Thursday, July 14, 2011

Then they saw the old Finlander raise his gun to his eye

A Swedish youth was betrothed to a Finnish girl; but returning home, he forgot to fetch his bride. Being some time after visited by a Laplander skilled in witchcraft, he asked news of his betrothed. "You may see her yourself," answered the sorcerer, and, having filled a pail with water, and made many incantations, he bade him approach.—Then the young man beheld the cottage of his betrothed. His heart beat high on seeing her come forth pale, her eyes swollen with weeping; behind her came her father, fierce-looking, with a gun in his hand. The father, on his side, produced a pail of water, and looked into it. After a while he shook his head and cocked the gun, while his daughter wrung her hands. "Now," said the Laplander, "he'll shoot you if you don't forestall him. Take aim quickly with your gun!" Then they saw the old Finlander raise his gun to his eye. "Make haste," cried the Laplander, "or you're a dead man—fire!'' The young Swede obeyed, and the old Finlander fell lifeless. Conscience led the faithless lover back to his betrothed,—then he learned that her father had died of apoplexy the same day the Laplander had performed his witchcraft.

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