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Pelle the Conqueror, Vol. 4 by Martin Anderson Nexo

Part 5 out of 5

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wonderful riches, and was not struck with surprise at a very ordinary,
big-eared urchin such as one might see any day.

And now he was just showing that Father Lasse had been right. The
greatest miracles were in himself--Pelle, who resembled hundreds of
millions of other workmen, and had never yet had more than just enough
for his food. Man was really the most wonderful of all. Was he not
himself, in all his commonplace naturalness, like a luminous spark,
sprung from the huge anvil of divine thought? He could send out his
inquiring thought to the uttermost borders of space, and back to the
dawn of time. And this all-embracing power seemed to have proceeded from
nothing, like God Himself! The mere fact that he, who made so much
noise, had to go to prison in order to comprehend the great object of
things, was a marvel! There must have been far-reaching plans deposited
in him, since he shut himself in.

When he looked out over the rising, he felt himself to be facing a
world-thought with extraordinarily long sight. The common people,
without knowing it, had been for centuries preparing themselves for an
entry into a new world; the migration of the masses would not be stopped
until they had reached their goal. A law which they did not even know
themselves, and could not enter into, led them the right way; and Pelle
was not afraid. At the back of his unwearied labor with the great
problem of the age was the recognition that he was one of those on whom
the nation laid the responsibility for the future; but he was never in
doubt as to the aim, nor the means. During the great lock-out the
foreseeing had feared the impossibility of leading all these crowds into
the fire. And then the whole thing had opened out of itself quite
naturally, from an apparently tiny cause to a steadily ordered battle
all along the line. The world had never before heard a call so great as
that which he and his followers brought forward! It meant nothing less
than the triumph of goodness! He was not fond of using great words, but
at the bottom of his heart he was convinced that everything bad
originated in want and misery. Distrust and selfishness came from
misusage; they were man's defence against extortion. And the extortion
came from insecure conditions, from reminders of want or unconscious
fear of it. Most crimes could easily be traced back to the distressing
conditions, and even where the connection was not perceptible he was
sure that it nevertheless existed. It was his experience that every one
in reality was good: the evil in them could nearly always be traced back
to something definite, while the goodness often existed in spite of
everything. It would triumph altogether when the conditions became
secure for everybody. He was sure that even the crimes that were due to
abnormity would cease of themselves when there were no longer hidden
reminders of misery in the community.

It was his firm belief that he and his followers should renew the world;
the common people should turn it into a paradise for the multitude, just
as it had already made it a paradise for the few. It would require a
great and courageous mind for this, but his army had been well tested.
Those who, from time immemorial, had patiently borne the pressure of
existence for others, must be well fitted to take upon themselves the
leadership into the new age.

Pelle at last found himself in Strand Road, and it was too late to
return home. He was ravenously hungry and bought a couple of rolls at a
baker's, and ate them on his way to work.

* * * * *

At midday Brun came into the works to sign some papers and go through
accounts with Pelle. They were sitting up in the office behind the shop.
Pelle read out the items and made remarks on them, while the old man
gave his half attention and merely nodded. He was longing to get back to

"You won't mind making it as short as possible?" he said, "for I don't
feel quite well." The harsh spring winds were bad for him and made his
breathing difficult. The doctor had advised a couple of months in the
Riviera--until the spring was over; but the old man could not make up
his mind. He had not the courage to set out alone.

The shop-bell rang, and Pelle went in to serve. A young sunburnt man
stood on the other side of the counter and laughed.

"Don't you know me?" he asked, holding out his hand to Pelle. It was
Karl, the youngest of the three orphans in the "Ark."

"Why, of course I know you!" answered Pelle, delighted. "I've been to
Adel Street to look for you; I was told you had your business there."

That had been a long time ago! Now Karl Anker was manager of a large
supply association over on Funen. He had come over to order some boots
and shoes from Pelle for the association. "It's only a trial," he said.
"If it succeeds I'll get you a connection with the cooperative
association, and that's a customer that takes something, I can tell

Pelle had to make haste to take down the order, as Karl had to catch a

"It's a pity you haven't got time to see our works," said Pelle. "Do you
remember little Paul from the 'Ark'? The factory-girl's child that she
tied to the stove when she went to work? He's become a splendid fellow.
He's my head man in the factory. He'd like to see you!"

