Classic Myths

Page: 19

Then the son of Sulev thought it best to go back to the ship. Calling his party together, he found that the youngest, the yellow-haired boy who was cupbearer to the king, was gone. The birds told the helmsman, the wise Lapp, that the lad had made friends with the water-sprites beyond the snow mountains and would never return.

The winds drove the ship about for many days till she grounded again on a strange shore.

Another party of nobles and sailors went to search this country. Being tired, they lay down under an ash tree and fell asleep. The people in this land were giants, and a giant's daughter found them. They were so very small to the giant child that she picked them up and put them in her apron, and carried them home to her father.

"Look at these strange creatures, father," she said. "I found them asleep under a head of cabbage in our garden. What are they?"

The giant knew them to be men from the east. Now the east has always been noted for its wisdom, so he questioned these men with riddles.

"What walks along the grass, steps on the edge of the fence, and walks along the sides of the reeds?" he asked.

"The bee," answered the wise man of the party.

"What drinks from the brooks and wells, and from the stones on the bank?"

"The rainbow," replied the wise man.

Then the giant told his little daughter to put the strangers back exactly where she had found them. But the wise man asked her to carry them to the ship just for fun. She leaned over the vessel like a vast cloud and shook them out of her white apron upon the deck. Then with one long breath she blew the ship four miles out to sea. The king shouted back his thanks.

But that wind blew northwest instead of north. The cold was intense and they watched from midnight to midnight the combats in the air between the spirits of the Northern Lights. The sailors were frightened, but the king was pleased. He was farther north than ever before.

The helmsman warned them that they were approaching another shore. No birds welcomed them or sang them the name of the country. Men dressed in the skins of dogs and bears met them as they landed, and took them to their homes on sledges of ice drawn by dogs. Their houses were of blocks of ice and snow, and their talk sounded like dogs barking.

The king did not like these people, for their land was cold. The wise man told him again that his search was an idle one. The end of the world was not for mortal eyes to see. At last the king believed him and sailed homeward. No man to this day has been able to find the far north, the end of the world.



North Wind likes a bit of fun as dearly as a boy does, and it is with boys he likes best to romp and play.