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      THIS is a story from the sand-dunes of Jutland;though it does not begin in Jutland, but far away in the south,in SpainThe ocean is the high road between the nationstransport thyself thither in thought to SpainThere it is warm and beautiful,there the fiery pomegranate blossoms flourish among the dark laurels;from the mountains a cool refreshing wind blows down,upon, and over the orange gardens, over the gorgeous Moorish halls with their golden cupolas and coloured walls through the streets go children in procession, with candles and with waving flags,and over them,lofty and clear,rises the sky with its gleaming starsThere is a sound of song and of castanets,and youths and maidens join in the dance under the blooming acacias,while the beggar sits upon the hewn marble stone,refreshing himself with the juicy melon,and dreamily enjoying life The whole is like a glorious dreamAnd there was a newly married couple who completely gave themselves up to its charm;moreover,they possessed the good things of this life,health and cheerfulness of soul, riches and honour

      We are as happy as it is possible to be,” exclaimed the young couple,from the depths of their heartsThey had indeed but one step more to mount in the ladder of happiness in the hope that God would give them a childa son like them in form and in spirit

      The happy child would be welcomed with rejoicing,would be tended with all care and love,and enjoy every advantage that wealth and ease possessed by an influential family could give

      And the days went by like a glad festival

      Life is a gracious gift of Providence,an almost inappreciable gift!” said the young wife,“and yet they tell us that fullness of joy is found only in the future life,for ever and everI cannot compass the thought.”

      And perhaps the thought arises from the arrogance of men,”said the husband.“It seems a great pride to believe that we shall live for ever,that we shall be as godsWere these not the words of the serpent,the origin of falsehood?”

      Surely you do not doubt the future life?” exclaimed the young wife;and it seemed as if one of the first shadows flitted over the sunny heaven of her thoughts

      Faith promises it,and the priests tell us so!”replied the man;“but amid all my happiness,I feel that it is arrogance to demand a continued happiness,another life after thisHas not so much been given us in this state of existence that we ought to be,that we must be,contented with it?”

      Yes, it has been given to us,”said the young wife,“but to how many thousands is not this life one scene of hard trial? How many have been thrown into this world,as if only to suffer poverty and shame and sickness and misfortune ?If there were no life after this,everything on earth would be too unequally distributed,and the Almighty would not be justice itself.”

      Yonder beggar,” replied the man,“ has his joys which are just as great for him as the king has in his rich palaceAnd then, do you not think that the beast of burden,which suffers blows and hunger,and works itself to death,suffers from its heavy fate? It might likewise demand a future life, and declare the decree unjust that does not admit it into a higher place of creation.”

      HE has said,‘In my Father's house are many mansions’,” replied the young wife:“heaven is immeasurable,as the love of our Maker is immeasurableEven the dumb beast is His creature;and I firmly believe that no life will be lost, but that each will receive that amount of happiness which he can enjoy, and which is sufficient for him.”

      This world is sufficient for me!”said the man,and he threw his arms round his beautiful,amiable wife, and then smoked his cigarette on the open balcony,where the cool air was filled with the fragrance of oranges and pinksThe sound of music and the clatter of castanets came up from the road,the stars gleamed above,and two eyes full of affections,the eyes of his wife,looked on him with the undying glance of love

      Such a moment,” he said,“makes it worth while to be born,to enjoy,and to disappear!”and he smiled

      The young wife raised her hand in mild reproach,and the shadow passed away from her world , and they were happyquite happy

      Everything seemed to work together for them They advanced in honour,in prosperity,and in joyThere was a change, indeed, but only a change of place; not in enjoyment of life and of happinessThe young man was sent by his sovereign as ambassador to the Court of RussiaThis was an honourable office,and his birth and his acquirements gave him a title to be thus honouredHe possessed a great fortune,and his wife had brought him wealth equal to his own, for she was the daughter of a rich and respected merchantOne of this merchant's largest and finest ships was to be dispatched during that year to Stockholm,and it was arranged that the dear young people,the daughter and the soninlaw, should travel in it to StPetersburg And all the arrangements on board were princelyrich carpets for the feet,and silk and luxury on all sides

      There is an old ballad,which every Dane knowsit is called,“The King's Son of England.”He also sailed In a gallant ship,and the anchor was gilded with ruddy gold,and each rope was woven through with silk

      And this ship one must think of on seeing the one from Spain,for here was the same pomp,and the same parting thought arosethe thought

      God grant that we all in joy

      Once more may meet again

      And the wind blew fairly seaward from the Spanish shore,and the parting was to be but a brief one, for in a few weeks the voyagers would reach their destination; but when they came out upon the high seas,the wind sank,the sea became calm and shining,the stars of heaven gleamed brightly,and they were festive evenings that were spent in the sumptuous cabin

      At lengrth the voyagers began to wish for wind, for a favouring;but the breeze would not blow, or,if it did arise,it was contraryThus weeks passed away, two full months;and then at last the fair wind blewit blew from the south-westThe ship sailed on the high seas be-tween Scotland and Jutland, and the wind increased just as in the old song ofThe king's Son of England”.

      And it blew a storm,and the clouds were dark,

      And they found neither land nor shelter,

      Then forth they threw their anchor so true,

      But the wind blew them east towards Denmark

      This all happened a long,long while agoking Christian VII then sat on the Danish throne,and he was still a young manMuch has happened since that time,much has changed or has been changedSea and moorland have been converted into green meadows,heath has become arable land,and in the shelter of the West Jute huts grow apple trees and rose bushes,though they certainly require to be sought for,as they bend beneath the sharp west windIn Western jutland one may go back in thought to the old times,farther back than the days when Christian VII bore rule As it did then, in Jutland,the brown heath now also extends for miles, with its Grave-mounds”,its mirages, and its crossing,sandy, uneven roads; westward,where large rivulets run into the bays, extend marshes and meadow land, girdled with lofty sand-hills,which,like a row of Alps raise their peaked summits towards the ocean,only broken by the high clavey ridges,from which the waves year by year bite out huge mouthfuls,so that the impending shores fall down as if by the shock of an earth-quakeThus it is there today,and thus it was many,many years ago,when the happy pair were sailing in the gorgeous ship

      It was in the last days of September, a Sunday, and sunny weather; the chiming of the church bells in the Bay of Nissum was wafted along like a chain of soundsThe churches there are erected almost entirely of hewn boulder stones,each like a piece of rock;the North Sea might foam over them,and they would not be overthrownMost of them are without steeples,and the bells are hung between two beams in the open airThe service was over,and the congregation thronged out into the churchyard,where then,as now,not a tree nor a bush was to be seen; not a single flower had been planted there, nor had a wreath been laid upon the gravesRough mounds show where the dead have been buried,and rank grass,tossed by the wind,grows thickly over the whole churchyardHere and there a grave had a monument to show, in the shape of a half-decayed block of wood rudely shaped into the form of a coffin,the said block having been brought from the forest of West Jutland;but the forest of West Jutland is the wild sea itself,where the inhabitants find the hewn beams and planks and fragments which the breakers cast ashore The wind and the sea fog soon destroy the woodOne of these blocks had been placed on a child s grave, and one of the women, who had come out of the church, stepped towards it She stood still,and let her glance rest on the discolored memorialA few moments afterwards her husband stepped up to her Neither of them spoke a word, but he took her hand, and they wandered across the brown heath,over moor[and meadow],towards the sand-hills;for a long time they thus walked silently

      That was a good sermon today,”the man said at length.“If we had not God to look to, we should have nothing!”