"When Karl was gone and Pelle was about to go in to Brun in the office,
he caught sight of a small, somewhat deformed woman with a child,
walking to and fro above the workshop windows, and taking stolen glances
down. They timidly made way for people passing, and looked very
frightened. Pelle called them into the shop.

"Do you want to speak to Peter Dreyer?" he asked.

The woman nodded. She had a refined face with large, sorrowful eyes. "If
it won't disturb him," she said.

Pelle called Peter Dreyer and then went into the office, where he found
Brun had fallen asleep.

He heard them whispering in the shop. Peter was angry, and the woman and
the child cried; he could hear it in the tones of their whisper. It did
not last more than a minute, and then Peter let them out. Pelle went
quickly into the shop.

"If it was money," he said hurriedly, "you know you've only got to tell

"No, it was the big meeting of unemployed this afternoon. They were
begging me to stop at home, silly creatures! Goodness knows what's come
to them!" Peter was quite offended. "By the by--I suppose you haven't
any objection to my going now? It begins in an hour's time."

"I thought it had been postponed," said Pelle.

"Yes, but that was only a ruse to prevent its being prohibited. We're
holding it in a field out by Norrebro. You ought to come too; it'll be a
meeting that'll be remembered. We shall settle great matters to-day."
Peter was nervous, and fidgeted with his clothes while he spoke.

Pelle placed his hands on his shoulders and looked into his eyes. "You'd
better do what those two want," he said earnestly. "I don't know them,
of course; but if their welfare's dependent on you, then they too have a
claim upon you. Give up what you were going to do, and go out for a walk
with those two! Everything's budding now; take them to the woods! It's
better to make two people happy than a thousand unhappy."

Peter looked away. "We're not going to do anything special, so what is
there to make such a fuss about?" he murmured.

"You _are_ going to do something to-day; I can see it in you. And
if you can't carry it through, who'll have to take the consequences?
Why, the women and children! You _can't_ carry it through! Our
strength doesn't lie in that direction."

"You go your way and let me go mine," said Peter, gently freeing

Two policemen were standing on the opposite pavement, talking together,
while they secretly kept an eye on the shop. Pelle pointed to them.

"The police don't know where the meeting's to be held, so they're
keeping watch on me," said Peter, shrugging his shoulders. "I can easily
put those two on the wrong track."

The policemen crossed the street and separated outside the shop. One of
them stood looking at the articles exhibited in the window for a little
while, and then quickly entered the shop. "Is Peter Dreyer here?" he
asked haughtily.

"I'm he," answered Peter, withdrawing behind the counter. "But I advise
you not to touch me! I can't bear the touch of a policeman's hands."

"You're arrested!" said the policeman shortly, following him.

Pelle laid his hand upon his arm. "You should go to work with a little
gentleness," he said. But the man pushed him roughly away. "I'll have no
interference from you!" he cried, blowing his whistle. Peter started,
and for a moment his thoughts were at a standstill; then he leaped like
a cat over the iron railing, of the workshop steps. But the other
policeman was there to receive him, and he sprang once more into the
shop, close up to his pursuer. He had his revolver in his hand. "I've
had enough of this, confound you!" he hissed.

Two shots sounded, one immediately after the other. The policeman just
managed to turn round, but fell forward with his head under the counter,
and Peter dropped upon the top of him. It looked as if he had tripped
over the policeman's leg; but when Pelle went to help him up he saw that
the blood was trickling from a hole in his temple. The policeman was

Peter opened his eyes with difficulty when Pelle raised his head. "Take
me away!" he whispered, turning his head toward the dead man with an
expression of loathing. He still kept a convulsive hold upon his

Pelle took it from him, and carried him in to the sofa in the office.
"Get me a little water!" said Pelle to the old librarian, who was
standing trembling at the door, but the old man did not hear him.

