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Title: Our Little Swedish Cousin
Author: Coburn, Claire M.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Our Little Swedish Cousin



The Little Cousin Series


[Illustration]

    Each volume illustrated with six or more full-page plates
    in tint. Cloth, 12mo, with decorative cover,
    per volume, 60 cents.

[Illustration]


LIST OF TITLES

BY MARY HAZELTON WADE (unless otherwise indicated)

    =Our Little African Cousin=

    =Our Little Armenian Cousin=

    =Our Little Brown Cousin=

    =Our Little Canadian Cousin=
        By Elizabeth R. Macdonald

    =Our Little Chinese Cousin=
        By Isaac Taylor Headland

    =Our Little Cuban Cousin=

    =Our Little Dutch Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little English Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little Eskimo Cousin=

    =Our Little French Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little German Cousin=

    =Our Little Hawaiian Cousin=

    =Our Little Indian Cousin=

    =Our Little Irish Cousin=

    =Our Little Italian Cousin=

    =Our Little Japanese Cousin=

    =Our Little Jewish Cousin=

    =Our Little Korean Cousin=
        By H. Lee M. Pike

    =Our Little Mexican Cousin=
        By Edward C. Butler

    =Our Little Norwegian Cousin=

    =Our Little Panama Cousin=
        By H. Lee M. Pike

    =Our Little Philippine Cousin=

    =Our Little Porto Rican Cousin=

    =Our Little Russian Cousin=

    =Our Little Scotch Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little Siamese Cousin=

    =Our Little Spanish Cousin=
        By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet

    =Our Little Swedish Cousin=
        By Claire M. Coburn

    =Our Little Swiss Cousin=

    =Our Little Turkish Cousin=

[Illustration]

    L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
    New England Building,     Boston, Mass.

[Illustration: SIGRID]



    Our Little Swedish
    Cousin

    By
    Claire M. Coburn

    _Illustrated by_
    L. J. Bridgman and R. C. Woodberry


    [Illustration]


    Boston
    L. C. Page & Company
    _MDCCCCVI_



    _Copyright, 1906_
    BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
    (INCORPORATED)

    _All rights reserved_


    First Impression, July, 1906


    _COLONIAL PRESS
    Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
    Boston, U. S. A._



Preface


FOR more than five thousand years, the ancestors of our little Swedish
cousin have dwelt in the Scandinavian peninsula. No wonder she loves
the stories of the Vikings, the old legends, customs, and fête-days.
They are her priceless heritage from the days of long ago.

The snow and glaciers on the extreme north cut off this long tongue of
land, so that it is as separate from the rest of Europe as an island.
In the olden days, almost every Swede tilled the soil and lived remote
from his neighbour. Villages were few, so that each family created
its own little world of work and pleasure. Even the children must be
very industrious and ingenious to help supply the needs of the family.
Whether she lives in the city or the country, every little Swedish girl
to-day is taught this same thrift and industry.

Because the winter months, when the sun shows his face but a few hours
each day, are long and dreary, our northern relatives fairly revel in
their short summers. The whole nation lives out-of-doors and rejoices
in the merry sunshine. All day excursions, picnics, and water trips are
crowded into the brief season.

The peasant still owns his little red cottage and the well-to-do farmer
and the nobleman live in their old homesteads. The cities continue to
be small in number and in size, but slowly, slowly, the great throbbing
life of the outside world is creeping in to steal away much of the
picturesqueness of this old nation.

You will be surprised to learn in how many ways the life of our little
Swedish cousin is similar to that of American children. But she is such
a very hospitable and polite little maid, I am sure she will give you a
hearty welcome if you visit her and see her for yourself at work and at
play.



Contents


    CHAPTER                         PAGE
       I. THE SKATING CARNIVAL         1
      II. THE KNITTING LESSON         14
     III. YULE-TIDE                   29
      IV. AT GRANDMOTHER'S            45
       V. MIDSUMMER'S EVE             57
      VI. A VISIT TO SKANSEN          68
     VII. THROUGH THE GÖTA CANAL      80
    VIII. THE NAME-DAY                93



List of Illustrations


                                                                PAGE
    SIGRID                                             _Frontispiece_
    BRITA AND HER FOOT-PUSHER                                      6
    "A SHEAF OF GRAIN IS FASTENED UP IN THE YARD
          OF EVERY COUNTRY HOME"                                  38
    BAKING RYE BREAD AT GRANDMOTHER'S                             52
    "IN A TWINKLING, THE CHILDREN . . . WERE DANCING
          AROUND THE POLE"                                        62
    THE GÖTA CANAL                                                86



Our Little Swedish Cousin



CHAPTER I.

THE SKATING CARNIVAL


"SIGRID, Sigrid, hurry and get your skates. The ice is at last safe,
and mother says that we may go to the park with Miss Eklund, this
afternoon."

Erik thrust his head through the nursery door to announce the good news
to his sister, who was poring over her lessons for the next day.

"Oh!" cried the little girl as she quickly slipped out of her seat at
the long table, "I am so glad, for I thought I should never have a
chance to wear the new skates that father gave me on my birthday."

In a trice, she had gathered up all her books, packed them neatly
away, and was off to put on her warm furs. She was a flaxen-haired
little maid, with very blue eyes, and plump rosy cheeks as round as an
apple, because she lived out-of-doors a great deal and romped with her
brothers.

In just no time at all, she had put on her warm blue coat, lined with
gray squirrel, and a little cap to match, with the fur also on the
inside. She quickly fastened on her rubber overshoes, which had a
border of fur around the top and down the front. When she had found her
white woolen mittens with a quaint red and blue pattern knitted right
across the back, she was ready to join her brothers Erik and Anders.

They were a jolly little party of merry-makers, for it was the first
skate of the season. Our Swedish cousins who live in the city may not
go skating whenever they like. They must wait till some wise person
appointed by the government says the ice is quite thick and firm.

"I will beat you running down-stairs to the porter's door," called
Sigrid, who was bubbling over with good spirits. Away she flew, down
the long flight of stone steps, and stood dancing up and down on one
foot, waiting for the others.

Sigrid's father was an officer in the king's army, and in the
winter-time, she and her big brother Erik and her little brother Anders
lived with their parents and their governess, Miss Eklund, in a large
apartment house in Stockholm. All the city people in Sweden live in
these houses, plain and substantial on the outside, but comfortable
inside, and not so very unlike American houses. In the centre of every
house is a great stone stairway, and at the entrance sits a doorkeeper
behind a tiny port-hole window. Every one who came to call on Sigrid's
mother, who was a very hospitable lady, and had many guests, must
ring the porter's bell. Then up would bob his head before the little
window to see if he should let them in. He peered through the window so
quickly after any one rang the bell that he always reminded Sigrid of a
Jack-in-the-box.

"Gerda and Per are coming too," said little Anders as he walked by Miss
Eklund's side. He had just learned to skate, so that he felt quite
grown-up to be allowed to go at all. Everybody can skate in Sweden, so
that the children learn when they are very young.

The merry group crossed the street to the left side, instead of to the
right as we should go, and started off briskly. Every few steps, Sigrid
would make a little bobbing courtesy as she met some older friend. Such
a funny little bow it was, made by quickly bending the knee without
stopping her walk.

"Brita has such a beautiful new foot-pusher that her father has bought
her," exclaimed Sigrid. They had reached the open country near the
skating-park, and a couple of children rapidly skimmed past them on
these strange sleds. "Don't you think that I am old enough to have a
foot-pusher now, Miss Eklund?"

Christmas was very near and the air was already full of secrets, so
Miss Eklund smiled to herself and replied, "Perhaps you might ask the
good father at home what he thinks about it."

I don't believe that you know what a "foot-pusher" or "kicker" is. I
am sure I don't know why you should. Picture to yourself the framework
of an ordinary sled with two wooden rods fastened at right angles to
each runner. In the front part of this odd-looking object, Brita had
strapped her skates to a low narrow seat. She stood on one runner,
grasped these rods, and gave a quick little kick with the other foot,
which hastened the sled along at a lively pace.

[Illustration: BRITA AND HER FOOT-PUSHER]

Soon the gleaming sheet of ice spread out before them. Already it was
quite dark with people who were gliding merrily about.

"Oh, Sigrid, the band has begun to blow," cried Erik gleefully, for a
Swedish ice carnival is never complete without a band "to blow," as
they say.

"When I came home from school this noon," continued Erik, "I saw them
thrusting the little evergreen trees into the snow around the seats."

Fir-trees and clumps of old beeches grew on the snow-clad hills about
the pond, but this wreath of evergreen trees on the rim of the ice,
was to shelter the older people who sat wrapped in furs to watch the
sport.

"Those boys look like great white birds," said Sigrid, who was already
fastening on her skates. She stopped a minute to watch a group of three
boys who were skating with sails attached to their backs,--big white
sails shaped like a capital A with the top cut off.

"Now for a race," cried Anders, and away they glided over the ice to
find Gerda and Per, who lived in the same big apartment house.

Though it was only three o'clock in the afternoon, the sun had already
set, for you will remember that in Stockholm the winter days are very
short, and in the middle of the winter the lazy sun does not get up
till after nine o'clock in the morning. But the twilight lingers for
a long time, so that it does not get dark for a couple of hours after
sundown.

All too soon, it was time to start for home, but none of the children
thought of teasing to stay longer, for Swedish children are taught to
obey without asking why.

Already a couple of huge bonfires flamed up along the shore. Just
as they were leaving the edge of the pond, a dozen dark figures
with blazing torches passed them. So silently and swiftly did the
little procession twinkle by, that you might have thought them
will-o'-the-wisp lights. But the children knew they were expert
ski-runners, who were bound for the smooth hillside.

The long white slope was just the best place for the ski-lobing, and
it was quite alive with people, for no winter sport is more wildly
exciting. Every one wore narrow strips of wood, sometimes twelve feet
long, turned up at the front, to the centre of which the foot was
firmly secured. At a given signal, they placed their feet together, and
down the hillside they shot, as though they had wings.

"I never see ski-lobing without thinking of the olden times when the
fleet-footed peasants on skis were our only postmen," said Miss Eklund.

"They can go over frozen rivers and hills as straight as a bird flies,"
said Erik.

"Yes," said Miss Eklund, "when we had no post, the only way a message
could be sent in winter, was by these ski-runners. The swiftest runner
in a hamlet would start for the nearest village. There he would give
the message to another runner to carry on to the next hamlet. It is
wonderful how soon they could arouse the whole country.

"Instead of a letter, they carried staffs of wood. If this stick was
burned at one end, it meant that a forest was afire. But if a red rag
was attached, then the enemy had invaded the land and men were called
to arms."

They were almost home now, and as they turned a corner a rough shed
appeared in the corner of a park. Several people were just coming
out. "Please, Miss Eklund, may we stop just a minute to see the ice
figures?" exclaimed all the children at once.

"You must be quick or we shall be late to supper," replied Miss Eklund,
who always enjoyed these beautiful snow pictures as much as the
children.

