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JSIacli'd SmaUct ScxicB 
of JSeautffttl JSooto 



THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 



* i 



BY THE SAME ARTIST 

THE ENGLISH LAKES 

PAIITRD BY 

A. HEATON COOPER 

DBSCRIBBD BY 
W. T. PALMER 

OOKTAOIINO 75 PULL-PAOB ILLUSTRATIOKS 
IN COLOUR 

PRICK 209» met 

'* Every lover of the Lake District wUl do 
well to secure a copy of this beautiful book." 
—The Guofdiatt, 

"This very handsome and acceptable 
volume."->rh€ World. 

"The book is one to pore over at Idsuxv, and 
to enjoy either when on a holiday or after 
returning from one."— ForAsMrv Post 

"This beautiful book is a triumph of local 
literature and art which will be a treasure to 
all in whose way it comes,"'-WMkka9en Nem. 

PuUitktd h 
A. ft C. BLACR . SOHO Squarb. Lomdom . W. 



AGENTS 

THB MACMILLAN COMPAlfV 

64 ft <6 FIFTH AVimra. NBW YORK 

THS MACMILLAN COMPANY OP CANADA, LTDl 
ay RlCHMOirD STaSBT WBST. TORONTO 

MACMILLAN * COMPANY. LTD. 
MACMILLAN BUI1J>IMG» BOMBAY 

909 Bow Bazaar stebbt. CAXXUTTA 



I 



THE 



NORWEGIAN FJORDS 



PAINTED AND DESCRIBED 
BY 

A. HEATON COOPER 

AJtTIST or "THX KNGLISH LAKBS" 



WITH 

TWENTY-FOUR FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS 

IN COLOUR 




LONDON 

ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK 

1907 



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c--) 










• ; 






^l IT 



.' 

"» 



Publuihed SeptemheVt 1907 



NOTE 

The fjords of Norway, by their unique 
charm, annually attract an increasing 
number of English and American tourists. 

This volume, the artist hopes, may be 
found useful to the traveller who desires 
a more intimate acquaintance with the 
country and its people than may be 
acquired from a casual visit to its shores. 

It is the outcome of periodical visits to 
Norway extending over the last fifteen 
years, including two winters spent among 
the fjords and mountains of that delight- 
ful and interesting country. 

In claiming for this volume no literary 
merit whatever, the artist trusts that the 



vi NOTE 

reader, whilst accepting it as perhaps a 
feeble statement of bare facts, will find 
compensation for any lack in this respect 
by appreciating his efforts in the illustra- 
tions. A. H. C. 

coniston, r.s.o«^ 

Lancashibe. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

Bergen— The Huduiger Fjord— A peasant's home- 
steady and home industry — ^Horticnltore — Land 
tenure — Boat-building from ancient times — ^The 
staple food of the peasants — ''The Gothenburg 
system 



»» 



CHAPTER II 

The Hardanger Fjord (eontinwd) — Means of com- 
munication — ^A drive by ''kariol" from Vosse- 
vangen to Ulvik — ^Ullensvang, the fruit-garden of 
Hardanger— llie ancient and national arts of 
wood-carving, tapestry weaving, and embroidery 
—The Hardanger violin— Waterfidls— Glaciers— 
Fjord formation 23 



CHAPTER III 

The ''Eddas" and ''Sagas"— Heathen mythology 
—A pagan temple — ^An ancient " Stav-ldrke " at 
Vik— Folkloxe and superstition—" Raider's Baal/' 
or midsummer's eve fires, of pagan origin — 
Wedding customs 47 

▼11 



viii CONTENTS 



CHAPTER IV 



PAO> 



The Sogne Fjord— Balliolm and the ''Frithjofs 
Sags ** — Life at A " steter ^ or mountain oat-£gurm 
— A bear-hunter's tale — Sea-fight between King 
Sverre and Magnus Erlingsson, a.d. 1184 — An 
ancient farmstead in Nerofjord — A wedding at 
Gudvangen — ^The Nerodal - - ... 67 

CHAPTER V 
The Sogne Fjord (oon^nuMQ— Forestry ... 95 

CHAPTER VI 

The mining industry — LBsrdal and the Borgund 
church— The Vettisfos — Lyster Fjord and Jotun- 
heimen — ^The Norwegian Tourist Club-^ostedals- 
bras, the most extensive ice-field in Europe — 
UmsBS '^ Stav-kirke/* the oldest church in Norway 103 

CHAPTER VII 

The Nord Fjord — ^The approach from the sea-coast 
—Typical Qord scenery— Three beautiful lakes: 
Loen^ Stryn, and Olden — Glaciers and avalanches 
— ^A drive from Falejde to Oie— The magnificent 
gorge of Nordangsdal 117 

CHAPTER VIII 

The Norwegian Established Church ('Men Norske 
StatsKirke'O— The Reformation— The Lutheran 
creeds — ^The Bishops and clergy — ^The dioceses, 
deaneries^ and livings — Church missions— Free 
education obtains in Norway — Schools and colleges 
—The University 139 



CONTENTS ix 



CHAPTER IX 



PAOB 



The Hjdnmd F^jord^Oie to Hellesylt— An evening 
idyll — ^The Geiranger Fjord and its water&Ua — An 
ancient fann near Meraak — By steamer to Nbbs — 
The grandeur of the Romsdal — ^Tho River Ranma 
— Salmon fishing — ^The great sea fisheries-— The 
midnight son — Winter sports in Norway — Wild 
animals and game — Molde^ the most hotatifiilly 
sitoated town in Norway ..... 149 

Index 173 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATION! 


s 


800NK PJORD, OUDVANOIN FfCm 


titpiece 


PAO 


nro PAm 


HARDANOIR PJORD : ODDI 


6 


OODO0UND 


. 16 


ULVIK 


- 24 


(MnNsS 


50 


tfSB PJORD 


M 


8KJJBOOKDAUP08 . • . . . 


58 


BONDHU8 OLAaiR 


44 


800N1 PJORD : VIK "8TAV*KIRKR" 


• 52 


■SB PJORD (a WBDDINO PARTY) - 


. 64 


A "SJETSR/' VBTLB PJORD 


70 


PJARLAND 


76 


N JBRd PJORD 


60 


M^RtfDAIy PROM 8TALBBI1I 


90 


UnU>AIj6RSM 


106 


ITRNJM CHURCH, LYSTER . . • . 


114 


HORD PJORD : A SALMON RHfRRy 8TRYN 


122 


LORN VAND AND OLACICR - - - - 


128 


HJdRUND PJORD, OlR 


156 


• 





zii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAOOro PAOB 

OEIRANOBR PJORD 152 

MIRAAK 158 

THE MOUNTAINS OF ROMSDAL - - - - l62 
ROMSDALB FJORD FROM NJfiB - - -164 
MOLDI 170 



THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

CHAPTER I 

THE HARDAN6ER FJORD 

To approach the Norwegian coast at sun- 
rise is an exceedingly enjoyable experience. 
Myriads of rock-islands in the sea and 
cloud-islands in the sky, their perspective 
terminating on the distant horizon in a 
peaked range of inland mountains, them- 
selves like a cloud floating in golden 
vapour of dawn. 

As the rising sun bums its path upwards, 
the sparkling sea reflects the glory of the 
sky in countless hues, and the magic of 
morning is felt in the air, cool and clear 
as crystal, as the steamer slows to await 
the pilot and the sea-birds wheel around. 

I 



2 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

Threading this intricate maze of islands, 
indications of human habitation soon be- 
come evident perched on grassy headlands 
or nestling in rocky creeks, and soon we 
are at the busy wharf of the first port of 
call, Stavanger, a bustling and clean little 
town, whose eleventh-century cathedral 
stands in dignified contrast to the brightly- 
painted wooden buildings at its feet. 

