Invisible Links
126 pages

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126 pages

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Step into Scandinavia with this charming collection of tales from acclaimed Swedish author Selma Lagerlof. In terms of subject matter, the tales range from realistic portraits of rural family life to fanciful forays with fairies and elves, but Lagerlof's lyrical language adds a touch of magic to the entire collection.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 juillet 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781776580217
Langue English

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Invisible Links First published in 1894 Epub ISBN 978-1-77658-021-7 Also available: PDF ISBN 978-1-77658-022-4 © 2014 The Floating Press and its licensors. All rights reserved. While every effort has been used to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in The Floating Press edition of this book, The Floating Press does not assume liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in this book. The Floating Press does not accept responsibility for loss suffered as a result of reliance upon the accuracy or currency of information contained in this book. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Many suitcases look alike. Visit
The Spirit of Fasting and Petter Nord The Legend of the Bird's Nest The King's Grave The Outlaws The Legend of Reor Valdemar Atterdag Mamsell Fredrika The Romance of a Fisherman's Wife His Mother's Portrait A Fallen King A Christmas Guest Uncle Reuben Downie Among the Climbing Roses
The Spirit of Fasting and Petter Nord
I can see before me the little town, friendly as a home. It is sosmall that I know its every hole and corner, am friends with allthe children and know the name of every one of its dogs. Who everwalked up the street knew to which window he must raise his eyes tosee a lovely face behind the panes, and who ever strolled throughthe town park knew well whither he should turn his steps to meetthe one he wished to meet.
One was as proud of the beautiful roses in the garden of aneighbor, as if they had grown in one's own. If anything mean orvulgar was done, it was as great a shame as if it had happened inone's own family; but at the smallest adventure, at a fire or afight in the market-place, one swelled with pride and said: "Onlysee what a community! Do such things ever happen anywhere else?What a wonderful town!"
In my beloved town nothing ever changes. If I ever come thereagain, I shall find the same houses and shops that I knew of old;the same holes in the pavements will cause my downfall; the samestiff hedges of lindens, the same clipped lilac bushes willcaptivate my fascinated gaze. Again shall I see the old Mayor whorules the whole town walking down the street with elephantinetread. What a feeling of security there is in knowing that you arewalking there! And deaf old Halfvorson will still be digging in hisgarden, while his eyes, clear as water, stare and wander as if theywould say: "We have investigated everything, everything; now,earth, we will bore down to your very centre."
But one who will not still be there is little, round Petter Nord:the little fellow from Värmland, you know, who was in Halfvorson'sshop; he who amused the customers with his small mechanicalinventions and his white mice. There is a long story about him.There are stories to be told about everything and everybody in thetown. Nowhere else do such wonderful things happen.
He was a peasant boy, little Petter Nord. He was short and round;he was brown-eyed and smiling. His hair was paler than birch leavesin the autumn; his cheeks were red and downy. And he was fromVärmland. No one, seeing him, could imagine that he was from anyother place. His native land had equipped him with its excellentqualities. He was quick at his work, nimble with his fingers, readywith his tongue, clear in his thoughts. And, moreover, full of fun,good-natured and brave, kind and quarrelsome, inquisitive and achatterbox. A madcap, he never could show more respect to aburgomaster than to a beggar! But he had a heart; he fell in loveevery other day, and confided in the whole town.
This child of rich gifts attended to the work in the shop in ratheran extraordinary manner. The customers were waited on while he fedthe white mice. Money was changed and counted while he put wheelson his little automatic wagons. And while he told the customers ofhis very last love-affair, he kept his eye on the quart measure,into which the brown molasses was slowly curling. It delighted hisadmiring listeners to see him suddenly leap over the counter andrush out into the street to have a brush with a passing street-boy;also to see him calmly return to tie the string on a package or tofinish measuring a piece of cloth.
Was it not quite natural that he should be the favorite of thewhole town? We all felt obliged to trade with Halfvorson, afterPetter Nord came there. Even the old Mayor himself was proud whenPetter Nord took him apart into a dark corner and showed him thecages of the white mice. It was nervous work to show the mice, forHalfvorson had forbidden him to have them in the shop.