Inside the low shed, was the figure of a young mother, with a sad but
lovely face, who held a wee baby close in her arms. A fierce wind
seemed to swirl her draperies, and she was trying to shelter the tiny
creature at her breast, while a little boy was weeping bitterly against
her skirts. The group was made of snow and ice, yet so wonderfully
moulded were the figures, they looked like pure white marble.

As they went out the door, Miss Eklund slipped a coin into a little box
which was placed there to receive money for the poor at Christmas.

"Elsa and Karl must have been out in the country to see their
grandmother," said Sigrid, as a sleigh jingled past. The mother and
two children were cosily packed in front. The driver stood on a little
platform built in the rear. A white net with a wide border of tassels
covered the back of the horse and the dasher of the sleigh.

"Father," burst out Erik, as he came in from the cold, "we did have the
best time. Little Anders can skate as well as the rest of us now."

"Well," replied Major Lund, "you certainly look as though you had
enjoyed yourself. But somebody will lose his porridge if he is not
ready for supper soon."

The family gathered about the table. Before they began, the father
turned to his oldest child and said,

"Erik, I believe it is your turn to say grace to-night. Sigrid said it
yesterday."

Every one stood while the boy solemnly bowed his head and said the
simple words.

Oh, they were so hungry! Didn't their supper of rice porridge, flat
rye bread, pancakes and milk taste good! The three children sat very
quietly at the table and ate all the food that was served them. Not a
spoonful of porridge or a crumb of rye bread was left.

Perhaps you never saw Swedish flat bread. Even the king's family eat
these big brown cakes, which are as much as a foot across, and look
like a thin, crisp cookie. They have a large hole in the centre. In the
farmers' houses, they run a long pole through this hole, and hang their
bread from the ceiling.

When the meal was over, each child rose and shook hands with the father
and mother and said, "Tack för matin," or as we should say, "Thanks
for food." Then the parents thanked each other. So many thanks may seem
very strange to you, but it is an old and beautiful custom in Sweden.

"I am glad my little girl had such a happy afternoon," said Mrs. Lund
as she sat embroidering with her daughter beside her. "But there will
be very little time for skating, during the next few days. Christmas
will be here before we know it, and you can help me about many small
things."

"Mother, may I go with you to the Christmas market this year? You know
I was sick and could not go last year," said Sigrid.

"I remember, Sigrid," replied her mother. "You must go to bed now, and
we will plan about it in the morning."



CHAPTER II.

THE KNITTING LESSON


"WON'T mother be surprised, Miss Eklund, when she finds out how fast I
have learned to knit?" said Sigrid.

"Yes, I am sure she will be much pleased," replied Miss Eklund.

Sigrid was very soberly knitting a red worsted square, while her
governess sat near to help her when the little steel needles behaved
badly. It was Sigrid's first piece of knitting, so she was flushed and
eager over her task.

The morning sun poured through the window on a pretty picture.
Against the heavy dark wooden chair, Sigrid's pale gold hair shone
and glistened. It was brushed back very tight and trim, for that is
the way Swedish mothers think little girls should wear their hair.
The two smooth braids were fastened with a broad blue ribbon. Over
her plain dark blue woolen dress, she wore a blue and white checked
gingham apron. Except for the aprons which she always wore, Sigrid's
dresses were much like those of her little American cousin, only they
were very plain and simple. She did not have any rings, or bracelets or
necklaces. That was not because she did not love the pretty trinkets.
Oh, no. But she must wait till she is older.

The nursery where they were sitting was a large comfortable room with
a huge porcelain stove which filled all one corner of the room and
reached way to the ceiling. It was made of shiny green tiles, the
colour of the walls of the room, and down in the front were two large
brass doors, behind which was the fire. This was the only kind of
stove that Sigrid had ever seen, so she never thought that it was queer.

I must not forget to tell you about the odd decoration of the nursery
windows. After the fashion of all Swedish windows, they swung out
from the middle like doors. When the cold winter months came, on went
double windows. Though Sigrid was the healthiest child in the world,
she never knew what it was like to open a window in winter and let the
fresh, pure air blow in, for all around the inside of the frame were
neatly pasted narrow strips of paper. You buy these strips at the store
with mucilage on the back like a postage stamp. In the little narrow
space between the two windows, Sigrid's mother had planted bright green
mosses and gray lichens with tiny red cups. A little wooden house and
several painted wooden men and women were placed in this miniature
park, that kept green all winter. Sigrid liked her window better than
any in the house, for all the others had only the mosses and coloured
berries.

"Before many months, I believe you will be able to knit a pair of
stockings," said Miss Eklund, as she watched her industrious pupil.

"Did you have to make all your stockings when you were a little girl?"
said Sigrid.

"Yes, indeed. I was smaller than you are when I began to learn to knit,
for my father was a poor farmer and there was a large family of us. The
first thing I ever made was a cozy for a coffee-urn, just as you are
doing," said Miss Eklund.

"Oh, tell me what you used to do when you were a little girl. Did you
learn your lessons at home as Anders and I do?" asked Sigrid.

"It was very different when I was your age, for we lived way out in
the country in a big red farmhouse, and our nearest neighbour was two
miles away. We lived in the far north, so that when the winter days
were only a few hours long, I could not go to school, but I learned
a great deal at home. During the long evenings, father and my big
brothers could not see to work on the farm or cut timber, so we would
all sit together in the living-room with its huge open fire. Father
made mother's chairs or a cradle for the baby, or whittled tools for
the farm. Brother Olaf carved wooden platters and spoons with wonderful
animals and figures. Then in the spring-time he would sell these things
in the city markets.

"Mother used to spin and weave our warm clothes, and she taught me how
to do all these things, besides sewing and embroidering. Sometimes,
father would tell us the same old sagas that you children love to hear."

"Did you have to study catechism, too?" Sigrid's rosy face looked
quite solemn at the thought, for every day she had to learn a portion
of the catechism, and also Bible history. She loved the stories of
David and Saul and Daniel in the lions' den, but the catechism! Oh,
that was very, very hard for a little girl!

"All little Swedish girls must learn their catechism, Sigrid, and my
father was even more strict than your good parents," replied Miss
Eklund.

"Elsa's big sister, who went to England last year, says that English
children do not have to learn to knit and sew and embroider just as
they learn their geography and spelling. Why do I have to learn to do
these things, when my father could buy them for me?" asked Sigrid.

Just then, Sigrid dropped a stitch in her knitting, and had to unravel
two rows before Miss Eklund could reply.

"Even though your mother lived in a beautiful house and her father was
very rich, she also learned to knit and sew and crochet. You must know
how to do these things so you will be able to take care of your own
home when you grow up. But it is time for dinner now and I hear your
mother's callers going. Make haste and put your knitting away lest she
see her present."

Every morning, Sigrid had an early breakfast with her brother Erik,
who went to a private school. He was studying very hard to go to the
university at Upsala. Then she must study her lessons and learn many of
the same things which her governess had been taught in the long winter
months on the farm. And after that came her gymnastic exercises every
day, as much a lesson as her reading and spelling.

"Erik," called Sigrid, after dinner, as her brother walked past the
nursery. Though he was only three years older than his sister, he was
a tall, sturdy boy, and Sigrid felt very proud of him. She beckoned him
to a quiet corner where they could whisper unobserved.

"I have a surprise for mother. Miss Eklund has taught me to knit, and
mother does not know yet. If I can get it finished, it is going to be a
cozy for Christmas."

"That's fine," said Erik, "but you wait till I show you something which
I learned to make in my sloyd class at school." Erik glanced around
cautiously. Nobody was in sight, so he drew a carved tray from his
school-bag.

"Oh, it's beautiful!" and Sigrid clapped her hands with glee. "How
could you make it? Why, it is just like an old Viking ship with the
dragon's head peering at you from the prow. And you have made the sides
like the scales of some strange monster. Mother will be so delighted.

"It must be splendid to be a big boy and go to your school," continued
Sigrid. "You do such interesting things. I wish that I could go on a
school journey with my teacher for two or three days and see some of
our wonderful old castles, as you do. Mother says perhaps Miss Eklund
and I may go with her and father when they go through the Göta Canal
to Göteborg, next summer, to visit Aunt Frederika. That will be better
than a school journey."

"But, Sigrid, there are many wonderful things to see right here in our
own beautiful Stockholm," said Erik. "Many school-children come here
every spring with their teachers."

"Sometime you promised you would tell me an old saga about Stockholm
before there was any city here," said Sigrid.

"Oh, you mean about King Agne," said Erik. "Once father pointed out to
me the place where he was supposed to have landed with his ships, so I
always like that story."

"Yes, yes, that is the one. Do tell me," said Sigrid.

Erik loved to tell his little sister these stories that he had often
heard from his mother and father, so he did not need to be urged.

"Many hundred years ago, when the bold Vikings sailed out from our
harbours and conquered far and wide, King Agne ruled in Upsala. Where
our city is to-day, was only a group of green wooded islands with a few
huts. Late in the summer, King Agne came sailing in from the Baltic,
and dropped anchor near the large island, where the king's palace is
to-day."

"Why, I can see that from mother's window," said Sigrid.

"Yes, we are so high up from the water, we can easily see the island.
These old Viking kings often went on voyages of conquest along our
shores. Way off to the east, King Agne had warred against King Froste
of Finland and slain him. Then the victor plundered the country and
sailed over here with much booty. He had taken captive the king's
beautiful daughter Skialf, his son Loge, and many others.

"King Agne was exultant over his victory and he wanted to make the
Princess Skialf his bride. So he said to his henchmen:

"'Let a spacious tent be erected beneath that fine oak-tree on yonder
tongue of land. Then let my swiftest runners carry staffs of invitation
to all the chieftains round about and bid them gather at a royal feast
to celebrate the wedding of King Agne and the fair Princess Skialf.
Command them that they bring a goodly store of meat and drink for the
feast.'"

"Miss Eklund told us about the messengers' staffs when we went
skating, so I know about them," interrupted Sigrid.

"These sticks were burned at one end, with a noose at the other end.
This was a very plain way of telling the chieftains that they would be
hanged and their houses burned, if they neglected to send the message
on to the next chief.

"So a large number gathered in the huge tent which looked out on the
Baltic, where the dragon-prowed ships lay at anchor.

"All this time the poor princess was very unhappy. But she dared not
let the king know her fears. She thought and thought how she could
escape becoming his bride. Finally a plan grew in her mind and she said
to the king:

"'O brave and generous king, I beseech you that, before the royal
wedding feast, you hold a funeral banquet in honour of my noble sire.
My lord, may you give ear to this great favour which a captive maiden
begs for her father.'

"The princess prayed so piteously that the heart of the old Viking was
melted, and he again commanded:

"'Let the two feasts for my slain enemy and for my wedding be
celebrated at the same time.'

"The goodly company gathered around the royal board, and fell to eating
and drinking with great zest. The grave-ale was handed around in a huge
drinking-horn, and the lusty warriors drank so long and so deep that
soon they became boisterous and began to fight among themselves.

