The Elfin Hill 5

The daughters drew on their shawls and bowed down to the ground. There stood the old goblin from the Dovre mountains, with his crown of hardened ice and polished fir-cones.

 

Besides this, he wore a bear-skin, and great, warm boots, while his sons went with their throats bare and wore no braces, for they were strong men.

 

“Is that a hill?” said the youngest of the boys, pointing to the elf hill, “we should call it a hole in Norway.”

 

“Boys,” said the old man, “a hole goes in, and a hill stands out; have you no eyes in your heads?”

 

Another thing they wondered at was, that they were able without trouble to understand the language. “Take care,” said the old man, “or people will think you have not been well brought up.”

 

Then they entered the elfin hill, where the select and grand company were assembled, and so quickly had they appeared that they seemed to have been blown together. But for each guest the neatest and pleasantest arrangement had been made. The sea folks sat at table in great water-tubs, and they said it was just like being at home. All behaved themselves properly excepting the two young northern goblins; they put their legs on the table and thought they were all right.

 

“Feet off the table-cloth!” said the old goblin. They obeyed, but not immediately. Then they tickled the ladies who waited at table, with the fir-cones, which they carried in their pockets.

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