A story from the sand dunes (Hans Andersen)

This is a story of the sand dunes of Jutland, but it doesn't begin there; no, it begins far away to the south, in Spain. The ocean is the highway between the two countries. So now let your thoughts journey to Spain!

It is warm there, and it is beautiful. The fiery red pomegranate blossoms grow among the dark laurels; a refreshing wind from the mountains breathes over the orange gardens and the graceful Moorish palaces with golden cupolas and colored walls. Children walk in procession through the streets, carrying torches and waving banners, while high above them stars sparkle in the clear arching vault of heaven. Song and castanets can be heard; young men and girls dance under the blossoming acacias, while the beggar lies on a carved marble block, quenches his thirst with a juicy watermelon, and dozes his life away. It is all like a beautiful dream; give yourself up to it. Yes, as did the young married couple, to whom had been granted all the choicest of earthly blessings - health, beauty, good nature, riches, and honor.

"We are as happy as anyone could ever be!" they said, with full conviction in their hearts. Yet they had one step higher to go to attain complete happiness, and that would be reached when God would give them a child, a son in their own image, body and soul. That blessed child would be welcomed with jubilance, cared for with the utmost love and tenderness, and be surrounded by all the luxuries that riches and an influential family can provide.

Meanwhile the days glided past, each like a holiday.

"Life is a precious gift of love, almost too great to understand," said the wife. "And just to think that this fullness of bliss shall still increase and grow, in another life, throughout eternity. I can hardly conceive of it!"

"And it certainly also shows the arrogance of people," said her husband. "It really shows a terrible conceit when people persuade themselves to think they'll live forever - become as God! Were these not the words of the serpent, the master of lies?"

"You surely don't doubt that there is a life after this, do you?" asked his young wife, and it was as if a shadow passed through their sunlit thoughts for the first time.

"Faith promises it, I know, and the priests tell us it is so," said the young man. "But, happy as I am now, I feel and know that it is only pride, an arrogant thought that demands another life after this - an extension of this happiness. Haven't we been granted enough in this life, so that we could and should be satisfied?"

"Yes, that has been given us," said the young wife, "but how many thousands find this life a heavy trail! How many have been thrown into this world only to find poverty, shame, sickness, and misfortune! No, if there were no afterlife, the blessings on this earth would be too unequally divided - our God would not be a God of justice!"

"The beggar down on the street has pleasures just as dear to him as the king enjoys in his splendid palace," said the young man. "And what about the poor beast of burden that is beaten and starved and works itself to death? Doesn't it sense the bitterness of its miserable life? Why shouldn't it too demand an afterlife, and call it unfair that it wasn't granted the advantages of a higher creation?"

"Christ told us, 'In my Father's house are many mansions,' " answered the young wife. "The Kingdom of Heaven is as infinite as God's love. The animal is His creation too, and I don't believe that any single life will be lost, but that each will be granted the greatest share of happiness it is capable of receiving."

"But this world is good enough for me now," said the young man, as he slipped his arm around his lovely, amiable wife and smoked a cigarette on the open balcony, where the cool air was heavy with the fragrance of orange blossoms and carnations. Songs and the clicking of castanets came from the street, while the stars glittered high above, and two eyes full of love - his wife's eyes - gazed on him with the expression of eternal love. "A moment like this," he said, "makes being born well worth while - just to experience such a moment - and then vanish," he said smiling, while his wife shook her finger reprovingly. And the cloud soon passed; they were much too happy.

Everything that happened seemed only to add to their happiness and well-being. A change came, but it was only a change of place, not a change that diminished their happiness and enjoyment of life. The young man was appointed by the King to be ambassador to the court of imperial Russia, a post of great honor, such as his birth and ability well fitted him to occupy. He had a great fortune of his own, and his young wife's wealth was equal to his, for she was the daughter of the richest and most respected merchant. And since one of her father's largest and finest ships would sail this year to Stockholm, it was arranged that the dear children, the daughter and the son-in-law, would travel on it to St. Petersburg. Everything was royally fitted out for the voyage, with soft carpets underfoot and silken splendor everywhere.

There is an old heroic ballad familiar to all Danes, called "The King of England's Son." He also goes to sea in a splendid ship, with its anchor inlaid with pure gold and every rope woven of silk. The ship of the Spanish merchant might have reminded one of this vessel, for the magnificence was similar, and the farewell thoughts were very much the same:

God grant that we meet with joy again!