      Yes,”observed the woman,“ He sends joy and sorrow,and He has a right to send themTomorrow our little boy would have been five years old, if we had been allowed to keep him.”

      You will gain nothing by fretting, wife,” said the man.“The boy is Well provided forHe is there whither we pray to go.”

      And they said nothing more,but went forward to their house among the sand-hillsSuddenly,in front of one of the houses,where the sea grass did not keep the sand down, there arose what appeared to be a column of smoke;it was a gust of wind which swept in among the hills,whirling the particles of sand high in the air Another,and the strings of fish hung up to dry flapped and beat violently against the wall of the hut;and then all was still again,and the sun shone down hotly

      Man and wife stepped into the houseThey had soon taken off their Sunday clothes,and then hurried away over the dunes,which stood there like huge waves of sand suddenly arrested in their course,while the sandweeds and the dune grass with its bluish stalks spread a changing colour over themA few neighbours came up and helped one another to draw the boats higher up on the sandThe wind blew more sharply; it was cutting and coldand when they went back over the sandhills,sand and little pointed stones blew into their facesThe waves reared themselves up with their white crowns of foam,and the wind cut off their crests, flinging the foam far around

      The evening came onIn the air was a swelling roar,moaning and complaining like a troop of despairing spirits,that sounded above the hoarse rolling of the sea,although the fisher's little hut was on the very marginThe sand rattled against the windowpanes,and every now and then came a violent gust of wind,that shook the house to its foundationsIt was dark,but towards midnight the moon would rise

      The air became clearer, but the storm swept in all its force over the perturbed seaThe fisher people had long gone to bed,but in such weather there was no chance of closing an eyePresently there was a knocking at the window,and the door was opened, and a voice said

      There s a great ship fast stranded on the outermost reef.”

      In a moment the fisher people had sprung from their beds and hastily arrayed themselves

      The moon had risen,and it was light enough to make the surrounding objects visible to those who could open their eyes for the blinding clouds of sandThe violence of the wind was terrible,and only by creeping forward between the gusts was it possible to pass among the sandhills;and now the salt spray flew up from the sea like down, while the ocean foamed like a roaring cataract towards the beachIt required a practised eye to descry the vessel out in the offingThe vessel was a noble brigThe billows now lifted it over the reef,three or four cableslength out of the usual channel It drove towards the land,struck against the second reef,and remained fixed

      To render assistance was impossible;the sea rolled fairly in upon the vessel,making a clean breach over herThose on shore fancied they heard the cries for help from on board,and could plainly descry the busy useless efforts made by the stranded crewNow a wave came roling on-ward,falling like a rock upon the bowsprit and tearing it from the brigThe stern was lifted high above the floodTwo people sprang together into the sea;in a moment more,and one of the largest waves that rolled towards the sandhills threw a body upon the shoreIt was a woman,and appeared quite dead;but some women thought they discerned signs of life in her, and the stranger was carried across the sand-hills into the fisherman s hutHow beautiful and fair she was!Certainly she must be a great ladyThey laid her upon the humble bed that boasted not a yard of linen;but there was a woolen coverlet to wrap her in,and that would keep her warm

      Life returned to her,but she was delirious,and knew nothing of what had happened or where she was;and it was better so,for everything she loved and valued lay buried in the seaIt was with her ship as with the vessel in the song ofThe king's Son of England

      Alas!it was a grief to see

      How the gallant ship sank speedily

      Portions of wreck and fragments of wood drifted ashore,she was the only living thing among them allThe wind still drove howling over the coastFor a few moments the strange lady seemed to rest; but she awoke in pain,and cries of anguish and fear came from her lipsShe opened her wonderfully beautiful eyes, and spoke a few words, but none understood her

      And behold,as a reward for the pain and sorrow she had undergone,she held in her arms a newborn child, the child that was to have rested upon a gorgeous couch,surrounded by silken curtains, in the sumptuous homeIt was to have been welcomed with joy to a life rich in all the goods of the earth;and now Providence had caused it to be born in this humble comer,and not even a kiss did it receive from its mother

      The fisher's wife laid the child upon the mother's bosom,and it rested on a heart that beat no more, for she was dead The child who was to be nursed by wealth and fortune, was cast into the world, washed by the sea among the sandhills, to partake the fate and heavy days of the poorAnd here again comes into our mind the old song of the English King's son,[in which mention is made of the customs prevalent at that time,when knights and squires plundered those who had been saved from shipwreck]

      The ship had been stranded some distance south of Nissum BayThe hard inhuman days,in which,as people say,the inhabitants of the Jutland shores did evil to the shipwrecked,were long past Affection and sympathy and selfsacrifice for the unfortunate were to be found,as they are to be found in our own time, in many a brilliant exampleThe dying mother and the unfortunate child would have found succour and help wherever the wind blew them; but

      nowhere could they have found more earnest care than in the hut of the poor fisherwife,who had stood but yesterday,with a heavy heart,beside the grave which covered her child, which would have been five years old that day if God had spared it to her

      No one knew who the dead stranger was, or where she came fromThe pieces of wreck said nothing on the subject

      To the rich house in Spain no tidings penetrated of the fate of the daughter and the soninlaw They had not arrived at their destined port, and violent storms had raged during the past weeks At last the verdict was given,“Foundered at seaall lost.”

      But on the sand-hills near Husby, in the fisherman's hut,they now had a little boy

      Where Heaven sends food for two, a third can manage to make a meal,and in the depths of the sea is many a dish of fish for the hungry

      And they called the boy Jürgen

      It must certainly be a Jewish child,”the people said,“it looks so swarthy.”

      It might be an Italian or a Spaniard,”observed the clergyman

      But to the fisherwoman these three nations seemed the same,and she consoled herself with the idea that the child was baptized as a Christian

      The boy throveThe noble blood in his veins was warm,and he became strong on his homely fare He grew apace in the humble house,and the Danish, dialect spoken by the West Jutes became his languageThe pomegranate seed from Spanish soil became a hardy plant on the coast of West JutlandSuch may be a man s fate!To this home he clung with the roots of his whole beingHe was to have experience of cold and hunger,and the misfortunes and hardships that surrounded the humble,but he tasted also of the poor man 's joys

      Childhood has sunny heights for all,whose memory gleams through the while of later lifeThe boy had many opportunities for pleasure and play The whole coast,for miles and miles,was full of play things,for it was a mosaic of pebbles,red as coral,yellow as amber,and others again white and rounded like birds eggs,and all smoothed and prepared by the sea Even the bleached fish skeletons,the water plants dried by the wind,seaweed,white,gleaming, and long linenlike bands,waving among the stones,all these seemed made to give pleasure and amusement to the eye and the thoughts;and the boy had an intelligent mindmany and great faculties lay dormant in himHow readily he retained in his mind the stories and songs he heard,and how neathanded he was!With stones and mussel shells he could put together pictures and ships with which one could decorate the room;and he could cut out his thoughts wonderfully on a stick, his foster-mother said,though the boy was still so young and little!His voice sounded sweetly;every melody flowed at once from his lipsMany chords were attuned in his heart which might have sounded out into the world, if he had been placed elsewhere than in the fisherman's hut by the North Sea

