A Happy Boy
Half a year later--in the autumn it was (the confirmation had been postponed until
then)--the candidates for confirmation of the main parish sat in the parsonage
servant's hall, waiting examination, among them was Oyvind Pladsen and Marit
Heidegards. Marit had just come down from the priest, from whom she had
received a handsome book and much praise; she laughed and chatted with her
girl friends on all sides and glanced around among the boys. Marit was a full-
grown girl, easy and frank in her whole address, and the boys as well as the girls
knew that Jon Hatlen, the best match in the parish, was courting her,--well might
she be happy as she sat there. Down by the door stood some girls and boys who
had not passed; they were crying, while Marit and her friends were laughing;
among them was a little boy in his father's boots and his mother's Sunday
"Oh, dear! oh, dear!" sobbed he, "I dare not go home again."
And this overcame those who had not yet been up with the power of sympathy;
there was a universal silence. Anxiety filled their throats and eyes; they could not
see distinctly, neither could they swallow; and this they felt a continual desire to
One sat reckoning over how much he knew; and although but a few hours before
he had discovered that he knew everything, now he found out just as confidently
that he knew nothing, not even how to read in a book.
Another summed up the list of his sins, from the time he was large enough to
remember until now, and he decided that it would not be at all remarkable if the
Lord decreed that he should be rejected.
A third sat taking note of all things about him: if the clock which was about to
strike did not make its first stroke before he could count twenty, he would pass; if
the person he heard in the passage proved to be the gard-boy Lars, he would
pass; if the great rain-drop, working its way down over the pane, came as far as
the moulding of the window, he would pass. The final and decisive proof was to
be if he succeeded in twisting his right foot about the left,--and this it was quite
impossible for him to do.
A fourth was convinced in his own mind that if he was only questioned about
Joseph in Bible history and about baptism in the Catechism, or about Saul, or