Chapter 197812663

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197812663
Full Date1886-03-20
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count1771
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleBig Hans and Little Hans
article text

. ffihiltetfg Column.

BIG HANS AND LITTLE HANS.

[From St. Nicholas.\ CHAPTER IL

[Bv H. H. Bo YEP EN. J

In the winter of 187— a great deal of snow fell on the north-western coast of Norway. The old pines about the Myrbraaten cottage were laden down with it; the children had to be put to work with snow-shovels early in the morning in order to hollow out a tunnel to the cow-stable where the cow stood bellowing with hunger. The mother, too, worked bravely, and sometimes when the thin roof of snow caved in and fell down upon them, and made them look like wandering .snow-images, they all laughed heartily, and their mother, too, could not help laughing, because they were so happy. Little Hans also made a pretence of working, but only succeeded in being in everybody's way, aha when the cold snow drizzled down upon his nose he grinned and m%de faces .so queer that the children shouted with merriment. Day after day, and week after week, the snow continued to descend. Big Hans and his Mend sat at the window watching the large feathery flakes as they whirled slowly ana silently through the air and covered the earth far, and near with a white palL Soon there was a scarcity of wood at the Myrbraaten cottage, and Halvor was obliged to et into' his skees* and go to the forest. f [nmming the multiplication table (so far as he knew it) to the tune of a hymn, beguiled oh his warmest jacket, took ms axe from its hidinjg-place under the eaves, and went in a slanting line npon the mountain-side; but before he had gone many rods it struck him that it was useless to go so far for wood when the whole mountain slope was covered with pines. Fresh pine would be a little hard to burn, to be sure, but' then pine was fall of pitch and would burn, anyhow. He therelore took off his skees, dug a hole in the snow, and felled three or four trees only a few hundred rods above the cottage. When his wife heard the sound of his axe so near the cottage she rushed out and cried to him— " Halvor, Halvor, don't cut down tiie trees on the slope! They are all that keep the show from coming down upon us in an avalanche, and sleeping us into the ocean !" "Oh, the Lord will look out for his own," sangHalvorcheerily. . "The Lord put the pine-trees there to protect us," replied his wife. But the end was that, in spite of his wife's protests, Halvor continued to fell the trees. The heavy fall of snow was followed in the course of a week by a sudden thaw. Strange creaking and groaning sounds stole through the forest. Sometimes when a large load of snow fell it rolled and grew asitrolled, until it dashed against a huge trunkand nearly broke it with its weight. Then, one night there came down a great load which fell with a dull thud and rolled down and down, pushing a growing wall of snow before it, until it reached the clearing where Halvor had cut his wood; there, meeting with no obstructions, it gained a tremendous headway, sweeping all the snow .and the felled trunks with it, and rushed down in a great mass, carrying along stones, shrubs, huge trees, and the very soil itself, leaving nothing but the bare rock behind it. How terrible was the sight! A smoke-like cloud rose in the darkness, and a sound as of a thousand thundering cataracts filled the night. On' it swept, onward, with a wild, resistless speed ! At the jutting rock, where the juniper stood, the avalanche divided, tearing up the old spruces and the birches by the roots and hurling them down, but leaving the juniper standing alone on its barren peak. It was but a moment's work. The avalanche shot downward with increased speed—hark! —a sharp shriek, a smothered groan, then a fierce hissing sound of waves that rose toward the sky and returned with a long thundering cannonade to the strand! The night was darker and the silence deeper than before. CHAPTER III. Where the Myrbraaten cottage had stood the bare rock now stares black and dismal against the sun. The rumour of the calamity spread like wildfire through the valley, ana the folk of the whole parish came to gaze upon the ruin which the avalanche had wrought. All that was left of Myrbraaten was the cow-stable, where the cow and Little Hans and Big Hans had slept. Little Hans had been very ill-behaved the night before, so Turid Lad sent him to sleep with the cow; and Big Hans, who thought it would be cruel to ask his companion to spend the night in that dark stable, with only a cow for company, had gone with him and slept with him in the hay. Thus it happened that Little Hans and Big Hans both were saved. It was pitiful to see them shivering in the wet snow. Big Hans was crying as if his heart would break; and