The navigation of the coast here is 
exceedingly intricate — ^rocky islands and 
skerries innumerable, and narrow winding 
channels; lighthouses, which are seen at 
every turn, and on both sides of the 
steamer's course, indicate the dangers and 
test the skill of the pilot and captain as 
the steamer proceeds in a north-westerly 
direction to Bergen, the metropolis of 
Western Norway. 

Founded by King Olaf Kyrre in 1070, 
Bergen has witnessed most of the stirring 
events of the nation's life. 

The population of the town is now 
72,000. During the fourteenth and fif- 
teenth centuries the Hanseatic League, 



BERGEN S 

which then monopolized the commerce of 
Northern Emx>pe, held absolute sway here 
in Bergen, and the quaint Tydskebryggen 
(German quay) was their trading quarters. 
Near by the fortified tower of Rosenkranz 
was built to hold the Hanseatic quarter 
in check. It adjoins Haakonshal, the 
ancient palace of King Haakon Haakon- 
son, who died in 1268. 

This is the most ancient part of the 
town, although it is at present under- 
going a change. Tydskebryggen is being 
modernized; its old-world character is 
fast disappearing. 

Close by is St. Maria Kirken, a quaint 
twelfth-century church, formerly in pos- 
session of the Hanseatic League. 

Triangelen (the fish-market quay) is 
interesting on Wednesday and Saturday 
mornings, where a fleet of smaU fishing- 
boats is moored alongside, lively and witty 
bargaining going on between buyer and 
seller which is highly amusing to witness. 

Bergen is in many respects a most inter- 
esting town, the ancient nibbing shoulders 

1—2 



4 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

with the modem — the electric tram-car 
with the carrier's cart and " kariol " ; 
the slender wood -framed, sack -covered 
booth with the gaily-painted kiosk; and 
the latest fashions from London and Paris 
with the divers picturesque costumes of 
fisherfolk and farmer, " striler " and 
"bonder.** Handsome stone-built shops 
stand cheek by jowl with the low red- 
tiled wooden ones, no two alike, in every 
variety of size and colour, relieving the 
monotony of the narrow and crooked 
streets. 

The climate of Bergen is exceedingly 
mild and humid, not unlike that of the 
west coast of Scotland, and the numerous 
shops where umbrellas and rain-coats are 
displayed for sale give some indication of 
the prevailing weather, although I have 
known it to be fine there for several days 
together. But this not being in the 
nature of a guide-book — " Baedeker," 
« Beyer," and " Bennett " supply all the 
information one necessarily requires, and 
much more than I have space to admit 



THE HARDANGER COSTUME 5 

here — ^we must pass on to the chief subject 
of the book, and enter the fjords, taking 
first the Hardanger Fjord. 

This beautiful arm of the sea is second 
in regard to length, the Sogne Fjord 
being the longest; but what it lacks in 
this respect is more than balanced by the 
charm of the scenery and the greater area 
of land under cultivation — orchards gay 
with blossom, and well-trimmed farms 
with brightly-painted wooden houses, red, 
yellow, or white, perched high on the 
mountain's flank, or nestling nearer the 
Qord margin. This beautiful district of 
Hardanger has been the theme of poet 
and painter for generations. 

The Hardanger women are mostly of 
fair complexion, with blue eyes, and their 
costume is the most picturesque of any in 
the country. It consists of a bright red or 
green bodice, gay with beads in front, clean 
white linen sleeves, a large white head- 
covering ("skaut**), blue skirt trimmed 
with coloured braid, and a belt of beads 
with an old silver filigree clasp. The un- 



6 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

married wear the hair hanging in two 
long plaits down the back, and for head- 
gear a small white cotton shawl tied 
under the chin in place of the more 
elaborate ** skaut " of the married. 

It is an interesting sight to witness 
on Sunday mornings the well-filled boats 
coming from all parts of the fjord parish, 
men and girls alike rowing their graceful 
boats to church. On landing, they arrange 
each other's toilet on the beach, and when 
inside the sacred edifice, the women and 
girls sit on one side of the centre aisle 
and the men on the other. 

The service is Lutheran, and there is 
much singing of hymns or " psalmer " in 
a leisurely way while sitting. The farmer's 
dog is also quite a "regular attender," 
but he is usually well-behaved, and no 
one appears to take the slightest notice 
of him imless he happens to pick a quarrel 
with another of his species. 

After, and sometimes during. Divine 
service small groups of fimners may be 
seen in the churchyard talking over the 



A PEASANT'S HOMESTEAD 7 

state of the market — of crops and cattle 
and other gossip — as each one repeatedly 
turns over the ample "quid** of tobacco 
in his mouth. It may be that they meet 
only once in three weeks, for many a 
parson has two or three churches to 
attend to. But the churches are, as a 
rule, well filled, no matter what happens 
to be the condition of the weather. 

In their homes these peasants live the 
''simple life" in square log houses of 
primitive form, finished on the outside 
with weather-boarding, turf laid on birch- 
bark for roof-covering, on which grow 
masses of wild flowers, and one may even 
see a young birch-tree find root there and 
flourish. 

The houses are painted on the outside, 
according to the taste of their owners, 
red, white, or yellow ochre, and these 
bright spots of colour add a cheerful note 
to the landscape. 

Inside the house the log walls are 
allowed to season, and in time they 
acquire a rich tone of brown. There is 



8 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

generally one principal room on the 
ground floor, and in it the farmer, his 
family, and servants live and have their 
meals together in quite patriarchal fashion. 
In this room also are commonly found a 
couple of beds used by the farmer and his 
wife, the other members of the household 
having theirs up in the loft. 

The cooking is done in the large 
common-room, as is also the carding, 
spinning, winding, and weaving of home- 
grown wool for the family in quite primi- 
tive fashion on ancient wheel and wooden 
hand-loom, this industry being their chief 
employment in the long winter nights. 

Outside the farm-house there is always 
a store-room, called a '* stabbur," standing 
separately. This building rests on short 
strong pillars of wood to keep out the 
rats and other intruders, and in it are 
stored dried meats, cheeses, milk, and 
other foodstuffs. 

An additional outbuilding, called a 
<*bui," is used for keeping the clothing, 
tapestries, blankets, etc. ; also the daughter's 



A PEASANTS HOMESTEAD 9 

wedding trousseau and old silver articles 
— heirlooms — ^including a bride's crown of 
silver gilt, all stored away in huge chests 
{** kists "). Here may also be foimd care- 
fully treasured a variety of ancient carved 
and painted wooden bowls and tankards, 
out of use except at weddings and other 
state occasions. 

Another detached outhouse, caUed an 
*' ild-hus/' is used for the baking of ** flad 
brod," a kind of rye cake, crisp and dry, 
and of the thickness of brown paper. 

Yet another small outhouse is required 
for drying com for brewing purposes, 
fiurmers being permitted to brew ale for 
their own consumption only, the sale of it 
not being lawful Most households enjoy 
their home-brewed ale at Christmas-time, 
and they may even keep a small quantity 
over until Easter. 

In addition to these small outbuildings 
there are, of course, the bam and cowhouse, 
with accommodation for horses, sheep, and 
pigs, forming altogether quite a little 
hamlet 

2 



10 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

On the farms the womenfolk must look 
after the cattle, sheep, and goats, in addi- 
tion to their ordinary household work, so 
they have not much time for idle recrea- 
tion. The only important break in their 
humdrum lives, and to which they look for- 
ward with gladness, is the annual removal 
of the household, in the early summer, to 
the ** saster,'' or mountain outfarm, a de- 
scription of which, and the life there, I 
will deal with in a subsequent chapter. 

The male members of the family are 
chiefly occupied with the raising and 
trading in domestic animals — ^horses, cattle, 
goats, sheep, etc. — ^in cutting faggots from 
their woods, and in the making of barrel- 
hoops for sale in the nearest towns. Boat- 
building also employs much of their time. 

Horticulture does not play any very 
prominent part in Norway, although, on 
most farms it is carried on to some extent, 
together with regular farming. 