But then in the brightening February there came a few days of warm,misty weather. Petter Nord became suddenly serious and silent. Helet the white mice nibble the steel bars of their cages withoutfeeding them. He attended to his duties in the most irreproachableway. He fought with no more street boys. Could Petter Nord not bearthe change in the weather?
Oh no, the matter was that he had found a fifty-crown note on oneof the shelves. He believed that it had got caught in a piece ofcloth, and without any one's seeing him he had pushed it under aroll of striped cotton which was out of fashion and was never takendown from the shelf.
The boy was cherishing great anger in his heart against Halfvorson.The latter had destroyed a, whole family of mice for him, and nowhe meant to be revenged. Before his eyes he still saw the whitemother with her helpless offspring. She had not made the slightestattempt to escape; she had remained in her place with steadfastheroism, staring with red, burning eyes on the heartless murderer.Did he not deserve a short time of anxiety? Petter Nord wished tosee him come out pale as death from his office and begin to lookfor the fifty crowns. He wished to see the same despair in hiswatery eyes as he had seen in the ruby red ones of the white mouse.The shopkeeper should search, he should turn the whole shop upsidedown before Petter Nord would let him find the bank-note.
But the fifty crowns lay in its hiding-place all day without anyone's asking about it. It was a new note, many-colored and bright,and had big numbers in all the corners. When Petter Nord was alonein the shop, he put a step-ladder against the shelves and climbedup to the roll of cotton. Then he took out the fifty crowns,unfolded it and admired its beauties.
In the midst of the most eager trade he would grow anxious lestsomething should have happened to the fifty crowns. Then hepretended to look for something on the shelf, and groped aboutunder the roll of cotton till he felt the smooth bank-note rustleunder his fingers.
The note had suddenly acquired a supernatural power over him. Mightthere not be something living in it? The figures surrounded by widerings were like magnetic eyes. The boy kissed them all andwhispered: "I should like to have many, very many like you."
He began to have all sorts of thoughts about the note, and whyHalfvorson did not inquire for it. Perhaps it was not Halfvorson's?Perhaps it had lain in the shop for a long time? Perhaps it nolonger had any owner?
Thoughts are contagious.—At supper Halfvorson had begun to speakof money and moneyed-men. He told Petter Nord about all the poorboys who had amassed riches. He began with Whittington and endedwith Astor and Jay Gould. Halfvorson knew all their histories; heknew how they had striven and denied themselves; what they haddiscovered and ventured. He grew eloquent when he began on suchtales. He lived through the sufferings of those young people; hefollowed them in their successes; he rejoiced in their victories.Petter Nord listened quite fascinated.
Halfvorson was stone deaf, but that was no obstacle to conversation,for he read by the lips everything that was said. On the otherhand, he could not hear his own voice. It rolled out as strangelymonotonous as the roar of a distant waterfall. But his peculiar wayof speaking made everything he said sink in, so that one could notescape from it for many days. Poor Petter Nord!
"What is most needed to become rich," said Halfvorson, "is thefoundation. But it cannot be earned. Take note that they all havefound it in the street or discovered it between the lining andcloth of a coat which they had bought at a pawnbroker's sale; orthat it had been won at cards, or had been given to them in alms bya beautiful and charitable lady. After they had once found thatblessed coin, everything had gone well with them. The stream ofgold welled from it as from a fountain. The first thing that isnecessary, Petter Nord, is the foundation."
Halfvorson's voice sounded ever fainter and fainter. Young PetterNord sat in a kind of trance and saw endless vistas of gold beforehim. On the dining table rose great piles of ducats; the floorheaved white with silver, and the indistinct patterns on the dirtywall-paper changed into banknotes, big as handkerchiefs. Butdirectly before his eyes fluttered the fifty-crown note, surroundedby wide rings, luring him like the most beautiful eyes. "Who canknow," smiled the eyes, "perhaps the fifty crowns up on the shelfis just such a foundation?"
"Mark my words," said Halfvorson, "that, after the foundation, twothings are necessary for those who wish to reach the heights. Work,untiring work, Petter Nord, is one; and the other is renunciation.Renunciation of play and love, of talk and laughter, of morningsleep and evening strolls. In truth, in truth, two things arenecessary for him who would win fortune. One is called work, andthe other renunciation."
Petter Nord looked as if he would like to weep. Of course he wishedto be rich, naturally he wished to be fortunate, but fortune shouldnot be so anxiously and sadly won. Fortune ought to come ofherself. Just as Petter Nord was fighting with the street boys, thenoble lady should stop her coach at the shop-door, and invite theVärmland boy to the place at her side. But now Halfvorson'

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