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have weighed it all? (Smiles.) If you won't let me come
and live with you, I will marry the bailiff. Kari (kneeling before her). Halla! Halla (stands for a moment in silence; takes a long breath).
To-night we two shall ride alone in the hills!
A small grass-grown plot. In the foreground, to the right,a fantastic lava for motion,a hollow cone five yards inheight and three yards in circumference, once an enormous lava bubble produced by gases in the liquid lava. In course of time, the roof has crumbled, also the nearest wall. The farther wall is still standing,but there is a hole in it, through which the sky can be seen. Farther back and somewhat to the left, the wall of a small hut is seen, though partly hidden by the lava formation. The hut is built of stone, the walls of small stones chinked with sod, the roof of large lava slabs. To the left, a deep gorge, the farther wall of which is so much higher than the one near by that it completely shuts off the view to the left. At the bottom of the gorge, a stream. Farther up, the gorge makes a turn to the left, and here the upper part of a waterfall is seen. Behind this,the glacier. On the grass plot is a hearth with a smouldering fire. Some rocks covered with skins serve as seats. From the gorge comes the murmuring sound of the waterfall.
The stage is empty. A horn is heard, first a short call, then a longer.
Enter Kari and Arnes. They are weather-beaten, bareheaded, dressed in knitted jerkins and knitted knee-breeches. Their feet are bare in their shoes. Both have ram's horns hanging at their side. Kari carries a swan, Arnes a bunch of ptarmigans, some faggots, and a few tufts of bearberry.
Kari (looking into the hut). Halla! No, she is not here.
Arnes. She may have gone for water.
Kari (lays down the swan). It is quite heavy.
Arnes. You might have let me carry it. I had not tired myself with running.
Kari. As I had caught it, I wanted to carry it. (Smiles.) The old pride, you see.
Arnes. The honor would have been yours just the same.
Kari. This is the first swan this fall. (Stroking it fondly.) I am glad the feathers did n't get blood-stained.
Arnes. Itwould be lonesome up here if we were only two.
Kari. Indeed it would, but you have tried the loneliness before. Was it not two years you had been alone before you met us?
Arnes. Two and a half.
Kari (pleased). Do you know what we 'll do? We 'll hide the swan and say that we 've come home empty-handed. (Takes the swan.) Hand me the ptarmigans. (Hides them behind the hut.) Now I wish Halla would come soon. (Walks to the back and blows his horn.)
Halla (is heard answering). Hello!
Kari. Here she comes.
Arnes. You are a happy mortal.
Kari. Yes, I am happy, and it is good to be here. We are free. We have enough to eat. We have sunshine,water, and shelter. What more do you want ? (Arnes is silent.) I know you are brooding over something you don't want to tell me. You seem more gloomy every day. Are you longing to get away from here?
Arnes. Don't let us talk about such things to-day.
Kari. Perhaps it would do you good to unburden yourself to me or, better still, to Halla. She is wiser than I am, and she cares a good deal for you, I tell you.
Arnes. There are not many like Halla.
Kari (hastily). We won't tell Halla about the mist. It might frighten her.
Arnes. I 'II hold my peace.
Enter Halla, carrying a pail of water. The pail is of plaited willow twigs chinked with clay. With the other hand she leads a little girl about three years old. Halla is dressed in a white jerkin and black skirt., both of knitted wool. She wears her silver girdle around her waist. The child has on white knitted clothes. They are bare-headed, and their foot-wear is the same as that worn by the men.
Halla. Did you have good luck to-day?
Kari (dolefully). We have caught nothing but trouble and weariness. The ptarmigans made themselves scarce to-day. We saw a flock of six, but they flew away before we could get our snares out.
Halla (to Arnes). Is it true, what he says?
Arnes. It's true enough. We saw six ptarmigans, but they got away from us.
Halla. I am sorry. We must hope for better luck next time.
Kari (laughing). I fooled you that time! (Runs toward the hut.) Look here! Five big, fat ptarmigans!
Halla. Well, well!
Kari (holding up the swan). And that's all.
Halla. What a lovely surprise! How did you catch it?
.Kari. I ran it down.
Arnes. I don't believe there are many who can beat him at that. I know I can't.
Tota. May Tota pat it?
Halla. Tota may do anything she wants to. I should like to make you a jacket of swan's down.
Kari (cuts off the feet of the swan). You would like these, wouldn't you?
Kari. Some day when I have time I will skin them and make little bags for you to keep your pebbles in.
Halla. You've got lovely playthings there! ( Squats down on the ground.) Where are mother's eyes? (Hiding her eyes with the swan's feet.)
Tota (takes them away from her eyes). Here!
Halla (rising). Did you eat all your food?
Kari. Every bite.
Halla. Then you can't be hungry.
Halla. And it is too early for the evening meal, but I can make you some tea.
Kari. Yes, do. (To Arnes.) Let us carry the swan to the cave. [Exeunt Kari and Arnes.
Halla. Now Tota must be tied, so the waterfall can't take her, while mother is making tea. (Takes a rope that is fastened to a rock and ties it around Tota's waist. Brings some of her playthings^) Here are all your horses. (Puts a kettle of water over the fire; places some earthenware cups on the rocks by the hearth; takes a handful of dried herbs from a bag, rinses them in cold water, and portions them out in the cups. The faggots Arnes has brought, she throws on the fire. As she works, she sings.)
Have you seen a brave young lad?
'Mongst all men in byrnie clad
I have smiled my teeth all white and shining,