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A Happy Boy

It was during the noonday rest; the people at the great Heidegards were
sleeping, the hay was scattered over the meadows, the rakes were staked in the
ground. Below the barn-bridge stood the hay sleds, the harness lay, taken off,
beside them, and the horses were tethered at a little distance. With the exception
of the latter and some hens that had strayed across the fields, not a living
creature was visible on the whole plain.
There was a notch in the mountains above the gards, and through it the road led
to the Heidegard saeters,--large, fertile mountain plains. A man was standing in
this notch, taking a survey of the plain below, just as if he were watching for
some one. Behind him lay a little mountain lake, from which flowed the brook
which made this mountain pass; on either side of this lake ran cattle-paths,
leading to the saeters, which could be seen in the distance. There floated toward
him a shouting and a barking, cattle-bells tinkled among the mountain ridges; for
the cows had straggled apart in search of water, and the dogs and herd-boys
were vainly striving to drive them together. The cows came galloping along with
the most absurd antics and involuntary plunges, and with short, mad bellowing,
their tails held aloft, they rushed down into the water, where they came to a
stand; every time they moved their heads the tinkling of their bells was heard
across the lake. The dogs drank a little, but stayed behind on firm land; the herd-
boys followed, and seated themselves on the warm, smooth hill-side. Here they
drew forth their lunch boxes, exchanged with one another, bragged about their
dogs, oxen, and the family they lived with, then undressed, and sprang into the
water with the cows. The dogs persisted in not going in; but loitered lazily around,
their heads hanging, with hot eyes and lolling tongues. Round about on the
slopes not a bird was to be seen, not a sound was heard, save the prattling of
children and the tinkling of bells; the heather was parched and dry, the sun
blazed on the hill-sides, so that everything was scorched by its heat.
It was Oyvind who was sitting up there in the mid-day sun, waiting. He sat in his
shirt-sleeves, close by the brook which flowed from the lake. No one yet
appeared on the Heidegard plain, and he was gradually beginning to grow
anxious when suddenly a large dog came walking with heavy steps out of a door
in Nordistuen, followed by a girl in white sleeves. She tripped across the meadow
toward the cliff; he felt a strong desire to shout down to her, but dared not. He
took a careful survey of the gard to see if any one might come out and notice her,
but there seemed to be no danger of detection, and several times he rose from
She arrived at last, following a path by the side of the brook, the dog a little in
advance of her, snuffing the air, she catching hold of the low shrubs, and walking
with more and more weary gait. Oyvind sprang downward; the dog growled and