"Now the king wore about his neck a long and massive chain of gold. It
was so long that it hung way down on his chest. Many other Viking kings
had worn this royal treasure.

"In the midst of the carousal, the princess whispered to the king:

"'My lord, have a care for your beautiful gold necklace, lest you lose
it during the revels.'

"'Ah, my lovely bride, you are right. What a prudent and careful wife
you will make!' said the king, as he coiled the chain several times
around his neck.

"Ere long, the fiery-hearted warriors were so drunk with ale that sleep
overcame them, and one by one they fell from their places at the table.
As soon as they were soundly slumbering, the princess rose from her
place by the king's side. She and the other captives had only pretended
to drink. She fastened a ship's rope to the coil of gold about the
king's neck and then handed the rope to her brother, who was outside.

"Whist! the men threw the rope over the branch of the huge oak. Up went
the tent into the air, and the king was strangled with his own golden
chain."

"What a horrible story!" said Sigrid with a shudder. "What became of
the princess?"

"Oh, she and the other captives hastened away to the ships and sailed
back to Finland. When the Vikings awoke from their heavy sleep, they
were wild with rage. But there was nothing to do but to bury the king
beneath a great mound of earth, which the waves long since washed away."

"Ugh! I am glad I did not live in those cruel days, aren't you, Erik?"

But Erik shook his head and laughed. "Just think what fun it would be
to sail away in a brave ship, out on the wild ocean where no man had
ever been before. Those old Vikings were as strong as giants and feared
nothing in the world. I must finish studying my lessons now, but I'll
tell you another tale some other time."



CHAPTER III.

YULE-TIDE


"I'LL bring you a gingerbread goat," said Sigrid to little Anders as
she started for the Christmas market with her mother.

"Next year you shall go too, my son," said Mrs. Lund. She kissed the
little lad, who was trying to look brave because he must stay at home.
From the nursery window, he watched them as far as he could see down
the long avenue. Behind Sigrid and her mother, a cheery-faced housemaid
followed at a respectful distance. She carried a huge market-basket.

"Just think, mother. There are only three days before Christmas. Won't
it be jolly to see grandma and Aunt Frederika and all the cousins?"
said Sigrid, who was dancing along beside her mother.

"Yes, indeed. They will all be here by to-morrow night," replied the
mother.

"What crowds of people are on the street," said the child, as they
wound their way through the good-natured throngs.

"Most of them are bound for the same place that we are," laughed Mrs.
Lund, who was rosy-cheeked and flaxen-haired like Sigrid.

"When we come to the big open space at the top of this hill, where all
the booths are, you must keep very close to my side, for you might
easily lose me."

"I never saw so many little booths before," said Sigrid. "I like their
white roofs, for they look like snow. Do they always have the Christmas
market on this hilltop?"

"Yes, for hundreds of years the peasants have been allowed to build
their shelters here and sell their Christmas wares. In some places,
for months, the whole family has been carving, knitting, weaving, and
sewing all these things that we shall see as we walk along," replied
Mrs. Lund.

"I see a booth with lots of little gingerbread pigs and goats. May I
buy one for Anders, over there?" asked Sigrid.

"In a minute. But first I must get some of old Brita's knitted caps for
some poor children I know."

They halted in front of one of these booths, which have a few rough
boards for a roof and a narrow counter. Here was an old peasant woman,
so wrapped up in warm clothes that you could scarcely see her pleasant,
wrinkled face. A black shawl was tied over her head, and a second
dark woolen shawl was crossed over her breast and tied behind. Her
petticoats were so heavily wadded that you wondered how she ever walked
at all.

"Doesn't she look funny, mother?" whispered Sigrid, who was clinging
to her mother's hand.

"Speak low, child," said Mrs. Lund. "I would not have you hurt the old
creature's feelings. It is bitter cold standing here all day. She needs
all her warm clothes. As long ago as when I was a child, she came here
to sell these garments that she knits and crochets all summer.

"I think that must be King Oscar's sleigh which has just come up the
hill," said Sigrid as they turned away from Brita's booth.

"Sure enough. He is making his annual visit to the Christmas market.
Let us stand here and watch him for a minute."

Just then the big Christmas crowd burst into a shout: "Long live King
Oscar!" The white-haired old gentleman, who is so tall and stately that
you would notice him anywhere, bowed graciously to his people.

"Would he ask me what I wanted for Christmas, if I stood near him?"
asked Sigrid.

"No, he asks only the poor little children who don't look as though
they would have a tree at home," replied Mrs. Lund. "Ah, he is talking
to that ragged little fellow who watched us buy the accordion for Karl.
By and by, his servant will buy a lot of things and give them to the
children. He is a kind-hearted man as well as a good king."

"Hear all those birds singing!" exclaimed the child.

"Listen again and see if you cannot tell where they are," said Mrs.
Lund.

"Why, I believe they are cuckoo whistles, only I never heard so many
all at once," cried Sigrid.

"Suppose we go over and buy two or three," said Mrs. Lund. They
threaded their way to the booth where these cheap little clay birds
were so popular.

The buxom maid was loaded with bundles long before Sigrid wanted to go
home.

For the next two days, there was a great stir all over the house.
Everything that could be washed and scoured was made clean and radiant.
All the family were making presents. Oh, such mystery everywhere!

"There, Miss Eklund," said Sigrid. "I have finished the cozy. Now
I want some more red sealing-wax. I have helped Anders wrap up his
presents, and mine are almost ready."

"Have you fastened on your rhymes?" asked Miss Eklund.

"All except the one for Aunt Frederika's present. I cannot seem to
think of a verse for her," was the reply.

"You must be sure and have a pretty verse for your dear aunt, who has
come way from Göteborg. Perhaps I can help you later."

Miss Eklund left her little charge labouring with pencil and paper.
Sigrid would never think her Christmas gifts complete without a verse
for each one.

"Here come father and Erik with the tree," shouted Anders.

"Isn't this a beauty?" inquired Erik, as he and his father rested for a
minute.

"Did you get it in the Christmas market, father? Mother and I saw a
whole forest of little Christmas trees there," said Sigrid.

"Yes," replied Major Lund. "I wanted to take you children out in the
country and cut it down myself. Sometime, when we have Christmas at
grandmother's, that's what we will do. Then you all shall help choose
the tree before I cut it.

"No one must go into the parlour now," he continued, as he carried
the tree through the doorway. "Mind you, not one peep till to-morrow
night." He shook his finger playfully at the children.

"I always like 'Dipping Day,'" said Sigrid, the day before Christmas,
to her brother Erik. "It is such fun to eat in the kitchen."

She was waiting for her turn to dip the piece of black bread on her
plate, into the kettle of sizzling hot fat. All the family, the
relatives who had come to spend the holidays and the servants, stood
about in the clean kitchen, eating the noonday meal. The walls fairly
gleamed with copper and brass pans and kettles. Even the brick oven had
a fresh coat of whitewash, in honour of the day. Every other little
Swedish girl over the land was eating her dinner in the kitchen on that
day, just as Sigrid was doing.

In the centre of the room, a long table was loaded with good things to
eat. And here was the big kettle in which the Christmas ham and other
meats had been cooked.

Later in the afternoon, when the children returned from a brisk walk
in the park, they gathered in the nursery for afternoon coffee. How
Sigrid loved this coffee-drinking on Christmas Eve! All the grown-up
people in Sweden drink a great deal of coffee. But Sigrid was seldom
allowed to have it except on a few holidays.

The children could hear the pleasant chatter of the older people, whose
coffee was served in the parlour. But they knew what was waiting for
them in the nursery.

On the little table there, a plate was prepared for each child with a
pyramid of different kinds of bread. Some of these rolls were in such
odd shapes that I am sure you would not call them bread at all. There
was black bread, white bread, saffron-coloured bread, some shaped
like little men and others like pigs and goats. Of course there were
gingerbread men, and even chocolate bread figures.

Each little mound had candy and nuts tucked away in the corners. The
kind of candy which Sigrid liked best was done up in a small package
with bright paper. Pictures and mottoes were pasted on the outside.

[Illustration: "A SHEAF OF GRAIN IS FASTENED UP IN THE YARD OF EVERY
COUNTRY HOME"]

I am afraid you will be getting as impatient for the Christmas tree as
Sigrid. But a Swedish Christmas is the most joyous season of the year.
And the merrymaking often lasts three weeks. Even the birds are not
forgotten, for a sheaf of grain is fastened up in the yard of every
country home for their Christmas dinner.

At last, the folding doors of the parlour were opened by invisible
hands. There stood the tree ablaze with candles and ornaments, but no
presents. For a moment every one was silent for the wonder of it.

Mrs. Lund began to sing the old carol, "Now the Christmas Has Come,"
and the others joined in.

After Major Lund had read the story of the Babe in the Manger, the
children caught hold of hands and danced about the tree. Round and
round they spun. In a wink, the circle broke and the long line of young
people went dancing in and out through the rooms of the house.

"Come and join us, father," they shouted. "Come, Aunt Frederika and
mother." Soon every one was drawn into the chain, even the servants in
the kitchen.

When they were out of breath with laughing, singing, and dancing, they
sat round a large table near the tree.

"What is all that noise about?" exclaimed Major Lund. He pretended to
be surprised. "Erik, there seems to be a great to-do outside the door.
Open it and see what is wanted."

Erik opened it a crack. In ran a little old man with a long white
beard. He wore a rough gray jacket, knee-breeches, and a tall, pointed
red cap.

"The Tomt, the Tomt," cried Sigrid.

"Is there any naughty child here, who doesn't deserve a present?"
asked the gnome. He hopped about and made a great deal of noise for a
small person.

Anders hid behind his mother's skirt. He was always a little afraid of
Tomt, who is much like our Santa Claus.

"No, we haven't any naughty children," replied the father.

"Then I shall leave some presents from my packet," cried Tomt. He
darted out into the hall and came back slowly tugging some large
packages. Then he vanished as quickly as he had come.

"Now, Erik, you may bring the baskets and help me give out the
presents," said Major Lund.

Beneath the low boughs of the fir-tree were several large baskets,
heaped with presents. Major Lund read aloud the verse on each neat
package before Erik passed it. Oh, such a heap of presents for each
and all! It was quite late in the evening before all the bundles were
opened. What a hand-shaking and kissing there was!

"I thought that looked like a foot-pusher when Tomt brought it in,"
said Sigrid, who shone with happiness over her new treasure.

"How proud I am of my children," said Mrs. Lund, as Sigrid and Erik
were thanking her for their gifts. "I am sure I had no idea you could
knit so well. I shall use the cozy for afternoon coffee to-morrow. And
the Viking ship tray is really beautiful, Erik."