Peter made a sign that he needed nothing now. "But those two," he
whispered. Pelle nodded. "And then--Pelle--comrade--" He tried to fix
his dying gaze upon Pelle, but suddenly started convulsively, his knees
being drawn right up to his chin. "Bloodhounds!" he groaned, his eyes
converging so strongly that the pupils disappeared altogether; but then
his features fell once more into their ordinary folds as his head sank
back, and he was dead.

The policeman came in. "Well, is he dead?" he asked maliciously. "He's
made fools of us long enough!"

Pelle took him by the arm and led him to the door. "He's no longer in
your district," he said, as he closed the door behind him and followed
the man into the shop, where the dead policeman lay upon the counter.
His fellow-policeman had laid him there, locked the outer door, and
pulled down the blinds.

"Will you stop the work and tell the men what has happened?" said Pelle
quietly to Brun. "There's something else I must see to. There'll be no
more work done here to-day."

"Are you going?" asked the old man anxiously.

"Yes, I'm going to take Peter's meeting for him, now that he can't do it
himself," answered Pelle in a low voice.

They had gone down through the workshop, where the men were standing
about, looking at one another. They had heard the shots, but had no idea
what they meant. "Peter is dead!" said Pelle. His emotion prevented him
from saying anything more. Everything seemed suddenly to rush over him,
and he hastened out and jumped onto a tram-car.

Out on one of the large fields behind Norrebro a couple of thousand
unemployed were gathered. The wind had risen and blew gustily from the
west over the field. The men tramped backward and forward, or stood
shivering in their thin clothes. The temper of the crowd was
threatening. Men continued to pour out from the side streets, most of
them sorry figures, with faces made older by want of work. Many of them
could no longer show themselves in the town for want of clothes, and
took this opportunity of joining the others.

There was grumbling among them because the meeting had not begun. Men
asked one another what the reason was, and no one could tell. Suppose
Peter Dreyer had cheated them too, and had gone over to the corporation!

Suddenly a figure appeared upon the cart that was to be used as a
platform, and the men pressed forward on all sides. Who in the world was
it? It was not Peter Dreyer! Pelle? What smith? Oh, him from The Great
Struggle--"the Lightning"! Was he still to the fore? Yes, indeed he was!
Why, he'd become a big manufacturer and a regular pillar of society.
What in the world did he want here? He had plenty of cheek!

Suddenly a storm of shouts and hisses broke out, mingled with a little

Pelle stood looking out over the crowd with an expression of terrible
earnestness. Their demonstration against him did not move him; he was
standing here in the stead of a dead man. He still felt Peter's heavy
head on his arm.

When comparative quiet was restored he raised his head. "Peter Dreyer is
dead!" he said in a voice that was heard by every one. Whispers passed
through the crowd, and they looked questioningly at one another as
though they had not heard correctly. He saw from their expression how
much would go to pieces in their lives when they believed it.

"It's a lie!" suddenly cried a voice, relieving the tension. "You're
hired by the police to entice us round the corner, you sly fellow!"

Pelle turned pale. "Peter Dreyer is lying in the factory with a bullet
through his head," he repealed inexorably. "The police were going to
arrest him, and he shot both the policeman and himself!"

For a moment all the life in the crowd seemed to be petrified by the
pitiless truth, and he saw how they had loved Peter Dreyer. Then they
began to make an uproar, shouting that they would go and speak to the
police, and some even turned to go.

"Silence, people!" cried Pelle in a loud voice. "Are you grown men and
yet will get up a row beside the dead body of a comrade?"

"What do you know about it?" answered one. "You don't know what you're
talking about!"

"I do know at any rate that at a place out by Vesterbro there sits a
woman with a child, waiting for Peter, and he will not come. Would you
have more like them? What are you thinking of, wanting to jump into the
sea and drown yourselves because you're wet through? Will those you
leave behind be well off? For if you think so, it's your duty to
sacrifice yourselves. But don't you think rather that the community will
throw you into a great common pit, and leave your widows and fatherless
children to weep over you?"

"It's all very well for you to talk!" some one shouted. "Yours are safe

"I'm busy making yours safe for you, and you want to spoil it by
stupidity! It's all very well for me to talk, you say! But if there's
any one of you who dares turn his face to heaven and say he has gone
through more than I have, let him come up here and take my place."