the women who crowded about him were unable to comfort him. What should he, a small boy of 10, do alone in this wide world ? His father and his mother and his little brothers and sisters all were gone, and there was no one left who cared for him. Just then Little Hans, who was anxious to express his sympathy, put his nose close to Big Hans's face and rubbed it against his cheek. " Yes, you are right, Little Hans," sobbed the boy, embracing his faithful friend; " you do care for me. You are the only one I have left now in all the world. You and 1 will stand by each other always." Little Hans then said, " Ma-a-a," which in his language meantYeB." Tha question soon arose in the parish— what was to be done with Big Hans ? He had no relatives except a brother cf his mother, who had emigrated many years before to Minnesota; and there was no one else who seemed disposed to assume the burden of his support. It was finally decided that he should be hired out as a pauper to the lowest bidder, and that the parish should pay for his board. But when the people who bid for him refused to take Little Hans too, the boy determined, after some altercation with the authorities, to seek his uncle in America. One thing he was sure of, and that was that he would not part from Little Hans. But there was no one in the parish who would board Little Hans without extra pay. Accordingly, the cow and the barn were sold for the boy's benefit, and he and his comrade went on foot to the city, where they bought a ticket for New York. Thus it happened that Big Hans and Little Hans became Americans. But before they reached the United States some rather curious things happened to them. The captain of the steamship, Big Hans found, was not willing to take a goat as a passenger, and Big Hans was forced to return with his friend to the pier, while the other emigrants thronged on board. He was nearly at his wits' end, when it suddenly occurred to him to pat little Hans in a. hag and smuggle him on board as bazgag& This was a lucky thought. Little Hans was quite heavy, to be sure, but he seemed to comprehend the situation perfectly, and kept as still as a mouse in his bag while Big Hans, with the" assistance of a benevolent fellow-passenger, lugged him up the gang-plank. And when he emerged from his retirement some time after the steamer was well nnder way, none of the officers even thought of throwing the poor goat overboard ; for Little Hans became a great favourite with both crew and passengers, although he played various mischievous pranks, in his quiet, unostentatious way, and ate some shirts which had been hung out to dry. It was early in April when the two friends arrived in New York. They attracted considerable attention as they walked np Broadway together; and many people turned around to langh at the little emigrant-boy, in his queer Norwegian costume, who led a fullgrown goat after him by a halter. The bootblacks and the newsboys pointed their fingers at them, and, when that had no effect, made faces at them, and pulled Big Hans by his short jacket and little Hans by his short tail. Big Hans was quite frightened when he saw how many of them there were; but, perceiving that little Hans was not in the least ruffled, he felt ashamed of himself, and took heart again. Thus they marched on for several blocks, while the crowd behind them grew more and more boisterous and importunate. Suddenly, one big bay, who seemed to be the leader of the gang, sprang foi ward with a yell and knocked off Big Hans's hat, while all the rest cheered loudly; but, just as he was turning around to enjoy his triumph Little Hans turned around too, and gave him a bump from behind which sent him headlong into the gutter. Then, rising on his hind legs, Little Hans leaped forward again and again, and dispatched the second and third boy in the same manner, whereupon all the rest ran away, helterskelter, scattering through the side streets. It was all done in so quiet and gentlemanly a manner, that not one of the grown-up spectators who had gathered on the sidewalk thought of interfering, Big Hans, however, who had intended to see something of the city before starting for tbe West, was so discouraged at the inhospitable reception the United States had given him, that he gave up his purpose, and returned disconsolately to Castle Garden. There he spent the rest "of the day, and when the night carre he went to sleep on the floor, with his little bundle under his head; while Little Hans, who did not seem to be sleepy, lay down at his side, quietly munching a piece of pie which he had stolen from somebody's luncheon basket. ' A kind of snow-shoes, by of which one glides over the snow without sinbing into it. Skees are from 6 to 10 feet long, bent upward and pointed at tbe front end and cut off squarely at the other. Thfy must be made.of tough, strong pine without knots in it. {To be continued.)