Little children should have been abed and asleep when the family
finally sat down to their supper. But it was Christmas Eve, and
nobody minded. Among all the good things that Sigrid ate that night,
I must tell you about two dishes that every Swedish girl eats for her
Christmas supper,--lut-fisk and rice porridge. The big bowl of porridge
had a crisscrossing of powdered cinnamon over the top. Inside was one
almond. The person who found it would be the next one in the family to
be married.

For weeks, the Christmas lut-fisk--a kind of fish--had soaked in lye.
Then it was cooked a long time. Whenever Sigrid lifted a portion on her
fork, it fell apart in delicate flakes that were quite transparent.

"We must not forget to put out a dish of porridge and milk for Tomt
when he comes back in the night," said Erik, as the children were
getting ready for bed.

"I'll bring Anders' little chair from the nursery, because it is so low
Tomt can reach up to it," said Sigrid. "If I put it beside the kitchen
door, I am sure he will see it when he comes in."

Early the next morning,--oh, very, very early,--Anders crept
down-stairs to see if Tomt had been there.

"He drank all the milk and ate most of the porridge," cried Anders, in
great excitement. Then he ran back to let Miss Eklund finish dressing
him.

"It seems more like night than morning," exclaimed Erik. It was not six
o'clock, but the children were starting for church. Indeed, it could
not have been blacker at midnight. But in almost every window that
they passed two candles burned brightly. When they returned for their
breakfast, after the joyous Christmas service, the sun had not yet
risen.

For days the festivities continued.

"Please, mother, may we keep the tree till Knut's Day?" begged Anders
on New Year's afternoon. The candles had been relighted on the tree for
a party for some poor children. The last happy child had gone home,
loaded with goodies.

Mrs. Lund consented. But even Knut's Day, the thirteenth of January,
came all too soon. Then the children helped to "rob the tree," as the
Swedes say when they take off its pretty trinkets. They looked very
solemn as one of the maids carried the tree into the back-yard.

"Now Christmas is really over," mourned Erik, "and school begins
to-morrow."



CHAPTER IV

AT GRANDMOTHER'S


"PERA, you do remember me, don't you? Oh, you nice old dog!" Anders
threw his arms around the neck of a small shaggy yellow dog that was
wriggling almost out of his skin with joy. You could not have told
which was the happier, the dog or the boy.

"Just think! I haven't seen you for six months, Pera!" The two
playmates romped across grandmother's lawn to the porch, where Erik was
sitting on the steps with a tennis racket, waiting for his father.

"Sigrid has been hunting everywhere for you, Anders," said Erik.

"Here you are," exclaimed Sigrid a minute later, as she spied Anders.
"Larsson says there is a baby calf over in the barn, and he will show
it to us if we will go now."

Anders jumped up quickly, and followed by the dog, the children ran
toward the group of barns and stables, at some distance from the house.

"Look at all those wild strawberries in this field," said Anders.

"I had forgotten that it was time for them. I must ask grandmother if
we can pick all we want," said Sigrid.

"I want to see father's new sailboat. Have you been down to the lake
yet?" asked Anders.

"No," said Sigrid. "Let's go around and see everything. Mother says we
shall stay all summer, because poor grandmother is so old and feeble
she doesn't like to leave her. Larsson, Larsson, where are you?"

The old farmer, who had taken care of the grounds and farm for many
years, hobbled out to the barn door to welcome the children and to
show them the new calf, the little pigs, and the chickens.

No place in the world is quite so interesting as grandmother's old
house, whether you are a Swedish or an American girl.

Sigrid's grandmother lived in a fine old house on a hilltop which
overlooked Lake Mälar. It was only a short journey of two or three
hours from Stockholm, yet it was quite out in the country, several
miles from any village. As you drove through the avenue of huge
beech-trees, you would be curious to know why so many small, low-lying
buildings were grouped near the house. They were placed to form three
sides of a square, after the fashion of many Swedish country places.

Off in the distance were the barns, which the children visited, and
another group of red cottages, where the farm-helpers and their
families lived. These people lived in a little world by themselves,
with everything they needed right on the grounds. If Mrs. Lund wished
fish for dinner, she could not send a maid to market to buy a live fish
from a tank of water, as she did in Stockholm. Instead, one of the
servants caught the fish in the lake, or she ordered smoked fish from
the storehouse.

On each side of the family residence were houses for the servants. Some
of the small separate sheds were used for washing, baking, tools, and
provisions. But you would enjoy a peep into some of these buildings
with the children.

The new sailboat was anchored at the wharf near the bath-house. "Father
has promised to teach Erik how to sail this summer," said Sigrid. They
were clinging to the wharf railing, so that they could get a glimpse of
the little cabin, with its two bunks and red cushions. "I am glad you
learned to swim last summer, for now we can have such sport when Karin
and Elsa get here."

Sigrid had learned to swim when she was very small. Look in your
geography and you will see that almost one-tenth of the whole surface
of Sweden is covered with lakes and rivers. There is water, water
everywhere. Just fancy how miserable a Swedish mother would be if her
little daughter could not swim!

The door of the storehouse stood open when the children climbed the
hill from the lake, so they slipped in after Svea. On the outside, it
was just a mound of grassy earth, with a door cut in the grass, but no
windows.

"Isn't it cool in here!" exclaimed Anders. "Svea, aren't you going to
skim the milk?"

"Later in the day, Anders," said the maid, who held her lantern up over
her head while she hunted for the sausages.

From above, hung long strings of sausages, smoked hams, and fish. In
the dim light of the lantern, the children could see the big round
cheeses and the bins of potatoes. The pans of milk were set to cool in
another room of this queer storehouse.

"I wish you would give us some lingon jam," said Sigrid. "The kind we
had last year, Svea."

"Wait till I open a new jar. Now, run ahead, for I want to lock the
door," replied Svea. She had not forgotten how the children had teased
her the summer before for their favourite jam of red Swedish berries.

"Next week will be the time for washing. Perhaps mother will let us
ride down to the lake when the clothes are carried there," said Sigrid.
She tried to lift herself up on the window-sill to look into the
wash-house, where the huge copper kettle was ready to boil the clothes,
but she was not tall enough.

"Never mind," she said. "We can get into the bake-house, I am sure.
Sometime, Svea says, I may help her bake bread. It must be almost time
now, for she hasn't made any for several months."

In the city, Sigrid's mother bought her rye bread from a baker, but
grandmother had her bread baked three or four times a year in this
little house. Most of the room was filled by the huge stone fireplace,
which was heated to a high temperature. Then the coals were raked off
and the rye bread cooked on the hot stones.

"What does she do with this flat round piece of wood with a short
handle?" asked Anders, who was exploring.

"Oh," said Sigrid, "it is a great lark to watch her. She rolls out the
batter quite thin, and slips that wooden shovel beneath each cake. Then
she takes this other wooden spade with a long handle, shakes the cake
from the little spade to that one, and thrusts it on the hot stones.
Svea does it very quickly, but she laughed when I asked if it was hard,
so I don't believe it is as easy as it looks."

[Illustration: BAKING RYE BREAD AT GRANDMOTHER'S]

"Don't you think it is time for dinner? I am so hungry," said Anders.

"Guess what we are going to have to-day," said Sigrid.

"Pancakes and jelly," Anders replied promptly.

"No, sour milk, with powdered ginger on top."

"Let's run, then," said Anders, "because I don't want to be late and
have father say I cannot have any."

But they arrived in season and ate their full share of the white curds,
which they always enjoyed.

Inside of the old house, you would be amazed at the size of the rooms.
Though they were simply furnished, there was much choice old carved
furniture, lovely plants, and vines, so that the rooms were very
cheery. The floors were scrubbed beautifully clean and covered with
rugs. Everywhere was exquisite order and neatness.

As in the city home, the children had a large nursery, where they
always played during the little time they were indoors. A trapeze hung
between the nursery and an adjoining room; a large cushion rested
beneath. On rainy days, the children hung from this indoor swing and
climbed the ropes like young monkeys.

"One, two, three, four, five," counted Sigrid, as she sat on the porch
a few days after their arrival. "Why, are all those old women going to
help with the washing to-morrow, mother?"

"Yes; we shall need them all. Larsson has arranged for them to sleep
at some of the servants' houses, so they will be ready to begin very
early in the morning."

The queer procession of old women, with coloured kerchiefs tied over
their heads, slowly filed down the road. Long before the children were
awake the next morning, a fire had been lighted in the wash-house
beneath the monster kettle, and the women were at work.

Wasn't that a lively week, though! Sigrid's mother was an excellent
housekeeper, but she never had all the clothes and linen of the family
washed but three times a year! Such scores and scores of garments went
into that copper kettle--enough to clothe a whole village. Even if
her family had been quite poor, Sigrid would still have had many more
dresses and aprons than her American cousin.

By the time the oxen were harnessed to a long, low wagon with latticed
sides, Sigrid and Anders were ready to climb in and ride to the lake
with the old women and the tubs of clothes which had boiled in the
kettle.

As soon as they arrived at a clean, sandy beach near the wharf, the
children hopped out of the wagon.

"Let's sit in the rowboat at the end of the wharf," said Anders. "Then
we can play we are pirates and watch the women on the shore."

The washerwomen took off their shoes and stockings, pinned up their
skirts, and waded into the water. Then there was such a splashing and
rinsing of clothes, and bobbing of kerchiefed heads, and swinging of
long arms!

"They are bad children. We must beat them very hard," one wrinkled old
woman explained to Anders. She had carried her pile of dripping clothes
from the water's edge to a big stone, where she pounded them with a
flat wooden beater. "But they will be as white as a lily when I am
done."

Later all the garden bushes were spread with garments. You needed only
to half-close your eyes to fancy a summer snow-squall had whitened the
green grass over a large area.

"Everything in the house will be fresh and sweet for Midsummer's Day,"
sighed Mrs. Lund, when the last washerwoman had returned to the country
district where she lived.



CHAPTER V.

MIDSUMMER'S EVE


"IT looks more like the mast of one of the big ships in the harbour
than anything else," said Erik. He and his father were standing beside
the huge May-pole which lay flat on the green grass in grandmother's
front lawn. Near by several men were hammering away on a large wooden
platform, in the centre of which the pole was to be hoisted.

"Yes, my son, I have often thought so. This pole is not more than fifty
feet high. I have seen them twice as tall. But if we are going to cover
all these cross-bars with birch boughs and wreaths, we must hitch up
old Maja and drive into the woods soon."

"Indeed, you must," said Mrs. Lund, as she hurried across the lawn
with a huge wreath of daisies over her arm and a basket of nodding
bluebells. "You will find us under that clump of beeches, making our
wreaths, when you return. Oh! there is plenty for every one to do
before the pole is trimmed for to-night."

"Mother, you do make wreaths so fast," said Sigrid. She was sitting
in the midst of a group of friends and relatives, who had gathered at
grandmother's to celebrate Midsummer's Eve and the day following. As
she talked, she sorted daisies, or "priests'-ruffs," as she called
them, into bunches for her mother.

"Just hand me a clump of those white daisies, so I can tie their long
stems to this rope, and you will soon see how I do it," said Mrs. Lund.