He was silent and looked out over the crowd. Their wasted faces told him
that they were in need of food, but still more of fresh hope. Their eyes
gazed into uncertainty. A responsibility must be laid upon them--a great
responsibility for such prejudiced beings--if possible, great enough to
carry them on to the goal.

"What is the matter with you?" he went on. "You suffer want, but you've
always done that without getting anything for it; and now when there's
some purpose in it, you won't go any further. We aren't just from
yesterday, remember! Wasn't it us who fought the great battle to its end
together? Now you scorn it and the whole Movement and say they've
brought nothing; but it was then we broke through into life and won our
right as men.

"Before that time we have for centuries borne our blind hope safely
through oppression and want. Is there any other class of society that
has a marching route like ours? Forced by circumstances, we prepared for
centuries of wandering in the desert and never forgot the country; the
good God had given us some of His own infinite long-suffering to carry
us through the toilsome time. And now, when we are at the border, you've
forgotten what we were marching for, and sacrifice the whole thing if
only _you_ can be changed from thin slaves to fat slaves!"

"There are no slaves here!" was the threatening cry on all sides.

"You're working horses, in harness and with blinkers on! Now you demand
good feeding. When will the scales fall from your eyes, so that you take
the responsibility upon yourselves? You think you're no end of fine
fellows when you dare to bare your chest to the bayonets, but are we a
match for brutality? If we were, the future would not be ours."

"Are you scoffing at Peter Dreyer?" asked a sullen voice.

"No, I am not. Peter Dreyer was one of those who go on in advance, and
smear the stones on the road with their hearts' blood, so that the rest
of us may find our way. But you've no right to compare yourselves with
him. He sank under the weight of a tremendous responsibility; and what
are you doing? If you want to honor Peter's memory as it deserves, go
quietly home, and join the Movement again. There you have work to do
that will transform the world when you all set about it. What will it
matter if your strength ebbs and you suffer hunger for a little longer
while you're building your own house? You were hungry too when you were
building for others.

"You referred to Peter Dreyer, but we are none of us great martyrs; we
are everyday, ordinary men, and there's where our work lies. Haven't the
thousands who have suffered and died in silence a still greater claim to
be followed? They have gone down peacefully for the sake of the
development, and have the strongest right to demand our belief in a
peaceable development. It is just we that come from the lowest stratum
who must preserve the historic development; never has any movement had
so long and sad a previous history as ours! Suffering and want have
taught us to accept the leadership, when the good has justice done to
it; and you want to throw the whole thing overboard by an act of

They listened to him in silence now. He had caught their minds, but it
was not knowledge they absorbed. At present they looked most like weary
people who are told that they still have a long way to go. But he
_would_ get them through!

"Comrades!" he cried earnestly, "perhaps we who are here shall not live
to see the new, but it's through us that it'll some day become reality.
Providence has stopped at us, and has appointed us to fight for it. Is
that not an honor? Look! we come right from the bottom of everything--
entirely naked; the old doesn't hang about our clothes, for we haven't
any; we can clothe ourselves in the new. The old God, with His thousands
of priests as a defence against injustice, we do not know; the moral of
war we have never understood--we who have always been its victims. We
believe in the Good, because we know that without the victory of
goodness there will be no future. Our mind is light and can receive the
light; we will lift up our little country and show that it has a mission
on the earth. We who are little ourselves will show how the little ones
keep up and assert themselves by the principle of goodness. We wish no
harm to any one, therefore the good is on our side. Nothing can in the
long run keep us down! And now go home! Your wives and children are
perhaps anxious on your account."

They stood for a moment as though still listening, and then dispersed in

When Pelle sprang down from the cart, Morten came up and held out his
hand. "You are strong, Pelle!" he said quietly.

"Where have you come from?" exclaimed Pelle in glad surprise.

"I came by the steamer this afternoon, and went straight up to the
works. Brun told me what had happened and that you were here. It must
have been a threatening meeting! There was a detachment of police over
there in one of the side streets. What was going on?"

