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Main > Scandinavian folktales > Fairy tale "The hill-man invited to the christening"

The hill-man invited to the christening

The hill-people are excessively frightened during thunder. When, therefore, they see bad weather coming on, they lose no time in getting to the shelter of their hills. This terror is also the cause of their not being able to endure the beating of a drum. They take it to be the rolling of thunder. It is, therefore, a good recipe for banishing them to beat a drum every day in the neighbourhood of their hills, for they immediately pack up, and depart to some quieter residence.

A farmer lived once in great friendship and concord with a hill-man, whose hill was in his lands. One time when his wife was about to have a child, it gave him great perplexity to think that he could not well avoid inviting the hill-man to the christening, which might, not improbably, bring him into ill repute with the priest and the other people of the village. He was going about pondering deeply, but in vain, how he might get out of this dilemma, when it came into his head to ask the advice of the boy that kept his pigs, who had a great head-piece, and had often helped him before. The pig-boy instantly undertook to arrange the matter with the hill-man in such a manner that he should not only stay away without being offended, but, moreover, give a good christening present.

Accordingly, when it was night, he took a sack on his shoulder, went to the hill-man's hill, knocked, and was admitted. He delivered his message, gave his master's compliments, and requested the honour of his company at the christening. The hill-man thanked him, and said—

"I think it is but right I should give you a christening present."

With these words he opened his money-chests, bidding the boy hold up his sack while he poured money into it.

"Is there enough now?" said he, when he had put a good quantity into it.

"Many give more, few give less," replied the boy.

The hill-man once more fell to filling the sack, and again asked—

"Is there enough now?"

The boy lifted the sack a little off the ground to see if he was able to carry any more, and then answered—

"It is about what most people give.

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