The parting was brief, for a fair wind blew briskly off the Spanish coast. They hoped to reach their destination in a few weeks. But as soon as they were well out at sea the wind died down to rest. The ocean grew smooth, and the waters reflected the glittering light of the stars of heaven. There were festive evenings in their richly appointed cabin.

At last they wished the wind would rise again, to speed them on their voyage. But every wind that arose came from the wrong direction. Weeks went by; two whole months passed, in fact, before the wind blew in their favor, from the southwest.

They were somewhere between Scotland and Jutland, when the west wind burst forth, just as in the old ballad, "The King of England's Son":

While the sky was dark and the wind blew,

And there was neither port nor land in view,

They cast their anchor, but to no avail;

They were blown to Denmark by a west wind gale.

This occurred a long time ago. King Christian VII, still a young man, then sat on the throne of Denmark. Much has happened since then; there have been many changes and innovations. Lakes and swamps have become green meadows, while heaths have been plowed into useful land. And in the shelter of the West Jutlander's house there now grow apple trees and roses, but you must seek these out, for they hide from the sharp west wind.

Still, it is easy to imagine yourself back in times more remote than even the reign of Christian VII, for now, as then, the brown heath of Jutland stretches for miles with its barrows, its mirages, its winding, rough, sandy roads. To the west, where broad streams of water flow into the fiords, there are marshes and meadows, encircled by the high sand hills which rise up toward the sea like an Alpine chain with jagged summits, broken only by high banks of clay. From these the waves eat off giant mouthfuls year after year, so that the edges and summits topple down as though shaken by an earthquake. That's how it looks today, and that's how it looked many years ago, when the happy couple sailed past it in their splendid ship.

It was a bright, sunshiny Sunday in late September; the peals of the church bells extended to one another all along the Nissum Fiord. The churches there are like immense stones, each like a piece of rock mountain; the North Sea itself might wash over them, and they would still stand firm. Most of them have no towers, their bells hanging out in the open air between two wooden beams.

The services had ended, and the congregation emerged from the House of God into the churchyard where then, as now, there grew neither tree nor shrub. No plants, flowers, or wreaths adorned the graves; only rough hillocks showed where the dead had been buried, while sharp grass, beaten flat by the wind, covered the whole cemetery. Here and there a single grave still has a tombstone, perhaps a moldering log, cut in the shape of a coffin. These are pieces of driftwood from the forests of West Jutland. The wild sea provides the shore dwellers with many hewn planks, cast upon the coast. But the wind and salt sea spray soon wear away these monuments.

One of these blocks had been placed on the grave of child, to which a young woman came from the church. She stopped and gazed down at the rotted wood; shortly her husband joined her. They spoke no word; presently he took her hand, and together they walked away from the grave, on over the brown heath and over the moor toward the sand dunes. For a long time they walked in silence.

"That was a good sermon today," said the man. "If we didn't have our Lord we would have nothing."

"Yes," replied his wife, "He sends us happiness and sorrow. He has a right to. Our little boy would have been five years old tomorrow if we had been allowed to keep him."

"It does no good to grieve," said the man. "He is much better off there than here; he is where we pray to go."

They said no more, but passed on silently toward their home among the sand dunes. Suddenly, from one of these, where there was no grass to hold the sand down, it looked as if a column of heavy smoke were rising; it was really a gust of wind boring into the bank and whirling the fine particles of sand into the air. A second gust followed, so strong that the strings of fish hung on the line rattled against the walls of the house; but it lasted for only a moment; then all was quiet again, and the sun shone warmly.

The man and his wife went into their house, quickly changed from their Sunday clothes, and then hurried across the dunes, which looked like enormous waves of sand suddenly frozen in motion. The sea reed and the bluish green of the sharp dune grass alone relieved the monotony of the white sand. A couple of neighbors appeared, and all helped in pulling the boats higher up on the sandy shore, while the wind steadily strengthened and blew bitingly cold. When they returned across the dunes the waves were lifting their whitecaps; sand and sharp pebbles were beating into their faces, and the wind cut off the top ridges of some of the dunes, breaking them into sand showers.

