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Soria Moria Castle

' At last they agreed about the price, and Halvor laid his bag on the horse, and sometimes he walked and sometimes he rode. In the evening he came to a green field, where stood a great tree, under which he seated himself. Then he let the horse loose and lay down to sleep, but before he did that he took his bag off the horse. At daybreak he set off again, for he did not feel as if he could take any rest. So he walked and rode the whole day, through a great wood where there were many green places which gleamed very prettily among the trees. He did not know where he was or whither he was going, but he never lingered longer in any place than was enough to let his horse get a little food when they came to one of these green spots, while he himself took out his bag of provisions.

So he walked and he rode, and it seemed to him that the wood would never come to an end. But on the evening of the second day he saw a light shining through the trees.

`If only there were some people up there I might warm myself and get something to eat,' thought Halvor.

When he got to the place where the light had come from, he saw a wretched little cottage, and through a small pane of glass he saw a couple of old folks inside. They were very old, and as grey- headed as a pigeon, and the old woman had such a long nose that she sat in the chimney corner and used it to stir the fire.

`Good evening I good evening!' said the old hag; `but what errand have you that can bring you here? No Christian folk have been here for more than a hundred years.'

So Halvor told her that he wanted to get to Soria Moria Castle, and inquired if she knew the way thither.

`No,' said the old woman, `that I do not, but the Moon will be here presently, and I will ask her, and she will know. She can easily see it, for she shines on all things.'

So when the Moon stood clear and bright above the tree-tops the old woman went out. `Moon! Moon!' she screamed. `Canst thou tell me the way to Soria Moria Castle?'

`No,' said the Moon, `that I can't, for when I shone there, there was a cloud before me.

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