"To-night will be the longest of the whole year," said Miss Eklund,
while her fingers plaited birch leaves. "How I love these long days of
sunshine! Why, last night I read in my room without a lamp till almost
eleven o'clock!"

"Please tell Karin and me about how you made pancakes on Midsummer's
Eve when you were a little girl, Miss Eklund," begged Sigrid, who, with
her cousin, was sitting near the governess.

"Oh! the young girls out in the country where I used to live will have
a merry time of it to-night. I wonder if they still make pancakes. I
was about sixteen years old the night I tried it with two other girls,
for the charm would not work unless there were three. Together we took
the bowl from the cupboard, beat the eggs, and added the flour. All
three of us stirred it at once and threw in the salt at the same time.
Of course, we got in too much salt. Not one of us must speak or laugh
the whole time. That was the hardest of all. Dear me, I hadn't thought
of that night for years." Miss Eklund delayed her tale to laugh as
heartily as if she was making up for lost time.

"After we had poured out the batter and cooked it, each of us ate a
third of the very salt cake. But we couldn't drink before we went to
bed. During our dreams, the older girls told us that a young man would
appear to each of us and offer us a glass of water."

Karin interrupted the story by exclaiming, "What is that coming down
the road? I believe it is the boys with our green boughs. Old Maja
doesn't look as though he liked those branches thrust behind his ears.
Why, the wagon is all one bower of birch-trees!"

As the wagon drove into the yard, Erik spied his newly-arrived cousin
and sung out:

    "There once was little Karin,
       Who at the royal hall
     Among the handmaids serving
       The fairest was of all.

    "Then spoke the King, 'Fair Karin,
       Wilt thou my sweetheart be?
     My horse and golden saddle
       I'll straightway give to thee.'"

The children all laughed merrily at the new turn to the familiar old
song.

"How pretty we shall make the May-pole!" exclaimed Sigrid.

She called it a "May-pole," though it was the middle of June. The
Swedish word for "May" means green leaf. And a "green-leaf pole" it
certainly was when they had draped the cross-bars with leaves and
garlands and added scores of the yellow and blue flags of Sweden.

Toward the close of the afternoon, the pole in its gala-dress was swung
into place by means of huge ropes. Then a great shout went up from the
little crowd of relatives and working people who lived on the grounds.

"Strike up a dance, Per," cried Major Lund to the fiddler. In a
twinkling, the children had caught hold of hands and were dancing
around the pole. Old and young, servants and all, shared in the
merrymaking.

[Illustration: "IN A TWINKLING, THE CHILDREN ... WERE DANCING AROUND
THE POLE"]

As Sigrid ran about in a gay costume, you would scarcely have
recognized her. Instead of her plain city clothes, she wore a pretty
peasant dress. Many fashionable Swedish mammas let their children wear
this dress on holidays in the country. Over her dark blue woolen skirt,
Sigrid wore a bright apron, striped in red, blue, yellow, black, and
white. The waist was white, with a red silk bodice and shoulder-straps.
An embroidered kerchief was folded quaintly about her throat. On her
yellow braids rested a tall pointed blue cap, with red pipings and
tassels in back. Several other little girls at the dance wore similar
dresses.

"Erik," said Sigrid, quite late in the evening, as the fiddler stopped
to tune up for the next dance, "several times to-night I have seen
some one over by the well-sweep. I thought perhaps he was one of the
farmers' children. But he hides there as though he was afraid to come
out."

"Suppose we go over and speak to him," said Erik.

When they reached the well-sweep, no one was there.

"I know that I saw him only a minute ago. There, I think he is behind
that elm-tree. You run this side and I will go the other," said Sigrid.

All escape was cut off this time, and Erik dragged the cowering child
from his hiding-place.

"If he isn't a chimney-sweep!" exclaimed Erik when he saw the boy away
from the shadow of the tree.

"You needn't be afraid of us, little boy," said Sigrid, kindly. "You
can't help it because you have to go down into the chimneys and your
face is always black with soot. Don't you want something to eat?"

The sooty youngster grinned and shifted his coil of rope from one
shoulder to the other. He managed to murmur, "Thank you." Sigrid ran
ahead to the kitchen to get some salt herring, rye bread, and coffee.
The little sweep left his long broom and rope on the grass, and began
to eat greedily.

"Aren't you ever afraid to go down inside of a pitch-black chimney?"
asked Sigrid. Her interest in the dances had waned for a few minutes,
for she had never talked with one of these forlorn little creatures
before.

The boy shook his head in reply. He was too busy with his salt herring
to waste any words.

"I am going to ask mother if she will let him stay here all night,"
said Sigrid. She did not know that this outcast, who was so shy with
her, could take very good care of himself. All summer, he wandered
through the country, cleaning chimneys. At night, he slept in strange
barns or haymows and was very happy and comfortable.

Mrs. Lund talked to the lad and told him that he could spend the night
in one of the outhouses. The next day was a holiday and no one would
want a chimney swept.

Sigrid's tender heart was at ease again, and she returned to the
dancers. The older people stayed up far into the bright night, but the
children soon went to bed. From her chamber window, Sigrid could see
the huge bonfires on the hillsides far away. The witches are abroad on
Midsummer's Eve, and these fires drive them away.

Every one goes to church on Midsummer's Day, which is also called St.
John's Day. So the next morning, the Lund family drove several miles to
a little country church. Before they started, Sigrid went to find the
sweep. But the little wanderer had started on his travels again.

"Larsson says all the school-children will sing carols, this morning,"
said Mrs. Lund. "I am sure we shall have a beautiful service."

As they drove along the road, they met many country people on their way
to church. The women all carried their hymn-books wrapped neatly in a
silk handkerchief.

"Why do the men all sit on one side and the women on the other?"
whispered Anders. His family sat in a little gallery of the church.
Down below, the altar and the square box pews with doors were banked
with lilacs.

"Hush, dear," replied his mother. "You must remember the country people
are used to it, so it is not strange to them."

The ride home and the noonday meal seemed endless. As soon as ever
they had thanked their parents for their food, the children were
out-of-doors again. A big wagon, trimmed with birches and filled with
hay, was ready at the door. Midsummer's Day without a picnic in the
woods is almost as bad as Christmas without presents.

"Don't forget the nets for the crayfish, Erik," said Major Lund, who
was stowing away luncheon baskets in the wagon.

"They are in all right, father. The big kettle in which to boil them
and the coffee-pot are under the seat," said Erik.

Even a plain every-day picnic, where you eat sandwiches and cakes under
a tree, is fun. But on this picnic, the children were going to help
catch crayfish, which look like small lobsters. Then they were planning
to cook them over a camp-fire.

The last child nestled into the hay and they were off.



CHAPTER VI.

A VISIT TO SKANSEN


"I WANT to see the Lapps and the reindeer. Aren't we almost there?"
said Anders to his mother.

"Yes, little son, we are nearly at the top of the hill," replied Mrs.
Lund.

The Lund family were on their way to Skansen, a famous park near
Stockholm. Soon the car stopped and every one scrambled out.

"We are so high up that we can see the harbour," said Erik, as he
trudged along beside his sister with one of the luncheon baskets
hung over his arm. At their feet lay the city of islands with its
ribbon-like canals of blue. Away on the horizon, the water of the bay
sparkled in the sun, like a huge amethyst. The children halted a
minute to look back on the fair scene.

"Out there the Vikings sailed away to new lands," said Erik, who was
never weary of dreaming about the heroes of the old sagas.

"Hurry up, children," called Mrs. Lund. "We have too much before us to
see, to spend time looking back."

Through the entrance gate, they passed into a grove of pines and
birches, with winding roads. Among the trees were many wild animals in
pens, and queer houses and buildings, such as the children had never
seen in the city or at grandmother's. Every few steps, they met a
soldier with a helmet and shield, or a brightly dressed peasant. You
would think you had come to a foreign country, and so did Sigrid.

As they turned a bend in the road, they saw a low cottage of hewn
timber. It was painted red and had a hood over the door. In the yard
was a wagon that might have been made by sawing a huge wooden cask from
top to bottom, and then placing one half on wheels.

"I never saw such a funny cart," said Anders.

"It is odd," replied his father. "A long time ago, people used to ride
in a wagon like that. Suppose we go over and look at that house."

"You don't know the people who live there, do you, father?" enquired
Sigrid.

"No, my daughter," he replied. "But all these people are accustomed
to visitors. You see, a few years ago, there lived a wise man named
Artur Hazelius, who loved his country very dearly. He travelled from
the fjelds and glaciers where the Lapps live to the fertile fields of
Skäne, in the south.

"Something troubled him very much. He cared a great deal for the queer
old homes which he saw in out-of-the-way villages. No one makes such
houses to-day. He knew they would soon be destroyed. Then he was sorry
that only a few peasants still wear their old gay costumes.

"So he said to himself, 'I will go to the king and ask him to give me a
large park. There I will fetch some of these houses. Our children will
not have to read in books about the way their great-grandfathers lived.
They shall visit the very houses they lived in.'"

"How could he bring a whole house here?" asked Erik.

"That was hard sometimes," Major Lund replied. "Often they pulled down
a house, brought the timber here, and set it up as it was before. Then
he had people come here and wear the same clothes and live in the same
way they did in the olden times. Nowhere in the world is there a park
like this."

"See that little girl with a kerchief over her head, peeping at us from
the window," said Anders.

A moment later, a smiling peasant woman came to the door. She made a
curtsey and invited them to enter.

"Why, I can scarcely see at all," said Sigrid.

The big living-room was lighted by the tiniest little window. The
two sleeping-rooms were also as dark as your pocket, and very small.
Hemlock tips were strewn over the clean floor. From the ceiling hung a
pole of flat rye bread.

"You dear baby!" exclaimed Sigrid's mother, for she had discovered a
small canvas hammock hung in a dark corner. The baby was asleep in its
hanging nest.

"She is a very good child and lies there all day by herself," said the
baby's mother.

"They never can move their beds at all," said Sigrid, who was making
a tour about the room. She peered curiously between some striped
hand-woven curtains which hung in front of a wooden bed, built into the
house. Similar beds lined the walls.

"Many of the peasants use that kind of bed," said Major Lund. "Once,
when I was in Lapland, I slept in a big drawer."

"Was that the time that you were snowed in and you climbed out through
the chimney to dig a path?" asked Erik.

"Yes, that was the same time," said his father.

"I should think you would have smothered in the drawer," said Anders,
who had been very quiet.

"There was no danger of that," replied Major Lund. "All around the
rooms were wooden sofas. At night, you pulled out a big drawer beneath
the seat. The drawer was filled with hay, and over that you spread
blankets."

Mrs. Lund talked to the peasant woman while the children continued to
look about. A huge fireplace filled one corner of the room. On a low
brick platform that came out into the room, the fire was built.

Across another corner a rope was stretched. Over it hung dresses and
coats.

"What do they do that for?" whispered Sigrid to her mother.

