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Soria Moria Castle

Well, they couldn’t say anything against that; so Halvor sat down by the ingle, and began to poke about in the ashes, just as he used to do when he lay at home in old days, and stretched his lazy bones.

Well, they chattered and talked about many things; and they told Halvor about this thing and that; and so he asked them if they had never had any children.

Yes, yes, they had once a lad whose name was Halvor, but they didn’t know whither he had wandered; they couldn’t even tell whether he were dead or alive.

“Couldn’t it be me, now?” said Halvor.

“Let me see; I could tell him well enough,” said the old wife, and rose up. “Our Halvor was so lazy and dull, he never did a thing; and besides, he was so ragged, that one tatter took hold of the next tatter on him. No; there never was the making of such a fine fellow in him as you are, master.”

A little while after the old wife went to the hearth to poke up the fire, and when the blaze fell on Halvor’s face, just as when he was at home of old poking about in the ashes, she knew him at once.

“Ah! but it is you after all, Halvor?” she cried; and then there was such joy for the old couple, there was no end to it; and he was forced to tell how he had fared, and the old dame was so fond and proud of him, nothing would do but he must go up at once to the farmer’s, and show himself to the lassies, who had always looked down on him. And off she went first, and Halvor followed after. So, when she got up there, she told them all how Halvor had come home again, and now they should only just see how grand he was, for, said she, “he looks like nothing but a King’s son.”

“All very fine,” said the lassies, and tossed up their heads. “We’ll be bound he’s just the same beggarly ragged boy he always was.”

Just then in walked Halvor, and then the lassies were all so taken aback, they forgot their sarks in the ingle, where they were sitting darning their clothes, and ran out in their smocks. Well, when they were got back again, they were so shamefaced they scarce dared look at Halvor, towards whom they had always been proud and haughty.

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