The elfin maidens we’re already dancing on the elf hill, and they danced in shawls woven from moonshine and mist, which look very pretty to those who like such things. The large hall within the elf hill was splendidly decorated; the floor had been washed with moonshine, and the walls had been rubbed with magic ointment, so that they glowed like tulip-leaves in the light. In the kitchen were frogs roasting on the spit, and dishes preparing of snail skins, with children’s fingers in them, salad of mushroom seed, hemlock, noses and marrow of mice, beer from the marsh woman’s brewery, and sparkling salt-petre wine from the grave cellars. These were all substantial food. Rusty nails and church-window glass formed the dessert. The old elf king had his gold crown polished up with powdered slate-pencil; it was like that used by the first form, and very difficult for an elf king to obtain. In the bedrooms, curtains were hung up and fastened with the slime of snails; there was, indeed, a buzzing and humming everywhere.
“Now we must fumigate the place with burnt horse-hair and pig’s bristles, and then I think I shall have done my part,” said the elf man-servant.
“Father, dear,” said the youngest daughter, “may I now hear who our high-born visitors are?”
“Well, I suppose I must tell you now,” he replied; “two of my daughters must prepare themselves to be married, for the marriages certainly will take place. The old goblin from
Norway, who lives in the ancient Dovre mountains, and who possesses many castles built of rock and freestone, besides a gold mine, which is better than all, so it is thought, is coming with his two sons, who are both seeking a wife. The old goblin is a true-hearted, honest, old
Norwegian graybeard; cheerful and straightforward. I knew him formerly, when we used to drink together to our good fellowship: he came here once to fetch his wife, she is dead now.