How Thorston Became Rich (Scandinavian Folk Tale)

When spring came Thorston made ready his ship and put twenty-four men on board of her. When they came to Finland they ran her into a harbour, and every day he went on shore to amuse himself.

He came one day to an open part of the wood, where he saw a great rock, and a little way out from it was a horribly ugly dwarf. He was looking over his head, with his mouth wide open, and it appeared to Thorston that it stretched from ear to ear, and that the lower jaw came down to his knees.

Thorston asked him why he acted so foolishly.

“Do not be surprised, my good lad,” answered the dwarf, “do you not see that great dragon that is flying up there? He has taken off my son, and I believe that it is Odin himself that has sent the monster to do it. I shall burst and die if I lose my son.”

Then Thorston shot at the dragon, and hit him under one of the wings, so that he fell dead to the earth; but Thorston caught the dwarf”s child in the air, and brought him to his father.

The dwarf was very glad, more rejoiced than any one can tell, and he said:

“I have to reward you for a great service, you who are the deliverer of my son. Now choose your reward in silver or gold.”

“Take your son,” said Thorston; “but I am not used to accept rewards for my services.”

“It would not be becoming,” said the dwarf, “if I did not reward you. I will give you my vest of sheep”s wool. Do not think it is a contemptible gift, for you will never be tired when swimming, or wounded, if you wear it next your skin.”

Thorston took it and put it on, and it fitted him well, though it had appeared too small for the dwarf.

The dwarf next took a gold ring out of his purse and gave it to Thorston, and bade him take good care of it, telling him he should never want money while he had the ring.

Next he gave him a black stone, and said:

“If you hide this stone in the palm of your hand no one will see you. I have not many more things to offer you, or that would be of any value to you. I will, however, give you a firestone for your amusement.”

He took the stone out of his purse, and with it a steel point. The stone was triangular, white on one side and red on the other, and a yellow border ran round it. The dwarf said:

“If you prick the stone with the point in the white side there will come on such a hailstorm that no one will be able to look at it. If you want to stop the shower you have only to prick on the yellow part, and there will come so much sunshine that the hail will melt away. If you prick the red side then there will come out of it such fire, with sparks and crackling, that no one will be able to look at it. You may also get whatever you will by means of this point and stone, and they will come of themselves back to your hand when you call them. I can give you no more of such gifts.”

Thorston then thanked the dwarf for his presents, and returned to his men; and it was better for him to have made that voyage than to have stayed at home.

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