eight acres of land; whereas in England we are told that three
acres will not keep a cow! The Danish farmer makes six acres keep two
cows, many chickens, some pigs, himself, wife and family, and there is
never any evidence of poverty on these small farms--quite the reverse.
The farmer is strong and wiry, his wife fine and buxom, and his children
sturdy, well-cared-for little urchins. All, however, must work--and work
very hard--both with head and hands to produce this splendid result. The
Danish farmer grows a rapid rotation of crops for his animals, manuring
heavily after each crop, and never allowing his land to lie fallow as we
do. On these small farms there is practically no grass-land; hedges and
fences are unnecessary as the animals are always tethered when grazing.
Omission of hedges is more economical also, making it possible to
cultivate every inch of land. There is nothing wasted on a Danish farm.
Many large flourishing farms also exist in Denmark, with acres of both
meadow and arable land, just as in England; but the peasant farmer is
the interesting example of the Danish system of legislation. The
Government helps this small holder by every means in its power to become
a freehold farmer should he be willing and thrifty enough to try.

The typical Danish farmstead is built in the form of a square, three
sides of which are occupied by the sheds for the animals, the fourth
side being the dwelling-house, which is generally connected with the
sheds by a covered passage--a cosy arrangement for all, as in bad
weather the farmer need not go outside to attend to the animals, while
the latter benefit by the warmth from the farmhouse.

The Danes would never speak crossly to a cow or call her by other than
her own name, which is generally printed on a board over her stall. The
cow, in fact, is the domestic pet of the Danish farm. In the winter
these animals are taken for a daily walk wearing their winter coats of
jute!

These small farmers realize that "Union is Strength," and have built up
for themselves a marvellous system of co-operation. This brings the
market literally to the door of the peasant farmer. Carts collect the
farm produce daily and transport it to the nearest factories belonging
to this co-operation of farmers. At these factories the milk is turned
into delicious butter, the eggs are examined by electric light, and "Mr.
Pig" quickly changes his name to Bacon! These three commodities form the
most remunerative products of the farm.

The Danish farmer is a strong believer in education, thanks to the
Grundtvig High-schools. Bishop Grundtvig started these schools for the
benefit of the sons and daughters of yeomen. When winter comes, and
outside farm-work is at a standstill, the farmer and his family attend
these schools to learn new methods of farming and dairy-work. The
farmer's children are early taught to take a hand and interest
themselves in the farm-work. The son, when school is over for the day,
must help to feed the live-stock, do a bit of spade-work or
carpentering, and perhaps a little book-keeping before bedtime. These
practical lessons develop in the lad a love of farm-work and a pride
in helping on the family resources.

[Illustration: VAGT-PARADEN. LIFEGUARDS DRAWING UP OUTSIDE THE PALACE.]

Butter-making is an interesting sight at the splendidly equipped
steam-factories, and we all know that Danish butter is renowned for its
excellence. When the milk is weighed and tested it runs into a large
receiver, thence to the separator; from there the cream flows into the
scalder, and pours over the ice frame in a rich cool stream into a
wooden vat.

Meanwhile the separated milk has returned through a pipe to the waiting
milk-cans and is given back to the farmer, who utilizes it to feed his
calves and pigs. The cream leaves the vat for the churn through a wooden
channel, and when full the churn is set in motion. This combined churn
and butter-worker completes the process of butter-making, and when the
golden mass is taken out it is ready to be packed for the English
market. The milk, on being received at the factory, is weighed and paid
for according to weight. It takes 25 lbs. of milk to make 1 lb. of
butter.

"Hedeselskabet" (Heath Company) is a wonderful society started by
Captain Dalgas and other patriotic Danes, in 1866, for the purpose of
reclaiming the moors and bogs. The cultivation of these lands seemed
impossible to most people, but these few enthusiasts with great energy
and perseverance set to work to overcome Nature's obstacles. These
pioneers have been so successful in their efforts that in less than half
a century three thousand square miles of useless land in Jutland have
been made fertile. Trees have been planted and carefully nursed into
good plantations, besides many other improvements made for the benefit
of the agriculturalist and the country generally. All along the sandy
wastes of the west coast of Jutland esparto grass has been sown to bind
the shifting sand, which is a danger to the crops when the terrible
"Skaj"[8] blows across the land with unbroken force. Thanks to the
untiring energies of this society for reclaiming the moors, Denmark has
gained land almost equal to that she lost in her beautiful province of
Schleswig, annexed by Prussia in the unequal war of 1864.

In the town of Aarhus, the capital of Jutland, a handsome monument has
been raised to the memory of Captain Dalgas, the father of the movement
for reclaiming the moors, by his grateful countrymen.