"They'd planned some demonstration or other, and would in that case have
met with harsh treatment, I suppose," said Pelle gravely.

"It was well you got them to change their minds. I've seen these
demonstrations in the South, where the police and the soldiers ride over
the miserable unemployed. It's a sad sight."

They walked up across the fields toward "Daybreak." "To think that
you're home again!" said Pelle, with childlike delight. "You never wrote
a word about coming."

"Well, I'd meant to stay away another couple of months. But one day I
saw the birds of passage flying northward across the Mediterranean, and
I began to be so homesick. It was just as well I came too, for now I can
see Brun before he goes."

"Oh, is he going away, after all? That's been settled very quickly. This
morning he couldn't make up his mind."

"It's this about Peter. The old man's fallen off very much in the last
six months. But let's walk quicker! I'm longing to see Ellen and the
children. How's the baby?"

"He's a little fatty!" said Pelle proudly. "Nine pounds without his
clothes! Isn't that splendid? He's a regular sunshine baby."


It is spring once more in Denmark.

It has been coming for a long time. The lark came before the frost was
out of the ground, and then the starling appeared. And one day the air
seemed suddenly to have become high and light so that the eye could once
more see far out; there was a peculiar broad airiness in the wind--the
breath of spring. It rushed along with messages of young, manly
strength, and people threw back their shoulders and took deep breaths.
"Ah! the south wind!" they said, and opened their minds in anticipation.

There he comes riding across the sea from the south, in the middle of
his youthful train. Never before has his coming been so glorious! Is he
not like the sun himself? The sea glitters under golden hoofs, and the
air is quivering with sunbeam-darts caught and thrown in the wild gallop
over the waves. Heigh-ho! Who'll be the first to reach the Danish shore?

Like a broad wind the spring advances over islands and belts, embracing
the whole in arrogant strength. He sings in the children's open mouths
as in a shell, and is lavish of his airy freshness. Women's teeth grow
whiter with his kiss, and vie with their eyes in brightness; their
cheeks glow beneath his touch, though they remain cool--like sun-ripe
fruit under the morning dew. Men's brains whirl once more, and expand
into an airy vault, as large as heaven itself, giddy with expectancy.
From high up comes the sound of the passage birds in flight; the air is
dizzy with its own infinitude.

Bareheaded and with a sunny smile the spring advances like a young giant
intoxicated with his own strength, stretches out his arms and wakens
everything with his song. Nothing can resist him. He touches lightly the
heart of the sleeping earth, calling merrily into her dull ears to
awake. And deep down the roots of life begin to stir and wake, and send
the sap circulating once more. Hedgehogs and field-mice emerge sleepily
and begin to busy themselves in the hedges. From the darkness below old
decayed matter ferments and bubbles up, and the stagnant water in the
ditches begins to run toward the sea.

Men stand and gaze in amazement after the open-handed giant, until they
feel the growth in themselves and can afford something. All that was
impossible before has suddenly become possible, and more besides. The
farmer has long since had his plough in the earth, and the sower straps
his basket on: the land is to be clothed again.

The days lengthen and become warmer; it is delightful to watch them and
know that they are going upward. One day Ellen opens wide the double
doors out to the garden; it is like a release. But what a quantity of
dirt the light reveals!

"We shall have to be busy now, Petra Dreyer!" says Ellen. The little
deformed sewing-woman smiles with her sad eyes, and the two women begin
to sweep floors and wash windows. Now and then a little girl comes in
from the garden complaining that she is not allowed to play with Anna's
big doll. Boy Comfort is in the fields from morning to night, helping
Grandfather Stolpe to build the new workmen's houses. A fine help his
is! When Ellen fetches him in to meals, he is so dirty that she nearly
loses all patience.

"I wonder how Old Brun is!" says Ellen suddenly, in the middle of her
work. "We haven't heard from him now for three days. It's quite sad to
think he's so far away. I only hope they'll look after him properly."

Pelle is tremendously busy, and they do not see much of him. The
Movement has taken up his idea now in earnest, and he is to have the
management of it all, so that he has his hands full. "Have I got a
husband or not?" says Ellen, when she gets hold of him now and again.