"They haven't any closet for their dresses except that," replied Mrs.
Lund.

For a moment or two, after they came out of the gloomy interior, the
sun was dazzling. They ate dinner under some pine-trees, and then kept
on through the woods.

"We haven't time to visit all these houses. But you would like to see
the hut half-buried in the ground. The herdsmen live in such places in
summer while they are tending their cattle. And we won't forget the
Lapps, Anders," said the father, gently tweaking his son's ear.

"Who are all those people in that carriage?" asked Mrs. Lund.

"I had almost forgotten that this is Bellman's day. Those people live
here. They always dress in the costume of the time of our beloved poet
on his anniversary day."

An old carryall drove slowly past. Within were several men dressed in
black velvet coats and knee-breeches, white wigs, and three-cornered
hats.

"Later in the day, we will walk over to Bellman's statue, where I am
sure we shall find many people."

"I see the reindeer," exclaimed Anders. "There they are on those high
rocks."

Before them stretched the group of Laplander tents of birch poles
covered with canvas.

"That dark-skinned girl playing with the dog looks about my age. I
wonder what she does with the wooden spoon which hangs from her belt,"
said Sigrid.

"Go and ask her, if you like," said Mrs. Lund. "I don't believe that
she will understand you. That tent has the flap turned back. Do you see
that flat stone in the centre? Her dinner is cooked in a big kettle on
that stone. When the meal is ready, she will dip her ladle into the
kettle for her share."

"Over yonder is the summer-house of our famous seer, Swedenborg. It
used to be in his garden in Stockholm, and there he worked and wrote,"
said Major Lund, nodding in the direction of a neat pavilion.

"We have just time before the dances to see the people who are
celebrating Bellman's day," said Mrs. Lund.

Wreaths and flowers decked the bronze bust of the poet. At the foot of
the pedestal a man was reciting, and the crowd was very quiet.

"How he loved to come here and lie out in the warm sun and sing those
same songs that man is reciting!" said Major Lund. They lingered only
a few minutes.

"This is what I like," said Sigrid, with an air of great content. She
and her brothers had hurried ahead of their parents. They sat watching
some lively dancing on a large platform.

"They have begun 'Weaving Homespun,'" said Erik, as the fiddler and
accordion player struck up a quaint air.

The peasants faced each other in two lines. Then the men and maidens
wove in and out in the figures of the dance. "Like weaving on an old
loom," Erik explained to Sigrid.

"I wish I could have a red dress and a stiff white cap with pointed
ears," said Sigrid, who could not keep her eyes away from one of the
dancers.

"The crown princess also admires that dress," said Mrs. Lund. "She
requires all her maids of honour to wear it, in the forenoon, at
Tullgarn. I am sure it is so pretty, I don't believe they mind at all."

"No two of those girls are dressed alike," continued Sigrid, who was
still interested in costumes.

"That is because each maid wears the peasant dress of one of the
provinces of Sweden, and there are many provinces. One of those
Dalecarlian girls has a dress like the one you wore on Midsummer's Eve.
In that part of the country, the girls wear their bright aprons and
kerchiefs more than anywhere else in Sweden."

"Why, where is Anders?" asked Major Lund. He had been chatting with an
old friend and had just returned to his family.

Sure enough, the lad had disappeared. The crowd had pressed in
close about the platform. Every one was so pleased with these old
folk-dances, that they had forgotten the child.

"Do you suppose he has gone back to look at the seals or the polar
bears?" asked Erik.

It was sometime before Major Lund returned from his hunt. But Anders
was with him.

"Where do you think I found the rogue?" asked Major Lund. "He was
drinking raspberry juice with a nice old lady who thought he was lost.
Do you know what happens to little boys who run away?"

Major Lund looked very stern. But the mother was so glad to find the
child that I don't believe anything did happen.



CHAPTER VII.

THROUGH THE GÖTA CANAL


THE gong clanged. The big steamer churned the water into foamy suds as
it left the wharf at Stockholm. Sigrid and her father and mother waved
their handkerchiefs to the friends on shore as long as they could see
them.

"Let us find seats in the bow of the boat, where we shall have a good
view of the canal," said Mrs. Lund.

"I never was in such a large boat before. It is just like a house,"
cried Sigrid, who was much excited.

"Wait till you see the small state-room with the red plush sofas that
turn down at night for a bed," said Major Lund. "We must leave all
these posies there before we come on deck again."

All three of them had their arms full of flowers which their friends
had brought them.

"How long will it take us to get to Aunt Frederika's house, father?"

"Nearly three days. You will enjoy the trip, Sigrid. We are to cross
the whole of Sweden. But we shall see beautiful country and many old
castles before we reach Göteborg. You won't have to stay on the steamer
all the time, for we shall often get off at the locks and wander
through old towns."

"Wherever shall we sleep?" Mrs. Lund asked with a smile. The great mass
of flowers almost filled the tiniest room you ever saw. They finally
had to throw some of them away when they went to bed.

"I wish Erik and Anders could have come too," said Mrs. Lund when they
were on deck again. She almost never took a journey without her whole
family.

"Grandmother would be very lonely if we were all gone. Our two weeks'
trip will soon be over," replied her husband.

"Father," said Sigrid, a few hours later, "sometimes the canal is not
much wider than the boat. Why, it seems just as if we were riding on
top of the land instead of the water."

"Yes, I know what you mean." Major Lund was amused at the child's
distress of mind. "We shall go through several places in the canal, so
narrow that trees on opposite banks arch over the boat. But when we
reach the big lakes you will think we are at sea. Sometimes they are so
broad, you cannot see the shore."

"I thought it was the Göta Canal all the way," said Sigrid.

"So it is," replied her father. "But that is like a family name for
wide rivers, big lakes, and little short canals that all join hands to
make a waterway across the country."

Long before bedtime, Sigrid felt quite at home in her new quarters.
After supper, she again sat on deck with her parents.

Suddenly, they heard a sharp cry. "Oh, Isabella, you will drown! Can't
you get her, father? What shall I do! Oh! Oh!"

Several people hastened to the side of the boat where the cry rose.
A pretty child was weeping bitterly, while her father was trying to
comfort her.

"She has only lost her doll in the water, madam," explained the
gentleman to Mrs. Lund, who was eager to help. He spoke in English.

"What did he say?" asked Sigrid, who was too far off to hear.

"She dropped her doll overboard while she was waving her hand to some
children on the shore. Poor child! she is all alone with her father."

"Is she an English girl?" asked Sigrid.

"I think she is an American. Perhaps she would like some of your
twisted ring cakes, when she stops crying."

When the child's sobs finally ceased, Mrs. Lund said to her kindly:

"Won't you come and sit beside my little daughter? She wants to give
you some of her cakes."

The two children glanced at each other shyly.

"May I, father?" asked the American child.

"Certainly, Anna. You are very kind to amuse her," said the stranger
politely to Mrs. Lund.

Sigrid could speak in English as well as Swedish, which seemed to
surprise Anna.

"What nice sweet pretzels!" said Anna as she nibbled at one of the
cakes.

"Mother bought them of a peasant girl who came on board at that funny
place where the banks were so high we couldn't see the town," explained
Sigrid.

"Did you bring your doll with you?" asked Anna, who still mourned the
lost Isabella.

"Oh, yes!" said Sigrid, "and a whole trunk of clothes. Wait a moment
and I will get her."

She returned with a pretty yellow box on which red and blue flowers
were painted. Grandmother had a large chest at home exactly like this
toy.

"Oh! you have a peasant doll. How I wish I had one like that! Mother
bought Isabella for me in Paris," said Anna.

During the next two days of the trip, the little girls were often
together.

"What a giant stairway! I don't see how the steamer can go up to the
top," Sigrid exclaimed, the next morning. They had reached the town
of Berg, and as she looked at the canal before her, she saw seventeen
locks, which mounted to the sky.

[Illustration: THE GÖTA CANAL]

"But it can," said Major Lund. "Hundreds of vessels climb those locks
every year. It will take several hours, so that we may as well go
ashore.

"When we come to Vadstena, Sigrid, we shall have just time to cross the
drawbridge and visit a grim old castle there. Gustaf Vasa, our first
Swedish king, built it more than three hundred years ago."

"Didn't we have any kings before him?" asked Sigrid.

"Yes," said Major Lund. "But he was the first king to unite our people
and make Sweden a strong nation."

"Mother and I took a trip once while we were in Stockholm. Some one
pointed out the Castle of Gripsholm, where a nobleman named Vasa hid
during the 'Blood Bath of Sweden.' Was that the same man?" asked Anna,
who was standing near.

"Erik told me all about that once," replied Sigrid. "I am sure he is
the same man. King Christian, the Dane, ruled Sweden then. He was very
cruel, Anna. Why, he murdered so many Swedish noblemen that people call
that time 'The Blood Bath.' No one knew who would have his head chopped
off next."

Anna shuddered. "Did they kill Gustaf Vasa?"

"His father was slain, but Gustaf Vasa fled away into the mountains,"
replied Sigrid. Ever since she was a baby, she had heard these stories
of the old kings. They were real people to her.

"He had many wild adventures in Dalecarlia. Sometime, if you go there,
Anna, you will see where he lived. The people there loved him dearly
and wanted him for king instead of the tyrant Dane," said Major Lund.

"Do tell me about his adventures, Major Lund," said Anna.

"Ask Sigrid; I am sure she knows," he replied.

Sigrid's eyes shone with delight. "I know, I know," she exclaimed.
"He cut off his hair and put on homespun clothes, so he looked like a
peasant. Then he worked in the mines and on farms."

"Didn't the peasants know who he was?" asked Anna.

"Some of them did. They wanted to save him from the Danish soldiers.
Father saw a house where a woman helped him to escape. She hung a towel
from a window. With that for a rope, he climbed down and ran away.

"The story I like best is the one about the farmer who hid Gustaf Vasa
in a load of straw. The soldiers thrust their spears all through the
straw, but they could not find him.

"One spear did wound him. The farmer feared the soldiers would return
and see the blood-stains on the snow. So he took his jack-knife and cut
a small place on his horse's leg. When the soldiers came back, they saw
the red spots on the white ground. The peasant showed them the wound on
the horse and they were satisfied."

"Don't forget about Margit's quick wits," said Major Lund.

"She was a peasant woman in whose house Gustaf Vasa stayed," continued
Sigrid. "One day she heard the soldiers coming.

"'My lord, where shall I hide you?' she cried.

"That day she had brewed a huge tub of Christmas ale. In a second, she
thought of a plan.

"'Here, hurry down this ladder.' She pulled up a trap-door in the
kitchen floor and he fled into the cellar. By the time the soldiers
reached the gate she had pulled the tub of ale over the trap-door. The
soldiers never guessed where the prince was."

"I suppose they caught him, at last," said Anna.

"That's the best part," said Sigrid. "After a long time, he gathered an
army. Then he fought the Danes and made them give up Sweden for ever."

"Did you ever fight in a real war, Major Lund?" asked Anna, after a
minute of silence.

