“Oh, is that you, Lieutenant? I did not know you. How pale you are! It is such a long time since I saw you!” shouted the children all at once, as they flocked round me.
“Now you must tell us something awfully jolly! It is such a long time since you told us anything. Oh, tell us about Buttercup, dear Mr. Lieutenant, do tell us about Buttercup and Goldentooth!”
I had to tell them about Buttercup and the dog Goldentooth, but they would not let me off until I gave them a couple of stories into the bargain about the brownies at Vager and at Bure, who stole hay from each other, and who met at last with a load of hay on their backs, and how they fought till they vanished in a cloud of hay-dust […]
(…) the snow was sweeping downthe street, and the sky was black as a December sky can possibly be here in Christiania. I was in just as black amood. It was Christmas Eve,—the first I was to spend awayfrom the cosey fireside of my home. (…) I tried to divert myself in my loneliness and melancholymood by looking out at all the people who passed up anddown the street in the snow and wind, with blue noses and half-shut eyes. It amused me to see the bustle and the lifein the apothecary’s shop across the street. The door was scarcely shut for a moment. Servants and peasants streamed in and out, and commenced to study the labels and directionswhen they came out in the street. Some appeared to be able to make them out, but sometimes a lengthy study and adubious shake of the head showed that the solution was too difficult. It was growing dusk. I could not distinguish the countenances any longer, but gazed across at the old building.
“That ash,” says Har, which was indeed the earth-bearer, “is the greatest and best of all trees.” Its branches spread over the whole world and even reach above heaven. It has three roots, very wide asunder. One of them goes down to Ginnungagap. The frost giants live over it, and over this root is a deep well which we shall hear more of by-and-bye. In the picture this root could not be shown, but the branches which encircle the ice region are supposed to spring from it. Another root extends to Niflheim, the old roaring cauldron lies under it, a great snake called Nidhögg gnaws it night and day as the old lay says. “Yggdrasil’s ash suffers greater hardship than men know of. Nidhögg tears it.” Under this root also lies Helheim, a home of the dead. The third root is in heaven: gods and men live under it, in Asgard and Midgard; the giant fate-sisters also live under it, at the top of the Rainbow’s arch in their palace very beauteous, which stands by the Holy Urda Fount. They water the tree every day with the holy water, so that ever “it stands green over Urda’s Fount.”
These maidens are called Norns;—they fix the destinies of men, Har says; “but besides them,” he adds, “there are a great many other norns—indeed, for each man that is born there is a norn to decide his fate.”
“Тези девойки се наричат “Норни” – те определят съдбите на хората, казва Хар;“но освен тях – добавя той – има много много други норни – всъщност, за всеки роден човек има една норна, която решава съдбата му.”
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