CHAPTER XI

SOLDIERS AND SAILORS


Every Danish boy knows he must undergo a period of training as a soldier
or sailor when he reaches his twentieth year. This is because Denmark is
small and poor, and could not maintain a standing army, so her citizens
must be able to defend her when called upon. This service is required
from all, noble and peasant alike, physical weakness alone bringing
exemption. This six or twelve months' training means a hard rough time
for young men accustomed to a refined home, but it has a pleasant side
in the sympathy and friendship of comrades. The generality of conscripts
do not love their soldiering days, and look upon them as something to be
got over, like the measles! "Jens" is the Danish equivalent for "Tommy
Atkins," and "Hans" is the "Jack Tar" of Denmark.

To see the daily parade of Life Guards before the royal palace is to see
a splendid military display. This parade the King and young Princes
often watch from the palace windows. The crowd gathers to enjoy the
spectacle of "Vagt-Paraden" (changing the guard) in the palace square,
when the standard is taken from the Guard House and borne, to the
stirring strains of the "Fane-Marsch," in front of the palace. As the
standard-bearer marches he throws forward his legs from the hips in the
most curious stiff way. This old elaborate German step is a striking
feature of the daily parade. When the guard is changed and the band has
played a selection of music, the same ceremony is repeated, and the
standard deposited again in its resting-place. Then the released guard,
headed by the band playing merry tunes, march back to their barracks
followed by an enthusiastic crowd. The fresh guard take their place
beside the sentry-boxes, which stand around the palace square. These are
tall red pillar-boxes curiously like giant letter-boxes!

In the Schleswig-Holstein War of 1864, the last war Denmark was engaged
in, many Danish soldiers proved their valour and heroism in the unequal
encounter. These gallant men were buried in Schleswig, and as the Danish
colours were forbidden by the tyrannical Prussian conquerors, the loyal
Schleswigers hit upon a pretty way of keeping the memory of their heroes
green. The "Danebrog" was designed by a cross of white flowers on a
ground of red geraniums over each grave. In this way the kinsmen of
these patriots covered their last resting-place with the colours of
their glorious national flag, under which they fell in Denmark's
defence. In Holmens Kirke, Copenhagen, many heroes lie buried. This
building, originally an iron foundry, was converted into a church by
the royal builder, Christian IV., for the dockyard men to worship in,
and it is still used by them. This King's motto, "Piety strengthens the
realm," stands boldly over the entrance of this mortuary chapel for
famous Danes.

As Denmark is a kingdom composed mainly of islands and peninsula, she
has a long line of sea-board to defend, and a good navy is essential for
her safety. The Danes being descendants of Vikings and sea-rovers, you
may be sure that their navy is well maintained.

A boy who chooses the navy as his profession must leave school at the
age of fourteen years, and go for nine months' training on a warship as
a voluntary apprentice. At the end of this time he knows whether he
likes the profession well enough to join it--if so, two years' coaching
is given to enable him to pass the necessary examinations for entering
the Naval Academy. Here he is trained for four years, spending the four
summer months of each year in cruising. This Naval Academy, where
officers are trained, is a fine old institution, and prides itself on
the record of the famous men it has turned out. The present King of
Greece, and many other members of the Danish Royal Family, have also
been trained at this Academy. The Academy course is expensive, and as
promotion is slow, and pay small in the navy, the Lieutenants are
sometimes permitted to captain a ship in the merchant service for three
years. This they are glad to do, as it increases their pay and
knowledge of navigation. Denmark being too small to maintain a large
cruising fleet, these officers would have little opportunity of proving
their sailing powers without this arrangement.

When cruising, the high spirits of the young cadets sometimes lead them
into mischief, thereby bringing trouble upon their heads. I knew a naval
captain who hit upon a very original and effective form of punishment
for wrong-doers. The cadet cap is a blue "tam-o'-shanter" with the usual
woolly bob of the same colour on the top. "The naughty boys shall have a
red bob," said the "Kaptejn," "and thus be branded for misdemeanour!"
The culprits disliked this badge intensely, I imagine mostly because
their comrades derisively admired the colour which made them
conspicuous. One day royalties were being shown over the ship, and a
young Princess asked "why some of the boys had those pretty red tufts on
their caps?" You may imagine the chagrin and confusion of the culprits;
scarlet faces and crimson tufts told their own tale! The boys, you may
be sure, thought twice in future before risking another penitential week
of branding and ridicule for breach of discipline.

In Copenhagen one of the discarded warships is used as public restaurant
and training-school for ships' cooks. Here the sailor-men are taught
every branch of cooking and kitchen-work. When trained, these cooks are
employed on the merchant-ships, as well as on the men-of-war.

