juli 25, 2003

Two babies

Here you are, then, Quinn:

It had fallen out of the mother's arms when the horses reared, but with great good fortune had dropped into a heap of dry leaves and was quite unharmed. It shrieked with fear at the fall, but when the troll woman leant over, it was so surprised and excited that it stopped at once and reached up its hands to tug at her black beard.

The troll woman stood dumbfounded and looked at the human baby. She saw the narrow fingers with rose pink nails, the clear, blue eyes and the little red mouth She felt the soft hair, stroked her hand over the cheeks, and grew more and more surprised. She just couldn't understand how a child could be so pink and soft and wonderful.

Suddenly the troll woman pulled the birchbark papoose from her back, hoisted out her own child and sat it down beside the human baby, And when she now saw what a difference there was between them, she could no longer control herself and started to bawl her eyes out.

Meanwhile, the peasant and his wife had brought their horses back under control, and now they turned back to look for their baby. The troll woman heard they were approaching, but she had not seen enough of the human baby; she stayed sitting beside it until the riders were almost in sight. Then she made a sudden decision. She left her own child by the side of the road, but she stuffed the human baby in the birch bark papoose, threw it on her back, and ran off into the woods.

Lagerl�f won a Nobel Prize in 1909 for G�sta Berlings Saga, I think. She's mostly remembered now as a children's writer, which is quite unfair. I'm quoting this partly to show how much better good writers are than bad ones at telling simple stories. I can't promise to translate the whole thing, and I don't know if it's anywhere in English.

Posted by andrewb at juli 25, 2003 10:13 EM | TrackBack
thanks very much. i hada know. Posted by: quinn at juli 26, 2003 12:15 FM