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The Cat On The Dovrefell

from East Of The Sun And West Of The Moon





Once on a time there was a man up in Finnmark who had caught a great
white bear, which he was going to take to the King of Denmark. Now, it
so fell out, that he came to the Dovrefell just about Christmas Eve,
and there he turned into a cottage where a man lived, whose name was
Halvor, and asked the man if he could get house-room there for his
bear and himself.

"Heaven never help me, if what I say isn't true!" said the man; "but
we can't give anyone house-room just now, for every Christmas Eve such
a pack of Trolls come down upon us, that we are forced to flit, and
haven't so much as a house over our own heads, to say nothing of
lending one to anyone else."

"Oh?" said the man, "if that's all, you can very well lend me your
house; my bear can lie under the stove yonder, and I can sleep in the
side-room."

Well, he begged so hard, that at last he got leave to stay there; so
the people of the house flitted out, and before they went, everything
was got ready for the Trolls; the tables were laid, and there was
rice porridge, and fish boiled in lye, and sausages, and all else that
was good, just as for any other grand feast.

So, when everything was ready, down came the Trolls. Some were
great, and some were small; some had long tails, and some had no tails
at all; some, too, had long, long noses; and they ate and drank, and
tasted everything. Just then one of the little Trolls caught sight
of the white bear, who lay under the stove; so he took a piece of
sausage and stuck it on a fork, and went and poked it up against the
bear's nose, screaming out:

"Pussy, will you have some sausage?"

Then the white bear rose up and growled, and hunted the whole pack of
them out of doors, both great and small.

Next year Halvor was out in the wood, on the afternoon of Christmas
Eve, cutting wood before the holidays, for he thought the Trolls
would come again; and just as he was hard at work, he heard a voice in
the wood calling out:

"Halvor! Halvor!"

"Well," said Halvor, "here I am."

"Have you got your big cat with you still?"

"Yes, that I have," said Halvor; "she's lying at home under the stove,
and what's more, she has now got seven kittens, far bigger and fiercer
than she is herself."

"Oh, then, we'll never come to see you again," bawled out the Troll
away in the wood, and he kept his word; for since that time the
Trolls have never eaten their Christmas brose with Halvor on the
Dovrefell.





Next: One's Own Children Are Always Prettiest

Previous: The Three Princesses In The Blue Mountain



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