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OLE AND MARGIT.
Ole lives in Norway.
Here is a picture of Ole's home. The baby is his little sister Gudrun.
There is his grand-father too. He is sick.
Is not that a queer bed? It is built into the wall of the house.
It looks like a box. It is filled with fresh hay.
The winters are very cold in Norway.
Where Ole lives the sun does not rise for many days in winter.
Do you think it must be dark without the sun?
It is not dark.
The moon and stars give their light.
The beautiful Aurora Borealis shines far up in the sky.
The ground is white with snow.
Ole has great fun in winter.
He has a playmate named Margit.
Margit is a sweet little girl. She has blue eyes and yellow hair.
In the winter Ole and Margit slide over the snow in their snowshoes. These snow-shoes are made of pine wood.
They are four or five feet long.
They are fastened to the feet with bands. They are only a few inches wide.
If you should try to slide with them I am afraid you would fall down.
But Ole and Margit can slide down very steep hills with them.
Whiz-z! how fast they go
They do not mind the cold. Their mittens and boots are lined with fur.
They wear the warm stockings and scarfs that grandma has knit for them
At Christmas they have a Christmas tree.
On Christmas day Margit's father gives the cows and sheep and horses an extra dinner.
Then he fastens a bunch of oats on the roof of the house for the birds.
So the birds and cows, the sheep and horses and goats have Christmas in Norway.
In the long winter evenings Ole's mother spins.
She weaves the cloth for her children's clothes.
In the long winter evenings Ole sits by the open hearth.
See the hearth in the picture! His grandmamma knits and tells Ole stories.
She teaches him to read too. The house where Margit lives is not far away.
It is a red house.
Margit has a pretty box-bed to sleep in.
There are walls to the bed, anti there is a door to get in.
The walls of the bed are painted bright blue inside.
Outside they are painted all over-with bright flowers.
There are soft white sheepskins for blankets.
Margit's pretty Sunday clothes are kept in a tiny chest.
Her name, Margit Bois, is painted on the chest.
Her grown-up sisters, Birgit and Kistrina, have chests too. They do not have closets.
Margit and Ole live near a fjord.
A fjord is a part of the sea running far into the land.
In winter the fjord is frozen over. But when spring is coming, the ice begins to melt.
Margit and Ole are glad when the ice begins to melt.
They listen to hear the cuckoo in the woods.
When they hear him singing "Cuck-oo! cuck-oo!" then they know spring has surely come.
Then the ice and snow melt.
The flowers bloom. The thrush and the skylark come back from the warm South.
Then Margit and Ole go to church.
They go in a boat over the clear waters of the fjord.
A Flock of Sheep
Afar off on the high mountain tops they see the snow. The snow stays all summer on those high mountains.
They see the sea-gulls flying slowly above the clear water.
They see families of eider-ducks and loons floating on the water.
As the boat comes near them they fly quickly away.
I wish you could see Margit and Ole when they are dressed for church.
Margit wears a bright scarlet waist with sleeves of white linen.
The waist is fastened in front with three silver brooches.
Her skirt is black with a gay border.
Her stockings are embroidered in flowers.
She wears a little red cap on her head, and her yellow hair falls over her shoulders.
Ole wears a scarlet vest with silver buttons, and a dark jacket.
His knee-breeches are fastened at the knee with silver buckles. He too wears a red cap.
When June comes Margit is sorry, but Ole is sorry and glad too. I will tell you why.
In June the cows, the sheep, and goats are sent to the mountain farm.
The mountain farm is called a saetar.
They start early in the morning to go to the saetar.
The wooden milk pails, the cheese press, the coffee kettle, the blankets and food are all packed on the horses.
Margit's father fastens bells on the necks of some of the cows.
Then he marks the ears of the sheep and goats.
Then if they wander away he will know them.
The father and Birgit and Kistrina all carry loors in their hands.
Loors are long horns made of birch bark.
They are used to call the cattle.
When every thing is ready they sound the loors and they all start. Margit and Ole go with them.
The mountain path is steep. It takes many hours to go to the saetar. There are small stone houses at the saetar.
Birgit and Kistrina live in these houses all summer. They milk the cows and make the butter and cheese.
Ole stays with them; but Margit goes home with her father. That is why she is sorry.
Ole is glad to stay, but he is sorry Margit cannot stay too.
In July Margit goes to the saetar with her father and stays all night.
Then Ole and Margit have good times.
They see the midnight sun. Do you know what that is? For several nights in summer the sun does not set. All night long it shines.
It sinks down to the horizon, but it does not go below.
At midnight it begins to rise.
I hope sometime when you are grown up you will see the midnight sun.
It is a wonderful and beautiful sight. Every summer Margit and Ole see it.
Ole watches the cattle and sheep all day at the saetar.
At night he sounds his loon to call them home.
Birgit and Kistrina sound their loors too.
The sound of the loors echoes in the mountains.
Margit thinks it is very sweet music.
Then they call the cattle. Here is a cattle call:
"Come, Little Rose,
Ere day shall close;
And Birchen Bough,
My own dear cow;
And Morning Pride
And Sunny Side, —
Come, children dear,
For night draws near,
Is not that a pretty way to call the cattle home?
In September they all go home from the saetar.
Margit runs to meet them.
"I am glad, Ole!" she says. "Now we will go nutting."
Should you like to know what Margit and Ole eat?
Every day they have porridge. It is called brod. They eat sour milk with it. They like it!
Then they eat fladbrod. That means flat bread. Flat bread is thin and hard.