Some interesting stories are told of the naval heroes of Denmark which
you will like to hear. Peder Tordenskjold is the Nelson of Denmark. This
man, besides being a great Admiral, was a most genial character, and had
a striking and original personality. Many true tales are told about this
hero which the young Danish lads never tire of hearing. There is a
favourite one which tells of the ingenious way by which he discovered
the weak points in his enemy's stronghold. Dressing himself as a
fisherman, he accompanied two other fishers in a little rowing-boat
laden with fish to the enemy's shores. Taking a basket of fish, he
mounted the hill to the fort, saying he had brought the fish for the
commandant. He was allowed to pass in to the fort with his fish, and,
pretending stupidity, kept losing his way--gaining knowledge
thereby--till he reached the commandant's residence. Gaining permission
from the latter to supply the garrison with fish, he inquired for how
many men he should provide. "Let me see," said the commandant, half to
himself, "a hundred guns--two hundred men; you may bring fish for a
hundred men." Tordenskjold then left the fort, having obtained all the
information he required, and returned to his boat. At this moment the
captain of one of the ships lying in the bay arrived on shore, and the
pretended fisherman at once accosted him, asking permission to serve his
men with fish. This being granted, he at once rowed to the ship, where
he soon disposed of his fish, and conversing with the sailors, he
gained the information that in two days' time there would be a great
festivity held on shore, at which most of them would be present. With
this valuable knowledge he returned to his own shore from the Swedish
coast, and laid plans which gave Denmark a victory and proved fatal to
the Swedes. In Holmens Kirke, where this hero lies buried, a splendid
black marble tomb has been erected to his memory by King Frederik IV.
Near by lies another naval hero, Niels Juel, whose gilt and copper
coffin is surmounted by a tablet which tells of his brave deeds.

Captain Hvitfeldt, the hero of Kjöge Bay, blew up his ship with three
hundred men to save the Danish fleet from destruction. In the war of
1710, between Denmark and Sweden, this captain's ship, the _Danebrog_,
took fire. To save the ships which were being driven by the wind towards
his burning vessel, he and his gallant crew sacrificed their lives.

Herluf Trolle was a Danish noble and a famous Admiral, who left all his
wealth to found a school for orphans. His noble wife, Fru Bergitta, was
greatly distressed that the Admiral's will could not be found, as she
was most anxious that his wishes, which were also her own, with regard
to the school, should be carried into effect. The Admiral's relatives
would inherit the property, and were already clamouring for it, when one
night Fru Bergitta had a dream. She dreamed she saw someone walking
round her husband's writing-table, attentively inspecting the legs.
These she examined on awakening, and found one to be hollow.
Discovering a secret spring, she pressed it, and beheld the will lying
in the hollow space. So Herluf Trolle's school was founded, and although
this brave old Admiral died from wounds received in battle centuries
ago, yet his school is considered to be one of the best at the present
day.

[Illustration: SUNDAY IN THE ISLAND OF LÆSÖ.]



CHAPTER XII

THE PEOPLE OF THE ISLES


One of the most storm-swept and barren of Denmark's many islands is the
island of Fanö. Lying, as it does, exposed to the full force of the
North Sea gales, it yet serves to protect the harbour of Esbjerg from
these storms. It is eight miles long, and three miles at its broadest
part. A trim little steamer will carry you across from Esbjerg to
Nordby--the fishing town on the east coast of Fanö--in twenty minutes.
Nordby is both quaint and picturesque. The low thatched houses, with
rough-cast, whitewashed walls, nestle close to each other for shelter
from the winds.

The Fanö women have a practical but peculiar costume; the
thickly-pleated skirt has a bright-coloured border, while the
close-fitting bodice is adorned with embroidery, and pretty antique
buttons. A folded cotton kerchief and accordion-pleated apron give a
daintiness to the whole dress. The head-dress, however, gives the most
singular finish to the costume. A dark, checked-bordered handkerchief
tied over a stiff, cambric frame, entirely envelops the head. The four
ends of this handkerchief are tied in an odd way, two being left
upstanding like rabbits' ears! This striking head-dress gives the Fanö
wife a fantastic appearance. When the good-natured, smiling faces of
these women are hidden behind a mask, the combination of dress and mask
makes them awesome-looking folk. The men of the island are nearly all
fishermen; the women are the farmers, and it is to protect their faces
from the blinding sand-storms, while working on the land, that these
masks are worn. This mask obliterates all comeliness, for only the eyes
peep out from the weird face-protector.

This island of heath, dune, and quicksand is wild and romantic. The
cultivated fields are protected by sand-hills, and belts of stunted,
wind-swept trees that afford some slight protection to the crops. The
island belongs to the people, who cultivate it assiduously. The courage
and perseverance of these women agriculturalists is rewarded by fair
crops, notwithstanding an adverse climate.

At the south end of the island, far away from any dwelling, is the
interesting "Fugleköjerne,"[9] where three or four hundred wild-duck are
taken in a day during the season. Decoy-ducks are used for this purpose.

The west side of the island is the most fashionable watering-place in
Denmark. Large hotels and pretty villas line the shore, and here the
well-to-do Danes inhale bracing sea-breezes.

On a windy day this western shore is not amusing. Clouds of blinding
sand whirl high in the air, while the booming surf rolls and plunges on
the beach with deafening roar, and makes rank and fashion fly to shelter
in hotel or villa till the storm is over. Visitors in summer and storms
in winter have it all their own way on this west coast--the people of
Fanö trouble it not.