Among the more enlightened peasantry 
it is the rule to find outside the dwelling- 
house a kitchen garden where vegetables 



HORTICULTURE— LAND TENURE 11 



necessary to the family are raised, such as 
cabbages, turnips, carrots, onions, peas, and 
beans, and of fruit-trees we may find 
in many places pears, apples, cherries, 
currants, gooseberries, and strawberries. 

On every hand the planting of fruit- 
trees is increasing, and in favourable years 
quite excellent results may be obtained, 
but the rough climate during the winter 
renders the fruit yield somewhat imcertain. 
It is only in a few districts around the 
Christiania Fjord and the Hardanger Fjord 
that horticulture is carried on to any 
greater extent than to satisfy the farmer's 
own requirements, although at the present 
time there is a strong movement for the 
promotion of horticulture, and many of 
the counties (" amt ") have appointed gar- 
deners, who travel round the district giving 
farmers free instruction in the laying out 
and management of gardens and orchards. 
Perhaps it may be as weU to mention here 
that the Norw^an peasant has always 
enjoyed a freedom which to the same 
class in other countries has been denied. 



12 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

In fonner centuries the feudal system 
was generally adopted in most European 
countries, but it has never existed in 
Norway. 

The peasants have always maintained 
their freedom to acquire property any- 
where within the limits of theur own 
country ; this circumstance, however, did 
not prevent an accumulation of the landed 
estates in a few hands, the result being 
that the peasant class to a very great 
extent became tenants and leaseholders, 
and less than one-half of the land of the 
country was utilized by freeholders. 

As far back as 1685 a Royal Ordinance 
was issued by which a landowner who 
utilized more than one estate should pay 
double taxes on those in excess of one ; as 
a consequence the farms were gradually 
sold to the peasants, a process which is 
going on to the present day. 

This system of peasant proprietorship 
has worked remarkably well in the country, 
nine -tenths of the farmers being now 
freeholders; they have consequently a 



BOAT-BUILDING 13 

more substantial interest in the develop- 
ment of their £smiis and in the improvement 
of their land. 

Boat-building is a lucrative employment, 
and this industry is carried on in many 
places on the Hardanger Fjord — chiefly 
at Jondal; also at Rosendal, on the 
ancient and beautifully situated barony of 
Rosenkrantz, at the foot of the mountain 
Melderskin. 

The building of boats is the most ancient 
industry with which the Norwegians are 
acquainted. 

Pliny the elder tells us that in the reign 
of Nero the Romans voyaged as far north 
as the Baltic, and Tacitus goes on to 
describe what lies beyond — ^that they knew, 
at any rate, the southern portion of the 
Scandinavian peninsula ; and he speaks of 
their finding tte country rich in «ns «,d 
ships and men. 

There are yet other proofs jBx)m a far 
earlier age in the rock-carvings or runes 
called ** helleristninger,'' dating away back 
to an age not less remote than 500 years 



14 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

B.C. These are found, among other places, 
at Leirvaag farm m Askevold, on the south 
side of Atloen, and at Bohuslan in 
Southern Norway, where they are asso- 
ciated with many chambered tombs of the 
Stone Age. 

These carvings represent ships, some of 
them being quaint representations of sea- 
fights, the boats being somewhat similar in 
appearance to those used by the Vikings 
of the ninth and tenth centuries of our era. 
Rude as these rock-carvings are, they 
give us some idea of the kind of vessels 
employed in that very remote age: they 
represent long row-boats with very high 
carved prows or stemposts, and are steered 
not by a rudder behind, but by an oar at 
the side, and from this practice is derived 
our word "starboard" or " steerboard," 
being the right-hand side of the vessel 

The Vikings used also a square sail, 
which could be hoisted when required. 
This they had learnt indirectly from the 
Romans. 

The traveller among the fjords of Nor- 



BOAT-BUILDING 16 

way may, to this day, see those heavy 
boats with high prows and square sails, 
which have an indescribable air of anti- 
quity about their build, contrasting 
quaintly with more modem-built craft of 
coasting vessels and fishing-smacks. 

Although this ancient type of boat is 
fast dying out, the traveller will yet find 
a number of them in Nordland, and these 
are still more like the Viking ships of old, 
having also high pointed stems. 

These old-fashioned boats are a link 
between us and the remotest past of 
Scandinavia, of the early period of the 
rock carvings, and of the romantic period 
of the Vikings. 

The boats built in Hardanger differ in 
form firom those of the Sogne Fjord and 
Nordland, as the traveller will note as he 
proceeds northwards, the Hardanger type 
being of light and elegant construction, 
and drawing less water than those to 
which we are accustomed. 

Every peasant and cotter has his own 
boat or boats, and these may be seen 



16 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

everywhere along the Qord, either in use 
on the water, or pulled up on the strand, 
and, where there is found a convenient 
landing-place, log-built boathouses are 
erected. 

Norwegians are fond of gay colours, as 
evidenced in the painting of their houses 
and boats. Many fsumers build their 
own boats out of wood grown on their 
own farms, and some build to seU again. 
The cost of a four-oared boat is about 
twenty-five kroner (twenty-eight shillings), 
a six-oared fifty kroner, and an eight-oared 
boat seventy kroner. 

As fish plays an important part in the 
diet of the peasants, the boats are greatly 
in use. The fjords being great arms of 
the sea, most kinds of sea-fish are caught 
therein, sometimes in very large quanti- 
ties, herring being often in such densely- 
packed masses that quite a number of 
fishermen use large wooden shovels to 
transfer them to their boats, returning 
repeatedly to the harvest imtil the mass 
has dispersed. 



I 



STAPLE FOOD OF PEASANTS 17 

At such times these fish are placed in 
jarrels and salted, being either kept for 
winter use at home or shipped to the 
nearest seaport town. 

Fish and oatmeal porridge — ^'havre- 
grod** — have formed from the earliest 
times the staple food of the Norwegians, 
as we learn from the sagas, and in ** Har- 
barAslj6d/' in the *' Ssemundar Edda '' : 

'' At ek i hvUd 

aAr ek heiman {6t 
sildr ok hafra.^ 

** For jeg reiste hjemme fitt, aad jeg i 
fred sild og havre/' which, translated, 
reads, *' Before I left my home, ate I in 
peace fish and oatmeaL" 

The peasant's ordinary routine for 
meals is commonly as foUows : At 6 a.m., 
oatmeal cake or potato cake and butter- 
milk ; at 8 a.m. — the chief meal of the 
day — ^is served fish, and boiled, salted, or 
dried mutton with potatoes ; at 12 mid- 
day, oatmeal porridge and buttermilk; 
at 4 p.nL, dried, smoked, or salted fish 

8 



18 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

with potatoes and buttermilk ; at 8 p.m., 
oatmeal porridge and milk. 

This primitive food is still the daily 
custom of the peasant's household, al- 
though in some places coffee is used after 
the meals, and a very poorly-baked brown 
bread of barley or rye, occasionally mixed 
with oats ; but rarely do they eat wheaten 
bread. 

Much has been written by Norwegian 
authors with reference to the lack of 
cleanliness in the peasants' homes, but 
since so many foreign travellers in later 
years have visited the country, there has 
been a very considerable improvement in 
this respect 

The real cause of untidiness was that 
the women had really too much to do in 
looking after the cattle and farms, which 
took up the principal part of their time. 
Thus the ordinary household duties — ^the 
care of the children, cooking, etc. — ^were 
to some extent neglected. 

This stigma can no longer be applied, 
as, by their own industry and thrift, the 



THE "GOTHENBURG SYSTEM'* 19 

peasants mostly are now in a more pros- 
perous condition. They are thus able to 
afford more assistance on the farms, and 
their wives are spared much of the de- 
grading work which was their lot in the 
past They have, consequently, more 
time for the care and education of the 
children, and their homes will now com- 
pare favourably in cleanliness with any of 
their class with which we are acquainted. 

