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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1886-03-13
Page Number2
Word Count1809
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleBig Hans and Little Hans
article text

(Khiltong Cfrhtntn.



(BY H. H. BOTESEN-.J [From St. Nicholas.\

On the north-western coast of Norway the mountains hide their heads in the clouds and dip their feet in the sea. In fact, the cliffs are in some places so tall-and steep that streams, flowing from the inland glaciers and plunging over their sides, vanish in the air, being blown in a misty spray out over the ocean. In other places there may be a narrow slope, where a few potatoes, some garden vegetables, and perhaps even a patch of wheat, may be induced to grow by dint of much coaxing; for the summer, though shorty is mild and genial in those high latitudes* - and has none of that fierce intensity which, with us, forces the vegetation into suddeii maturity, and sends onr people flying toward all the jpoint8of the compass during the first weeks in June. Itwa8.on such a sunny little slope, right under the black mountain-wall, that Halvor Myrbraaten had built bis cottage. Halvor was a merry fellow, who went about humming snatches of hymns and old songs and dancemelodies all day long, and sometimes mixed up both words and tunes wofully; and when, bis memory failed him, he sang the first thing that popped into his head. Some people saioL they nad heard him humming the multiplication table to the .tune of " Old Norway's Lion," and whole pages out of Luther's Catechism to jolly dance tunes. Not that he ever meant to be irreverent; it was just his way of amusing himself. He was an od j stick, people thought, and not of much nsa to his family. Whatever he did,, "-luck"( went against him. But it affected his temper very little. Halvor was still light-hearted and good-natured, and went about humming, as usual. If he went out hunting and cama home with an empty pouch, it did not interfere in the least with hiB gaiety; but knowing well the reception which was in store foe him, it did occasionally happen that , he paused with a quizzical look befoze opening the door, and perhaps, after a minute's reflection, concluded to spend the night in the barn; for Turid, his wife, had a mind of her own, and knew now to express herself with emphasis. She was, as every one admitted, a very worthy and competent woman, and. accomplished more in a day than her husband' did in a fortnight. Bnt worthy and competent people are not invariably the pleasantest. people to associate with,and the gayandgenial good-for-nothing Halvor, with his bright, irresponsible smile and his pleasant ways,, was a far more popular person ia-the parish, than his austere, estimable, over-worked; wife. For one thing, with all her poverty she had a great deal of pride; and peopia who had never suspected that one so poos, could bave any objection to receiving alms had been much offended by her curt- way of -' refusing their proffered gifts. Hklvor, they said, showed a more realizing sense of hia osition; he had the humble and contrite Eeart which was becoming in an unsuccessful man, and accepted with equal cheerfulness and gratitude whatever was offered him, from a dollar bill to a pair of worn-out mittens. It was, in fact, this extreme readiness to accept things which first made diffi-' culty between Halvor and his wife; It seemed to him a pure waste of labour to work for a thing which he could get for nothing,, and it seemed to her a waste of something, still more precious to accept as a gift what one might have- honestly earned by work. But as she could never hope to have Halvor' agree with her on this point, she comforted herself by impressing her own horror of alms-taking upon her children; and' tha children, in their turn, impressed the same sound principles upon their pet kid and the pussy cat. There were five children at Myrbraaten/ Hans, the eldest, was ten years old,. and Dolly, the youngest, was one, and 1 the rest were scattered between. It was a pretty sight to see tbem of a summer afternoon orr the grass plot before the house, rolling over one another and gamboling- like a-sportive fsmpv of kittens; only you-could hardly help feeling vaguely uneasy abont the mountain, the steep, black wall of which, sparsely clad with pines, rose so threateningly above them. It seemed as if it must some day swoop dowa upon them and crush them. The mother, it must be admitted, was occasionally oppressed by some such fear; but when she reflected that the mountain had stood' there from tima immemorial, and had never yet moved, oe harmed any one, she felt ashamed of hsr apprehension, and blamed herself for hec distrust of God's providence. Besides tbe children, there was another young inhabitant of the Myrbraaten' cottage ( andsuielya very important one. Hie, too,, was named Hans, but in order to distinguish him from the son of the house, the word , was P 1-6 tf ,^' a ?