"Not yet," he replied. "Awhile ago, when Norway wanted her own king,
many people feared war between Norway and Sweden. But everybody is glad
that Haakon, the new King of Norway, was chosen without blood-shed."

"That Frenchman you were talking to this morning, father, called King
Oscar a 'Bernadotte.' What did he mean?" asked Sigrid.

"He was only referring to King Oscar's French ancestor. King Karl XIII,
who lived a hundred years ago, had no children. So the people tried to
decide who should be the next king. Finally they chose a famous French
officer, named Bernadotte, who fought under Napoleon. He was elected
crown prince."

"I am sure that must be Vadstena in sight now," said Mrs. Lund. "It
will be pleasant to go ashore for awhile. Grandmother asked me to buy
her some of the lovely lace they make here."

"You will have to be quick, if you want to see the castle, too," said
Major Lund.

The last few hours of the journey, they steamed down the Göta River
toward the city of Göteborg.

"Gustaf Adolf chose well when he built a city at the mouth of this
river," said Major Lund to his wife. They were watching the huge rafts
of timbers that were floating on their way to the seaport.

"Was he any relation to Gustaf Vasa?" asked Sigrid.

"Yes, Gustaf Adolf was his grandson. A nobler and braver king never
lived," replied Major Lund. He spoke with the love and reverence which
every Swede feels for Gustaf Adolf, the greatest king the nation ever
had.

"I do hope Aunt Frederika will be at the pier to meet us," said Sigrid
as they approached the landing. "Oh, I think I see her! No, I don't."

But Aunt Frederika did find them, and welcomed them warmly. Such a fine
visit they all had together! Erik and Anders heard about little else
for the rest of the summer.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE NAME-DAY


THE summer months had winged themselves away. All through the golden
days, Sigrid had lived in the sunshine, as blithe and merry as an elfin
maid. To be sure, there had been a short lesson nearly every day with
Miss Eklund, for Sigrid's mother did not believe that her little girl
should spend all the holiday months in frolicking.

September had come, and with it hints of long lesson days and a return
to Stockholm. But in the excitement over Sigrid's name-day party, it
was easy to forget such unpleasant things. Karin, Elsa, and Karl, the
cousins who had also been making a long visit with their grandmother,
had begged to be allowed to stay for the party. Several little friends
who lived in fine villas on the lake were coming to spend the day.

"Be sure to call me at five o'clock in the morning, Miss Eklund," said
Elsa, on the evening before the party.

Miss Eklund promised, so Elsa arose at an early hour and awoke the
others. Followed by them, with their arms full of flowers and green
leaves, she tiptoed into Sigrid's room.

"Hush, Anders, your boots squeak. We must not waken her. That would
spoil everything," whispered Elsa.

"Hang the end of your garland over the bedpost, so," continued Elsa.
She festooned the brass post of Sigrid's bed with the long chain of
green leaves. Then she silently motioned to her sister Karin to do the
same with her end.

"I'll tie this bunch of bachelors'-buttons to the corner of the
foot-board where she will see them when she first opens her eyes,"
whispered Karin.

"My, doesn't it look pretty!" said Elsa. The children then filed out
into the hall and peered through the doorway. Sigrid's rosy cheeks
were half-buried in her plump arm, which was thrown up over her head.
She appeared to be soundly sleeping in the midst of a huge nosegay of
posies and green leaves.

"Now I wish she would wake up," exclaimed Anders in a very loud whisper.

Elsa put her hand over his mouth, but not before the quiet figure in
bed stirred a little. Suddenly Sigrid sat upright, rubbed her eyes, and
clapped her hands.

"Oh! Oh! Who did it?" she cried aloud.

In rushed the children, and then there was much laughing and kissing.
Each child very politely congratulated Sigrid because it was her
name-day. Even in the midst of a jolly good time, Swedish children do
not neglect these graceful forms of speech which their parents have
carefully taught them.

"Here comes Svea with a tray," somebody called out.

The children made way for the neat and smiling maid. On the dainty tray
which she placed in Sigrid's lap, was a cup of steaming coffee and a
plate of crisp caraway cookies. You might think that she had been sick,
so that every one was trying to cheer her on her name-day. Dear me, no.
Sigrid always had coffee and cakes served to her in bed every birthday
and every name-day, just as if she was a grown-up society lady.

Anders and Karin sat on the edge of the bed, and the others drew up
their chairs while Sigrid sipped her coffee.

"My big sister has two name-days," said Elsa.

"Does she have three parties every year?" asked Sigrid.

"Yes, indeed," replied Elsa. "Her real birthday comes in January. Then
her name-days are in July and October. I wish I had two name-days. But
mother says there are so many of us children that if we all had two
name-days, we should be having a party about once in every three weeks
all the year."

Everybody burst into laughter. Elsa had five brothers and sisters, so
what her mother had said was quite true.

In Sigrid's land, you see, they name all the days of the year. When a
little girl is born, she is generally given a name in the calendar.
Sigrid's birthday was in March, but Sigrid day in the calendar is in
September. So she had two parties every year.

"Name-day greetings, little daughter," said Mrs. Lund as Sigrid came
into the dining-room for breakfast. Again there was much kissing and
hand-shaking. Sigrid's chair at the table was draped with festoons
of leaves. As she ate her breakfast in silence, she could not keep
her eyes away from one corner of the room. There stood a little table
covered with a snowy cloth. The centre was heaped with bundles of all
shapes, done up in white paper with red sealing-wax. On the white cloth
"Sigrid" was written with almonds and raisins.

What good fun it was, after breakfast, to open all the mysterious
bundles! Such a heap of pretty things were concealed!

"Here is 'Little Women,'" said Sigrid in great delight. "How did you
know it was just what I wanted, mother?" For the tenth time Sigrid
got up to run and kiss her mother. The green and gold bound book from
which she had torn the wrapping was a translation of Louisa M. Alcott's
story, which is as dear to the little Swedish girl as to her American
cousin.

"No lessons to-day," said Miss Eklund, as the children came out of the
dining-room.

"Hurrah!" shouted Erik. "Won't you take us for a sail on the lake,
father? You promised to go with us once more before I started for
school."

"Sigrid's name-day would be a fine time to go. Let me see. How many of
you are there?" Major Lund looked around at the bright faces. Gerda and
Per and several other neighbours had already arrived. "Twelve--just two
more than you are years old, Sigrid."

"You had better start early," said Mrs. Lund. "Remember the party this
afternoon."

Just as if any one could forget!

The boys helped Major Lund to unfasten the boat from its moorings. A
puff of wind filled out the white sail and they were soon off.

"They thought I was asleep this morning when they were trimming my
room," Sigrid confided to Erik, who was showing her how to steer the
boat.

"Fie on you, Sigrid!" said Erik, quite seriously, but he gave her plump
cheek a little pinch.

"It was such fun," Sigrid laughed softly. "When I heard Elsa tell
Anders his boots squeaked, I thought I couldn't keep quiet a second
longer."

"Look at all those snipe, Erik," Major Lund interrupted. The boat was
sailing quite close to the shore. Several of these long-legged birds,
which were picking their way across the beach, were startled by the
voices and flew into the air.

"What a queer call they have, uncle," said Elsa.

"Listen a moment till you hear it again," said Major Lund.

They were very quiet for a couple of minutes.

"It sounds like the noise old Maja makes when he wants us to give him a
lump of sugar," said Gerda.

"They make that sound with their wings as they fly," said Major Lund.
"The 'horse-cuckoo,' some people call the snipe. Do you know how it
received that name?"

"Do tell us, father," said Anders.

"It is just a short story about a careless farmer who had a lazy
servant. For many days, the servant rode his master's horse to pasture
without giving the poor animal any water to drink. That was a very dry
summer, so the horse suffered greatly.

"One day the farmer wanted to drive to market. So he said to his
servant:

"'Fetch my horse from the pasture.'

"The servant went after the horse, but it had disappeared. He delayed
so long that the master finally followed him into the field. But he
could not find the horse either. Just as they had given up the search,
they heard a neigh. In the next meadow, where they had been hunting,
they saw the horse drinking at a spring.

"'Are you really there?' cried the farmer. He hastened over the stone
wall to catch the horse. As he was about to put the halter over its
neck, the horse disappeared and a snipe flew into the air. There the
bird neighed till sunset."

"That served the farmer quite right," said Erik, indignantly, and the
others agreed with him.

The broad waters of Lake Mälar were alive with sailing craft and small
steamers. Who would stay indoors on such a day! Along the wooded slopes
of the lake they sailed past many a lovely villa, half-hidden by trees,
and occasionally some ancient castle.

"That is the place where I saw a water-sprite late one afternoon,"
said Sigrid. The breeze had died down and the boat seemed to rest at
anchor near an old wooden bridge beneath which a hillside brook rushed
joyously into the lake.

"Did you really?" asked Elsa. Sigrid believed in trolls, sea-nymphs,
fairies, and water-sprites. But Elsa was several years older than her
cousin, and she wasn't at all certain that trolls and water-sprites
still lived in the wild country, though they might have in the olden
times.

"Look underneath the bridge in that dark corner, just behind those
rushes. Erik was rowing me home from your house, Gerda. When we got
just there, something white and misty rose up out of the water. I
heard a soft, sweet note, and Erik thought perhaps he did too. Then I
thought I saw him dimly resting on the waves, just as Miss Eklund says
water-sprites do."

"Weren't you frightened?" asked Karin in wide-eyed surprise.

"I wanted Erik to stop rowing so I could listen, but he wouldn't.
Mother said he must never take me there again toward night. Father,
won't you tell us the story of the water-sprite and the budding staff,
while we are waiting for the wind to come up?" begged Sigrid.

"It doesn't look as though we should do much sailing for awhile. But
you must all know the old legend, I am sure," said Major Lund.

"We should like to hear it just the same," the children all chimed in.

"Well," began Major Lund, "this water-sprite lived under an old bridge
just like that one over there. He was such a happy fellow that he sat
playing his harp half the livelong day. One afternoon, a grim and
sour-faced old priest came ambling along on his horse, over the bridge.

"Suddenly he drew rein, for he heard the sweetest music. He rode back
across the bridge and hunted several minutes before he discovered the
merry sprite.

"In his ugliest tone of voice the priest called out:

"'Why do you play your harp so joyously? Have you nothing to do but
idle away the day and the night in such foolishness? A lazy sprite like
you will never get to heaven. I should sooner expect to see this staff
which I carry grow green and blossom, than find you there.'

"The water-sprite threw down his harp in great terror and began to weep
bitterly. What had he ever done that the old priest should frighten him
so?

"Without giving further heed to the sprite, the priest rode on. For
many years, his own life had been so dull and solemn, that it made him
bitter to see other people happy. He found a cruel pleasure in making
the little sprite wretched.

"While he was buried in his own gloomy thoughts, he did not see that
the staff in his hands was slowly changing into the green branch of a
living tree. Tiny green buds, then leaves, slowly, silently unfurled.
As silently flower-buds appeared and opened into rosy blossoms, spicy
with fragrance.