Evening came, and a swelling sound filled the air; there was a howling and wailing like a host of despairing spirits, and even though the fisherman's hut lay near the shore, the noise of the wind drowned the roar of the sea. The sand drifted against the windowpanes, and every now and then there came a violent gust of wind that seemed to shake the house to its very foundation. It was a dark evening; the moon would not rise until nearly midnight.

The air cleared a little, but the storm was now raging with all its fury over the deep, black ocean. The fisherman and his wife had long since gone to bed, but in such weather it was impossible to close an eye.

Suddenly there was a tap at the window; the door was pushed open, and someone said, "A large ship is stranded on the outer reef!" In a moment the man and his wife were out of bed and dressing themselves hurriedly.

The moon was up now, and it would have been light enough to see had it not been for the flying sand which forced eyes to squint. Only with great difficulty, waiting for each lull and creeping a little farther between gusts, could they make their way across the sand dunes. And now, like swan's-down in the air, salty white foam flew in from the sea, as it hurled its waves against the coast in boiling fury.

Only a long-experienced eye could have distinguished the ship way out there; it was a splendid two-master. At that very instant it was lifted over the reef, three or four cable's lengths off the usual channel; it drove on toward land, struck against the second reef, and there stuck fast.

It was impossible to send any help, for the sea was far too tumultuous; waves broke over the entire vessel. They imagined hearing screams of terror, the cries of death agony; they could see the aimless rushing to and fro on board; it was all hopeless, helpless. Now a wave like a thundering avalanche crashed down on the bowsprit, and then it disappeared. The stern rose high above the water, and two people could be seen leaping from it into the sea; they disappeared - a moment more - and a tremendous wave thundering toward the dunes flung a body on the shore. It was a woman, and surely she was dead! A couple of women who quickly gathered around her believed she showed signs of life, and carried her over the dunes to the fisherman's cottage. How beautiful and dainty she was! - no doubt a lady of rank.

They laid her in the fisherman's humble bed; there was no linen to wrap her in, only a woolen blanket; but at least this was warm and comfortable. She breathed, but she was in a high fever. She had no idea where she was or what had happened; perhaps this was just as well, for all that was dear to her now lay at the bottom of the ocean; they had met the same fate as those sung of in the ballad about "The King of England's Son":

A sorrowful sight it was to all;

The ship was broken into pieces small!

Many bits of the wreck were driven ashore, but the lady alone survived of all the voyagers. Still the wind howled and wailed along the coast.

For a few minutes she seemed to rest, but then came screams of pain and fear. Her beautiful eyes opened, and she spoke a few words, but no one could understand her. At last, after hours of suffering and struggles, there nestled in her arms a tiny, newborn child.

That child was to have rested under silken curtains in a beautiful home, was to have been welcomed to a life full of this world's riches; but our Lord had willed that he should be born in this humble hut; and not so much as one kiss was he to receive from the lips of his mother!

The fisherman's wife placed the baby against its mother's heart, a heart that beat no longer - she was dead. And the child who was to have been brought up in luxury and pleasure had been hurled headlong into life, tossed by the sea among the sand dunes, there to experience the lot of a poor man, and weary and dark days.

And always the old song comes to our mind:

On the King's son's cheek there was a tear

"Pray, Christ, I reach Bovbjerg; then I shan't fear!

If only I had come to Herr Bugge's Strand;

Then no knight nor squire of any band

Would have dared against me lift a hand."

The ship had been wrecked a little to the south of the Nissum Fiord, on the very shore that Herr Bugge had once called his own. The hard, cruel times of the ballad, when the dwellers on the western coast treated castaways so inhumanly, had long passed. The shipwrecked were now treated with love and kindness, as they are in our own time. The dying mother and the unfortunate child would have been treated with the utmost care and tenderness, wherever the storm had driven them; but nowhere could they have received more sincere kindness than in the hut of that poor fisherwoman who, only yesterday, had stood with a sorrowful heart beside the grave of her child who, if God had allowed him to live, would today have completed his fifth year.

No one knew the identity of the dead woman or from where she had come. The broken fragments of the wrecked ship brought no explanation.

No letter or news of the daughter and son-in-law was ever received at the rich merchant's house in Spain. They could not have reached their destination, considering the violent storms that had raged for the last few weeks. For months they waited, before admitting to themselves the sad truth: "All lost! All perished!"

But in the hut of the fisherman near the sand dunes of Hunsby there was now a tiny infant.

Where God provides food for two there is sure to be enough for a third; and near the sea there is always at least a plate of fish for hungry mouths. They christened the little one Jörgen.