*u Ia 2f r « although he was really the smaller of the two. ^ called, by way of distinction. Big Hans, a most remarkable tthing about Little • HanB wa^, t 5 at 111 spite ?f his youth* a very weU-developed beard. Bi&Hans, who had not a hair on his chin, rather envied him this manly ornament. Then, again. Little Hans was a capital fighter, and could knock you down in one round with great coolness and sweet-tempered seriousness, as if hewere acting entirely from a sense of duty. He never used any haid wordsbut the moment his adversary attempted to rise* Little Hans quietly gave him another knock, and winked wickedly at him, as- if warning, him to lie still. He never bragged- of his victories, but showed a modest seu-appreciationr to which very few of his age ever attain. Big Hans, who valued his Mend and namesake above others, and bad a hearty admiration for his many fine qualities, declared himself utterly unable to rival him In combativeness* Sir, 1 "f 1 Hans, modesty, and coolness of temper. For Big fj®™' I A am sorry to say, was sometimes given to bragging of his muscle and of hia skill in turning hand-springs and standing one bis head, and he could easily be teased into ft - furious temper. Now, little Hans could not turn hand-springs, nor could he stand on his head; but, though he promptly resented any trifling with his dignity, I never once knewr him to losehis temper. He never laughsd when anything struck him as being fanny ;. in fact, he seemed to regard every boisterous exhibition of feeling as undignified!, He "r 1 "™? chewing - y -* nrne a ". piece hie. of head paper away or a straw, and- stood witlx his usual look of comical gravity in his eye. ' Manyjpeople wondered at the fast friend* ship which bound Big HanB and Little Haua - together. Their tastes, people said„ were dissimilar ; in temperament, too, they had few points of resemblance. And yet they were V. ent, Little HailS was sure to fellow. Olten they were seen raeing along the beach or climbing up the mountain side; and as Little Hans was a capital hand (or ought I to say fooit ?) at climbing, Big Hans often- had hard : work to keep uo with bim. Sometimes Little Hans would lsap up a rock which waa so steep that it was impossible for his friend to climb it, and then ne would grin comically down at Big Hans, who would standbelow calling tearfully to bis companion until he descended, which usually was very soon; for Little HanB 'was very fond of Bie; Hans, and could never bear to see him cry. And that is not in the least to be wondered at, as Big Hans had saved him from starvation and death when Little " Hans was really in the sorest meed. 'Oidr.acquaintance began in the following manner:—One day when Big Hans was up in the mountains trapping hares, he heard a feeble voice in a cleft o£ the rocks near by, and hurrying to the spot, he found Little Hans wedged in between two great Btones, and his leg caught in so distressing a manner that it cost Big Hans nearly an hour's work to set it free. Then he {dressed the biuised foot with a rag tornr froiji the lining of his coat, and carried Little Hans home in bisarms. And as Little Hans's parents had never claimed him, and he himself could give no satisfactory account of them, he had thenceforth remained at Myrbraaten, where all the children weie very fond of him. Turid their mother, on the other hand, had no great lildng for him, especially after he had devoured her hymnbook (which was her most precious property), and eaten with much appetite a piece of Dolly's dress. For, as I intimated, Little Hans's tastes were very curious, and nothing came amiss when he was hungry. He had ai trick of pulling off Dolly's stockings when she was sitting out on tne green, and if he were not discovered in time, he was sure to make his breakfast off of them. With these tastes, you will readily understand, Big Hans could have no sympathy, , and the only . thing -which could induce him to forgive" Little Hans's eccentricities was the fact that Little Hans was a goat. { To be continued.) A lady was singing the other wee* at a charity concert, and the audience insisted upon hearing tta song a second time. Her daughter, a bttte child, was present, and on being aafed afterwards now her natrium had sung, replied, " veiy badly, loe they made her do it all over again. " Didnt she act the part of a schoolgirl to- parfec* tion T said tbe admirer of an amateur actress to a critic. "Tee," he replied with a smile, "A was a great Miss representation. But tbe panse between the last two words was too brief to admit Of tna criticism being considered a compliment. Bobie, a » Border character, carrying a chair and a kniinJt on bis head, was met bv an acquaintance one morning. " What are ye efter theday, Bobie?" "Oh, I'm fltttinM" "What axe you flittin' for!" Ob, to be near ma work." " Where axe ye workin' T " Ob, I ha'ena gotten a job yet" Wife (on board train bound to Niagara Falls— "There are so many briilal couples about dear, perhaps we may be taken for one." Husband— "No danger. A gentleman asked me a little while ago if I was your first or second husband." Wife— "What? where is he?' Husband—" He got oB at tbe last station."