      One day another ship was stranded thereAmong other things,a chest of rare flower bulbs floated ashoreSome were put into the cooking pots,for they were thought to be eatable,and others lay and shrivelled in the sand,but they did not accomplish their purpose or unfold the richness of colour whose germ was within themWould it be better with Jürgen? The flower bulbs had soon played their part,but he had still years of apprenticeship before him

      Neither be nor his friends remarked in what a solitary and uniform way one day succeeded another,for there was plenty to do and to seeThe sea itself was a great lessonbook,unfolding a new leaf every day, such as calm and,breakers,breeze and stormShipwrecks were great eventsThe visits to the church were festal visitsBut among the festal visits in the fisherman 's house, one was particularly distinguishedIt was repeated twice in the year,and was,in fact,the visit of the brother of Jürgen 's fostermother,the eel breeder from Fjaltring,upon the neighborhood of theBow Hill”.He used to come in a cart painted red and filled with eelsThe cart was covered and locked like a box, and painted all over with blue and white tulipsIt was drawn by two dun oxen,and Jürgen was allowed to guide them

      The eel breeder was a witty fellow,a merry guest,and brought a measure of brandy with him Every one received a small glassful or a cupful when there was a scarcity of glasseseven Jürgen had as much as a large thimbleful,that he might digest the fat eel, the eel breeder said,who always told the same story over again,and when his hearers laughed he immediately told it over again to the same audienceAs,during his childhood, and even later,Jürgen used many expressions from this story of the eel breeder's, and made use of it in various ways,it is as well that we should listen to it tooHere it is

      The eels went out in the river; and the mothereel said to her daughters,who begged leave to go a little way up the river, Don t go too far the ugly eel spearer might come and snap you all up.’ But they went too far;and of eight daughters only three came back to the eelmother,and these wept and said,‘We only went a little way before the door,and the ugly eel spearer came directlyand stabbed our five sisters to death.’‘They 'll come again,'said the mother-eel.‘Oh,no!’exclaimed the daughters,‘for he skinned them, and cut them in two,and fried them.’‘Oh, they'll come again,’ the mother-ell persisted.‘No,'replied the daughters,‘for he ate them all up.’‘They'll come again,'repeated the mothereel.‘But he drank brandy after them'continued the daughters.‘Ah,then they'll never come back,’ said the mother, and she burst out crying, It s the brandy that buries the eels.’

      And therefore,”said the eel breeder,“it is always right to take brandy after eating eels.”

      And this story was the tinsel thread, the most humorous recollection of Jürgen's life He likewise wanted to go a little way outside the door and up the riverthat is to say, out into the world in a ship; and his mother said, like the eelmother,“There are so many bad peopleeel spearers!” But he wished to go a little way past the sand-hills,a little way into the dunes;and he succeeded in doing soFour merry days,the happiest of his childhood,unrolled themselves, and the whole beauty and splendor of Jutland,all the joy and sunshine of his home,were concentrated in theseHe was to go to a festivalthough it was certainly a burial feast

      A wealthy relative of the fisherman's family had diedThe farm lay deep in the country,eastward,and a point towards the north, as the saying is Jürgen 's fosterparents were to go, and he was to accompany them

      From the dunes across heath and moor,they came to the green meadows where the river Skarum rolls its course, the river of many eels,where mother-eels dwell with their daughters,who are caught and eaten up by wicked people But men were said sometimes to have acted no better towards their own fellow men ; for had not the knight, Sir Bugge,been murdered by wicked people? and though he was well spoken of,had he not wanted to kill the architect,who had built for him the castle with the thick walls and tower,where Jürgen and his parents now stood, and where the river falls into the bay? The wall on the ramparts still remained,and red crumbling fragments lay strewn aroundHere it was that Sir Bugge,

      after the architect had left him,said to one of his men,“Go thou after him,and say,‘Master, the tower leansIf he turns round, you are to kill him,and take from him the money I paid him;but if he does not turn round let him depart in peace.”The man obeyed,and the architect answered,“The tower does not lean, but one day there will come a man from the west,in a blue cloak,who will cause it to lean!”And so it chanced,a hundred years later;for the North Sea broke in,and the tower was cast down,but the man who then possessed the castle, Prebj rn Gyldenstjerne, built a new castle higher up,at the end of the meadow, and that stands to this day, and is called n rre vosborg

      Past thins castle went Jürgen and his fosterparentsThey had told him its story during the long winter evenings,and now he saw the lordly castle,with its double moat, and trees, and bushes; the wall, covered with ferns, rose within the moat;but most beautiful of all were the lofty lime trees,which grew up to the highest windows and filled the air with sweet fragrance In a corner of the garden towards the northwest stood a great bush full of blossom like winter snow amid the summer's greenit was an elder bush, the first that Jürgen had seen thus in bloomHe never forgot it, nor the lime tree the child s soul treasured up these remembrances of beauty and fragrance to gladden old man

      From N rre Vosborg, where the elder blossomed,the way went more easily, for they encountered other guests who were also bound for the burial,and were riding in wagonsOur travelers had to sit all together on a little box at the back of the wagon,but even this was preferable to walking,they thoughtSo they pursued their journey in the wagon across the rugged heathThe oxen which drew the vehicle slipped every now and then, where a patch of fresh glass appeared amid the heather The sun shone warm,and it was wonderful to behold how in the far distance something like smoke seemed to be rising; and yet this smoke was clearer than the mist;it was transparent and looked like rays of light rolling and dancing afar over the heath

      That is Lokeman driving his sheep,”said some one;and this was enough to excite the fancy of Jürgen It seemed to him as if they were now going to enter fairyland,though everything was still real

      How quiet it was! Far and wide the heath extended around them like a beautiful carpetThe heather bloomed and the juniper bushes and the vigorous oak sapling stood up like nosegays from the earthAn inviting place for a frolic,if it were not for the unmber of poisonous adders of which the travelers spoke, as they did also of the wolves which formerly infested the place, from which circumstance the region was still called the wolfborg regionThe old man who guided the oxen related how, in the lifetime of his father,the horses had to sustain many a hard fight with the wild beasts that were now extinct; and how he himself, when he went out one morning,had found one of the horses standing with its forefeet on a wolf had killed,but the flesh was quite off the legs of the horse

      The journey over the heath and the deep sand was only too quickly accomplished They stopped before the house of mourning,where they found plenty of guests within and withoutWagon after wagon stood ranged in a row ,and horses and oxen went out to crop the scanty pasture Great sandhills,like those at home by the North Sea, rose behind the house and extended far and wideHow had they come here, miles into the interior of the land, and as large and high as those on the coast?The wind had lifted and carried them hither,and to them also a history was attached

      Psalms were sung,and a few of the old people shed tears;beyond this,the guests were cheerful enough,as it appeared to Jürgen,and there was plenty to eat and drinkEels there were of the fattest,upon which brandy should be poured to bury them,as the eel breeder said;and certainly his maxim was here carried out

      Jürgen went to and fro in the house On the third day he felt quite at home,just as in the fisherman's hut on the sandhills where he had passed his early daysHere on the heath there was certainly an unheard-of wealth,for the flowers and blackberries and bilberries were to be found in plenty,so large and sweet,that when they were crushed beneath the tread of the passers-by,the heath was coloured with their red juice

      Here was a grave-mound,and yonder anotherColumns of smoke rose into the still airit was a heathfire,he was told,that shone so splendidly in the dark evening

      Now came the fourth day,and the funeral festivities were to conclude, and they were to go back from the landdunes to the sand-dunes

      Ours are the best,” said the old fisherman, Jürgen's fosterfather;“these have no strength.”