Bornholm, situated in the middle of the Baltic, is both beautiful and
fertile. Its products are very valuable to Denmark. From here comes the
clay of which the exquisite Copenhagen porcelain is made. Here, too, the
granite for building the country's defences and docks is quarried. I
fancy if you were to ask a young Dane what Bornholm is most famed for he
would say, "Turkeys," for the island supplies the Copenhagen market with
these birds.

The chief town, Rönne, is charming, with its many low-roofed houses,
which overlook the Baltic. It is noted for its terra-cotta ware, clocks,
and Museum of Antiquities.

Most of the towns are upon the coast. Four singular round churches,
built of granite, were formerly used as places of refuge for the people
when beset by pirates. These "Rundkirker" are peculiar to Bornholm.

A high festival is celebrated every year on the anniversary of the day
when the inhabitants succeeded in throwing off the Swedish yoke, which
they had borne for a short time in the seventeenth century with
resentment.

Hammershus Castle, on the northern extremity of Bornholm, was built in
the thirteenth century. There is a sad tale connected with this romantic
castle, about a Danish noble and his wife. This noble, Corfitz Ulfeldt,
was imprisoned there for treason. His beautiful wife, Eleonora, the
favourite daughter of Christian IV., accompanied him, preferring
imprisonment with him to liberty without him. After the Count died,
Eleonora, who had a mortal enemy in Queen Caroline Amalia, was sent by
the latter to the "Blaataarn"[10] of Slotsholmen, Copenhagen, and there
incarcerated for twenty-two years. The illustrious Eleonora was only
liberated on the death of the vindictive Queen, but the long years of
captivity--without reason--had wrecked her life.

Læsö is a small island in the Cattegat, the inhabitants of which are
mainly farmers and fishermen, and the old women wear a particular
costume for Sunday, which is called the "church costume."

The people of Amager are great market-gardeners. They are of Dutch
extraction. Christian II., after flying from his country, took refuge in
Holland, and some of the Dutch helped him in trying to regain his
throne. For this service he gave his Dutch followers the island of
Amager. The descendants of these Dutch people still retain their old
customs and characteristics. Clattering about in wooden shoes, the old
women, in quaint costume, may be seen driving their geese down the
picturesque streets to the meadows. Besides being market-gardeners and
florists, these Amager folk rear and fatten the geese for the Christmas
market.

The natural beauty of the island of Möen is striking, and unlike the
rest of Denmark. "Möen's Klint" are great, jagged white cliffs rising
abruptly from the sea. Enchanting beech-woods thickly crown the summit,
giving distinctive and unusual beauty to it. From Sommerspiret, the
highest point, we have an extensive view over the Østersöen and Köjge
Bay, where the famous victory over the Swedes was won by Niels Juel in
1677.

In Denmark the town-crier beats a drum to draw attention to the notice
he is about to give.

Danish postmen present a gorgeous appearance, in red coats, with smart
cloaks of the same brilliant hue for winter wear. These and the bright
yellow mail-vans, which they drive sometimes, arrest attention, and give
importance to the carriers of His Majesty's mails.

In many of the houses the "Forhöjning" is still used. This is a raised
platform close to the window, on which the lady of the house sits to do
her embroidery. While she is here she can follow all that goes on in the
street below by an ingenious arrangement of oblique convex mirrors fixed
to the outside of the window, and reflecting the life in the streets
both ways.

The numerous pretty articles made of amber, which adorn the ladies'
dressing-tables, and of which beads and ornaments for the girls are
composed, are of local manufacture, amber being found in quantities on
the west coast of Jutland.

In the islands of Funen and Seeland there are many grand old
manor-houses belonging to the nobility, whose fine estates give
employment to many peasants. A story is told of a certain noble,
Christian Barnekow by name, who saved his King, Christian IV., by his
heroic self-sacrifice. The King had lost his horse, and was on the point
of being killed or made prisoner when Barnekow came to his rescue.
Giving the King his own horse, he said, "I give my horse to my King, my
life to the enemy, and my soul to God." A street in Copenhagen is called
after this brave nobleman "Kristenbernikovstrade."

It is characteristic of the Danes to run words into each other, and
streets in Denmark often have prodigiously long names.