The present prosperity of the Norwegian 
peasant may undoubtedly be traced to 
the working of the liquor law of 1871, 
popularly known as the '^ Gk)thenburg 
system,'' by which it is now made ex- 
tremely difficult to obtain intoxicating 
liquor, especially spirits. 

The Norwegian nation may now take 
premier place among nations with regard 
to sobriety. Norway, however, has not 
always taken up such a favomtible posi- 
tion. During the years 1880-1840 we 
find the country ravaged by the '* spirits 
plague," with its attendant sad results, 
moral, economic, and sanitary. By a law 



20 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

of 1816, anyone was allowed to distil 
spirits from his own produce. This 
naturally resulted in an alarming increase 
in the consumption of alcohoL 

In the ** forties " legislation took ener- 
getic measures against this, being at the 
same time strongly supported by the 
voluntary abstinence movement The 
manufacture of spirits was only permitted 
when it was done wholesale, and was, at 
the same time, restricted to a limited 
number of distilleries. No one was 
allowed to retail spirits without a licence 
from the Local Board, who had also 
'^ local option" in the matter, sale of 
spirits being forbidden on Sundays and 
holy days, and on the afternoon preceding 
these. A heavy tax was levied both on 
the home production and on retail sale. 

The beneficial consequences of this 
wise legislation were soon apparent. The 
number of bars decreased rapidly through 
a breaking off of drinking habits, and a 
consequent decrease in the consumption 
of spirits was distinctly perceptible, as 



THE *• GOTHENBURG SYSTEM'* 21 

well as the increased prosperity and im- 
proved public health. The rural districts 
in particular were almost cleared of spirit- 
selling, which was now restricted to the 
towns. 

By the law of 1871 the Local Boards in 
the towns were allowed to make over 
their retail rights to philanthropic com- 
panies — " samlag ** — which, instead of 
seeking to make the largest circle of cus- 
tomers, made it their aim to supervise 
and restrict the drinking of spirits, and 
whose net proBts from the business should 
be devoted to ** objects of public utility " 
— ^in other words, it was the introduction 
of the " Gothenburg system." 

This system is also in force in Finland 
and in Sweden, but the Norwegian differs 
from the Finnish and Swedish in several 
points, especially in the fact that the 
profits do not, as in the neighbouring 
kingdom, go to the municipal funds. 
Norway does not, therefore, tempt the 
mimicipalities to improve the state of its 
finances by an increased trade in spirits. 



82 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

Finally, by a law of July 27» 1894, all 
men and women over twenty-five years of 
age were allowed to decide by voting 
whether there should be any sale of spirits 
in their town for the following five years. 
As a result of this there has been prohibi- 
tion of late years in a number of towns. 
For the whole country there is now only 
one "samlag" to every 16,000 inhabi- 
tants. 

It thus foUows that the many millions 
of kroner saved annually in households by 
the reduced consumption of intoxicating 
liquors have contributed greatly to raise 
the economic well-being of the nation, and 
it has been said, with reason, that the 
Norwegians have educated themselves to 
abstinence and sobriety. 

Thus, on every hand we see evidences 
of this wise legislation in the enlarged and 
modernized farms, increased acreage of 
land under cultivation, the scientific plant- 
ing of fruit-trees, and the more general 
use of modem implements of husbandry. 



CHAPTER II 

THE HARDANGEB FJORD (continued) 

Haedangeb Fjord is most fortunate in its 
means of communication, it being so easy 
of access by water from the towns of 
Stavanger and Bergen. 

Native fjord steamers call at all the 
principal places en route at least once 
every day, and the traveller may arrange 
his journey so as to include a variety 
of overland routes, posting by ** kariol " or 
'*stolkjerre" on good roads, engineered with 
great skill, through magnificent scenery. 

From the commencement of the seven- 
teenth century the peasants have been 
required by law to supply horses and 
to convey travellers at a reasonable and 

fixed rate of payment, and posting-stations 

S8 



34 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

in connection with hotels and inns are now 
established on aU high roads, at distances 
varying ttoux eight to fifteen miles. 

A line of railway was opened in 1888 
from Bergen to Vossevangen, by which the 
Hardanger and Sogne districts can be 
reached in a few hours. 

The journey by road from Vossevangen 
to Eide or Ul vik is an agreeable experience, 
especially after several days on the steamer, 
and this gives as good an example as any 
of the pleasure which may be derived from 
this mode of travelling. 

It was late in the autumn when I last 
made this journey, in bright, cloudless, 
October weather, warm sun, and crisp, 
frosty air — quite an ideal day for driving, 
as the roads were dry and firm. About 
five miles on the way the road ascends 
through a forest of pine-trees and high, 
rocky knolls, into whose deep shadow 
the sure-footed pony plunges, to emerge 
into the warm and dazzling sunshine. 
We drive by the craggy margin of a 
series of wild mountain tarns, whose 



TO ULVIK BY •^KARIOL'' 26 

surfSEU^ is still as Dian's looking-glass, 
and in whose depths are reflected the 
craggs, the silver birches and pines, so 
perfectly that you could with difficulty see 
where the land joined the water's margin. 
In a near pool a trout rises, leaving 
circling lines of light blue ripple on the 
surface of the sleeping water, thus accen- 
tuating the perfect stillness. For a moment 
we pause, just to enjoy for a brief space 
the silence profound. 

The pony's hoofs no longer click on the 
hard road; only the faintest murmur of 
some distant stream can be heard, or the 
rustle of a crisp leaf as it faUs from the 
graceful silver birch near by, which stands 
— ^singly of its kind — ^a striking contrast to 
its more sombre companions the pines — a 
harmony of gold, silver, and deep warm 
green — ^in the bright sunshine of this 
perfect October morning. 

Onward and upward we drive along the 
wild mountain road, stiU embosomed in 
trees, when, at a sharp bend, on emerging 
from the forest, suddenly we are confronted 

4 



26 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

by an awful abyss, enclosed by an amphi- 
theatre of huge perpendicular mountain 
buttresses, while near at hand, and from 
just beneath our feet, plunges Skjervefos 
with mighty volume into the chasm 
hundreds of feet below, sending clouds of 
spray high into the air. 

The road now descends in long zigzag 
sweeps down the breast of the steep cliff, 
and passes, through clouds of spray, over a 
bridge near the foot of the waterfall. 
Down the steep valley we pursue our way 
and pass several farms, where large numbers 
of goats are fenced in their winter quarters 
near to the houses. 

The tiny hamlet of Vasenden is now 
reached, and after a change of horses here, 
we continue our journey uphill again for 
several miles, on the road to Ulvik. The 
steep mountain road is well wooded most 
of the way, until at length the watershed 
is reached. 

Here a fine lake, Espelandsvand, reposes 
at a height of some 1,200 feet above the 
fjord, surrounded by high mountains. 



TO ULVIK BY "KARIOL" 27 

The road in descending approaches in 
several places the very brink of a deep and 
narrow gorge, from whose hidden depths 
arises the deep gurgle of the mountain 
torrent on its hurried way to join the 
waters of the fjord below. 

The white church of Ulvik now appears 
by the margin of the blue fjord beneath us. 
Clustering around the church are the 
hotels and brightly painted cottages in 
their orchards. Across the winding fjord 
rise ra^ge after range of snow-topped 
mountains, forming a panorama as fair as 
one could wish to behold, and a fitting 
termination to an enjoyable drive through 
such varied scenery as that which is found 
between the fjords of Sogn and Hardanger. 

One of the most perfect §ord views 
is to be obtained from UUensvang, in the 
Sor Fjord, a few miles from Odde. This 
place has the reputation of being the fruit- 
garden of Hardanger. It has been the 
frtvourite resort of artists and poets for 
generations. 

Here we see, across the narrow Qord, 



28 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

the huge snow-field and glacier of Folge- 
fond stretching in undulating line along 
the graceM mountain masses. Near at 
hand stands the medieval church on a 
green promontory, and along the margin 
of the gracefiil sweep of bay brightly 
painted £uins nestle in extensive apple 
orchards. 