"It'll soon be better," he answers. "When once we've got the machinery
properly started, it'll go by itself."

Morten is the only one who has not set seriously to work on anything,
and in the midst of all the bustle has an incongruous effect. "He's
thinking!" says Ellen, stopping in the middle of beating a carpet.
"Thank goodness we're not all authors!"

Pelle would like to draw him into the business. "There's so much to
write and lecture about," he says, "and you could do all that so much
better than I."

"Oh, no, I couldn't," says Morten. "Your work's growing in me too. I'm
always thinking about it and have thought of giving a hand too, but I
can't. If I ever contribute anything to your great work, it'll be in
some other way."

"You're doing nothing with your book about the sun either," says Pelle

"No, because whenever I set to work on it, it mixes up so strangely with
your work, and I can't keep the ideas apart. At present I feel like a
mole, digging blindly in the black earth under the mighty tree of life.
I dig and search, and am continually coming across the thick roots of
the huge thing above the surface. I can't see them, but I can hear
sounds from above there, and it hurts me not to be able to follow them
into their strong connection up in the light."

* * * * *

One Sunday morning at the end of May they were sitting out in the
garden. The cradle had been moved out into the sun, and Pelle and Ellen
were sitting one on either side, talking over domestic matters. Ellen
had so much to tell him when she had him to herself. The child lay
staring up into the sky with its dark eyes that were the image of
Ellen's. He was brown and chubby; any one could see that he had been
conceived in sunshine and love.

Lasse Frederik was sitting by the hedge painting a picture that Pelle
was not to see until it was finished. He went to the drawing-school now,
and was clever. He had a good eye for figures, and poor people
especially he hit off in any position. He had a light hand, and in two
or three lines could give what his father had had to work at carefully.
"You cheat!" Pelle often said, half resentfully. '"It won't bear looking
closely at." He had to admit, however, that it was a good likeness.

"Well, can't I see the picture soon?" he called across. He was very

"Yes, it's finished now," said Lasse Frederik, coming up with it.

The picture represented a street in which stood a solitary milk-cart,
and behind the cart lay a boy with bleeding head. "He fell asleep
because he had to get up so early," Lasse Frederik explained; "and then
when the cart started he tumbled backward." The morning emptiness of the
street was well done, but the blood was too brilliantly red.

"It's very unpleasant," said Ellen, with a shudder. "But it's true."

Morten came home from town with a big letter which he handed to Pelle,
saying: "Here's news for you from Brun." Pelle went into the house to
read it undisturbed, and a little while after came out again.

"Yes, important news this time," he said with some emotion. "Would you
like to hear it?" he asked, sitting down.


"I am sitting up in bed to write to you. I am poorly, and have been for
some days; but I hope it is nothing serious. We all have to die some
day, but I should like to start on the great voyage round the world from
your home. I long to see 'Daybreak' and all of you, and I feel very
lonely. If the business could do without you for a few days, I should be
so glad if you would come down here. Then we could go home together, for
I should not like to venture on the journey by myself.

"The sun is just going down, and sends its last rays in to me. It has
been gray and gloomy all day, but now the sun has broken through the
clouds, and kisses the earth and me, poor old man, too, in farewell. It
makes me want to say something to you, Pelle, for my day was like this
before I knew you--endlessly long and gray! When you are the last
member of a dying family, you have to bear the gray existence of the
others too.

"I have often thought how wonderful the hidden force of life is.
Intercourse with you has been like a lever to me, although I knew well
that I should not accomplish anything more, and had no one to come after
me. I feel, nevertheless, through you, in alliance with the future. You
are in the ascendant and must look upon me as something that is
vanishing. But look how life makes us all live by using us each in his
own way. Be strong in your faith in the future; with you lies the
development. I wish with all my heart that I were an awakening proletary
and stood in the dawn of day; but I am nevertheless glad because my eyes
will be closed by the new in you.

