Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Edwarda

The spring was urging, and the forest listened; it was a great delight to watch thethrushes sitting in the tree-tops staring at the sun and crying; sometimes I would get up as early as two in the morning, just for a share of the joy that went out from bird and beast at sunrise.

The spring had reached me too, maybe, and my blood beat at times as if it were footsteps. I sat in the hut, and thought of overhauling my fishing rods and lines and gear, but moved never a finger to any work at all, for a glad, mysterious restlessness that was in and out of my heart all the while. Then suddenly Æsop sprang up, stood and stiffened, and gave a short bark. Someone coming to the hut! I pulled off mycap quickly, and heard Edwarda's voice already at the door. Kindly and without ceremony she and the Doctor had come to pay me a visit, as they had said.

"Yes," I heard her say, "he is at home." And she stepped forward, and gave me her hand in her simple girlish way. "We were here yesterday, but you were out,"she said.

She sat down on the rug over my wooden bedstead and looked round the hut;the Doctorsat down beside me on the long bench. We talked, chatted away at ease; I told them things, such as what kinds of animals there were in the woods, and what game I could not shoot because of the closed season. It was the closed season for grouse just now.

The Doctor did not say much this time either, but catching sight of my powder-horn,with a figure of Pan carved on it, he started to explain the myth of Pan.

"But," said Edwarda suddenly, "what do you live on when it's closed season for all game?"

"Fish," I said. "Fish mostly. But there's always something to eat." 
"But you might come up to us for your meals," she said. "There was an Englishman here last year--he had taken the hut--and he often came to us for meals."

Edwarda looked at me and I at her. I felt at the moment something touching my heartlike a little fleeting welcome. It must have been the spring, and the bright day; Ihave thought it over since. Also, I admired the curve of her eyebrows.
 

From PAN by Knut Hamsun, translated
by W. W. Worster

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