Soria Moria Castle
“Aye,” said the man, “to tell the truth, I never thought of selling him; but if we could strike a bargain perhaps—”
“What do you want for him?” asked Halvor.
“I didn’t give much for him, nor is he worth much; he’s a brave horse to ride, but he can’t draw at all; still he’s strong enough to carry your knapsack and you too, turn and turn about,” said the man.
At last they agreed on the price, and Halvor laid the knapsack on him, and so he walked a bit, and rode a bit, turn and turn about. At night he came to a green plain where stood a great tree, at the roots of which he sat down. There he let the horse loose, but he didn’t lie down to sleep, but opened his knapsack and took a meal. At peep of day off he set again, for he could take no rest. So he rode and walked and walked and rode the whole day through the wide wood, where there were so many green spots and glades that shone so bright and lovely between the trees. He didn’t know at all where he was or whither he was going, but he gave himself no more time to rest than when his horse cropped a bit of grass, and he took a snack out of his knapsack when they came to one of those green glades. So he went on walking and riding by turns, and as for the wood there seemed to be no end to it.
But at dusk the next day he saw a light gleaming away through the trees.
“Would there were folk hereaway,” thought Halvor, “that I might warm myself a bit and get a morsel to keep body and soul together.”
When he got up to it he saw the light came from a wretched little hut, and through the window he saw an old old, couple inside. They were as grey-headed as a pair of doves, and the old wife had such a nose! why, it was so long she used it for a poker to stir the fire as she sat in the ingle.
“Good evening,” said Halvor.
“Good evening,” said the old wife.
“But what errand can you have in coming hither?” she went on, “for no Christian folk have been here these hundred years and more.”
Well, Halvor told her all about himself, and how he wanted to get to Soria Moria Castle, and asked if she knew the way thither.