      And they spoke of the way in which the sand-dunes had come into the country,and it seemed all very intelligible

      A corpse had been found on the coast,and the peasants had buried it in the churchyard ;and from that time the sand began to fly and the sea broke in violentlyA wise man in the parish advised them to open the grave and to look if the buried man was not lying sucking his thumb;for if so, he was a man of the sea, and the sea would not rest until it had got him backSo the grave was opened,and he really was found with his thumb in his mouthSo they laid him upon a cart and harnessed two oxen before it;and as if stung by a gadfly,the oxen ran away with the man of the sea over heath and moor land to the ocean; and then the sand ceased flying inland, but the hills that had been heaped up still remained thereAll this Jürgen heard and treasured in his memory from the happiest days of his childhood,the days of the burial feastHow glorious it was to get out into strange regions and to see strange people!And he was to go farther stillHe was not yet fourteen years old when he went out in a ship to see what the world could show him bad weather,heavy seas,malice,and hard menthese were his experiences, for he became a ship boyThere were cold nights,and bad living,and blows to be endured;then it was as if his noble Spanish blood boiled within him, and bitter wicked words seethed up to his lips;but it was better to gulp them down,though he felt as the eel must feel when it is flayed and cut up and put into the fryingpan

      I shall come again!” said a voice within him He saw the Spanish coast,the native land of his parentsHe even saw the town where they had lived in happiness and prosperity;but he knew nothing of his home or race,and his race knew just as little about him

      The poor ship boy was not allowed to land;but on the last day of their stay he managed to get ashoreThere were several purchases to be made,and he was to carry them on board

      There stood Jürgen in his shabby clothes,which looked as if they had been washed in the ditch and dried in the chimney for the first time he, the inhabitant of the dunes,saw a great city

      How lofty the houses seemed,and how full of people were the streets!Some pushing this way,some thata perfect maelstrom of citizens and peasants,monks and soldiersa calling and shouting,and jingling of bellharnessed asses and mules,and the church bells chiming between song and sound,hammering and knocking, all going on at once Every handicraft had its workshop in the doorway or on the pavement;and the sun shore so hotly,and the air was so close, that one seemed to be in an oven full of beetles, cockchafers,bees,and flies,all humming and buzzing togetherJürgen hardly knew where he was or which way he wentThen he saw just in front of him the mighty portal of the cathedral; the lights were gleaming in the dark aisles,and a fragrance of incense was wafted towards himEven the poorest beggar ventured up the steps into the templeThe sailor with whom Jürgen went took his way through the churchand Jürgen stood in the sanctuary Colored pictures gleamed from their golden groundOn the altar stood the figure of the virgin with the Child Jesus,surrounded by lights and flowers;priests in festive garb were chanting,and choir boys,beautifully attired,swung the silver censerWhat splendour,What magnificence did he see here!It streamed through his soul and overpowered him;the church and the faith of his parents surrounded him,and touched a chord in his soul,so that the tears overflowed his eyes

      From the church they went to the marketplaceHere a quantity of provisions were given him to carryThe way to the harbor was long, and, tired he rested for a few moments before a splendid house,with marble pillars,statues,and broad staircasesHere he leaned his burden against the wall Then a liveried Porter came out,lifted up a silverheaded cane, and drove him awayhim,the grandson of the houseBut no one there knew that,and he just as little as any oneAnd afterwards he went on board again,and there were hard words and cuffs, little sleep and much work;such were his experiencesThey say that it is well to suffer in youth,—yes,when age brings something to make up for itThe time of service had expired,and the vessel lay once more at Ringkj bing,in Jutlandhe came ashore and went home to the sand-dunes by Husby;but his fostermother had died while he was away on his voyage

      A hard winter followed that summerSnow-storms swept over land and sea,and there was a difficulty in getting aboutHow variously things appeared to be distributed in the world!Here biting cold and snowstorm,while in the Spanish land there was burning sunshine and oppressive heatAnd Yet,when here at home there came a clear frosty day,and Jürgen saw the swans flying in numbers from the sea towards the land,and across to Vosborg,it appeared to him that people could breathe most freely here ;and here too was a splendid summer! In imagination be saw the heath bloom and grow purple with rich juicy berries,and saw the elder trees and the lime trees at Vosborg in full blossomHe determined to go there once more

      Spring came on, and the fishery beganJürgen helped with this;he had grown in the last year,and was quick at workHe was full of life,he understood how to swim;to tread water, to turn over and tumble in the floodThey often warned him to beware of the shoals of mackerel which could seize the best swimmer,

      and draw him down and devour him;but such was not Jürgen's fate

      At the neighbor s on the dune was a boy named Martin, with whom Jürgen was very friendly, and the two took service in the same ship to Norway,and also went together to Holland; and they had never had any quarrel; but

      a quarrel can easily come, for when a person is hot by nature he often uses strong expressions,and that is what Jürgen did one day on board when they had a quarrel about nothing at allThey were sitting behind the cabin door, eating out of an earthenware plate which they had placed between themJürgen held his pocketknife in his hand,and lifted it against Martin,and at the same time became ashy pale in the face,and his eyes had an ugly lookMartin only said

      Ah!Ha!So, you're one of that sort who are fond of using the knife!”

      Hardly were the words spoken when Jürgen s hand sank downHe answered not a syllable,but went on eating,and afterwards walked away to his work When they were resting again,he stepped up to Martin,and said,

      You may hit me in the face! I have deserved itBut I feel as if I had a pot in me that boiled over.”

      There let the thing rest,” replied Martin

      And after that they were almost doubly as good friends as before; and when afterwards they got back to the dunes and began telling their adventures, this was told among the rest; and Martin said that Jürgen was certainly passionate,but a good fellow for all that

      They were both young and strong,well grown and stalwart;but Jürgen was the cleverer of the two

      In Norway the peasants go up to the mountains,and lead out the cattle there to pasture On the west coast of Jutland, huts have been erected among the sandhills;they are built of pieces of wreck,and roofed with turf and heatherThere are sleepingplaces around the walls, and here the fisher people live and sleep during the early spring Every fisherman has his female helper, whose work consists in baiting the hooks, handing the warm beer to the fishermen when they come ashore, and getting their dinners cooked when they come back into the hut tired and hungry Moreover, the girls bring up the fish from the boats, cut them open,and have generally a great deal to do

      Jürgen,his father, and several other fishermen and their helpers inhabited the same hut;Martin lived in the next one

      One of the girls,Elsie by name,had been known to Jürgen from childhoodthey got on well with each other,and in many things were of the same mind;but in outward appearance they were entirely opposite, for he was brown,whereas she was pale and had flaxen hair,and eyes as blue as the sea in sunshine

      One day as they were walking together,and Jürgen held her hand in his very firmly and warmly, she said to him,

      Jürgen,I have something weighing upon my heart!Let me be your helper,for you are like a brother to me,whereas Martin,who has engaged mehe and I are lovers; but you need not tell that to the rest.”

