A Happy Boy HTML version

DEAR PARENTS,--We have to study much more now than at first, but as I am
less behind the others than I was, it is not so hard. I shall change many things in
father's place when I come home; for there is much that is wrong there, and it is
wonderful that it has prospered as well as it has. But I shall make everything
right, for I have learned a great deal. I want to go to some place where I can put
into practice all I now know, and so I must look for a high position when I get
through here.
No one here considers Jon Hatlen as clever as he is thought to be at home
with us; but as he has a gard of his own, this does not concern any one but
Many who go from here get very high salaries, but they are paid so well
because ours is the best agricultural school in the country. Some say the one in
the next district is better, but this is by no means true. There are two words here:
one is called Theory, the other Practice. It is well to have them both, for one is
nothing without the other; but still the latter is the better. Now the former means,
to understand the cause and principle of a work; the latter, to be able to perform
it: as, for instance, in regard to a quagmire; for there are many who know what
should be done with a quagmire and yet do it wrong, because they are not able
to put their knowledge into practice. Many, on the other hand, are skillful in doing,
but do not know what ought to be done; and thus they too may make bad work of
it, for there are many kinds of quagmires. But we at the agricultural school learn
both words. The superintendent is so skillful that he has no equal. At the last
agricultural meeting for the whole country, he led in two discussions, and the
other superintendents had only one each, and upon careful consideration his
statements were always sustained. At the meeting before the last, where he was
not present, there was nothing but idle talk. The lieutenant who teaches
surveying was chosen by the superintendent only on account of his ability, for the
other schools have no lieutenant. He is so clever that he was the best scholar at
the military academy.
The school-master asks if I go to church. Yes, of course I go to church, for
now the priest has an assistant, and his sermons fill all the congregation with
terror, and it is a pleasure to listen to him. He belongs to the new religion they
have in Christiania, and people think him too strict, but it is good for them that he
is so.
Just now we are studying much history, which we have not done before, and it
is curious to observe all that has happened in the world, but especially in our
country, for we have always won, except when we have lost, and then we always
had the smaller number. We now have liberty; and no other nation has so much
of it as we, except America; but there they are not happy. Our freedom should be
loved by us above everything.
Now I will close for this time, for I have written a very long letter. The school-
master will read it, I suppose, and when he answers for you, get him to tell me