Andras Baive (cont.)
(see previous page for audio)For a moment his heart sank, and he gave himself up for dead, till he remembered that, not far off, were two little lakes joined together by a short though very broad river. In the middle of the river lay a stone that was always covered by water, except in dry seasons, and as the winter rains had been very heavy, he felt quite sure that not even the top of it could be seen. The next minute, if anyone had been looking that way, he would have beheld a small reindeer calf speeding northwards and by-and-by giving a great spring, which landed him in the midst of the stream. But, instead of sinking to the bottom, he paused a second to steady himself, and then gave a second spring which landed him on the further shore. He next ran on to a little hill where he saw down and began to neigh loudly, so that the Stalo might know exactly where he was.
'Ah! There you are,' cried the Stalo, appearing on the opposite bank; 'for a moment I really thought I had lost you.'
'No such luck,' answered Andras, shaking his head sorrowfully. By this time he had taken his own shape again.
'Well, but I don't see how I am to get to you,' said the Stalo, looking up and down.
'Jump over, as I did,' answered Andras; 'it is quite easy.'
'But I could not jump this river, and I don't know how you did,' replied the Stalo.
'I should be ashamed to say such things,' exclaimed Andras. 'Do you mean to tell me that a jump, which the weakest Lapp boy would make nothing of, is beyond your strength?'
The Stalo grew red and angry when he heard these words, just as Andras meant him to do. He bounded into the air and fell straight into the river. Not that that would have mattered, for he was a good swimmer, but Andras drew out the bow and arrows which every Lapp carries and took aim at him. His aim was good, but the Stalo sprang so high into the air that the arrow flew between his feet. A second shot, directed at his forehead, fared no better, for this time the Stalo jumped so high to the other side that the arrow passed between his finger and thumb. Then Andras aimed his third arrow a little over the Stalo's head, and when he sprang up, just an instant too soon, it hit him between the ribs.
Mortally wounded as he was, the Stalo was not yet dead and managed to swim to the shore. Stretching himself on the sand, he said slowly to Andras: 'Promise that you will give me an honourable burial, and when my body is laid in the grave, go in my boat across the fiord and take whatever you find in my house which belongs to me. My dog you must kill, but spare my son, Andras.'
Then he died, and Andras sailed in his boat away across the fiord and found the dog and boy. The dog, a fierce, wicked-looking creature, he slew with one blow from his fist, for it is well known that if a Stalo's dog licks the blood that flows from his dead master's wounds the Stalo comes to life again. That is why no REAL Stalo is ever seen without his dog, but the bailiff, being only half a Stalo, had forgotten him when he went to the little lakes in search of Andras.
Next, Andras put all the gold and jewels which he found in the boat into his pockets and, bidding the boy get in, pushed it off from the shore, leaving the little craft to drift as it would, while he himself ran home.
With the treasure he possessed, he was able to buy a great herd of reindeer, and he soon married a rich wife whose parents would not have him as a son-in-law when he was poor, and the two lived happy for ever after.
Next: The Enchanted Knife