In the bright warm da3rs of early 
summer, when these fruit-trees are in 
bloom, the picture is of exceptional 
beauty, the wealth of blossom contrast- 
ing effectively with the snow masses 
and blue mountains across the sparkling 
fjord. 

From Kinservik — an easy morning's 
walk from UUensvang — comes that quaint 
and purely national type of wood-carving 
which has been revived in recent years 
in Hardanger district by Lars Kinservik. 
Here he may yet be seen busy at work, 
assisted by a number of chosen carvers, 
and surrounded by cleverly designed and 
skilfrdly executed work in wood — dragons 
and other grotesque 7ru)tifs from pagan 



THE AHT OF WOOD-CARVING 89 

mythology being worked into exquisite 
pattern on high-backed chair, massive 
sideboard, and roomy settle. 

The revival of this national and beauti- 
fol artof wood-carving is steadily growing, 
and in this district it has spread to Ostenso 
and many other places in Hardanger, and 
from Vossevangen into the Sogne Fjord 
district, where clever carvers are found at 
Vik and at LaerdaL 

Wood-carving in Norway is one of the 
most ancient of the industrial arts, and it 
shows a well-connected development from 
the days of the Vikings, who carved in 
bold design the figure-heads which orna- 
mented their warships. But the most 
interesting and important period of this 
art is seen in the massive and richly- 
carved doorways to the wooden " stav " 
churches. 

The earliest of these show distinct evi- 
dence of Irish influence, the ornament 
being usually composed of ribbon festoon, 
with grotesque figures of animals and 
snakes. The most characteristic of these 



80 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

carvings date from the eleventh and 
twelfth centuries. 

Following on this interesting period we 
find the influence of the Anglo-Saxon 
and Norman, in which twining festoons 
of vines and various other plants are 
associated with dragons and other winged 
monsters in bold spiral design up the 
massive door portals. Figure subjects 
inspired by the sagas appear to have 
been in great demand, and we find quaint 
designs of this kind taken from the 
Niflung and Volsung sagas. A number 
of these richly-carved portals are pre- 
served in the Bergen Museum. 

From the thirteenth to the sixteenth 
century the doorways of the peasants' 
houses were similarly ornamented, and 
this decorative art was followed up by 
the similar treatment of fiimiture and 
articles of domestic use. 

Early in the seventeenth century a fresh 
impetus was given to peasant-carving by 
the introduction from the North German 
States of the Frisian patterns. These are 



TAPESTRY-WEAVING 81 

in low relief, and consist chiefly of circles 
and wedge-shaped designs of great variety 
and beauty. 

Examples of this period are far from 
rare, and in the proud possession of the 
peasantry they are treasured as heirlooms, 
along with home-woven tapestries, old 
silver ornaments, and antique embroi- 
deries. 

Tapestry-weaving as a domestic in- 
dustry has progressed hand-in-hand with 
wood-carving, and this ancient art is stiU 
a favourite occupation of the Norwegian 
housewife, who finds both pleasure and 
profit firom its pursuit 

The earliest sagas tell us of woven 
pictures, thus pointing to the fact that 
even in those very remote times the Nor- 
wegians showed an inborn artistic sense. 

Of textile &brics from the Viking age 
fragments only have been found, and 
these in most cases were discoloured from 
contact with metallic objects and by the 
moisture from turfy soiL Woollen stufis 
as well as linen were used, even in the 



8SB THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

Bronze Age, and the woven patterns were 
always of geometric design, and were 
worked in one or more colours, gold-wire, 
gracefully twisted, being used for decora- 
tion on the garments. 

Cloths with figures in colour on them, 
and which rather resemble the famous 
Bayeux tapestries, are much prized. 
Coloured embroidery from medieval times 
is extremely effective, and displays skill 
and ability of a highly artistic order. Their 
fall and harmonious colouring and beauty 
of execution make these cloths very 
valuable. 

The upstanding loom was used for 
weaving of picture tapestries, and it is 
still to be found in the districts most 
noted for this domestic industry — Har- 
danger, Sogn, Telemarken, and Gud- 
brandsdal. 

In 1898 the Norwegian painter, Gerhard 
Munthe, introduced a new and original 
style into the cloth -weaving industry 
which has had excellent and far-reaching 
results. His designs are based on the 



THE HARDANGER VIOLIN 8S 

old Norw^an fairy-tales and folk-lore. 
They are grotesquely fanciful and highly 
imaginative, bold and harmonious in 
colour, and extremely decorative in effect. 
The movement is rapidly extending, and 
a new life for this beautiful industrial art 
is in course of development. 

The Hardanger district is famous for 
men who are clever in the art of making 
the violin, and their skill in the use of 
this instrument is known throughout the 
country. 

This Hardanger violin is in form higher 
and more arched than the ordinary violin. 
A dragon's head usually forms the scroll, 
the other parts being richly ornamented 
by carvings and inlaid with ivory and 
mother-o'-pearl. There are four strings 
over the finger-board, and four or more 
underneath ; the latter act as sympathetic 
strings, and are usually of fine steel wire. 

The violin is the fiivourite musical 
instrument of the country people, and on 
it they improvise their musical impressions 
of Nature's sounds, such as ''Twilight 

5 



M THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

Hours," « The Song of the Thrush," or the 
ringing of chimes and marriage bells. 

Through nearly all Norwegian music 
there runs a strong undercurrent of sad 
melancholy, which may be attributed, no 
doubt, to the isolated and solitary lives 
of the people, and to the effect on their 
natures of the scenery and surroundings. 

Often the most talented performers 
on the violin are those whose homes are 
in lonely and almost inaccessible places, 
where the voices of Nature — ^the sighing 
of the wind among the pines, and the 
murmur of waterfalls — play on the strings 
of their susceptible temperaments. 

Norway is the land of waterfells. In 
no other country are they so numerous, 
and the murmur of them may be in your 
ears during many days of travelling. The 
beautiful district of Hardanger is particu- 
larly happy in this respect 

The moist and warm summers produce 
a vegetation unequalled in richness and 
beauty, and in the springtime, when the 
snows are melting, the warm and still air 



Tf 



WATERFALLS 35 

is palpitant with the music of countless 
waterfalls. Some, appearing to shoot fix>m 
the sky over high perpendicular crags into 
the Qord, or gurgling in deep gorge unseen, 
send mellow music floating in the balmy 
air above in delicious waves of sweetest 
sound. 

In the immediate neighbourhood of 
Odde, on the innermost reach of the Har- 
danger Fjord, are found some of the finest 
waterfiedls in the country. One of them 
in particular — the Skjaeggedalsfos, or, 
more properly, Ringdalsfos — is considered 
by many traveUers to be the grandest 
waterfall in Europe. 

I visited this magnificent fall about the 
end of May in perfect weather. 

Landing, after two hours' row fi*om 
Odde, at the farm Tyssedal, by the ford's 
margin, a path is found which leads uphiU 
through aromatic woods of silver birch 
and pine, and winding up the rough, 
craggy, and bosky valley of Slgaeggedal, 
it approaches in places quite abruptly the 
very brink of the deep dark goige where 

5—2 



36 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

thunders the river m a succession of 
cataracts. After a walk of some three 
English miles, the farm which takes its 
name from, or gives it to, the valley is 
reached. 

Just before I arrived at the farmstead, 
I overtook a young peasant and his wife, 
who were driving a herd of goats before 
them. The man had several young kids 
in a covered basket slung over his 
shoulders. The woman walked in front 
of the goats, knitting as she went. 

Procuring a boat and boatman at the 
farm, I was rowed across a small lake 
formed by the river widening at this 
place. I had for my companions de voyage 
the peasants and their goats, these of 
themselves being quite as much as the 
boat could carry. There was but little 
room for the rower, but with short and 
steady strokes he landed his cargo over 
in safety. 

