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not be saving of the leaves, but the tobacco I shall have to dole out to you. (They fill their pipes.)
Halla (smiling). It was foolish of you to teach me to smoke.
Kari. Why should n't you have that boon as well as I? (Shakes his bag.) You need not be shy, I have more in the cave, and when winter sets in and the snow is fit for skiing, we'll take Arnes down to my brother's. He promised to lay in good stores of tobacco and salt, and I will pay him with wool, as I did last time.
Halla. If only you don't end by being caught on one of those journeys!
Kari. Never!(They sit smoking in silence.) Now I am just in the mood to listen to a good story. Have you one to tell us?
Arnes (rising). No, I have not. (Goes toward the gorge.) Kari. It does not matter if you have told it before. Halla. Arnes may be saving them for the winter.
Kari (rises; lays down his pipe). Do you know what you should do? Have a good talk with Arnes. I believe he is getting restless and thinks of leaving us.
Halla. I hope not.
Kari. I will go and take a bath. You can speak better to him alone, and I need to wash off the sweat. (Sings on his way out.) Far in the hills I wandered; softly shone the summer
night, And the sun had ne'er a thought of sleeping. Now will I bring my sweetheart dear the hidden trea
sure bright, For faithfully my vows I would be keeping.
Arnes (goes to her). No, that is only something Kari has got into his head, because I am not always merry.
Halla (smiling). Once you boasted of being kin to the trolls.
Arnes. So I am. (Halla rises; blows a great puff of smoke into his face; laughs. Arnes takes hold of her wrists. Once there were two trolls. They quarrelled and turned each other into stone. One had to stand where all the birds dropped their filth, and the other had to stand where all the winds blew. Which would you rather be ?
Halla (tears herself away). I have not been turned to stone yet. (Laughs.) I thought you had forgotten all your old stories.
Arnes. You are strong.
Halla (sits down on the grass, leaning on her arm). Can you foretell things from the clouds ?
Arnes. Yes, about the weather.
Arnes (sits down beside her). When I was a child, I used to sail my viking ships on the clouds. Do you want me to foretell your fate?
Halla. You just said that you could not.
Arnes. The clouds tell nothing about our lives. They are only the dreamlands of earth. Will you let me see your arm?
Arnes (lifts her arm). You think these lines on your arm are nothing but marks drawn by heather and grass, but if I knew enough, I could read your whole fate in them. Something, perhaps, I can see. Who would believe that these slender arms could be so strong.
Halla (laughing). And what stands written there?
Arnes. You must sit still. Here is a deep, narrow line across your arm, that means sorrow. And there is a big fire. (Stroking her arm with the tips of his fingers.) I can see the tongues of fame. That means that you are loved. (Kisses her arm.)
Halla (stands up; laughs). Did you burn yourself?
Halla. Then you might tell me things I did not care to hear. But I must get to work. (Halla goes into the hut. Arnes looks after her. She comes out bringing wool, a spindle, and a sheep's skin.)
Halla. If you are not too tired after the hunt, this skin can stand a little more.
Arnes. Give it to me. (Takes a large ring made of a ram's horn. From the ring hangs a loop of rope, in which he puts his
foot. He draws the skin through the ring and keeps pulling it back and forth. Halla sits down, turning her spindle. They are silent.)
Halla. It is queer about the sound of the waterfall. Most of the time I don't hear it at all, but if it were to stop, I should miss it. Is it the same with you?
Halla. At first I was almost afraid of it. Then I began to love it, and now I should only miss it if it were not there any more. We mortals are strange. (They are silent again.)
Arnes. Can you tell me why some people should be happier than others ?
Halla. No, that I cannot.
Arnes. Why should he not be happy? He has a wife and child.
Halla. Was there no one down your way whom you could bring with you up here?
Arnes. Who do you think would become an outlaw for my sake?
Halla. Would n't you dare to carry off a woman? I should try my best to be good to her.
Arnes. Do you think Kari would have dared to carry you off against your will?
Halla. Ask him.
Arnes. Why does he not show it, if he cares so much for you? He forgets about helping you with firewood and carrying water, and if the meat is not cooked the way he likes it, he scolds you. One might think you were his servant girl.
Halla. Don't let that worry you.
Halla. Do you bear a grudge against Kari, because he caught the swan?
Arnes. You had house and home and a good name, and you gave it all up for his sake. He ought to keep that in mind more than he does.
Halla. I don't want Kari to be offering up thanks like a meek bondsman. Besides, I have done nothing for him. I did it all for myself.
Arnes. He does not even bother to curry the skins for your bedding. If you did not have me, you would have to do it yourself.
Halla (stands up). I don't want your help. (Takes hold of the skin.) Let go!
Arnes (gives it up reluctantly). Are you angry?
Halla (takes the skin out of the horn-ring and throws it into the hut). You are not so sorely needed as you think you are. (Sits down again to her work.)
Arnes. I did not mean that. It makes me happy when I can do some little thing for you. Won't you let me finish it?
Halla. You shall not touch it.
Arnes (stands for a moment, puzzled). Will you not forgive me what I said? I cannot bear to have you angry with me.
Halla. I am not angry.
Arnes. When you were ill, I once brought you some green leaves that had come up through the snow. Then you gave me a kiss.
Halla. Did I? (Smiles; kisses him lightly on the cheek.) Have you peace in your soul now?
Arnes. I don't know. I believe I shall never have peace in my soul any more. (They are silent.)
Halla. You were good to me the time I was ill.
Arnes. Even with you I sometimes feel that I could hurt you.
Halla. We can all be ugly when we are tired and hungry.
Arnes. Will you let me kiss your mouth? Just once? Halla (rising). No.
Arnes. Your lips will suffer no harm from it. (Takes hold of her shoulders and tries to draw her to him.)