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A Happy Boy by Bjornstjerne Bjornson

Part 3 out of 3

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"Many times? We ought to have money! Yes, yes; a man can chew who has
not all his teeth; he who drives with oxen will get on, too."

The mother stood blinking at Thore, who gave her many quick side
glances as he sat swaying his body to and fro, and stroking his knees
with his hands. The school-master also winked at him. Thore's lips
parted, he coughed a little, and made an effort to speak; but Ole and
Oyvind both kept on talking in an uninterrupted stream, laughed and
kept up such a clatter that no one else could be heard.

"You must be quiet for a little while, Thore has something he wants to
say," puts in the school-master.

They pause and look at Thore, who finally begins, in a low tone:--

"It has so happened that we have had a mill on our place. Of late it
has turned out that we have had two. These mills have always brought
in a few shillings during the year; but neither my father nor I have
used any of these shillings except while Oyvind was away. The
school-master has managed them, and he says they have prospered well
where they are; but now it is best that Oyvind should take them for

The mother stood in a corner, shrinking away into almost nothing, as
she gazed with sparkling eyes at Thore, who looked very grave, and had
an almost stupid expression on his face. Ole Nordistuen sat nearly
opposite him, with wide-gaping mouth. Oyvind was the first to rouse
from his astonishment, and burst out,--

"Does it not seem as if good luck went with me!"

With this he crossed the floor to his father, and gave him a slap on
the shoulder that rang through the room. "You, father!" cried he, and
rubbing his hands together he continued his walk.

"How much money might it be?" finally asked Ole, in a low tone, of the

"It is not so little."

"Some hundreds?"

"Rather more."

"Rather more? Oyvind, rather more! Lord help us, what a gard it will

He got up, laughing aloud.

"I must go with you up to Marit," says Oyvind. "We can use the
conveyance that is standing outside, then it will not take long."

"Yes, at once! at once! Do you, too, want everything done with haste?"

"Yes, with haste and wrong."

"With haste and wrong! Just the way it was with me when I was young,

"Here is your cap and staff; now I am going to drive you away."

"You are going to drive me away, ha--ha--ha! But you are coming with
me; are you not? You are coming with me? All the rest of you come
along, too; we must sit together this evening as long as the coals are
alive. Come along!"

They promised that they would come. Oyvind helped Ole into the
conveyance, and they drove off to Nordistuen. The large dog was not
the only one up there who was surprised when Ole Nordistuen came
driving into the gard with Oyvind Pladsen. While Oyvind was helping
Ole out of the conveyance, and servants and laborers were gaping at
them, Marit came out in the passage to see what the dog kept barking
at; but paused, as if suddenly bewitched, turned fiery red, and ran in.
Old Ole, meanwhile, shouted so tremendously for her when he got into
the house that she had to come forward again.

"Go and make yourself trim, girl; here is the one who is to have the

"Is that true?" she cries, involuntarily, and so loud that the words
rang through the room.

"Yes; it is true!" replies Oyvind, clapping his hands.

At this she swings round on her toe, flings away what she has in her
hand, and runs out; but Oyvind follows her.

Soon came the school-master, and Thore and his wife. The old man had
ordered candles put on the table, which he had had spread with a white
cloth. Wine and beer were offered, and Ole kept going round himself,
lifting his feet even higher than usual; but the right foot always
higher than the left.

Before this little tale ends, it may be told that five weeks later
Oyvind and Marit were united in the parish church. The school-master
himself led the singing on the occasion, for the assistant chorister
was ill. His voice was broken now, for he was old; but it seemed to
Oyvind that it did the heart good to hear him. When the young man had
given Marit his hand, and was leading her to the altar, the
school-master nodded at him from the chancel, just as Oyvind had seen
him do, in fancy, when sitting sorrowfully at that dance long ago.
Oyvind nodded back while tears welled up to his eyes.

These tears at the dance were the forerunners of those at the wedding.
Between them lay Oyvind's faith and his work.

Here endeth the story of A HAPPY BOY.

Transcriber's Note: Some words which appear to be typos are printed
thus in the original book. A list of these possible misprints follows:


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