Animal Heroes
Ernest Thompson Seton

Part 4 out of 4

Good luck, good luck for Norway
With the White Storbuk comes riding.

Over Tvindehoug they faded like flying scud on the moorlands, on
to the gloomy distance, away toward Jotunheim, the home of the
Evil Spirits, the Land of the Lasting Snow. Their every sign and
trail was wiped away by the drifting storm, and the end of them
no man knows.

The Norse folk awoke as from a horrid nightmare. Their national
ruin was averted; there were no deaths, for there were no proofs;
and the talebearer's strife was ended.

The one earthly sign remaining from that drive is the string of
silver bells that Sveggum had taken from the Storbuk's neck--the
victory bells, each the record of a triumph won; and when the old
man came to understand, he sighed, and hung to the string a final
bell, the largest of them all.

Nothing more was ever seen or heard of the creature who so nearly
sold his country, or of the White Storbuk who balked him. Yet
those who live near Jotunheim say that on stormy nights, when the
snow is flying and the wind is raving in the woods, there
sometimes passes, at frightful speed, an enormous White Reindeer
with fiery eyes, drawing a snow-white pulk, in which is a
screaming wretch in white, and on the head of the Deer, balancing
by the horns, is a brown-clad, white-bearded Troll, bowing and
grinning pleasantly at him, and singing

Of Norway's luck
And a White Storbuk--

the same, they say, as the one that with prophetic vision sang by
Sveggum's Vand-dam on a bygone day when the birches wore their
springtime hangers, and a great mild-eyed Varsimle' came alone,
to go away with a little white Renskalv walking slowly, demurely,
by her side.


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