Andras Baive

: The Orange Fairy Book

Once upon a time there lived in Lapland a man who was so very strong

and swift of foot that nobody in his native town of Vadso could come

near him if they were running races in the summer evenings. The people

of Vadso were very proud of their champion, and thought that there was

no one like him in the world, till, by-and-by, it came to their ears

that there dwelt among the mountains a Lapp, Andras Baive by name, who
/> was said by his friends to be even stronger and swifter than the

bailiff. Of course not a creature in Vadso believed that, and declared

that if it made the mountaineers happier to talk such nonsense, why,

let them!

The winter was long and cold, and the thoughts of the villagers were

much busier with wolves than with Andras Baive, when suddenly, on a

frosty day, he made his appearance in the little town of Vadso. The

bailiff was delighted at this chance of trying his strength, and at

once went out to seek Andras and to coax him into giving proof of his

vigour. As he walked along his eyes fell upon a big eight-oared boat

that lay upon the shore, and his face shone with pleasure. 'That is

the very thing,' laughed he, 'I will make him jump over that boat.'

Andras was quite ready to accept the challenge, and they soon settled

the terms of the wager. He who could jump over the boat without so

much as touching it with his heel was to be the winner, and would get a

large sum of money as the prize. So, followed by many of the

villagers, the two men walked down to the sea.

An old fisherman was chosen to stand near the boat to watch fair play,

and to hold the stakes, and Andras, as the stranger was told to jump

first. Going back to the flag which had been stuck into the sand to

mark the starting place, he ran forward, with his head well thrown

back, and cleared the boat with a mighty bound. The lookers- on

cheered him, and indeed he well deserve it; but they waited anxiously

all the same to see what the bailiff would do. On he came, taller than

Andras by several inches, but heavier of build. He too sprang high and

well, but as he came down his heel just grazed the edge of the boat.

Dead silence reigned amidst the townsfolk, but Andras only laughed and

said carelessly:

'Just a little too short, bailiff; next time you must do better than


The bailiff turned red with anger at his rival's scornful words, and

answered quickly: 'Next time you will have something harder to do.'

And turning his back on his friends, he went sulkily home. Andras,

putting the money he had earned in his pocket, went home also.

The following spring Andras happened to be driving his reindeer along a

great fiord to the west of Vadso. A boy who had met him hastened to

tell the bailiff that his enemy was only a few miles off; and the

bailiff, disguising himself as a Stalo, or ogre, called his son and his

dog and rowed away across the fiord to the place where the boy had met


Now the mountaineer was lazily walking along the sands, thinking of the

new hut that he was building with the money that he had won on the day

of his lucky jump. He wandered on, his eyes fixed on the sands, so

that he did not see the bailiff drive his boat behind a rock, while he

changed himself into a heap of wreckage which floated in on the waves.

A stumble over a stone recalled Andras to himself, and looking up he

beheld the mass of wreckage. 'Dear me! I may find some use for that,'

he said; and hastened down to the sea, waiting till he could lay hold

of some stray rope which might float towards him. Suddenly--he could

not have told why--a nameless fear seized upon him, and he fled away

from the shore as if for his life. As he ran he heard the sound of a

pipe, such as only ogres of the Stalo kind were wont to use; and there

flashed into his mind what the bailiff had said when they jumped the

boat: 'Next time you will have something harder to do.' So it was no

wreckage after all that he had seen, but the bailiff himself.

It happened that in the long summer nights up in the mountain, where

the sun never set, and it was very difficult to get to sleep, Andras

had spent many hours in the study of magic, and this stood him in good

stead now. The instant he heard the Stalo music he wished himself to

become the feet of a reindeer, and in this guise he galloped like the

wind for several miles. Then he stopped to take breath and find out

what his enemy was doing. Nothing he could see, but to his ears the

notes of a pipe floated over the plain, and ever, as he listened, it

drew nearer.

A cold shiver shook Andras, and this time he wished himself the feet of

a reindeer calf. For when a reindeer calf has reached the age at which

he begins first to lose his hair he is so swift that neither beast nor

bird can come near him. A reindeer calf is the swiftest of all things

living. Yes; but not so swift as a Stalo, as Andras found out when he

stopped to rest, and heard the pipe playing!

For a moment his heart sank, and he gave himself up for dead, till he

remembered that, not far off, were two little lakes joined together by

a short though very broad river. In the middle of the river lay a

stone that was always covered by water, except in dry seasons, and as

the winter rains had been very heavy, he felt quite sure that not even

the top of it could be seen. The next minute, if anyone had been

looking that way, he would have beheld a small reindeer calf speeding

northwards, and by-and-by giving a great spring, which landed him in

the midst of the stream. But, instead of sinking to the bottom, he

paused a second to steady himself, then gave a second spring which

landed him on the further shore. He next ran on to a little hill where

he saw down and began to neigh loudly, so that the Stalo might know

exactly where he was.

'Ah! There you are,' cried the Stalo, appearing on the opposite bank;

'for a moment I really thought I had lost you.'

'No such luck,' answered Andras, shaking his head sorrowfully. By this

time he had taken his own shape again.

'Well, but I don't see how I am to get to you1' said the Stalo, looking

up and down.

'Jump over, as I did,' answered Andras; 'it is quite easy.'

'But I could not jump this river; and I don't know how you did,'

replied the Stalo.

'I should be ashamed to say such things,' exclaimed Andras. 'Do you

mean to tell me that a jump, which the weakest Lapp boy would make

nothing of, is beyond your strength?'

The Stalo grew red and angry when he heard these words, just as Andras

meant him to do. He bounded into the air and fell straight into the

river. Not that that would have mattered, for he was a good swimmer;

but Andras drew out the bow and arrows which every Lapp carries, and

took aim at him. His aim was good, but the Stalo sprang so high into

the air that the arrow flew between his feet. A second shot, directed

at his forehead, fared no better, for this time the Stalo jumped so

high to the other side that the arrow passed between his finger and

thumb. Then Andras aimed his third arrow a little over the Stalo's

head, and when he sprang up, just an instant too soon, it hit him

between the ribs.

Mortally wounded as he was, the Stalo was not yet dead, and managed to

swim to the shore. Stretching himself on the sand, he said slowly to


'Promise that you will give me an honourable burial, and when my body

is laid in the grave go in my boat across the fiord, and take whatever

you find in my house which belongs to me. My dog you must kill, but

spare my son, Andras.'

Then he died; and Andras sailed in his boat away across the fiord and

found the dog and boy. The dog, a fierce, wicked-looking creature, he

slew with one blow from his fist, for it is well known that if a

Stalo's dog licks the blood that flows from his dead master's wounds

the Stalo comes to life again. That is why no REAL Stalo is ever seen

without his dog; but the bailiff, being only half a Stalo, had

forgotten him, when he went to the little lakes in search of Andras.

Next, Andras put all the gold and jewels which he found in the boat

into his pockets, and bidding the boy get in, pushed it off from the

shore, leaving the little craft to drift as it would, while he himself

ran home. With the treasure he possessed he was able to buy a great

herd of reindeer; and he soon married a rich wife, whose parents would

not have him as a son-in-law when he was poor, and the two lived happy

for ever after.

[From Lapplandische Mahrchen, J. C. Poestion.]