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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


"'You will need all your boldness,' said Thorhall, 'It is best not to be too frightened for one's self there.'

"After this they made a bargain between them, and Glam was to come when the winter nights began. Then they parted, and Thorhall found his horses where he had just newly looked for them, and rode home, after thanking Skafti for his kindness.

"The summer passed, and Thorhall heard nothing of the shepherd, nor did any one know the least about him, but at the time appointed he came to Thorhall-stead. The yeoman received him well, but the others did not like him, and the good-wife least of all. He began his work among the sheep which gave him little trouble, for he had a loud, hoarse voice, and the flock all ran together whenever he shouted. There was a church at Thorhall-stead, but Glam would never go to it nor join in the service. He was unbelieving, surly, and difficult to deal with, and ever one felt a dislike towards him.

"So time went on till it came to Christmas eve. On that morning Glam rose early and called for his food. The good-wife answered: 'It is not the custom of Christian people to eat on this day, for to-morrow is the first day of Christmas, and we ought to fast to-day'. Glam replied: 'You have many foolish fashions that I see no good in. I cannot see that men are any better off now than they were when they never troubled themselves about such things. I think it was a far better life when men were heathens; and now I want my food, and no nonsense.' The good-wife answered: 'I am sure you will come to sorrow to-day if you act thus perversely'.

"Glam bade her bring his food at once, or it would be the worse for her. She was afraid to refuse, and after he had eaten he went out in a great rage.

"The weather was very bad. It was dark and gloomy all round; snowflakes fluttered about; loud noises were heard in the air, and it grew worse and worse as the day wore on. They heard the shepherd's voice during the forenoon, but less of him as the day passed. Then the snow began to drift, and by evening there was a violent storm. People came to the service in church, and the day wore on to evening, but still Glam did not come home. There was some talk among them of going to look for him, but no search was made on account of the storm and the darkness.

"All Christmas eve Glam did not return, and in the morning men went to look for him. They found the sheep scattered in the fens, beaten down by the storm, or up on the hills. Thereafter they came to a place in the valley where the snow was all trampled, as if there had been a terrible struggle there, for stones and frozen earth were torn up all round about. They looked carefully round the place, and found Glam lying a short distance off, quite dead. He was black in colour, and swollen up as big as an ox. They were horrified at the sight, and shuddered in their hearts. However, they tried to carry him to the church, but could get him no further than to the edge of a cleft, a little lower down; so they left him there and went home and told their master what had happened.