CHAPTER XIII

FISHERMEN AT HOME AND AFLOAT


The class of people most lauded by their own and other nations is that
of the brave and hardy fishermen of Denmark. These men are always
willing to man the life-boat and to risk their lives to save those in
peril on the dangerous coast of Jutland. Although hundreds of ships are
wrecked on this dreaded "Jernkyst" (iron coast), their crews are
invariably saved by these courageous men. The whole length of the west
coast of Jutland is bleak and exposed to the storms and fogs of the
North Sea. Not one single harbour of refuge can be found between Esbjerg
and the Skaw. Dangerous sandbanks and massive cliffs guard the coast,
making navigation both difficult and hazardous. All along this perilous
coast life-saving apparatus of the newest and best type is stored in the
life-boat houses placed at intervals close to the seashore. On stormy
nights the watching sentinels summon by telephone the fishermen of the
tiny hamlets near. At sound of a rocket the distressful cry, "A wreck, a
wreck!" runs over the telephone, and immediately brave hearts and hands
are putting off to the rescue, while trembling women anxiously wait
their husbands' return with warm restoratives for the saved. These
fishermen's wives are brave too, for it is anxious work waiting and
watching. It is not to be wondered at that this merciless and cruel
coast is dreaded by all seamen. How thankful they must feel when they
see the great lighthouse at Grenen--the northernmost point of
Jutland--and can signal "All's well!" "Alt vel! passeret Grenen" flash
the lights across the water, and both passengers and crew breathe a
little more freely if it has been a stormy passage. Something like
eighty thousand vessels pass by this coast in a year, so you may be sure
the gallant fishermen of Denmark who live on the iron coast have plenty
of rescue work to do.

[Illustration: SKAGEN FISHERMAN NEAR THE TOWER OF BURIED CHURCH.]

You should see this coast on a stormy day, more especially at Grenen,
where those two mighty seas, the Skagerack and Cattegat, meet. When the
tempest rages here, far as eye can see a long ridge of seething, tossing
water denotes the meeting-place of the currents. The great "white
horses" in battle array fight, plunge, and roar--each striving for the
mastery which neither gains. This wrestling-match is a splendid
spectacle to those who are safe on shore, also to those at sea if the
day is clear, because they can then give the reef a wide berth. Tossing
spray is thrown high into the air and wind-borne to the shore, so even
at a distance from the waves you may have a salt shower-bath should you
be able to "keep your legs" against the fury of the gale. The screaming
gulls which fly around, dipping and rising, enjoying as only
"storm-birds" can the roar and tumult of these tempestuous waters,
enhance the fierce loneliness of the scene. This awe-inspiring
"Nature-barrier" saddens you--even while you exult in the madness of its
fury--when you think what it means on a foggy night to the poor mariner.
What a comfort for the seafarer to know that there is such a famous race
of fishermen here, willing and ready to man the life-boat and rescue
them from the angry, engulfing waters! You would never guess these seas
could be otherwise than kind when you enter their smiling depths for a
swim on a calm, sunny day. How gentle and invigorating they can be the
fishermen as well as the visitors know, and any morning you may see the
former returning from their daily dip with dripping heads and towels
along the shore. Somehow these fishermen are always picturesque. In the
summer evening, sitting or lying on the sunlit beach, smoking their
cutty-pipes and waiting for the time to launch their boats for the
fishing, they make an impressive picture. Kindly blue eyes and
weather-beaten faces look at you from under the sou'westers, while blue
jerseys, long sea-boots with curled-over tops and oil-skins, complete
the sea-going outfit. Fully equipped, they charm the eye of the most
fastidious, and it is little wonder that they have become subjects for
famous artists and poets.

These fishermen are very devout, and before launching their boat they
all stand round it with clasped hands and bowed heads, offering up a
short, silent prayer for help and protection on these dangerous waters.
Then, pushing the boat out into the water, they jump in while it
floats--sea-boots getting wet in the process--and wave farewell to their
children on the shore, who cry in return "Farvel Fa'er!"

Lars Kruse, the late captain of the life-boat at Skagen, has had a
beautiful monument raised to his memory, and his son will show you with
great pride the cups and medals he left behind as mementoes of his brave
deeds. These medals have been presented by many different nations whose
sea-farers have been saved by him. Amongst these is one given by Queen
Victoria.

Captain Larsen, a well-known mariner, who, on retiring from his post on
one of the light-ships, settled at Old Skagen, has left a unique
collection to the village. This now constitutes a museum of exquisitely
carved furniture, much of it inlaid with ivory, marbles and metals in
dainty designs, all made by this old sailor during the last twelve years
of his life--a wonderful record of industry. Old Skagen is a quaint
fisher-village, nestling behind the sand-dunes, trying to shelter itself
from the sand and sea-storms to which these shores are subjected.

Many of these fisher-folk are farmers also, tilling and cultivating the
heath-lands which lie beyond the village. The fisher cottages are quite
pretty, with thatched or red-tiled roofs, white or buff rough-cast
walls, green painted doors and windows, with black painted foundations
which protect them from the sand. Bright flowering plants in the windows
and the neat and clean appearance of the whole betoken the joy and
comfort that reigns in the fisherman's home. Many household duties are
performed at the cottage door in the sandy enclosure surrounding the
little homestead. Here the old men mend the nets, keeping a watchful eye
on the babies, while the women clean and salt the fish, hanging them up
in rows to dry in the sun. In these garden enclosures, also, many
quaintly pretty miniature houses may be seen erected on tall poles.
These are to encourage the starlings and other songsters to settle in
them, as there are no trees. Hen-roosts and outhouses are adorned with
the name-boards of wrecked boats washed up on the shore, while discarded
boats turned over and tarred make the roofs of these curious shelters
worthy of royal hens!