"Surely he must be a Jewish child," people said; "his skin is so dark." - "He may just as easily be Italian or Spanish," said the clergyman. To the fisherman's wife all three races seemed very much the same, but it was a great comfort to her to know that at least the child was really a baptized Christian.

The boy thrived, his noble blood sustaining warmth and gaining strength from the poor fare, as he grew in that humble hut; the Danish language, as spoken in West Jutland, became his own language. The pomegranate seed from Spain had become a sea-grass plant on Jutland's western coast, and in this home, so foreign to his inheritance, he took root for the rest of his life. He was to experience hunger and cold, a poor man's wants and troubles, but also he was to know a poor man's pleasures.

For everyone childhood has its high lights, and the memories of these sparkle throughout one's whole life. What a full share of play and pleasure he had! All the miles of shore were strewn with playthings for him; it was a mosaic of pebbles, red as coral, yellow as amber, or white and round as birds' eggs, all bright with colors, and smooth and polished by the sea. Even the dried-out skeleton of a fish, the water plants, dried by the wind, or the shiny, white seaweed, long and narrow like strings fluttering among the rocks, were a delight to eye and heart. The boy was a wide-awake child, full of ability. How he could remember all the old stories or songs he had ever heard! And how clever he was with his fingers! He could make sailing ships out of stones and shells or draw pictures that were quite an ornament to the room. He could "carve his thoughts out of a stick," as his foster mother said, when he was still only a little boy, and his voice was so sweet and caught the strain of a melody so quickly! That little heart was attuned to many fine harmonies which might have rung throughout the world if he had been placed in a less narrow home than the fisherman's hut near the North Sea.

One day a box of rare flower bulbs drifted ashore after a shipwreck. Some were taken out and made into soup, with the idea that they might be good to eat; others were just left to rot in the sand and never fulfilled their destiny, never unfolded the glorious beauty of form and color that lay hidden within them. Would such be the case with Jörgen? Life was soon over for the flower bulbs, but he still had many years to live and struggle.

It never occurred either to him or his foster parents that their lives were lonely and monotonous; days went by, and there was plenty to do and hear and see. The ocean itself was a great book of lessons; every day it seemed to turn over a new page, storm or calm. A shipwreck was an exciting event. The visit to the church was a festive event. Twice a year the fisherman's hut had a visitor, and a very welcome one. This was the eel seller from Fjaltring, up near Bovbjerg, who was the brother of Jörgen's foster mother. He came with a red wagon full of eels; it was shut up like a box, and had blue and white tulips painted on it. It was drawn by two black oxen, and Jörgen was permitted to drive them.

The eel man had a good head on him. He was a jolly guest; he always brought a little keg of schnapps, and everyone had a drink of it, sometimes from a coffee cup, if there were not enough glasses. Even Jörgen, little as he was, had a thimbleful; that was so he could digest the fat eels, said the eel man. Then he would tell them his old story, and whenever he heard people laugh at it, he always repeated it at once, to the very same people, as all talkative folks do. And as Jörgen used phrases from this story throughout his youth and later in life, we had better listen to it.

"The eels played out in the river, and Mother Eel said to her daughters, when they had begged for permission to explore a little way up the stream, 'Don't go too far! The wicked man with his spear will come and catch you all!' But they did go too far, and of the eight of them only three returned to their mother and wailed out their story, 'We had only gone a little distance beyond the door when the ugly man with the spear came and stabbed our five sisters to death!'

" 'They'll come back,' said the eel mother.

" 'No,' said the daughters. 'For he skinned them and cut them into bits and fried them.'

" 'They'll surely come back,' said the eel mother.

" 'Yes, but he ate them!'

" 'Still they'll come back,' said the eel mother.

" 'But he drank schnapps afterwards!' said the daughters.

" 'Oh, my! Oh my!' howled the eel mother. 'Then they'll never return! For schnapps drowns eels!'

"And for that very reason people should always take a little schnapps after eating them," finished the eel spearer.

And this story ran like a thread of gold tinsel - his most humorous recollection - through the web of Jörgen's life. He too wanted to go past the threshold, "a little way up the river," or rather out into the wide world in a ship; but his foster mother objected, just as Mother Eel had objected, "There are so many wicked men with spears." He longed to go a little past the sand dunes into the heath. And at last he did for four pleasant days, the brightest of his whole childhood; and he saw all of Jutland's happy, homelike beauty and sunshine. He went to a party; it was a funeral party.

