Soria Moria Castle
Once on a time there was a poor couple who had a son whose name was Halvor. Ever since he was a little boy he would turn his hand to nothing, but just sat there and groped about in the ashes. His father and mother often put him out to learn this trade or that, but Halvor could stay nowhere; for, when he had been there a day or two, he ran away from his master, and never stopped till he was sitting again in the ingle, poking about in the cinders.
Well, one day a skipper came, and asked Halvor if he hadn’t a mind to be with him, and go to sea, and see strange lands. Yes, Halvor would like that very much; so he wasn’t long in getting himself ready.
How long they sailed I’m sure I can’t tell; but the end of it was, they fell into a great storm, and when it was blown over, and it got still again, they couldn’t tell where they were; for they had been driven away to a strange coast, which none of them knew anything about.
Well, as there was just no wind at all, they stayed lying wind-bound there, and Halvor asked the skipper’s leave to go on shore and look about him; he would sooner go, he said, than lie there and sleep.
“Do you think now you’re fit to show yourself before folk,” said the skipper, “why, you’ve no clothes but those rags you stand in?”
But Halvor stuck to his own, and so at last he got leave, but he was to be sure and come back as soon as ever it began to blow. So off he went and found a lovely land; wherever he came there were fine large flat cornfields and rich meads, but he couldn’t catch a glimpse of a living soul. Well, it began to blow, but Halvor thought he hadn’t seen enough yet, and he wanted to walk a little farther just to see if he couldn’t meet any folk. So after a while he came to a broad high road, so smooth and even, you might easily roll an egg along it. Halvor followed this, and when evening drew on he saw a great castle ever so far off, from which the sunbeams shone. So as he had now walked the whole day and hadn’t taken a bit to eat with him, he was as hungry as a hunter, but still the nearer he came to the castle, the more afraid he got.