The older fishermen have a safe and effective way of trawling from the
strand. Putting out in a small boat, taking their net with them, to
which a long rope is attached--the end of this being left in charge of
the fishermen on the shore--they row gaily over the water, paying out
the rope as they go. When the limit of this rope is reached, the men
drop their weighted net overboard and pull for the shore, bringing with
them another attached rope which is paid out till they reach the strand.
When they have landed and the boat is beached, half a dozen men or more
take hold of each rope--these are fastened to each side of the
submerged net--and begin hauling it to the shore. The straining muscles
of the men as they march up the beach with a strong, steady, overhand
pull on the rope denotes that this is heavy work. It is a grand sight!
As the net nears the shore the gleaming, glittering mass of fish can be
seen leaping and jumping in vain endeavour to escape from their prison,
only the smaller fry succeeding. At last the net with its silver load
reaches the shore with the noise as of a great wave breaking upon the
beach, which is caused by the efforts of the fish to gain their freedom.
The best fish are picked out and the others returned to the sea, while
the gulls swoop down with querulous cry and gobble all that float on the
surface of the water. These fishermen have a prejudice against skate,
and use it only for bait.

St. Clement is the patron saint of Danish fishermen, and many of the
churches in the coast towns are dedicated to him.

As the Cathedral of Aarhus is dedicated to St. Clement, the Skaw
fishermen have given an exquisite model of a ship to the church. This
ship is a perfect representation in miniature of a man-of-war. It was
made in Holland for Peter the Great, but the ship which carried it was
wrecked near Grenen, and the model was saved by the Skaw fishermen.



CHAPTER XIV

YOUTHFUL DANES AT WORK AND PLAY


Denmark is renowned for its educational system and for its schools.
These schools are all under Government control, and meet the wants of
every class. The authorities are upheld by the parents, both being
determined there shall be no such thing as an ignoramus in Denmark, so
whether the children are educated at home or sent to school, they must
begin lessons at the age of seven. If they have a governess at home the
parents must give a guarantee to the authorities that the governess is
efficient and capable of giving the standard education to the children.
Should parents elect to take their children abroad during the school
term, they must notify their intention, undertaking that a teacher shall
accompany them and lessons continue while away. Shirking lessons is
quite an impossibility for little Danes, as everybody thinks that
education comes before all else, so parents do not encourage idleness or
extra holidays during the school year.

School attendance is compulsory for all children between the ages of
seven and fourteen. The hours are not long nor wearisome, as the lessons
are arranged with a view to holding the attention of young minds during
the period of instruction. The classes are small, even in the free
schools, never more than thirty-five pupils to a teacher, and generally
less. The lesson lasts forty minutes, and then there is an interval for
play. The thorough education of the pupils for their future work in life
is considered, so lessons in writing, reading, and arithmetic, in the
Kommune schools, are varied by tailoring lessons for boys, and cookery
for girls, after they are ten years of age. At every school gymnastics
play an important part--pleasant lessons these are for all--but perhaps
the lesson the boys most delight in is their instruction in Slöyd. Each
lad has his carpenter's bench with necessary tools, and as we know every
boy is happy when making or marring with hammer and nails, I am sure you
will think these must be enviable lessons. I have seen some charming
models as well as useful things made by the boys--a perfect miniature
landau, complete in every detail, benches, bureaux, carts, tables,
chairs, besides many other serviceable articles. Besides this
pleasure-work at school, the boys, if they are farmers' sons, have
practical lessons at home by helping their father on the farm. The
authorities being anxious to help the farmer, they allow him to keep a
boy at home half the day for instruction in farm-work, but the other
half must be spent at school. The prizes at the municipal schools not
infrequently consist of clothes, watches, clocks, or tools, all of which
are worked for eagerly by the pupils.

The boys and girls of Denmark begin early with gymnastic exercises, and
soon become sturdy little athletes from sheer love of the exhilarating
practice. All Danes pride themselves--and with good reason--on their
national athletic exercises. At the Olympic Games, held at the Stadium
in London, the Danish ladies carried away the gold medal by their fine
gymnastic display. This was a triumph with so many competitors in the
field. It is an amusing sight to see the Danes at a seaside resort
taking their morning swim; each one on leaving the water runs about on
the sun-warmed beach, and goes through a gymnastic display on his own
account, choosing the exercise he considers most calculated to warm and
invigorate him after his dip. The children require no second bidding to
follow father's example, and as they emerge from the water breathless,
pantingly join in the fun. Sons try to go one better than the father in
some gymnastic feat which the latter's stoutness renders impossible! The
merry peals of laughter which accompany the display speak eloquently of
the thorough enjoyment of all the bathers.