A wealthy relative of the fisherman had died; his farm was far inland, "to the east, a bit northerly," as the saying goes. Jörgen's foster parents had to go, and they took him with them. They passed from the dunes over heath and swamp to the green pastures where the Skjaerum River hollows out its bed - that brook full of eels, where lived Mother Eel and her daughters whom the wicked people speared and cut in pieces. And hadn't men often acted just as cruelly toward their fellow men? The good knight, Sir Bugge, whose name lives in the old song, was murdered by wicked men; and, though he himself was called "good," he is said to have come very close to slaying the architect who built his castle, with its tower and thick walls, on the slope where the brook Skjaerum falls into the Nissum Fiord, just where Jörgen now stood with his foster parents. The ramparts and the red crumbling fragments of the walls could still be seen.

It was here that Sir Bugge, after the architect had left, ordered one of his men to follow him. "Say to him, 'Master, the tower leans to one side.' And if he turns and looks to find out, you must slay him and take from him the money I have paid him; but if he turns not, let him depart in peace." The man obeyed, but the architect did not turn; rather did he answer clearly and boldly. "The tower does not lean, for I have built it well; but one day a man shall come from the West in a blue cloak, and he shall make it lean." And a hundred years later this came to pass, for the North Sea broke in and the tower collapsed; but Predbjörn Gyldenstjerne, who owned the castle at that time, built a new mansion on the slope higher up; this is still standing, and is called Nörre Vosborg.

Jörgen and his foster parents had to pass this place, so now he saw this and other spots that he had heard stories about in the long winter evenings. He saw the castle, with its double moats choked with trees and bushes, and its rampart overhung with bracken. But the loveliest sight to him were the tall lime trees that reached right up to the roof and filled the air with fragrance. In the northwest corner of the garden stood a large bush bearing flowers as white as snow - they seemed strange to him among the green leaves of summer. It was an elderbush, the first he had seen blooming; that bush and the lime trees were stored safely away throughout the years in a corner of his mind, a bit of the fragrance and beauty of Denmark, "kept to delight the old man."

The journey continued and became still more pleasant; for outside Nörre Vosborg, where they had found the flowering elderbush, they met other people who were also going to the funeral, and drove on with them. Of course, all three of them had to sit on a little wooden chest with iron trimmings at the rear of the carriage, but they decided even that was better than walking. The carriage rolled away over the rough hillocks of the heath, and the oxen that drew it stopped to graze whenever a patch of fresh grass appeared among the heather. The sun shone warmly, and they saw the strange sight of rising smoke in the distance, as transparent as though beams of light were rolling and dancing over the heath. "That is Loki driving his flock," people said, and that was enough explanation for Jörgen. He felt as though he were driving right into fairyland - and yet everything was real! And how still it all was about them!

The heath spread out before them, a wide, rich carpet, with the heather in blossom. Mingled with the dark green juniper and fresh oak shoots, it studded the ground as if with bouquets. This was an inviting place to throw oneself down, if it were not for the many poisonous snakes people said were there. And people spoke too of the wolves that used to be found there so often that the district was known as Ulvborg Herred. The old man who was driving the wagon told them how, in his father's day, the horses often had fierce battles with wild beasts since exterminated, and how one morning he found a horse trampling on a wolf he had slain, while his own legs were quite bare of flesh which had been gnawed off in the struggle.

The wagon rolled too quickly over the rough heath and through the deep sand. They reached the house of mourning, where they found many strangers inside and outside; many wagons stood side by side, with their horses or oxen turned out to seek meager pasture; from the back of the house great sand dunes, like those at home near the sea, extended far and wide. How could they be here? It was twelve miles into the country, yet they were as tall and large as those by the shore. The wind had lifted them up and blown them here; they too had a history.

Psalms were sung, and a few of the older people wept, but aside from this, everything was very pleasant, Jörgen thought. There was plenty to eat and drink; the finest fat eels, with schnapps afterwards "to settle the eels," as the eel seller had said. And his words were certainly carried out at this gathering.