"The priest, at last, beheld the branch of leaves and flowers in his
hand. He was filled with great wonder at himself. While the dead staff
of wood slowly bloomed in his hands, something hard and cold in his
heart seemed to melt. Not since he was a small boy had he listened to
the singing of the birds with such joy. He dismounted from his horse to
gather a handful of wild lilies-of-the-valley.

"He even smiled on a whistling peasant boy who passed him on the road.
Then he thought of the weeping sprite. In all haste he rode back to
the bridge.

"To the sobbing lad, he said:

"'Behold how my old staff has grown green and flowers like a rose-bush
in June. This is a symbol, my good fellow, that hope blooms in the
hearts of us all. You may yet go to heaven.'"

At that minute, the limp sails stirred, the ropes rattled in the
breeze, and the boat was soon under way.

Early in the afternoon, the other guests of the party arrived. I could
not begin to tell you all the games they played. Some were like those
of their American cousins, but there were many new ones. Next to "Blind
Man's Buff," and "Last Couple Out," the best fun was "Lend, Lend Fire."

All the children sat in a circle for this game. Karin, who had a cane,
walked up to Erik and rapping on the floor, said, "Lend, Lend Fire."

But Erik replied, "Go to the next neighbour." Half-way around the
circle Karin went, but every one made the same answer. In the meantime,
the children were beckoning across to each other and exchanging seats.
Finally, Karin was nimble enough to slip into a chair which was vacant
for a second. It happened to be Sigrid's place, so it was her turn to
take the cane and hunt for fire.

Mrs. Lund played for the children to dance old-fashioned ring dances.
Sigrid would no more have thought her party complete without these
dances in a big circle than if there had been no name-day cake. For of
course she had a name-day cake. It did not have any candles, and it was
not like any birthday cake you ever saw. Across the top of the round
loaf of sweetened bread, "Sigrid" was written in twisted strips of
bread, with cardamom seeds and currants sprinkled all over.

Where could you find a prettier, cosier supper-room than within the
round lilac hedge with its wide opening for a door? Here the table was
set for the guests.

Inside the lilac-bush hedge, with her other guests, we must say
good-bye to our little Swedish cousin. Sometime, I hope you will cross
the seas and meet her again. She is such a winsome maid, so healthy,
happy, and well-mannered, that I am sure you would soon be good friends.



THE END.



THE LITTLE COUSIN SERIES


The most delightful and interesting accounts possible of child-life in
other lands, filled with quaint sayings, doings, and adventures.

Each 1 vol., 12mo, decorative cover, cloth, with six or more full-page
illustrations in color.

    Price per volume      $0.60

_By MARY HAZELTON WADE (unless otherwise indicated)_

    =Our Little African Cousin=

    =Our Little Armenian Cousin=

    =Our Little Brown Cousin=

    =Our Little Canadian Cousin=
        By Elizabeth R. Macdonald

    =Our Little Chinese Cousin=
        By Isaac Taylor Headland

    =Our Little Cuban Cousin=

    =Our Little Dutch Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little English Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little Eskimo Cousin=

    =Our Little French Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little German Cousin=

    =Our Little Hawaiian Cousin=

    =Our Little Indian Cousin=

    =Our Little Irish Cousin=

    =Our Little Italian Cousin=

    =Our Little Japanese Cousin=

    =Our Little Jewish Cousin=

    =Our Little Korean Cousin=
        By H. Lee M. Pike

    =Our Little Mexican Cousin=
        By Edward C. Butler

    =Our Little Norwegian Cousin=

    =Our Little Panama Cousin=
        By H. Lee M. Pike

    =Our Little Philippine Cousin=

    =Our Little Porto Rican Cousin=

    =Our Little Russian Cousin=

    =Our Little Scotch Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little Siamese Cousin=

    =Our Little Spanish Cousin=
        By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet

    =Our Little Swedish Cousin=
        By Claire M. Coburn

    =Our Little Swiss Cousin=

    =Our Little Turkish Cousin=



THE GOLDENROD LIBRARY


The Goldenrod Library contains only the highest and purest
literature,--stories which appeal alike both to children and to their
parents and guardians.

Each volume is well illustrated from drawings by competent artists,
which, together with their handsomely decorated uniform binding,
showing the goldenrod, usually considered the emblem of America, is a
feature of their manufacture.

  Each one volume, small 12mo, illustrated, decorated cover,
        paper wrapper                                        $0.35


LIST OF TITLES

    =Aunt Nabby's Children.= By Frances Hodges White.
    =Child's Dream of a Star, The.= By Charles Dickens.
    =Flight of Rosy Dawn, The.= By Pauline Bradford Mackie.
    =Findelkind.= By Ouida.
    =Fairy of the Rhone, The.= By A. Comyns Carr.
    =Gatty and I.= By Frances E. Crompton.
    =Great Emergency, A.= By Juliana Horatia Ewing.
    =Helena's Wonderworld.= By Frances Hodges White.
    =Jackanapes.= By Juliana Horatia Ewing.
    =Jerry's Reward.= By Evelyn Snead Barnett.
    =La Belle Nivernaise.= By Alphonse Daudet.
    =Little King Davie.= By Nellie Hellis.
    =Little Peterkin Vandike.= By Charles Stuart Pratt.
    =Little Professor, The.= By Ida Horton Cash.
    =Peggy's Trial.= By Mary Knight Potter.
    =Prince Yellowtop.= By Kate Whiting Patch.
    =Provence Rose, A.= By Ouida.
    =Rab and His Friends.= By Dr. John Brown.
    =Seventh Daughter, A.= By Grace Wickham Curran.
    =Sleeping Beauty, The.= By Martha Baker Dunn.
    =Small, Small Child, A.= By E. Livingston Prescott.
    =Story of a Short Life, The.= By Juliana Horatia Ewing.
    =Susanne.= By Frances J. Delano.
    =Water People, The.= By Charles Lee Sleight.
    =Young Archer, The.= By Charles E. Brimblecom.



COSY CORNER SERIES


   It is the intention of the publishers that this series shall
     contain only the very highest and purest literature,--stories
     that shall not only appeal to the children themselves, but be
     appreciated by all those who feel with them in their joys and
     sorrows.

   The numerous illustrations in each book are by well-known artists,
     and each volume has a separate attractive cover design.

    Each 1 vol., 16mo, cloth      $0.50


_By ANNIE FELLOWS JOHNSTON_


=The Little Colonel.= (Trade Mark.)

The scene of this story is laid in Kentucky. Its heroine is a small
girl, who is known as the Little Colonel, on account of her fancied
resemblance to an old-school Southern gentleman, whose fine estate and
old family are famous in the region.


=The Giant Scissors.=

This is the story of Joyce and of her adventures in France. Joyce is a
great friend of the Little Colonel, and in later volumes shares with
her the delightful experiences of the "House Party" and the "Holidays."


=Two Little Knights of Kentucky.=

WHO WERE THE LITTLE COLONEL'S NEIGHBORS.

In this volume the Little Colonel returns to us like an old friend, but
with added grace and charm. She is not, however, the central figure of
the story, that place being taken by the "two little knights."


=Mildred's Inheritance.=

A delightful little story of a lonely English girl who comes to America
and is befriended by a sympathetic American family who are attracted by
her beautiful speaking voice. By means of this one gift she is enabled
to help a school-girl who has temporarily lost the use of her eyes, and
thus finally her life becomes a busy, happy one.


=Cicely and Other Stories for Girls.=

The readers of Mrs. Johnston's charming juveniles will be glad to learn
of the issue of this volume for young people.


=Aunt 'Liza's Hero and Other Stories.=

A collection of six bright little stories, which will appeal to all
boys and most girls.


=Big Brother.=

A story of two boys. The devotion and care of Steven, himself a small
boy, for his baby brother, is the theme of the simple tale.


=Ole Mammy's Torment.=

"Ole Mammy's Torment" has been fitly called "a classic of Southern
life." It relates the haps and mishaps of a small negro lad, and tells
how he was led by love and kindness to a knowledge of the right.


=The Story of Dago.=

In this story Mrs. Johnston relates the story of Dago, a pet monkey,
owned jointly by two brothers. Dago tells his own story, and the
account of his haps and mishaps is both interesting and amusing.


=The Quilt That Jack Built.=

A pleasant little story of a boy's labor of love, and how it changed
the course of his life many years after it was accomplished.


=Flip's Islands of Providence.=

A story of a boy's life battle, his early defeat, and his final
triumph, well worth the reading.


_By EDITH ROBINSON_


=A Little Puritan's First Christmas.=

A story of Colonial times in Boston, telling how Christmas was invented
by Betty Sewall, a typical child of the Puritans, aided by her brother
Sam.


=A Little Daughter of Liberty.=

The author's motive for this story is well indicated by a quotation
from her introduction, as follows:

"One ride is memorable in the early history of the American Revolution,
the well-known ride of Paul Revere. Equally deserving of commendation
is another ride,--the ride of Anthony Severn,--which was no less
historic in its action or memorable in its consequences."


=A Loyal Little Maid.=

A delightful and interesting story of Revolutionary days, in which the
child heroine, Betsey Schuyler, renders important services to George
Washington.


=A Little Puritan Rebel.=

This is an historical tale of a real girl, during the time when the
gallant Sir Harry Vane was governor of Massachusetts.


=A Little Puritan Pioneer.=

The scene of this story is laid in the Puritan settlement at
Charlestown. The little girl heroine adds another to the list of
favorites so well known to the young people.


=A Little Puritan Bound Girl.=

A story of Boston in Puritan days, which is of great interest to
youthful readers.


=A Little Puritan Cavalier.=

The story of a "Little Puritan Cavalier" who tried with all his boyish
enthusiasm to emulate the spirit and ideals of the dead Crusaders.


_By OUIDA_ (_Louise de la Ramée_)


=A Dog of Flanders=: A CHRISTMAS STORY.

Too well and favorably known to require description.


=The Nurnberg Stove.=

This beautiful story has never before been published at a popular price.


_By FRANCES MARGARET FOX_


=The Little Giant's Neighbours.=

A charming nature story of a "little giant" whose neighbours were the
creatures of the field and garden.


=Farmer Brown and the Birds.=

A little story which teaches children that the birds are man's best
friends.


=Betty of Old Mackinaw.=

A charming story of child-life, appealing especially to the little
readers who like stories of "real people."


=Brother Billy.=

The story of Betty's brother, and some further adventures of Betty
herself.


=Mother Nature's Little Ones.=

Curious little sketches describing the early lifetime, or "childhood,"
of the little creatures out-of-doors.


=How Christmas Came to the Mulvaneys.=

A bright, lifelike little story of a family of poor children, with an
unlimited capacity for fun and mischief. The wonderful never-to-be
forgotten Christmas that came to them is the climax of a series of
exciting incidents.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note: Period added after Mackie in Goldenrod Library List.





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