Yachting in Denmark is not merely a pleasure for the rich, it is
inexpensive, so all classes and every man capable of sailing a boat can
enjoy it. In the summer-time the Sound and other waters seem alive with
the multitudes of white sails and speeding craft of all sizes. The
Øresund Week, as the Royal Yacht Club's regatta-week is called, is the
time of all others for yachtsmen to display their skill, and a gay
event in the Copenhagener's year. The pleasant waters of Denmark are
beloved of yachtsmen. Sailing round the wooded islands, you are
impressed by their picturesque beauty, which is seen to advantage from
the water. One is not surprised that this popular pastime comes first
with every Danish boy, who, whether swimming, rowing, or sailing, feels
perfectly at home on the water. Everybody cycles in Denmark.
Cycle-stands are provided outside every shop, station, office, and
college, so that you have no more difficulty in disposing of your cycle
than your umbrella.

[Illustration: WINTER IN THE FOREST.]

Football is a summer game here--spirited matches you would think
impossible at this season--but the Danes have them, and what is more,
they will inform you that they quite enjoy what appears to the spectator
a hot, fatiguing amusement. Cricket has few attractions for the Danish
lads, but that is because they cannot play, though their schoolmasters
and parents would have them try. All things English are much admired,
and when a Dane intends to do a thing he generally succeeds, so we can
only suppose he is too indifferent about cricket--although it is an
English game--to excel.

Golf and hockey are also played, and "bandy"--_i.e._, hockey on the
ice--is a favourite winter sport. A "bandy" match is quite exciting to
watch. The players, armed with a wooden club, often find the ice a
difficulty when rushing after the solid rubber ball. This exhilarating
game is known in some parts of the world as "shinty." The Danes are
proficient skaters, and of late years an artificial ground for winter
sport of all kinds has been made in the Ulvedal, near Copenhagen. Here
they have "bandy" matches, ski-ing, and tobogganing, as well as other
winter games. Fox-hunting is unknown in Denmark, but frequently foxes
are included in the sportsman's bag when shooting. These are shot
because it is necessary to keep Mr. Reynard's depredations under
control. Trotting-matches are held on Sunday on the racecourse near
Charlottenlund, and horse-racing takes place too. Lawn-tennis and
croquet are very popular, but the latter is the favourite pastime of the
Danish ladies.



CHAPTER XV

INGEBORG'S JOURNEY THROUGH SEELAND


Funen, the island which lies between the Great and Little Belts, is
known as the "Garden of Denmark," on account of its beauty and
fertility. In Odense, the capital, Ingeborg had lived happily all the
fifteen summers of her life. Now she was to have an unexpected treat.
Her grandfather intended taking her with him on the morrow to see some
of the historical places in Seeland. Ingeborg loved history, and had
given her grandfather much pleasure by the knowledge she displayed when
showing him over her own church, St. Knud's. This ancient Gothic Church
is the finest specimen of mediæval architecture in Denmark. St. Knud,
the grand-nephew of Canute the Great, was slain before the altar while
praying for his people. This brave King could have saved himself by
flight, but would not, lest his subjects should suffer at the hands of
his enemies. He was canonized by the Pope, and his brother built the
church to his memory. Besides being the shrine of St. Knud, this church
is the burial-place of King Christian II. and his Queen, as well as of
King Hans and his Consort. The beautiful altar-piece, given by Queen
Christina, is of the most exquisite workmanship, and took the artists
many years to execute.

Ingeborg's excitement was great when she crossed from Nyborg. She
remembered that an army once crossed this water on foot, so severe was
the winter, and that ice-breakers are still used occasionally. The girl
wished it was winter as she watched for the first time the huge
paddle-wheels of the steam-ferry ploughing through the waters of the
Great Belt. By the time Korsör was reached, Herr Nielsen, her
grandfather, had made acquaintance with a student who was returning to
his college at Sorö, the town which they intended making their first
stopping-place. The student, whose name was Hans, informed them that he
lived at Ribe, a quaint old town of South Jutland, left very much to
memories and the storks, but possessing a fine twelfth-century
Cathedral. The college at Sorö was founded by Ludvig Holberg, the father
of Danish comedy, who left his fortune and library for that purpose.
Hans was proud of belonging to this college, as it had educated many men
of letters famous in Danish history.

In the Cistercian Church of Sorö, Bishop Absalon, the founder of
Copenhagen, lies buried. It is said that this Bishop's spirit appears,
with menacing attitude, if anyone desecrates the place by irreverence.
Ludvig Holberg is also buried in this cloister church, as well as three
Danish Kings.

Ingemann the poet spent most of his time at this charming town, which
stands on the lake of the Sorö Sö. In the luxuriant beech-woods which
surround the lake, Saxo Grammaticus, the first historian of Denmark, was
wont to wander. Both these celebrated men also lie in the old church,
which Ingeborg felt was a fitting resting-place for the noble dead.

On the advice of Hans, Herr Nielsen took his young grand-daughter to see
the old convent church of Ringsted. Here many Danish Kings were buried
in the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The interesting
Romanesque Church of Kallundborg was also visited. This Church, with its
four octagonal towers and a square tower in the middle, forms a Greek
cross. This is the most unique specimen of mediæval architecture in the
North.

