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St. Nicholas, Vol. 5, No. 5, March, 1878   By:

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[Illustration: A HORSE AT SEA. [See page 367.]]


VOL. V. MARCH, 1878. No. 5.

[Copyright, 1878, by Scribner & Co.]



Once upon a time, in a very small village on the borders of one of the great pine forests of Norway, there lived a wood cutter, named Peder Olsen. He had built himself a little log house, in which he dwelt with his twin boys, Olaf and Erik, and their little sister Olga.

Merry, happy children were these three, full of life and health, and always ready for a frolic. Even during the long, cold, dark winter months, they were joyous and contented. It was never too cold for these hardy little Norse folk, and the ice and snow which for so many months covered the land, they looked on as sent for their especial enjoyment.

The wood cutter had made a sledge for the boys, just a rough box on broad, wooden runners, to be sure, but it glided lightly and swiftly over the hard, frozen surface of snow, and the daintiest silver tipped sledge could not have given them more pleasure.

They shared it, generously, with each other, as brothers should, and gave Olga many a good swift ride; but it was cold work for the little maid, sitting still, and, after a while, she chose rather to watch the boys from the little window, as they took turns in playing "reindeer."

One day they both wanted to be "reindeer" at once, and begged Olga to come and drive, but the chimney corner was bright and warm, and she would not go.

"Of course," said Olaf; "what else could one expect? She is only a girl! I would far rather take Krikel; he is always ready. Hi! Krikel! come take a ride!" and he whistled to the clever little black Spitz dog that Peder Olsen had brought from Tromsöe for the children.

Krikel really seemed to know what was said to him, and scampered to the door, pushed it open with his paws and nose, then, jumping into the little sledge, sat up straight and gave a quick little bark, as if to say: "Come on, then: don't you see I am ready!"

"Come, Erik; Krikel is calling us," said Olaf. But Olga was crying because she had vexed her brother, and Erik stayed to comfort her. So Olaf went alone, and he and Krikel had such a good time that they forgot all about everything, till it grew so very dark that only the tracks on the pure, white snow, and a little twinkle of light from the hut window helped them to find their way home again.

In the wood cutter's home lived some one else whom the children loved dearly. This was old grandmother Ingeborg, who was almost as good as the dear mother who had gone to take their baby sister up to heaven, and had never yet come back to them.

All day long, while the merry children played about the door, or watched their father swing the bright swift ax that fairly made the chips dance, Dame Ingeborg spun and knit and worked in the little hut, that was as clean and bright and cheery as a hut with only one door and a tiny window could be. But then it had such a grand, wide chimney place, where even in summer great logs and branches of fir and pine blazed brightly, lighting up all the corners of the little room that the sunbeams could not reach.

Here, when tired with play, the children would gather, and throwing themselves down on the soft wolf skins that lay on the floor before the fire, beg dear grandmother Ingeborg for a story. And such stories as she told them!

So the long winter went peacefully and happily by, and at last all hearts were gladdened at sight of the glorious sun, as he slowly and grandly rose above the snow topped mountains, bringing to them sunshine and flowers, and the golden summer days.

One bright day in July, father Peder went to the fair in Lyngen.

"Be good, my children," said he, as he kissed them good bye, "and I will bring you something nice from the fair."

But they were nearly always good, so he really need not have said that... Continue reading book >>

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