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song comes to my mind when I look at you. I cannot remember how it runs, but it is about some one who had the thoughts of her soul written on her forehead.
Halla (smiling). I feel only the sun shining on my brow.
Arngrim. She deserves to be happy. (Brings out the roll of paper.) Should you like to see what I am doing to make the days slip by?
Gudfinna (goes to him). Yes, let me look at it.
Arngrim (opens the roll, which is seen to contain drawings in bright colors). These are birds from the garden of Eden — too bad I never heard them sing!—and here is a blue flower so sensitive that it closes at the slightest touch, and here is a small plant from Gethsemane with red berries lying like drops of blood on the ground.
Enter the Boy, running.
The Boy. Kari is coming!
Gudfinna. We know that.
The Boy. I must be off'again to help drive the sheep into the fold. (Leaps with joy.) What fun to be here! It's most as good as Christmas! [Exit.
Arngrim. He skips about like a merry little lamb.
Gudfinna (calling after him). Take care the rams don't butt you!
Halla. Now the sheep will soon be at the fo\d. (Brushes her hair back from her forehead.) Are n't you clever enough to know a cure for freckles? I am so tired of my freckles.
Arngrim (smiling). Perhaps you have a new lookingglass.
Halla (smiling). Perhaps I have.
Enter Jon and two other peasants, followed directly by two peasant women, Jon's Wife, and her friend with two little daughters, eight and nine years old.
Jon (slightly intoxicated). Now a bite of shark's meat would taste first-rate. You did n't happen to be so thoughtful as to bring some, did you?
Halla (laughing). That is just what I did. (Looks in the saddle-bags.)
Jon. Did n't I tell you so! (Takes a brandy-fask out of his pocket.) Do you mind if I bring out my bottle?
Halla. Please yourself.
Jon (sits down. The others follow suit, until only the children remain standing). If I did n't have so fine a wife, I should have asked you to marry me long ago. (Takes a pull at the flask and hands it to the one sitting next to him.) Let the bottle go the rounds!
Halla (to Jon's Wife). Your husband is happy to-day.
Jon's Wife. Yes, he loves everybody to-day.
First Peasant (hands the flask to Jon). Thanks!
Jon. Don't think I am forgetting you, Arngrim. (Hands him the flask.)
Arngrim. The blood grows colder as one gets old, and then the warmth of the bottle feels good.
Halla (hands Jon a piece of shark's meat). Help yourself.
Jon. Bless you! My mouth waters. (Takes a knife from his pocket and cuts off a slice.) It is white as milk and sweetsmelling. I say, shark's meat and brandy are the best things the Lord ever made—next to women! (Hands the fish to one of the peasants.)
Halla (finds a piece of sugar-candy and divides it between the children). Have the little girls been to the folds before?
Peasant Woman. No, this is the first time. I promised them Jast spring that if they were good and worked hard I would bring them, and they have surely earned it. It's past belief how much they can do, no older than they are.
Halla. Did you seethe last flock? That was a large one. (Goes toward the background.)
Jon's Wife. Indeed it was.
Jon. My brown bell-wether was the leader of the flock. He generally stays in the hills till they gather in the sheep for the last time, unless there are signs of bad weather. (Gudfinna crosses over to the peasant women and fingers their clothes. They stand talking together.)
First Peasant. I should not wonder if the winter were to come early after so good a summer.
Second Peasant. God knows how many sheep the hills have taken this year! Do you remember those cold days in the spring? It may be a good many lambs froze to death.
First Peasant. And then those cursed foxes!
Jon. The foxes are nothing to the men—both those down here and those in the hills.
Second Peasant. I don't believe there is anybody living in the hills, at least not in these parts.
Jon. You don't believe it? I tell you, my good man, there are more outlaws than you think. To my mind, the laws are to blame for it. If I had my say, all thieves would be strung up.
Second Peasant. Well, I look at it in another way. I believe the laws are too strict. It seems to me it is making too much of the sheep, when a man is locked up for life because he has stolen two or three of them.
Jon. You always have to be of a different mind from anybody else.
(Halla comes back and listens.)
Second Peasant. I don't know about that, but those who flee to the hills do it from need. If the laws were milder, I believe there would be no outlaws. What do you say, Arngrim?
Arngrim. If we were all to be judged by our thoughts, the hills would be swarming with outlaws.
Halla. It is too light yet to be talking about thieves. Can't you tell us something funny?
"Jon's Wife. Tell about our calf.
Jon (laughing). When he saw the sun for the first time in his life, he fell down on his tail from fright.
Enter Arnes, somewhat intoxicated.
Jon. There comes the man who can tell us stories. (Rises and goes to meet him.)
Arnes. Good day to you all! So you want a story?
Jon. You shall have a drink if you tell us a story, but it must be a good one.
Arnes. Hand me the bottle. (Drinks.) I could tell you some spook stories that would make your hair stand on end, but they are better told in the gloaming. (Laughs.) The girls are less afraid of us men folks when they hear about spooks.
Jon (laughing). Yes, of two evils men are better than spooks.
Arnes (sees Halla). Now I know what I shall tell you. Hush! Once upon a time there were two outlaws. What their crime had been I don't know, but they had to flee to the hills to save their lives. They found a green spot among the glaciers, hemmed in by huge rocks. There they built their hut, for there they knew they would be left in peace. But the hills were hankering for their old loneliness and hated those two, and swore they would drive them away. First they sent the storms and the frost. There came a winter night so terrible that the roots of the grass trembled with fear under the snow, but unknown to those two their love had built an invisible wall around the hut, and the storm and the snow could not get in. Then the hills sent hunger. It came to them in their dreams, tempting them with sweet-smelling hot bread and butter fresh from the churn. It would have them barter their love—
Enter a Farm Hand.
The Farm Hand. Is Arnes here by any chance?
Arnes. Here I am.
The Farm Hand. There is a sheep with earmarks that nobody can make out. Will you come over and take a look at it?
Arnes (rising). No peace to be had!
Halla (holding out her hand to Arnes). Thanks for the story. \Arnes takes Hallo's hand. Exit.
The Farm Hand (to Jon). Your brown bell-wether ran away from the men as they were trying to drive it in.
Jon (rising). That promises a fine fall. (All the peasants rise.)
Jon's Wife (to Halla). We shall see each other later.
Halla. So we shall. \_Exeunt peasants.
Gudfinna. They have not been sparing of the shark's meat. (Packs it away.)
Enter Kari, warm from running, happy and smiling. Kari. Good day to you, Halla! (Shakes hands with her.) Halla (has gone to meet Kari). Good day to you, and welcome back!