Ingeborg had long looked forward to seeing Roskilde Cathedral, and the
day was bright and sunny when they arrived at the sleepy little town on
the Roskilde Fjord. This stately Cathedral, with its two tall pointed
spires, is called the "Westminster Abbey" of Denmark. It is the
burial-place of the Danish Royal Family: thirty-three Kings and many
Queens rest in it. A beautiful alabaster tomb marks the resting-place of
Queen Margrethe, the famous Queen who united the three Crowns--Norway,
Sweden, and Denmark--and was ever ambitious for the glory and
development of these countries. She ruled with wisdom and wonderful
diplomacy, and was the most powerful Queen Denmark ever had. She has
been called the "Semiramis of the North." Though the three crowns are
still on the shield of Denmark, the other two kingdoms were lost to her
in the sixteenth century. Queen Margrethe was the daughter of Valdemar
IV., known as "Atterdag," because of his favourite proverb: "I Morgen er
der atter en Dag."[11] This powerful monarch kept his subjects in such
incessant turmoil by his numerous wars for acquiring territory "that
they had not time to eat"! The Renaissance chapel erected by Christian
IV., in which his tomb stands, is very beautiful. This popular monarch,
alike celebrated as architect, sailor, and warrior, was one of the most
impressive figures in Danish history. The mural paintings of the chapel
represent scenes in the life of this great King.

Ingeborg was glad she remembered her history, and could tell her
grandfather so much as they went through the Cathedral. He, however,
informed her that Frederik VII. was the last of the Kings of the
Oldenburg line, which had been on the throne of Denmark for over four
hundred years.

The sarcophagus of the beloved Christian IX., father of many European
crowned heads, including Queen Alexandra of England, is still kept
covered with fresh flowers. This King, whose memory is so revered in all
countries, inaugurated a new dynasty in Denmark. The curious old clock
at the western end of the cathedral interested Ingeborg, and she watched
with delight, when it struck the hour of noon, St. George, mounted on
his fiery steed, with many groans and stiff, jerky movements, kill the
dragon, which expired with a gruesome death-rattle!

In the thirteenth century this quiet town of Roskilde was the capital,
and the archiepiscopal see of Denmark. An English Bishop, William of
Roskilde, is supposed to have built the Cathedral.

We will now follow our little friend and her grandfather to
Frederiksborg Castle. The castle, with its many towers and pinnacles
reflected in still waters, stands in the middle of a lake. This handsome
Dutch Renaissance building is now used as an historical museum. Many of
the Danish Kings have been crowned in its magnificent chapel. Wandering
through the splendid rooms of the castle, Ingeborg could read the
history of her country in a very pleasant and interesting manner. The
collection being confined to one period for each room made instruction
an easy affair for the grandfather. Beginning with King Gorm the Old and
Canute the Great, it comprises all periods up to the last century.

The autumn residence of the Royal Family, Fredensborg Castle, was the
next place of interest visited. This Castle of Peace was built to
commemorate the end of the war between Denmark and Sweden. "Fred" means
"peace" in Danish, and, indeed, this place proves a home of peace to
tired Royalty. Its park is considered the most beautiful in Denmark. The
magnificent avenues of lime-trees are lined by marble statues of
peasants in national costumes, Faroese, Icelandic and Norwegian, as well
as those of Denmark.

The Open-Air Museum at Lyngby, with its ancient farm and peasant
buildings, the interiors of which are fitted up just as they used to be,
gave Ingeborg a peep into the past and old-time Denmark. Here she saw a
curious rolling-pin hanging in the ingle-nook of the farmhouse from the
village of Ostenfeld. This wooden pin, so her grandfather told her, was
a Clogg Almanac or Runic Calendar. It had four sides, each marking three
months, large notches denoting Sundays, small ones showing week-days.
Saints' days were marked by the symbol of each saint. He had seen some
of these old calendars in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, when he had
been in England, which were relics of Danish government there. These
quaint and curious Clogg Almanacs were used throughout Scandinavia,
small ones made of horn or bone being for the pocket.

But here we must say good-bye to Ingeborg and her grandfather, as after
seeing Kronborg Castle and Elsinore they will return by the beautiful
coast-line to Copenhagen, there to enjoy many of the sights we have seen
in "dear little Denmark."



FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Thank you for the food.]

[Footnote 2: May it agree with you.]

[Footnote 3: Spoon-food.]

[Footnote 4: Luncheon.]

[Footnote 5: Be so good.]

[Footnote 6: Birthday child.]

[Footnote 7: Impenetrable swamp.]

[Footnote 8: The sharp, dry, north-west wind which blows in the spring.]

[Footnote 9: Retreat of wild-duck.]

[Footnote 10: Blue Tower.]

[Footnote 11: To-morrow comes another day.]





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