The young peasant informed me that 
on their way from Roldal they had ob- 
served for some considerable time the 



WATERFALLS 87 

movements of a bear making her way 
with two cubs over the Hardanger-vidde 
in the direction of RingdalsVand (lake), 
our destination, and although the man 
carried a gun, he was unable to follow the 
bear on account of the goats under his 
charge. 

On bidding good-bye at this place to 
these young peasants and their domestic 
flock, I noticed that the man's attire was 
somewhat out of the ordinary and quite 
picturesque. He wore dark-blue knee- 
breeches, with stockings of undyed wool, 
red shirt-sleeves, and wideawake hat of 
grey felt A number of old silver coins, 
used as buttons in a double row, deco- 
rated his brown waistcoat; his gun and 
coat were thrown over his shoulders, and 
in his hand he carried a long alpenstock, 
thus making up together quite a picture 
which suited well the romantic sur- 
roundings. 

We continued, and in a short time we 
came to a large lake — Ringdalsvand, and 
my guide invited me to take a pair of 



• J 



38 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

oars, and he himself took the other pair. 
We rowed steadily on in a light breeze, 
which gave to the lake an intense blue 
colour reflected from the sky. On every 
side were towering cliffs and snow-topped 
mountains, whose steep bases were clothed 
with fragments of forest which had escaped 
destructive avalanches. Not a sign of 
human habitation presented itself; only 
wild Nature, sublime and grand in the 
extreme, surrounded us. 

After about two hours of hard rowing, 
we pull up the boat on a pebbly strand at 
our destination, near to the head of the 
lake. We are now just beneath the mag- 
nificent falls of Skjseggedal, which leap 
from the top of huge cliffs and send im- 
mense volumes of spray to a considerable 
distance; while on the gauzy vapour, 
which rises up from huge cauldrons at its 
foot, the arc of a brilliant rainbow is 
formed in the sunshine of mid-day. The 
very earth around seems to vibrate through 
the deafening roar from this mighty water- 
fall. To hold a conversation with the 



WATERFALLS 89 

guide is quite impossible, unless I shout 
at the very height of my voice, and a 
feeling of deafiiess remained for a con- 
siderable time after leaving the place. 

After sketching the falls, my paper 
being quite drenched by the fine spray 
which filled the air, my guide joined me 
in an impromptu cold lunch on the sunny 
strand. 

In returning, the foss was m sight during 
an hour's rowing, until, passing along the 
base of a huge crag, at a bend of the lake, 
it quickly disappeared £rom view. 

In this immediate neighbourhood are 
other waterfalls, the most graceful of which 
rejoice in the name Tyssestrengene, and 
their waters also descend into this Ring- 
dalsvand. These beautifiil faUs are not 
so imposing as those we have just left, 
but they are very picturesque. They 
plunge down some 500 feet of quite 
perpendicular cliff, in slender, graceful 
streams, which are seen to creep through 
a natural bridge of glacier ice at the sky- 
line. 



40 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

Other noted waterfalls in the Har- 
danger district are Voringfos, Laatefos, 
and Espelandsfos ; each one of these has 
quite a distinct character of its own, 
derived from more or less romantic sur- 
roundings. 

The constant erosion caused by the 
mighty power of water, cutting into the 
mountain masses of conglomerate and 
granite, has been the means of forming 
the deep, narrow caiions and Qords, and, 
in conjunction with moving glaciers, has 
been Nature's chisel, by which has been 
shaped the present picturesque beauty of 
the scenery. 

In the period known as the Great Ice 
Age, Norway is supposed to have been 
entirely covered with ice-fields, just as 
Greenland and Spitzbergen are at the 
present day. Renmants of these snow- 
fields and glaciers still remain, in this 
district, on the immense mountain plateau 
which lies between the Sor Fjord and the 
sea-coast. 

Here, too, we have the extensive Folge- 



GLAaERS 41 

fond ("fonn/* or "fond," mass of snow). 
This enormous expanse of snow and ice 
covers the plateau at a height of some 
8,000 feet to 5,000 feet above sea-leveL 
It is from thirty-six to forty English 
miles in length, and from nine to sixteen 
miles in width. From this great snow- 
field glaciers descend in every direction, 
following the line of the valleys. The 
most noted of these are the Bondhus 
glacier in Mauranger, and the Buarbrse at 
Odde. 

The most extensive general view of the 
great Folgefond snow-field is obtained 
from the high land which lies between 
Roldal and Seljestad on the east side, and 
from the neighbourhood of Teroen, at the 
entrance to the Hardanger Fjord, on the 
west. 

In sailing into a west-country fjord, 
and observing how it winds along with 
no great breadth between the rocky cliffs, 
that rise higher and higher the &rther we 
penetrate, we could quite believe it to be 
a real fissure in the earth's crust 

6 



48 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

We receive the impression that the 
steep sides of the fjord must continue 
down to immense depths. Soundings 
show, however, that they soon turn off to 
a somewhat flat bottom, that a cross- 
section is ahnost in form like a trough, 
with more or less sloping sides, whose 
height is smaU compared with the breadth 

of the trough ; but, as the ^ords are, as a 

• 

rule, very long — the Hardanger Fjord 
being about 116 miles — we nevertheless 
get very considerable depths in the §ord 
basins, viz., from 2,500 to 4,000 feet. 

These characteristic and uniformly 
shaped basins are not found anywhere 
except in those countries that have once 
been covered by inland ice, nor is there 
any other natural force known that is 
able to hollow out such peculiar trough- 
like basins. 

Ice-cut land has always quite a decided 
and easily recognizable character, and a 
Norwegian Qord landscape might, there- 
fore, quite easily be mistaken for a scene 
from the west coast of Scotland, or for 



FJORD FORMATION 48 

one from the lakes of Italy or Switzer- 
land. 

The iQord glaciers in the west country 
were formed by the confluence of ice- 
streams from the upper valleys. These 
valleys, too, have everywhere acquired 
the same peculiar trough-shaped cross- 
section, where the sides curve together 
towards a flat bottom. 

This glacial excavation further differs 
distinctly from the more even lines of 
river erosion in a longitudinal section. 
Each glacier works according to its own 
power, without being associated very 
closely in level with the branch valleys, 
as is always the case where running 
streams have produced the river beds. 

In these deep west -country valleys, 
especially, it is noticeable how often the 
shape of the side valley opens out far up 
the slope of the side-wall of the main 
valley, so that the rivers must fall in rapids 
and waterfalls over this impediment. 

Even if two glacier streams of equal 
power flowed together, it would be an 



44 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

exception if they had excavated to exactly 
the same depth ; there are, therefore, con- 
tinual ledges in the longitudinal section 
of the vaUeys, altematmg with rapids and 
waterfEdls. 

All these characteristics are unknown 
in those countries where the rivers have 
had to make their own regular lines of 
fall, but they are always found in glacier- 
scored land. 

There is not much room for extensive 
valleys on the narrow peninsulas between 
the Qords, nor is the distance between 
the head of the Qord and the watershed 
very great, being steep. The rivers are 
therefore short, although in many places 
the volume of water is comparatively 
large, owing to the heavy rainfall and, in 
spring and early summer, to the quickly- 
melting snow. Thus the depth of the 
fall down to the Qord head is very steep, 
and it is therefore here, where the moun- 
tain forms are grandest, that the waterfalls 
are most numerous, and where they are 
the highest 



GLACIAL ACTION 46 

Above the head of the i^ord and the 
upper reaches of the branch jQords there 
exists in some places a corresponding 
series of lakes, or lake basins, at a height 
of some hundreds of feet above the fjord 
level 

In the Hardanger district Sandven, 
EidQord, and Graven lakes are examples. 
Here, too, are rock basins of the typical 
fjord fonn fiUed with river-water, answer- 
ing to the erosion caused by the extremities 
of the shorter glaciers in the valleys. 