"I have imagined that life was tiresome and dull and far too well known.
I had it arranged in my catalogues. And look how it renews itself! In my
old age I have experienced its eternal youth. Formerly I had never cared
about the country; in my mind it was a place where you waded either in
dust or mud. The black earth appeared to me horrible rather than
anything else; it was only associated in my mind with the churchyard.
That shows how far I was from nature. The country was something that
farmers moved about in--those big, voracious creatures, who almost
seemed like a kind of animal trying to imitate man. Rational beings
could not possibly live out there. That was the view in my circle, and I
had myself a touch of the same complaint, although my university
training of course paraphrased and veiled it all to some extent. All
this about our relations to nature seemed to me very interesting
aesthetically, but with more or less of a contradictory, not to say
hostile, character. I could not understand how any one could see
anything beautiful in a ploughed field or a dike. It was only when I got
to know you that something moved within me and called me out; there was
something about you like the air from out there.

"Now I also understand my forefathers! Formerly they seemed to me only
like thick-skinned boors, who scraped together all the money that two
generations of us have lived upon without doing a pennyworth of good.
They enabled us, however, to live life, I have always thought, and I
considered it the only excuse for their being in the family, coarse and
robust as they were. Now I see that it was they who lived, while we
after them, with all our wealth, have only had a bed in life's inn.

"For all this I thank you. I am glad to have become acquainted through
you with men of the new age, and to be able to give my fortune back. It
was made by all those who work, and gathered together by a few; my
giving it back is merely a natural consequence. Others will come to do
as I am doing, either of their own free will or by compulsion, until
everything belongs to everybody. Then only can the conflict about human
interests begin. Capitalism has created wonderful machines, but what
wonderful men await us in the new age! Happy the man who could have
lived to see it!

"I have left all my money to you and Morten. As yet there is no
institution that I could give it to, so you must administer it in the
name of cooperation. You two are the best guardians of the poor, and I
know you will employ it in the best manner. I place it with confidence
in your hands. The will is at my lawyer's; I arranged it all before I
left home.

"My greetings to all at 'Daybreak'--Ellen, the children, and Morten. If
the baby is christened before I get home, remember that he is to be
called after me. But I am hoping that you will come."

* * * * *

Ellen drew a deep breath when Pelle had finished the letter. "I only
hope he's not worse than he makes out," she said. "I suppose you'll go?"

"Yes, I'll arrange what's necessary at the works to-morrow early, and
take the morning express."

"Then I must see to your things," exclaimed Ellen, and went in.

Pelle and Morten went for a stroll along the edge of the hill, past the
half-finished houses, whose red bricks shone in the sun.

"Everything seems to turn out well for you, Pelle," said Morten

"Yes," said Pelle; "nothing has succeeded in injuring me, so I suppose
what Father Lasse and the others said is right, that I was born with a
caul. The ill-usage I suffered as a child taught me to be good to
others, and in prison I gained liberty; what might have made me a
criminal made a man of me instead. Nothing has succeeded in injuring me!
So I suppose I may say that everything has turned out well."

"Yes, you may, and now I've found a subject, Pelle! I'm not going to
hunt about blindly in the dark; I'm going to write a great work now."

"I congratulate you! What will it be about? Is it to be the work on the

"Yes, both about the sun and about him who conquers. It's to be a book
about you, Pelle!"

"About me?" exclaimed Pelle.

"Yes, about the naked Pelle with the caul! It's about time to call out
the naked man into the light and look at him well, now that he's going
to take over the future. You like to read about counts and barons, but
now I'm going to write a story about a prince who finds the treasure and
wins the princess. He's looked for her all over the world and she wasn't
there, and now there's only himself left, and there he finds her, for
he's taken her heart. Won't that be a good story?"

"I think it's a lot of rubbish," said Pelle, laughing. "And you'll have
to lay the lies on thick if you're going to make me into a prince. I
don't think you'll get the workpeople to take it for a real book; it'll
all be so well known and ordinary."

"They'll snatch at it, and weep with delight and pride at finding
themselves in it. Perhaps they'll name their children after it out of
pure gratitude!"

"What are you going to call it then?" asked Pelle.

"I'm going to call it 'PELLE THE CONQUEROR.'"


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