Jörgen went in and out of the house, and by the third day he was as thoroughly at home there as in the fisherman's hut among his own sand dunes, where he had spent all his life. But the heath here was far more beautiful, with its myriads of brilliant blossoms and luscious sweet bilberries, growing so thickly that if one stepped on them, the ground became stained with their red juice. Here lay an old viking grave, and near it lay another. When the mysterious columns of mist curled upward through the calm air, they said, "The heath is on fire." It shone brightest toward evening.

But the fourth day came at last and brought the end of the wake; it was time to return from the inland sand dunes to the coastal sand dunes.

"Ours are the real ones after all," said the father. "These have no strength."

Then they talked about the sand dunes, and how they came to be here, and this was very interesting. The peasants found a corpse on the shore and buried it in the churchyard; then the sand began to fly about, and the sea broke in with violence. A wise man of the parish advised that the grave be opened, for if the stranger were found sucking his thumb, they could then be sure that he whom they had buried was a merman, and that the sea would not rest till it had fetched him back. So they opened the grave, and sure enough, the dead man lay with his thumb between his lips. He was quickly laid on a cart drawn by two oxen, and as though stung by hornets they rushed with him over heath and moor to the sea. That stopped the shower of flying sand, but the dunes that it formed are still there.

That was what Jörgen learned and carried away with him from the happiest days of his childhood - those four days at the funeral party.

How wonderful it was, he thought, to go out into the world and see new places and new people! And he was to go still farther away. Before he had finished his fourteenth year - he was still a child - he did actually go out to look at he world, through the eyes of a cabin boy. Now he had to endure bad weather, rough seas, and evil men; scanty fare, cold nights, the rope's end, and blows from a hard fist - yes, such were his experiences. There was something in his noble Spanish blood that continually boiled over and brought hot words to his lips. He soon learned it was wisest to restrain them, but in doing so, he felt somewhat as the eel must feel when it is skinned, cut up, and tossed into the frying pan. "I shall return again!" said a voice within him.

Now the ship touched at the Spanish coast, the home of Jörgen's parents, in fact at the very town where they used to live in splendor and happiness. But he knew nothing of his homeland or his relatives, and even less did his family know of him. The shabby cabin boy was not even permitted to go ashore while the others went; but on the last day it happened that some provisions had been bought, and Jörgen was told to carry them on board.

There stood Jörgen in his wretched clothes that looked as if they had been washed in a ditch and dried in a chimney; this was the first time that he, the dweller of the sand dunes, had ever seen a great city. How tall the houses were, how narrow the streets, swarming with human beings constantly rushing to and fro, a regular whirlpool of townspeople and farmers, monks and soldiers - a clamor, a screaming, a jangling of bells from asses and mules, a clanging of bigger bells from the churches - song and musical instruments - knocking and hammering, for every tradesman seemed to have his shop either on his threshold or on the sidewalk. And all the while the hot sun burned down, and the air was heavy. It was as if one had entered a bake oven full of beetles, cockchafers, bees, and flies, all humming and buzzing with all their might; Jörgen hardly knew if he were walking or standing still.

Suddenly he saw before him the mighty portals of a cathedral, with lights streaming out through the twilight of the colonnades, and the fragrance of incense saluting him. Even the poorest beggar in rags could venture to climb those stairs and enter. The sailor who had taken Jörgen ashore went into the church; Jörgen followed, and soon he stood in the sanctuary. Colored pictures glowed out from golden backgrounds; amid flowers and candles at the altar he beheld the Blessed Virgin holding the Holy Child; priests in their vestments were chanting, while pretty choirboys swung silver censers. What magnificence he saw there! All this glory and beauty, streaming into Jörgen's soul, nearly overpowered him. The church and the faith of his fathers surrounded him and awakened a chord in his soul, causing tears to come to his eyes.

From the cathedral they proceeded to the market. A heavy load of provisions was piled upon him. It was a long way back, and when he grew tired he wanted to rest in front of a large and splendid palace decorated with statues and marble pillars, with broad steps. But as he rested his burden against the wall a porter dressed in gold lace bustled out, waving a silver-headed cane, and drove him away - him, the grandson of that house! But no one knew it, himself least of all.

And so he returned to the ship and accepted, as before, his share of cuffs, broken slumbers, and hard work. Such was his first experience in life! "It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth," they say: "Yes, if he makes up for it in old age."

When the term of his signing on was ended, and the ship was anchored in the Ringkjöbing Fiord, he went home to the Hunsby sand dunes. But his foster mother w

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