Norway A Reading Lesson. II

Georg Thorne-Thomsen
1906 The Elementary School Teacher  
And now begins a merry life for the children. Up early in the morning to take the cattle to the best pastures, and then to pick flowers and berries the whole day. For the evening the best part of all is left--to sit around the hearth and listen to fairytales. In this way the short summer passes rapidly-altogether too rapidly. Among the remembrances of a Norwegian boy none are dearer to him than those connected with the saeter. When school closes at the end of June, it is the highest ambition of
more » ... every schoolboy to visit the mountains. How I used to long for them and look forward to the hour when I could put the books on the shelf and say goodby to the hot, dusty city! With the knapsack on his shoulder, and with a very little money in his pocket, the Norwegian boy leaves his home and stays away for weeks during the summer. Wherever he goes, everyone is kind to him, and, thanks to Norwegian hospitality, he does not spend more than ten to twenty cents a day. In many places they receive him as a guest and are glad to have him. He has to walk most of the time, the railways being few and the rivers not very navigable. Of course, the wealthy foreigner travels all over the country in the cariol, a typical Norwegian vehicle for one horse. On the steep, narrow mountainpaths these rich people have the mountain-horse to carry them. But the schoolboy can afford no such extravagance. A pair of strong legs, a determination to climb all the peaks nobody else could climb, and fifteen to twenty dollars in his pocket are his whole outfit for a five to six weeks' journey. But he gets on all right., Maybe his feet are sore once in a while; perhaps he does not climb all the peaks that stand in his way; maybe he doesn't travel so very fast; but what he gains by this slow way of travel-190 This content downloaded from on January 22, 2018 14:42:37 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions ( 191 ing is a thorough understanding and appreciation of his country and its people. Traveling on foot gives, more than any other way of traveling, a splendid opportunity of coming into close contact with the peasants and their lives; and the boy coming back from his journey brings with him a strong impression of the beauty of his country and a better knowledge of its people. But it is not only in summer time that we visit the different parts of our country; the winter also gives us, perhaps, still better opportunities. From their earliest childhood, the Norwegian boy and girl become accustomed to the use of the ski--a kind of snowshoe, that, however, bears no resemblance to the Indian snowshoe. When the snow lies several feet deep, covering up every path and road, when the lakes are frozen, and with only a few hours of daylight, we visit the mountains and forests on snowshoes. All the saeters, the pasture houses, are closed, and we may be fifty to sixty miles away from any human dwelling; but on such trips we are generally supplied with reindeer bags, which furnish us shelter for the night. Usually two persons sleep in one bag; and, although surrounded by ice and snow, and at a temperature of twenty to thirty degrees below zero. this bag gives us a warm shelter for the night. Snowshoerunning is the typical national sport in Norway, and is indulged in by young and old, men and women. A Norwegian girl on skis is a pretty sight; health and independence are her main characteristics; and the boys, who on their skis jump ninety to a hundred feet, and lie out in the dark winter night far from home, grow to be men with a healthy mind in a healthy body. As a young boy, with a knapsack on my shoulders, I climbed the Galdho Peak, the highest peak of Jotenheim, together with some countrymen and an English couple. Tied together with a thick rope and with axes and sticks, we first crossed the immense ice-field that stretches off for miles at the foot of the peak. Finding our way over the many crevasses, the intense heat reflected from the ice burned our faces. In hot, but perfectly clear, weather we reached the summit, where our guide had built a small hut, after having first carried the timber on his shoulders all the way over the snow-fields. From this little hut we en-
doi:10.1086/453616 fatcat:nei2k2mq7rfgtkd36rqypz6azm