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rosy, his eyes so clear and round and blue, and his golden hair was blown back from his face in such silky curls, that he appeared to be even younger. I was surprised that his mother should be willing to send him twenty miles through the dark woods on such a night.

“Come here, Lars," I said. Then I took him by the hand, and asked, “ Are you not afraid to go so far to-night?"

He looked at me with wondering eyes, and smiled ; and his mother made haste to say : “You 'need

“ have no fear, sir. Lars is young ; but he'll take you safe enough. If the storm does not get worse, you'll be at Umea by eleven o'clock."

I was again on the point of remaining ; but while I was 6 deliberating with myself, the boy had put on his overcoat of sheepskin, tied the lappets of his fur cap under his chin, and a thick woollen scarf round his nose and mouth, so that only the round blue eyes were visible; and then his mother took down the mittens of hare's fur from the stove, where they had been hung to dry. He put them on, took a short leather whip, and was ready.




thermometer, an instrument for measuring heat (see App.). 2 aurora, the aurora borealis or northern twilight, a remarkable phenomenon (or appearance) which illuminates the sky in the Arctic regions during the winter. 3 zenith, the point in the heavens which is directly overhead. 4 horizon, the apparent junction of the earth and sky. Slumber-merchants. Sweden is remarkable for its forests of timber, an immense quantity of which is annually exported. & deliberating, carefully considering; weighing in the mind ; reflecting ; pondering.




dis-a-gree'-a-ble ex-haust'-ed an'-xious-ly an'-swered Norr'-land-er im-pa'-tient in-dis-tinct wrapped I WRAPPED myself in my furs, and we went out together. The driving snow cut me in the face like needles, but Lars did not mind it in the least. He jumped into the sled, which he had filled with fresh, soft hay, tucked in the reindeer-skins at the sides, and we sat close together on the narrow seat, making everything close and warm before we set out. I could not see at all, when the door of the house was shut, and the horse started on the journey. The night was dark, the snow fell thickly, and the wind roared through the dark fir-trees. Lars, however, knew the way, and somehow or other we kept the "beaten track. He talked to the horse so constantly, and so cheerfully, that after a while my own spirits began to rise, and the way seemed neither so long nor so disagreeable.

“ Ho there, Axel !” he would say. “Keep the road,—not too far to the left. Well done! Here's a level : now trot a bit.”

So we went on,-sometimes up hill, sometimes down hill, for a long time, as it seemed. I began to grow chilly, and even Lars handed me the reins, while he swung and beat his arms to keep the blood in circulation. He no longer sang little songs and fragments of hymns, as when we first set out ; but


he was not in the least alarmed, or even impatient. Whenever I asked (as I did about every five minutes), “Are we nearly there ?” he always answered, “A little farther."

Suddenly the wind seemed to increase.

· Ah," said he, “now I know where we are : it's one mile more.' But one mile, you must remember, meant seven.

Lars checked the horse, and peered anxiously from side to side in the darkness. I looked also, but could see nothing.

“What is the matter?” I finally asked.

“We have got past the hills on the left," he said. “The country is open to the wind, and here the 2 snowdrifts are worse than anywhere else on the road. If there have been no ploughs out to-night we shall have trouble.”

It is the custom in this country for farmers to turn out with their horses and oxen, and plough down the drifts, whenever the road is blocked up by a storm.

In less than a quarter of an hour we could see that the horse was sinking in the deep snow. He plunged bravely forward, but made scarcely any headway, and presently became so exhausted that he stood quite still. Lars and I rose from the seat and looked around. For my part, I saw nothing except some very indistinct shapes of trees : there was no sign of an opening through them. In a few minutes the horse started again, and with great labour carried us a few yards farther. “Shall we get out and try to find the road ?"

? said I. “It's no use," Lars answered. “In these new

. drifts we should sink to the waist. Wait a little, and we shall get through this one."

It was as he said. Another pull brought us through the deep part of the drift, and we reached a place where the snow was quite shallow. But it was not the hard smooth surface of the road : we could feel that the ground was uneven, and covered with roots and bushes. Bidding Axel stand still, Lars jumped out of the sled, and began wading around among the trees. Then I got out on the other side, but had not proceeded ten steps before I began to sink so deeply into the loose snow that I was glad to extricate myself and return. It was a desperate situation, and I wondered how we should ever get out of it.

I shouted to Lars, in order to guide him, and it was not long before he also came back to the sled. “If I knew where the road is,” said he, “I could get into it again. But I don't know; and I think

; we must stay here all night."

“ We shall freeze to death in an hour!” I cried. I was already chilled to the bone. The wind had made me very drowsy, and I knew that if I slept I should soon be frozen. “O no !” exclaimed Lars, cheerfully. “I am a

. Norrlander, and Norrlanders never freeze. I went with the men to the bear-hunt, last winter, ap on the mountains, and we were several nights in the


snow. Besides, I know what my father did with a gentleman from Stockholm on this very road, and we'll do it to-night.”

66 What was it?”

“Let me take care of Axel first,” said Lars. can spare him some hay and one reindeer-skin."

66 We

i beaten track, the path made by people constantly passing over it; the road or highway. 2 snowdrifts, snow driven in heaps.

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It was a slow and difficult task to unharness the horse, but we accomplished it at last. Lars then led him under the drooping branches of a fir-tree, tied him to one of them, gave him an armful of hay, and fastened the reindeer-skin upon his back. Axel began to eat, as if perfectly satisfied with the arrangement. The Norrland horses are so accustomed to cold that they seem comfortable in a temperature where one of ours would freeze.

When this was done, Lars spread the remaining hay evenly over the bottom of the sled and covered it with the skins, which he tucked in very firmly on the side towards the wind. Then, lifting them on the other side, he said : “Now take off your fur coat, quick, lay it over the hay, and then creep under it,"

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