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Jon. And the place where we'd cut turf last year looked like an ugly scar. (Silence.)

Jorunn. Did you meet anybody when you came home from work?

Indridi. No.

Jorunn. And no outsider has been here this afternoon. They don't come when they are wanted. I ought to have sent one of you to the next farm to find out how things were there, anyway.

Jon. I can easily go yet, if mistress wants me to.

Jorunn. Oh, no, it's getting late. I hope we shall have no bad tidings from any one.

Indridi. I hope so, too.

Yon. I'm afraid the Vik farm-house has fallen. It is both old and poorly built-nothing like ours. (Silence.)

Einar. You should have seen the hawks, Jorunn, right after the shock. They kept Aying back and forth, just as they do when they ’re warding off a foe from their nest.

Jorunn. They were frightened.

Einar. And no wonder. Great pieces of rock came tumbling down into the creek. The sheep out on the heath yonder huddled together in flocks, looking like old snow.

Jon. Then you were out hunting.

Einar. No, I was not hunting. I was looking at the hawks, wondering whether one could get at them by going down in a rope. (Silence.)

Jorunn. What about the boy, Sveinungi? Do you mean to let him stay with the sheep all night?

Sveinungi. Certainly. He can sleep to-morrow.

Jorunn. I was only thinking he might be afraid to be alone.

Sveinungi. He's no more afraid than grown people.

Jorunn. I saw he took both the dogs with him. (Silence.)

Helgi. There was a man walking across the hraun a little while ago. Who can it be?

Indridi. I saw him too.

Jon. It was Sølvi. He carried his gun. (Silence.)

Ljot. How still it is on the hraun.

Einar. I thought you were listening for something, while you lay there quiet as a mouse. I thought you were listening for the earthquake.

Frida. Can one hear the earthquake when it is coming?

Rannveig. Are you afraid? Yes, sometimes it can be heard a little before the shock. They say it sounds like the clatter of hoofs from many hundred horses.

Bjørg. To me it sounded like the whistling of the wind.

Jorunn. You should sit down, Sveinungi. You ’ll get tired standing.

Sveinungi. I am not tired. (Silence.)

Frida. What if the earth should open up right here where we are sitting?

Rannveig. It won't. Who told you that it might?
Frida. Jakobina said so.

Rannveig. You must not listen to all she says; she talks so much.

Jakobina. I say nothing but what is true. At the time of the last great earthquake the ground cracked and made a fissure'many miles long; I saw it myself. The earth opened her mouth to breathe.

Einar (to Frida). Don't be afraid. I have a black lamb - do you remember it? — with white feet. When I get it home in the fall, I will give it to you.

Jakobina ( facing the hraun”). Not one of you knows the hraun as I do. Can you tell me why the hollows out there are never filled with snow? Have you ever seen the snow falling fast enough to cover even the rims around them? It's the earth blowing her breath against it. The earth sets traps for men; the earth is a man-eater.

Jorunn (to Jakobina). You must not frighten the child. (Silence.)

Sveinungi. Was n’t it you, Jakobina, who said that sometimes blood comes on the window-panes ? It bodes ill, they say.

Jakobina. Why do you ask? There is no one here who has seen it, is there?

Sveinungi. Never mind why I ask.

Jakobina. Well, if I must say it, it is a sign that some one in the house is going to die soon.

Sveinungi. Or it might bode ill to the farm itself, maybe.
Jakobina. What do you mean?
Sveinungi. That it might be doomed.

Jorunn. Indeed, it means neither the one nor the other. It's nothing but a silly old superstition.

Sveinungi. Not that I believe in it, but look at the windows. Don't they look as if they were wet with blood ?

Jorunn. It's the sun shining on them.

Sveinungi. And see the gables, how white they are. They don't look whiter from the fields down yonder when you spread a cloth over them to call me home.

Indridi (lowering his voice). Did you see the sheep-cot fall?

Thora. Yes, it happened just as we came out.
Indridi. What did Sveinungi say?
Thora. He said nothing.
Indridi. But he told us to move out here.
Thora. No, it was Jorunn who made us do it.

Sveinungi (to Forunn). I did not tell you that when I came into the badstofa, right after the shock, our old clock had stopped running.

Jorunn. Was it broken?

Sveinungi. No, when I touched the pendulum it started again, but the place was still as death when I entered. The grass on the roof cast a shadow over the skylight. It was as quiet as when my father lay dead.

Jorunn. I think we had better go and lie down. There's nothing gained by staying here any longer.

Sveinungi. I can't see that there was any need of moving out, but you had your way, Jorunn.

Jorunn. I feel sure that they have done the same on all the other farms. We must be thankful it is summer, so that we can stay outdoors.

Sveinungi. Must we be thankful? So you give thanks that my work is ruined. .

Jorunn. We must take what comes, whether good or evil, and trouble may help us to remember all the things we have neglected to give thanks for.

Sveinungi. I don't know but that I have always done my duty. I have built all the sheep-cots; I have fenced in the land and looked after it as best I could. I demand justice of Him up there.

Jorunn (rising). I won't listen to such talk. Did you buy the land from Him, perhaps? And what did you have to pay with that was not His already?

Sveinungi. You need n’t mock me. You can walk all over the yard and cut your handful of grass with your scissors wherever you like; it grows thick as wool everywhere, and it's all my work.

Forunn. Was it you who ruled the hraun for thousands of years so that it did not swallow up the bit of ground you are standing on, which you call yours? [Goes into the tent.

Sveinungi. Which I call mine! (Stamping his foot.) It is mine! I've bought the land from Him up there with my work. (The Servants rise.)

yon. I believe the worst is over and that we shall be let off with the fright.

Indridi. I hope so.

Bjørg. You can never tell. Remember what happened the time when more than three-score farm-houses fell in one night.

Thora. It must have been dreadful.
Sveinungi. Now you must all go into the tent.

[The Servants go in. Jakobina. I should n't wonder if something dreadful were to happen to the farm.

[Goes into the tent. (Sveinungi stands quite still a little while, then walks a few steps, pauses, takes a few more steps, and again stops.)

Enter Ljot from the tent. Ljot. Are you not coming, father? Mother told me to ask you to come in.

Sveinungi. Why does n't she lie down? She need not wait for me.

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