      And it seemed to Jürgen as if the loose sand were giving way under his feetHe spoke not a word,but only nodded his head, which signified yes”. More was not required; but suddenly he felt in his heart that he detested Martin;and the longer considered of thisfor he had never thought of Elsie in this way beforethe more did it become clear to him that Martin had stolen from him the only being he loved; and now it was all at once plain to him that Elsie was that one

      When the sea is somewhat disturbed,and the fisher-men come home in their great boats,it is a sight to behold how they cross the reefsOne of the men stands upright in the bow of the boat,and the others watch him,sitting with oars in their handsOutside the reef they appear to be rowing not towards the land,but backing out to sea,till the man standing in the boat gives them the sign that the great wave is coming which is to float them across the reef; and accordingly the boat is liftedlifted high in the air, so that its keel is seen from the shore; and in the next minute the whole boat is hidden from the eyeneither mast nor keel nor people can be seen,as though the sea had devoured them;but in a few moments they emerge like a great sea animal climbing up the waves,and the oars move as if the creature had legsThe second and the third reef are passed in the same manner;and now the fishermen jump into the water;every wave helps them,and pushes the boat well forward,till at length they have drawn it beyond the range of the breakers

      A wrong order given in front of the reefthe slightest hesitationand the boat must founder

      Then it would be all over with me,and Martin too!”This thought struck Jürgen while they were out at sea,where his foster-father had been taken alarmingly illThe fever had seized himThey were only a few oars' strokes from the reef,and Jürgen sprang from his seat and stood up in the bow

      Fatherlet me come! he said; and his eye glanced towards Martin and across the waves;but while every oar bent with the exertions of the rowers,as the great wave came towering towards them,

      he beheld the pale face of his father, and dared not obey the evil impulse that had seized him The boat came safely across the reef to land, but the evil thought remained in his blood,and roused up every little fiber of bitterness which had remained in his memory since he and Martin had been comradesBut he could not weave the fibers together,nor did he endeavour to do soHe felt that Martin had despoiled him,and this was enough to make him detest his former friend Several of the fishermen noticed this,but not Martin,who continued be obliging and talkativeindeed, a little too talkative

      Jürgen 's adopted father had to keep his bed, which became his death-bed, for in the next week he died;and now Jürgen was installed as heir in the little house behind the sand-hillsIt was but a little house,certainly,but still it was something,

      and Martin had nothing of the kind

      You will not take sea service again,Jürgen?” observed one of the old fishermen.“You will always stay with us,now.”

      But this was not Jürgen 's intention, for he was just thinking of looking about him a little in the world The eel breeder of Fjaltring had an uncle in Old Skagen,who was a fisherman,but at the same time a prosperous merchant who had ship upon the sea; he was said to be a good old man, and it would not be amiss to enter his serviceOld Skagen lies in the extreme north of Jutland, as far removed from the Husky dunes as one can travel in that country;and this is just what pleased Jürgen,for he did not want to remain till the wedding of Martin and Elsie,which was to be celebrated in a few weeks

      The old fisherman asserted that it was foolish now to quit the neighborhood,since Jürgen had a home,and Elsie would probably be inclined to take him rather than Martin

      Jürgen answered so much at random, that it was not easy to understand what he meant;but the old man brought Elsie to him,and she said,

      You have a home now;that ought to be well considered.”

      And Jürgen thought of many things The sea has heavy waves,but there are heavier waves in the human beartMany thoughts, strong and weak, thronged through Jürgen's brain;and he said to Elsie,

      If Martin had a house like mine,whom would you rather have?”

      But Martin has no house,and cannot get one.”

      But let us suppose he had one.”

      Why,then I would certainly take Martin,for that's what my heart tells me;but one can't live upon that.”

      And jürgen thought of these things all night throughSomething was working within him,he could not understand what it was, but he had a thought that was stronger than his love for Elsie;and so he went to Martin,and what he said and did there was well considered He let the house to Martin on the most liberal terms, saying that he wished to go to sea again,because it pleased him to do so And Elsie kissed him on the mouth when she heard thatfor she loved Martin best

      In the early morning Jürgen purposed to start On the evening before his departure when it was already growing late he felt a wish to visit Martin once more;he started,and among the dunes the old fisher met him,who was angry at his goingThe old man made jokes about Martin,and declared there must be some magic about that fellow,“of whom all the girls were so fond.”jürgen paid no heed to this speech,but said farewell to the old man, and went on towards the house where Martin dweltHe heard loud talking withinMartin was not alone,and this made jürgen waver in his determination,for he did not wish to encounter Elsie;and on second consideration, he thought it better not to hear Martin thank him again,and therefore he turned back

      On the following morning,before break of day,he fastened his knapsack, took his wooden provisionbox in his hand,and went away among the sandhills towards the coast pathThat way was easier to traverse than the heavy sand road,and moreover shorter; for he intended to go in the first instance to Fjaltring, by Bowberg,where the eel breeder lived,to whom he had promised a visit

      The sea lay pure and blue before him,and mussel shells and sea pebbles, the playthings of his youth crunched under his feet While he was thus marching on,his nose suddenly began to bleed it was a trifling incident,but little things can have great significanceA few large drops of blood fell upon one of his sleevesHe wiped them off and stopped the bleeding,and it seemed to him as if this had cleard and lightened his brainIn the sand the sea eringo was blooming here and thereHe broke off a stalk and stuck it in his hat;he determined to be merry and of good cheer, for he was going into the wide world—“a little way out of the door and up the river,”as the young eels had said.“Beware of bad people,who will catch you and flay you, cut you in two, and put you in the fryingpan !”he repeated in his mind,and smiled,for he thought he should find his way through the worldgood courage is a strong weapon!

      The sun already stood high when he approached the narrow entrance to Nissan BayHe looked back, and saw a couple of horsemen galloping a long distance behind him,and they were accompanied by other people But this concerned him nothing

      The ferry was on the opposite side of the bayJürgen called to the ferryman,and when the latter came over with the boat, Jürgen stepped in ;but before they had gone half-way across,the men whom he had seen riding so hastily behind him hailed the ferryman and summoned him to return in the name of the lawJürgen did not understand the reason of this,but he thought it would be best to turn back,and therefore himself took an oar and returned The moment the boat touched the shore,the men sprang on board, and, before he was aware, they had bound his hands with a rope

      Thy wicked deed will cost thee thy life,”they said.“It is well that we caught thee.”

