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A Shepherd Boy. The action takes place in Iceland. Time, the Present. “ Hraun” is the Icelandic word for lava-field.
ACT I The farm. Five white gables, all adjoining and separated by heavy partitions. The roof is covered with turf, the walls are of earth and stone. The gable farthest to the left is without a door, but has two windows on the ground floor and a smaller window above. The next has a door leading into the “badstofa” or servants' quarters. The third is a dairy and storehouse; the fourth, a smithy; the fifth, a drying-shed. In the yard is a horse-block; to the left, a picket fence. Before the doors lie the packs unloaded from nine horses: two green chests, sacks of grain and household stuff, lumber, and a number of other articles. Jakobina stands feeling one of the sacks. Helgi is undoing the strappings. The door to the smithy is open. Einar is seen within, forging horseshoe nails.
It is morning, before breakfast. Jakobina (talking half to herself). This must be coffee. (Lays her hand on one of the chests.) And what has Jorunn got in these, I wonder! I fancy there are many pretty things there.
Helgi. You may be sure of that.
Jakobina. Nineteen years I've been here now, and it's never happened yet that the mistress has forgotten to bring something or other to please me when she came back from town,—and it was n’t always little things either, God bless her! Oh, but there they have knocked off the paint. What a shame! (Sits down on the chest and runs her hand over the paint.) Enter Bjørg and Rannveig from the left, carrying pails full of milk, which they set down.
Rannveig. They brought home quite a bit. We shall not go hungry for a while yet. Where are they?
Helgi. They are inside, drinking coffee.
Bjørg. Is Jon drunk?
The Shepherd Boy. Oh, pshaw! (His eyes light on the lumber piles. He bends down and begins to count the knots in the wood.) One, two, three
Enter Sveinungi from the “badstofa.” Sveinungi. What do you say, girls? Quite a pack, is n't it? Bjørg. I should say so!
Sveinungi (to Helgi). You've begun to undo the strappings? That's fine. And here come the others. Enter Jon and Indridi from the house. Yon is somewhat intoxicated.
Jon. Here stands our dear master. Good day to you, Rannveig! Good day!
Bjørg and Rannveig. Good day, and welcome home!
Sveinungi (laughing). Why don't you put your arms around the girls and give them a kiss? Are you afraid?
Jon. No, Jon is n't afraid.
[Runs into the house. Jon. He is the same as ever.
[Bjørg and Rannveig carry the milk into the store
house. Jakobina (rising). You did n't take notice of anything in particular on your way back?
Indridi. Not that I remember.