The inland ice during the great glacial 
period must have extended above even 
the highest peaks in the interior of the 
country; but during the lesser or later 
glacial period, when the extremities of 
the glaciers only extended to the above- 
mentioned series of lakes at the heads of 
the §ords, the higher mountain-tops— at 
any rate near the coast — and the highest 
peaks, say, of Jotunheimen, have stood 
above the ffreat fflacier, and have thus 
«o.p«lthe^p«c«s of grinding. 

They appear, however, to have been 



46 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

considerably affected by natural forces in 
quite a different manner. Their surface 
is frequently broken up into loose frag- 
ments, and we find at their base long 
lines of rocky debris. We also constantly 
find them developed into characteristic 
Alpine forms. 

Small glaciers in their hollows gradually 
wear down as they recede into semicircular 
corries, which cut up the original mountain 
forms into rugged ridges and peaks. These 
corries can only be developed above the 
snow limit, and outside the greater region 
of inland ice, or in among the rocky peaks 
above the glaciers' surface, and we see 
quite Alpine forms lifting their sharp 
peaks above the undulating snow-field on 
the extensive mountain plateaux. 



CHAPTER III 



THE S06NS FJORD 



From the brilliant and heroic Viking age 
originate those priceless gems of early 
literatiure, the ''Eddas"* and ''Sagas/' 
poems and prose of the greatest beauty. 

The '' Eddas " chronicle the exploits of 
pagan gods and legendary heroes, in no 
way historical; they are ptirely mytho- 
logical They convey to us in the form 
of poetry an idea of the pagan mythology 
of the North in pre-Christian times. They 
were written at a period following on the 
first settlement of Iceland, which was 
accomplished by pagan Celts and Nor- 
wegians in the days of Harald Haarfagre, 
about A.D. 874, and they were continued 
long after the introduction there of 

47 



48 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

Christianity by King Olav Trygvesson, 

A.D. 1000. 

Snorre Sturlason, the Skald, about 
A.D. 1220 composed what is known as 
the " Younger Edda," being inspired by 
the oldest poetry in the Celtic and Ice- 
landic languages. 

The <* Sagas" had their beginning in 
oral tradition. They celebrated the deeds 
and exploits of heroic men of the early 
Viking age. These stories were greatly 
embellished by the '* Saga "-makers, who 
related them in the haUs of petty kings 
and chieftains at great feasts, and we may 
be sure they delighted the hearers, who 
took part in imagination in the lively 
doings of their brave ancestors. 

The learned Ari Frodi was first to 
commit these " Sagas " to writing in the 
year 1180. From these early writings we 
gather some information regarding the 
heathen gods of mythology. 

We learn that Odin was all-father and 
god of war. Thor, the son of Odin the 
Thunderer, was ruler of the air and a 



HEATHEN MYTHOLOGY 49 

deadly foe to '^jotuns" (giants) and 
wizards. Niord was controller of winds 
and protector of sailors, and Freya was 
the goddess of peace. Balder the Beauti- 
ful was the sun-god. ** Trolds "* are spirits 
of the mountains, forests, and lakes, and 
« Valkyries " are the beautifiil maidens of 
Odm. 

Asgaard was the home of the ** aesir " 
(gods), Valhalla the hall of the departed 
heroes in Asgaard. Neiffelheim was the 
frozen underworld, and MuspeUieim the 
place of heat and fire, while Loki was 
the enemy of the gods (Lucifer). 

Images of these gods were placed in 
the pagan temple, which was called 
"Hov,*' or "Hove." This edifice was 
built of stone or wood. It consisted of a 
nave and chanceL In the centre of the 
nave stood a large flat fireplace of stone, 
on which the flesh of the sacrifice was 
cooked. The smoke from the burning 
found its way through a square hole in 
the roo£ Rude benches ran along the 
sides of the walls, and in the midst of 

7 



60 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

these was placed, in a conspicuous posi- 
tion, the high seat, with its great carved 
pillars {** stolper "), and it was on this seat 
that the heathen chief sat who officiated 
at the sacrificial rites. 

In the centre of the chancel stood the 
altar. This was placed on a slight eleva- 
tion, above the hard earthen floor of the 
temple. Ranged at the back of the altar 
were the wooden images of the pagan 
gods, with the principal one — oftest Thor 
— ^in the centre. On the altar the victim 
of the sacrifice — usually an animal, but 
sometimes a human being — ^was slain and 
laid, and the blood was caught in huge 
bowls of wood or metal, kept expressly 
for that purpose. The blood was then 
sprinkled on the altar and walls, on the 
images of the gods, and on those wor- 
shipping. 

Hung on to the altar was a large 
golden ring, which the ofiiciating chief- 
tain bore around during the mystic rites 
and ceremonies. On this ring were sworn 
all oaths at the ''Thing" meeting, or 



A PAGAN TEMPLE 61 

local Parliament, which generally met on 
the same day, at the conclusion of the 
ceremonies. 

Hove Kirke, at Vik, in the Sogne Fjord, 
is a fair example of such a temple. It 
dates from the eleventh century. It was 
restored by the Norw^[ian architect Blix 
in 1880. Built of stone, it is picturesquely 
situated on an eminence, at an elevation 
of some 200 feet It overlooks the village 
and bay of Vik, and across the Sogne 
Fjord the prospect terminates in the 
glacier of Vetle Fjord, and the high and 
rugged mountains of Fjaerland. 

Nearer the village, and on a conical 
mound, stands also the wooden '<Stav" 
church, which here forms the subject of 
our illustration. Dating from the twelfth 
century, it is one of the finest examples of 
its kind in existence in the country. It 
is now owned by the Society for the 
Preservation of Norwegian Monuments 
of Antiquity. 

Inside this church, among other quaint 
objects of interest, is a baldaquin, deco- 

7—2 



6S THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

rated with early medieval paintings and 
richly carved. The massive church portals 
show also antique carving in bold design, 
and some fine old hinges almost cover 
the heavy door with their decoration. 

Superstition is not yet quite extinct in 
Sogn. In places such as Vik, where the 
mountains are high and steep, and the 
valley is narrow and wild, it is no wonder 
that the peasants retain to a great degree 
the superstitious beliefs of their ancestors. 

Hearing from childhood those weird 
fairy tales and legends which are the fire- 
side sagas of the peasantry, and spend- 
ing their whole lives in association with 
such relics of antiquity as these hoary 
churches and the scattered burial-mounds 
(" grav-haug ") of dead warriors of pagan 
times, we can quite understand why it is 
that vestiges of heathen superstition still 
exist among the peasantry, and it is dis- 
covered in many a quaint form in their 
daily lives, even in these enlightened 
days. 

If we stroll among the farmsteads, we 



SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEFS 53 

may observe a cross within a circle painted 
on many a barn-door and outhouse, this 
being done as a protection against the mis- 
chievous tricks of the '* trolds " (gnomes). 
These are believed to live up in the wildest 
and most lonely places in the mountains. 
Whenever cattle on the £Euin fall sick, 
it is put down to the work of the 
« trolds." 

On Christmas Eve the peasants bum a 
candle all night in the house, and at early 
morning they go into the cow-house and 
singe each cow on the tail as a protection 
against sickness. 

"Trolds" are thought to be very 
musical. If there is an exceptionally 
clever fiddler at a wedding feast, the 
peasants say that the performer must 
have been up the mountains and leamt 
firom the "trolds," who are believed to 
play weird and bewitching music in the 
loneliest recesses of the mountains. 

In addition to " trolds," there are 
"huldr" (fiuries or sprites). These are 
said to be very beautiful, and they 



64 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

sometimes assume human form, the only 
difference being that they have a cow's 
tail. These ^^huldr" have their abode 
underground, and always close by the 
farm buildings. 

It is told that on one occasion a servant- 
girl by ill-chance threw hot water out 
from the kitchen door, and immediately 
the ** huldr " called out noisily, screaming 
that the hot water was scalding them 
and their children underground. Peasant 
women to this day will never throw out 
hot water from their doorways without 
first saying, ** Take care, you who under 
live.'' Should children &31 sick, the neigh- 
bours will say that ** the mother cannot 
expect anything else, for she is in the 
habit of throwing hot water from the 
doorway, and the * huldr ' are having re- 
venge." 