      He was accused of nothing less than murder!Martin had been found dead,with a knife thrust through his neckOne of the fishermen hadlate on the previous eveningmet Jürgen going towards Martin 's house; and this was not the first time Jürgen had raised his knife against Martin,they knew; so he must be the murderer,and it was necessary to get him into safe custodyThe town in which the prison was built was a long way off,and the wind was contrary for going there; but not half an hour would be required to get across the bay,and a quarter of an hour would bring them from thence to N rre Vosborg, a great building with walls and ditchesOne of Jürgen 's captors was a fisherman, a brother of the keeper of the castle,and he declared it might be managed that Jürgen should for the present be put into the dungeon at Vosborg,where Long Margaret the gypsy had been shut up till her execution

      No attention was paid to the defense made by Jürgen;the few drops of blood upon his shirt-sleeve bore heavy witness against himBut Jürgen was conscious of his innocence,and as there was no chance of immediately righting himself,he submitted to his fate

      The party landed just at the spot where Sir Bugge's castle had stood and where Jürgen had walked with his fosterparents after the burial feast, during the four happiest days of his childhoodHe was led by the old path over the meadow to Vosborg;and again the elder blossomed and the lofty limes smelt sweet, and it seemed but yesterday that he had left the spot

      In the west wing of the castle a staircase leads down to a spot below the entrance, and from thence there is access to a low vaulted cellarHere Long Margaret had been imprisoned,and hence she had been led away to the scaffoldShe had eaten the hearts of five children, and had been under the delusion that if she could obtain two more,she would be able to fly, and to make herself invisibleIn the cellar wall was a little narrow airhole,but no windowThe blooming lindens could not waft a breath of comforting fragrance into that abode, where all was dark and mouldyOnly a rough bench stood in the prison;but a good conscience is a soft pillow”, and consequently Jürgen could sleep well

      The thick oaken door was locked, and secured on the outside by an iron bar; but the goblin of superstition can creep through a keyhole in the baron's castle just as into the fisherman's hut;and wherefore should he not creep in here,where Jürgen sat thinking of Long Margaret and her evil deeds? Her last thought on the night before her execution had filled this space;and all the magic came into Jürgen's mind which tradition asserted to have been practised there in the old times, when Sir Svanwedel dwelt thereIt was well known that the watchdog,which had its place on the drawbridge,was found every morning hanged in its own chain over the railing All this passed through Jürgen's mind,and made him shudder;but a sunbeam from without penetrated his heart even here it was blooming elder and the fragrant lime trees

      He was not left there longThey carried him off to the town of Ringkj bing,where his imprisonment was just as bard

      Those times were not like oursHard measure was dealt out to the common people;and it was just after the days when farms were converted into knights estates,on which occasions coachmen and servants were often made magistrates,and had it in their power to sentence a poor man, for a small offense, to lose his property and to corporal punishmentJudges of this kind were still to be found;and in Jutland,far from the capital and from the enlightened wellmeaning government, the law was still sometimes very loosely administered; and the smallest grievance that Jürgen had was that his case was protracted

      Cold and cheerless was his abodeand when would this state of things end?He had innocently sunk into misfortune and sorrowthat was his fateHe had leisure now to ponder on the difference of fortune on earth, and to wonder why this fate had been allotted to him; and he felt sure that the question would be answered in the next lifethe existence that awaits us when this is overThis faith had grown strong in him in the poor fisherman's hut;that which had never shone into his father 's mind,in all the richness and sunshine of Spain,was vouchsafed as a light of comfort to him in cold and darknessa sign of mercy from God,who never deceives

      The spring storms began to blowThe rolling and moaning of the North Sea could be heard for miles inland when the wind was lulled,for then it sounded like the rushing of a thousand wagons over a hard road with a mine beneathJürgen,in his prison,heard these sounds,and it was a relief to himNo melody could have appealed so directly to his heart as did these sounds of the seathe rolling sea,the boundless sea,on which a man can be borne across the world before the wind,carrying his own house with him wherever he is driven,just as the snail carries his;one stood always on one 's own ground,on the soil of home, even in a strange land

      How he listened to the deep moaning,and how the thought arose in him—“Free!Free! How happy to be free, even without shoes and in ragged clothes!” Sometimes, when such thoughts crossed his mind,the fiery nature rose within him,and he beat the wall with his clenched fists

      Weeks, months,a whole year had gone by,when a vagabondNiles, the thief, called also the horse couperwas arrested;and now the better times came,and it was seen what wrong Jürgen had endured

      In the neighbourhood of Ringkj bing,at a beer-house,Niles,the thief,had met Martin on the afternoon before Jürgen's departure from home and before the murder A few glasses were drunknot enough to cloud any one s brain,but yet enough to loosen Martin's tongue ;and he began to boast,and to say that he had obtained a house,and intended to marry; and when Niles asked where he intended to get the money,Martin slapped his pocket proudly,and said,

      The money is here, where it ought to be.”

      This boast cost him his life, for when he went home,Niles went after him,and thrust a knife through his throat,to take the money from him

      This was circumstantially explained; but for us it is enough to know that Jürgen was set at libertyBut what amends did he get for having been imprisoned a whole year,and shut out from all communion with men? They told himhe was fortunate in being proved innocent,and that he might go The burgomaster gave him ten marks for traveling expenses,and many citizens offered him provisions and beerthere were still some good men, not allgrind and flay”. But the best of all was,that the merchant Bronne of Skagen,the same into whose service Jürgen had intended to go a year since, was just at that time on business in the town of Ringkj bing Br nne heard the whole story;and the man had a good heart, and understood what Jürgen must have felt and sufferedHe therefore made up his mind to make amends to the poor lad,and convince him that there were still kind folks in the world

      So Jürgen went forth from the prison as if to Paradise,to find freedom, affection,and trust He was to travel this road now ;for no goblet of life is all bitternessno good man would pour out such measure to his fellow man,and how should God do it, who is love itself?

      Let all that be buried and forgotten,” said Br nne the merchant.“Let us draw a thick line through last year;and we will even burn the calendar And in two days we'll start for dear,friendly,peaceful SkagenThey call it an outoftheway corner; but it's a good warm chimneycorner,and its windows open towards every part of the world.”

      That was a journey!—it was like taking fresh breathout of the cold dungeon air into the warm sun-shine!The heath stood blooming in its greatest pride,and the herdboy sat on the gravemound and blew his pipe,which he had carved for himself out of the sheep s boneFata Morgana,the beautiful aerial phenomnon of the desert,showed itself with hanging gardens and swaying forests; and the wonderful trembling of the air, called here the Lakeman driving his flock”, was seen likewise

      Up through the land of the Wendels,up towards Skagen,they went, from whence the men with the long beardsthe Longobardi,or Lombards had emigrated in the days when, in the reign of King Snio,all the children and the old people were to have been killed,till the noble Dame Gambaruk proposed that the younger people had better leave the countryAll this was known to Jürgenthus much knowledge he had;and even if he did not know the land of the Lombards beyond the high Alps,he had an idea how it must be there,for in his boyhood he had been in the south, in Spain He thought of the southern fruits piled up there;of the red pomegranate blossoms;of the humming,murmuring, and toiling, in the great bee-hive of a city he had seen;but,after all, home is best; and Jürgen's home was Denmark

      At length they reachedWendelskage,” as Skagen is called in the old Norwegian and Icelandic writingsThen already Old Skagen,with Vesterby and steroy, extended for miles,with sandhills and arable land, as far as the lighthouse near the Fork of SkagenThen,as now,houses and farms were strewn among the windraised sandhillsa desert where the wind sports with the sand, and where the voices of the seamews and the wild swans strike harshly on the ear In the southwest, a mile from the sea,lies Old Skagen;and here dwelt merchant Br nne,and here Jürgen was henceforth to dwellThe great house was painted with tar;the smaller buildings had each an overturned boat for a roof;the pigsty had put together of pieces of wreckThere was no fence here,for indeed there was nothing to fence in; but long rows of fishes were hung upon lines,one above the other, to dry in the wind The whole coast was strewn with spoiled herrings,for there were so many of those fish,that a net was scarcely thrown into the sea before they were caught by carloads; there were so many,that often they were thrown back into the sea or left to lie and rot

      The old man's wife and daughter,and his servants too,came rejoicingly to meet himThere was a great pressing of hand, and talking, and questioningAnd the daughter,what a lovely face and bright eyes she had!

