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Hero Tales of the Far North   By: (1849-1914)

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HERO TALES OF THE FAR NORTH

By

JACOB A. RIIS

AUTHOR OF "HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES" "THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN" "THE OLD TOWN," ETC.

New York, 1921

[Illustration: FREDERIKSBORG]

THIS BOOK OF MY DEAD HEROES I DEDICATE TO MY LIVING HERO

THEODORE ROOSEVELT

MAY IT BE MANY YEARS BEFORE THE LAST CHAPTER OF HIS SPLENDID WHOLESOME LIFE IS WRITTEN IN THE PAGES OF OUR COUNTRY'S HISTORY

FOREWORD

When a man knocks at Uncle Sam's gate, craving admission to his house, we ask him how much money he brings, lest he become a hindrance instead of a help. If now we were to ask what he brings, not only in his pocket, but in his mind and in his heart, this stranger, what ideals he owns, what company he kept in the country he left that shaped his hopes and ambitions, might it not, if the answer were right, be a help to a better mutual understanding between host and guest? For the Mayflower did not hold all who in this world have battled for freedom of home, of hope, and of conscience. The struggle is bigger than that. Every land has its George Washington, its Kosciusko, its William Tell, its Garibaldi, its Kossuth, if there is but one that has a Joan d'Arc. What we want to know of the man is: were its heroes his?

This book is an attempt to ask and to answer that question for my own people, in a very small and simple way, it is true, but perhaps abler pens with more leisure than mine may follow the trail it has blazed. I should like to see some Swede write of the heroes of his noble, chivalrous people, whom lack of space has made me slight here, though I count them with my own. I should like to hear the epic of United Italy, of proud and freedom loving Hungary, the swan song of unhappy Poland, chanted to young America again and again, to help us all understand that we are kin in the things that really count, and help us pull together as we must if we are to make the most of our common country.

These were my our heroes, then. Every lad of Northern blood, whose heart is in the right place, loves them. And he need make no excuses for any of them. Nor has he need of bartering them for the great of his new home; they go very well together. It is partly for his sake I have set their stories down here. All too quickly he lets go his grip on them, on the new shore. Let him keep them and cherish them with the memories of the motherland. The immigrant America wants and needs is he who brings the best of the old home to the new, not he who threw it overboard on the voyage. In the great melting pot it will tell its story for the good of us all.

To those who wonder that I have left the Saga era of the North untouched, I would say that I have preferred to deal here only with downright historic figures. For valuable aid rendered in insuring accuracy I am indebted to the services of Dr. P.A. Rydberg, Dr. J. Emile Blomén, Gustaf V. Lindner, and Professor Joakim Reinhard. My thanks are due likewise to many friends, Danes by birth like myself, who have helped me with the illustrations.

J. A. R. RICHMOND HILL, June, 1910.

CONTENTS

A KNIGHT ERRANT OF THE SEA HANS EGEDE, THE APOSTLE TO GREENLAND GUSTAV VASA, THE FATHER OF SWEDEN ABSALON, WARRIOR BISHOP OF THE NORTH KING VALDEMAR, AND THE STORY OF THE DANNEBROG HOW THE GHOST OF THE HEATH WAS LAID KING CHRISTIAN IV GUSTAV ADOLF, THE SNOW KING KING AND SAILOR, HEROES OF COPENHAGEN THE TROOPER WHO WON A WAR ALONE CARL LINNÉ, KING OF THE FLOWERS NIELS FINSEN, THE WOLF SLAYER

A KNIGHT ERRANT OF THE SEA

The Eighteenth Century broke upon a noisy family quarrel in the north of Europe. Charles the Twelfth of Sweden, the royal hotspur of all history, and Frederik of Denmark had fallen out. Like their people, they were first cousins, and therefore all the more bent on settling the old question which was the better man. After the fashion of the lion and the unicorn, they fought "all about the town," and, indeed, about every town that came in their way, now this and now that side having the best of it... Continue reading book >>




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