      The interior of the house was roomy and comfortablePlates of fish were set on the table,plaice that a King would have called a splendid dish; and there was wine from the vineyard Skagenthat is,the sea;for there the grapes come ashore ready pressed and prepared in barrels and in bottles

      When the mother and daughter heard who Jürgen was,and how innocently he had suffered, they looked at him in a still more friendly way;and the eyes of the charming Clara were the friendliest of allJürgen found a happy home in Old SkagenIt did his heart good;and his heart had been sorely tried,and had drunk the bitter goblet of love, which softens or hardens according to circumstancesJürgen 's heart was still softit was young,and there was still room in it;and therefore it was well that Clara was going in three weeks in her father s ship to Christiansand,in Norway, to visit an aunt and to stay there the whole winter

      On the Sunday before her departure they all went to church,to the Holy CommunionThe church was large and handsome, and had been built centuries before by Scotchmen and Hollanders;it lay at a little distance from the townIt was certainly somewhat ruinous, and the road to it was heavy,through the deep sand ;but the people gladly went through the difficulties to get to the house of God,to sing psalms and hear the sermon The sand had heaped itself up round the walls of the church, but the graves were kept free from it

      It was the largest church north of the LimfjordThe Virgin Mary,with the golden crown on her head and the Child Jesus in her arms,stood lifelike upon the altar;the holy Apostles had been carved in the choir; and on the walls hung portraits of the old burgomasters and councilors of Skagen;the pulpit was of carved workThe sun shone brightly into the church, and its radiance fell on the polished brass chandelier and on the little ship that hung from the vaulted roof

      Jürgen felt as if overcome by a holy,childlike feeling,like that which possessed him when,as a boy,he had stood in the splendid Spanish cathedral;but here the feeling was different,for he felt conscious of being one of the congregation

      After the sermon followed the Holy CommunionHe partook of the bread and wine,and it happened that he knelt beside Clara;but his thoughts were so fixed upon Heaven and the holy service,that he did not notice his neighbor until he rose from his knees,and then he saw tears rolling down her cheeks

      Two days later she left Skagen and went to NorwayHe stayed behind,and made himself useful in the house and in the business He went out fishing,and at that time fish were more plentiful than now

      Every Sunday when he sat in the church,and his eye rested on the statue of the virgin on the altar,his glance rested for a time on the spot where Clara had knelt beside him,and he thought of her, how pleasant and kind she had been to him

      And so the autumn and the winter time passed awayThere was wealth here,and a real family life; even down to the domestic animals,who were all well keptThe kitchen glittered with copper and tin and white plates,and from the roof hung hams and beef and winter stores in plenty

      All this is still to be seen in many rich farms of the west coast of Jutland plenty to eat and drink, clean decorated rooms, clever heads, happy tempers, and hospitality,prevail there as in an Arab tent

      Never since the famous burial feast had Jürgen spent such a happy time;and yet Clara was absent,except in the thoughts and memory of all

      In April a ship was to start for Norway,and Jürgen was to sail in it He was full of life and spirits,and looked so stout and jovial that Dame Br nne declared it did her good to see him

      And it 's a pleasure to see you too, said the old merchant.“Jürgen has brought life into our winter evenings,and into you too, mother You look younger this year,and you seem well and bonny But then you were once the prettiest girl in Wiborg,and that's saying a great deal, for I have always found the Wiborg girls the prettiest of any.”

      Jürgen said nothing to this,but he thought of a certain maiden of Skagen;and he sailed to visit that maiden,for the ship steered to Christiansand in Norway,and a favoring wind took him there in half a day

      One morning merchant Br nne went out to the lighthouse that stands far away from Old Skagen the coal fire had long gone out and the sun was already high when he mounted the towerThe sand-banks extend under the water a whole mile from the shoreOutside these banksmany ships were seen that day;and with the help of his telescope the old man thought he descried his own vessel,the Karen Br nne

      Yes,surely,there she was;and the ship was sailing up with Jürgen and Clara on boardThe church and the lighthouse appeared to them as a heron and a swan rising from the blue watersClara sat on deck,and saw the sand-hills gradually looming forth if the wind held she might reach her home in about an hourso near were they to home and its joysso near were they to death and its terrorsFor a plank in the ship gave way, and the water rushed inThe crew flew to the pumps and attempted to stop the leak, and a signal of distress was hoisted;but they were still a full mile from the shoreFishing-boats were in sight,but they were still far distantThe wind blew shoreward,and the tide was in their favor too; but all was insufficient,for the ship sankJürgen threw his right arm about Clara

      With what a look she gazed in his face!As he threw himself in God's name into the water with her,she uttered a cry;but still she felt safe,certain that he would not let her sink

      And now, in the hour of terror and danger, Jürgen experienced what the old song told

      And written it stood,how the brave king's son

      Embraced the bride his velour had won

      How rejoiced he felt that he a good swimmer!He worked his way onward with his feet and with one hand,while with the other he tightly held the young girlHe rested upon the waves,he trod the water, he practiced all the arts he knew,so as to reserve strength enough to reach the shoreHe heard how Clara uttered a sigh,and felt a convulsive shudder pass through her,and he pressed her to him closer than ever Now and then a wave rolled over them;and he was still a few cables length from the land,when help came in the shape of an approaching boatBut under the waterhe could see it clearlystood a white form gazing at him;a wave lifted him up,and the form approached himhe felt a shock,and it grew dark,and everything vanished from his gaze

      On the sandreef lay the wreck of a ship,which the sea washed overthe white figurehead leaned

      against an anchor,the sharp iron of which extended just to the surfaceJürgen had come in contact with this,and the tide had driven him against it with double forceHe  sank  down  fainting with  his  load, but  the  next  wave lifted  him  and  the  young  girl  aloft  again

      The fishermen grasped them and lifted them into

      the  boatThe blood  streamed  down  over Jürgen's face;he seemed dead, but he still clutched the girl so tightly that they were obliged to loosen her by force from his graspAnd Clara lay pale and lifeless in the boat, that now made for the shore

      All  means  were  tried  to  restore  Clara  to  life;bu tshe was dead!For some time he had been swimming onward  with  a  corpse,and  had  exerted  himself  to  exhaustion for one who was dead

      Jürgen was still breathingThe fishermen carried him into the nearest house upon the sandhillsA kind of surgeon who lived there,and who was at the same time a smith and a general dealer,  bound up Jürgen's wounds,till a physician could be got next day from the nearest town

      The brain of the sick man was affectedIn delirium he uttered wild cries;but on the third day he lay quiet and exhausted on his couch, and his life seemed to hang by a thread, and the physician said it would be best if this string snapped

      Let us pray that God may take him to Himself;he will never be a sane man again!”

      But life would not depart from himthe thread would  not  snap;but the thread of  memory broke the thread of all his mental power had been out through;and,what was most terrible,a body remaineda living healthy body

      Jürgen remained in the house of the merchant Br nne

      He contracted his illness in his endeavor to save our child,”said the old man,“and now he is our son.”

      People called Jürgen imbecile; but that was not the right expressionHe was like an instrument in which the strings are loose and will sound no more;only at times for a few minutes they regained their power,and then they sounded anewold melodies were heard,snatches of song;pictures unrolled themselves,and then disappeared again in the mist,and once more he sat staring before him, without a thoughtWe may believe that he did not suffer,but his dark eyes lost their brightness,and looked only like black clouded glass

      Poor imbecile Jürgen!” said the people

      He it was whose life was to have been so pleasant that it would be presumption and pride to expect or believe in a higher existence hereafterAll his great mental faculties had been lost;only hard days, pain, and disappointment had been his lot He was like a rare plant torn from its native soil,and thrown upon the sand,to wither thereAnd was the image,fashioned in God 's likeness,to have no better destination?Was it to be merely the sport of chance?NoThe allloving God would certainly repay him, in the life to come, for what he had suffered and lost here.“The Lord is good to all,and His mercy is over all His works.”These words from the Psalms of David, the old pious wife of the merchant repeated in patience and hope,and the prayer of her heart was that Jürgen might soon be summoned to enter into the life eternal

      In the churchyard where the sand blows across the walls,Clara lay buriedIt seemed as if Jürgen knew nothing of thisit did not come within the compass of his thoughts,which comprised only fragments of a past timeEvery Sunday he went with the old people to church,and sat silent there with vacant gazeOne day,while the Psalms were being sung,he uttered a deep sigh,and his eyes gleamedthey were fixed upon the altar,upon the place where he had knelt with his friend who was deadHe uttered her name,and became pale as death,and tears rolled over his cheeks

      They led him out of the church, and he said to the bystanders that he was well,and had never been ill he,the heavily afflicted,the waif cast upon the world,remembered nothing of his sufferingsAnd the Lord our Creator is wise and full of lovingkindnesswho can doubt it?Our heart and our understanding acknowledge it,and the Bible confirms it:“His mercy is over all His works.”

      In Spain,where the warm breezes blow over the Moorish cupolas, among the orange trees and laurels,where song and the sound of castanets are heard,sat in the sumptuous house a childless old man,the richest merchant in the place,while children marched in procession through the streets, with waving flags and lighted tapersHow much of his wealth would the old man not have given to have his children again! His daughter, or her child,that had perhaps never seen the light in this world

      Poor child!”

      Yes,poor childa child still,and yet more than thirty years old;for to that age Jürgen had attained in Old Skagen

      The drifting sand had covered the graves in the churchyard quite up to the walls of the church;but yet the dead must be buried among their relations and loved ones who had gone before them Merchant Br nne and his wife now rested here with their children,under the white sand

      It was springtime,the season of stormsThe sand-hills whired up in clouds,and the sea ran high,and flocks of birds flew like clouds in the storms,shrieking across the dunes;and shipwreck followed shipwreck on the reefs from Skagen as far as the Husby dunesOne evening Jürgen was sitting alone in the roomSuddenly his mind seemed to become clearer,and a feeling of unrest came upon him,which in his younger years had often driven him forth upon the heath and the sandhills

      Home!Home!” he exclaimed

      No one heard him He went out of the house towards the dunesSand and stones blew into his face and whirled around himHe went on towards the church the sand lay high around the walls,half over the windows,but the heap had been shoveled away from the door,and the entrance was free and easy to open ; and Jürgen went into the church

      The storm went howling over the town of SkagenWithin the memory of man no one could remember such a terrible tempest !But Jürgen was in the temple of God,and while black night reigned without,a light arose in his soul,a light that was never to be extinguished;he felt the heavy stone which seemed to weigh upon his head burst asunderHe thought he heard the sound of the organ,but it was the storm and the roaring of the sea He sat down one of the seats;and behold,the candles were lighted up one by one;a richness was displayed such as he had seen only in the chuurch in Spain;and all the pictures of the old councilors were endued with life,and stepped forth from the walls against which they had stood for centuries, and seated themselves in the choirThe gates and doors flew open,and in came all the dead people,festively clad,and sat down to the sound of beautiful music,and filled the seats in the churchThen the psalm tune rolled forth like a sounding sea;and his old foster-parents from the Husby dunes were here, and the old merchant Br nne and his wife;and at their side, close to Jürgen,sat their friendly,lovely daughter Clara, who gave her hand to Jürgen, and they both went to the altar, where they had once knelt together, and the Priest joined their hands and knit them together for life Then the sound of music was heard again,wonderful,like a child's voice full of joy and expectation,and it swelled on to an organ's sound,to a tempest of full,noble sounds,lovely and elevating to hear, and yet strong enough to burst the stone tombs

      And the little ship that hung down from the roof of the choir came down,and became wonderfully large and beautiful,with silken sails and golden yards,the anchors were of red gold,“and every rope wrought through with silk,” as the old song saidThe married pair went on board,and the whole congregation with them,for there was room and joyfulness for allAnd the walls and arches of the church bloomed like the elder and the fragrant lime trees, and the leaves and branches waved and distributed coolness;then they bent and parted, and the ship sailed through the midst of them,through the sea, and through the air; and every church taper became a star,and the wind sang a psalm tune,and all sang with the wind

      In love, to gloryno life shall be lostFull of blessedness and joyHallelujah!”

      And these words were the last that Jürgen spoke in this world The thread snapped that bound the immortal soul,and nothing but a dead body lay in the dark church,around which the storm raged, covering it with loose sand

      The next morning was Sunday,and the congregation and their pastor came to the serviceThe road to church had been heavy;the sand made the way almost impassable; and now, when they at last reached their goal, a great hill of sand was piled up before the entrance[,and the church itself was buried]The priest spoke a short prayer, and said that God had closed the door of this house,and the congregation must go and build a new one for Him elsewhere

      So they sang a psalm,and went back to their homes

      Jürgen was nowhere to be found in the town of Skagen,or in the dunes,however much they sought for himIt was thought that the waves, which had rolled far up on the sand,had swept him away

      His body lay buried in a great sepulcher, in the church itselfIn the storm the Lord's hand had thrown earth on his coffin;and the heavy mound of sand lay upon it, and lies there to this day

      The whirling sand had covered the high vaulted passages;whitethorn and wild rose trees grow over the church,over which the wanderer now walks;while the tower,standing forth like a gigantic tombstone over a grave, is to be seen for miles around

      No king has a more splendid tombstoneNo one disturbs the rest of the dead; no one knew of this before nowthe storm sang the tale to me among the sand-hills



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