There is a legend relating to a peasant 
girl who, on her way to a lonely " saeter," 
or mountain out-£Gmn, heard a voice near 
her call out, "Tell Turid that Tarald is 
dead. " The girl could see no one near, and 



SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEFS 56 

on arriving at the ** saster " told the other 
girls there what she had heard ; immediately 
there came a loud cry out of the ground, 
'*Oh, it is me who is called Turid, and 
Tarald is my husband." 

A similar story is found in Plutarch, 
A.D. 120, in which he relates that a skipper 
sailing among the Greek islands heard 
a voice which called out, '^Thamus." 
Thamus was the name of the skipper. 
Twice the voice called out, and he did not 
answer; but on hearing it for the third 
time he did reply. The voice then called 
out to him loudly, ** When you come to 
Palodes, call out that the great Pan is 
dead." 

Thamus thought that he would sail past 
Palodes, but would not utter a word of 
what he had heard unless the weather 
happened to be stiU. When he arrived 
there, however, the sea was quiet, and he, 
remembering the words, called out loudly 
that the great Pan was dead. Immediately 
there came from the island a great moan- 
ing as of many voices weirdly blended, 



56 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

and this that happened was soon related in 
Rome. 

A quaint conception relating to moun- 
tain folklore refers to what is known in 
Sogn as " jolaskrei," a kind of kelpie or 
old witch wife ; these belong to the night- 
riders of the kingdom of the departed. 
They are seen on high, ugly mountain 
ridges at dead of night When these 
kelpies are out, they often visit the stables 
of the lonely &rms and take out the 
horses. These are brought back again, 
however, just before dawn, but so over- 
worked or overridden and tired that they 
are quite ready to collapse with fatigue. 
To guard against this inconvenience, the 
peasants paint a cross on the stable door, 
or lay an axe underneath it. In some 
places even now the farmers place food 
and drink on the table on Christmas night 
after all the family have retired, this being 
for the kelpies ; otherwise they might be 
angry and cause much annoyance. 

In some districts these curious sprites or 
goblins are known as '* vaasedrift" These 



SUFEBSTinOUS BELIEFS 57 

ride or drive through the night among the 
£urms ; and there are those now living who 
relate that in their fore-elders' time the bits 
and reins were found on the horses in the 
early morning, having been placed there 
by the kelpies. 

The spirits of dead Vikings and chiefis 
who are buried under those huge mounds, 
'' grav-haug/' are thought to visit each 
other, and may be seen flitting to and fro 
on Christmas eve and for thirteen nights 
after. 

" Nykk," " nokken " (nixies) are known 
throughout the country. These were in 
former times seen near deep and gloomy 
mountain tarns and by the brooks. 
These nixies are able to transform them- 
selves into any kind of animal or reptile, 
sometimes even assuming strange and 
grotesque shapes, with heads both front 
and back; they are the spirits of fresh 
water. 

A peculiar legend originates from 
Underdal in Aurland, in the inner Sogne 
Fjord. In the olden time there was quite 

8 



68 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

a plague of snakes in that place. A Finn 
firom Nordland happened to be travelling 
in the neighbourhood. The Finns have 
always been held in great dread by the 
Norwegian peasants on account of their 
pagan practices, witchcraft and sorcery. 
This pagan Finn offered to rid the place 
of the reptiles if only there was not among 
them what he called a "hvidorm" or 
"visorm" (a wizard serpent), which he 
described as being in shape like a long 
hempen rope; it was quite white, and 
had a red head. The peasants informed 
him that the "visorm" was never seen 
there. 

The Finn then built up a large '' baal " 
(funeral pyre), and fixed up a high post 
near by, up which he climbed ; it was just 
so high that none of the snakes could 
reach him. There he sat and beat loudly 
on his conjuring drum with a drumstick of 
reindeer horn, and began to conjure. 

Then out sprang the snake, which was 
charmed by the noise of the " rune " drum, 
and forthwith sprang aU the other snakes : 



SUPERSTITIOUS BEUEES 69 

from fell and brake, from crag and wood, 
all came racing up to the fire. But now, 
alas 1 came also the ** visorm " so dreaded 
by the Fmn, who shrieked that it was now 
all over with him, for in company with 
"visormen" came always "hvidormen," 
the dragon snake. 

Thunder was heard in the crags close by, 
and a huge piece of rock was hurled into 
the Qord. As the dragon snake came 
forth, down sprang the Finn from his high 
seat; but he was promptly seized by 
** hvidormen," and both disappeared into 
the frmeral pyre together and were burnt 
up. It was in this way that Underdal 
was rid at once of both snakes and Finn, 
and this happened long ago. 

"Trolds** (sprites) and "horven'* or 
** kraken " (sea-monsters) were thought to 
inhabit the sea and lonely parts of the 
coast and uninhabited islands in the old 
days, but it is uncertain whether people 
nowadays quite believe in this nonsense, 
although they might say ** You must have 
been a-fishing with * kraken ' to-day " if a 



60 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

fisherman happened to come in with an 
unusual harvest of fish. 

'*Kraken" is also thought to be the 
legendary sea serpent which is said to have 
been seen in still summer weather on the 
deep sea, £Etr out fix>m land, by fishermen, 
but always at a distance, never near enough 
for them to be able to take its dimensions. 
This sea-monster is supposed to be about 
one hundred fathoms long, and to wriggle 
over the surface of the water, at times 
heaving itself even to the height of the 
masts of a ship. 

An old saga speaks of a kind of 
merman, *' hav-strambr," a sea-monster, 
whose head resembles a man's helmeted 
head, the lower part of the body being in 
shape like to an icicle, and no one has ever 
seen where it ends. When this monster 
appears it is said to be a sign of storm and 
shipwreck. 

A custom which had its origin in pagan 
times is the lighting of the Saint John's 
fires, « Sankt Hans," or " Balder's Baal," 
on midsummer's eve, a festival of the sun, 



QUAINT CUSTOMS 61 

held on the longest day. It is intimately 
connected with sun-worship. Balder being 
the sun-god, and fire a symbolic image of 
the sun. 

** Balder^s Baal, solbilledet, smukt, braendte paa 
viede stene.''* 

This, translated, reads : 

^ Balder'*8 symbol, sun^s beautiful image, burned 
in pyres on rocks consecrated.^ 

We read in the Icelandic sagas that the 
two great festivals of the year in heathen 
times were Yuletide and midsummer, and 
both were celebrated by the lighting of 
great fires. This primitive custom is better 
preserved in Norway than in most other 
countries, but even here it appears to be 
slowly dying out. 

Exactly at midnight the fires begin to 
appear, and soon every promontory, rock, 
and mountain breast is alight ; hundreds of 
fires shine and glimmer as far as the eye 
can see, casting their lurid reflections on 

* Frithjof ^s saga. 



62 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

the waters of the Qord in the brilliant 
twilight 

Around the nearer fires may be discerned 
shadow-like figures moving round the 
blaze in the dance, the music of the fiddle 
being almost drowned by the singing and 
merriment of the young people who are 
taking part in the proceedings. 

A mock wedding forms part of the 
ceremony, a young peasant girl being 
dressed as a bride, wearing on her head a 
crown of birch twigs ; the other girls, in 
national costume, follow in procession, 
headed by the fiddler, and the boys bring 
up the rear. The dancing afterwards is 
kept up all through the long midsummer 
night. 

It is a very eflfective sight to see the well- 
filled boats stealing over the water from 
the surrounding farms, the young folks, 
dressed in holiday costume, coming to 
take part in the festival. 

In several places along the fjord it is 
the custom to build a strong raft of logs ; 
this is piled high with combustible material 



QUAINT CUSTOMS 63 

and floated some distance from shore, 
where it is anchored. When in full blaze 
it looks very effective, and lights up the 
water with ruddy reflection. 

Numbers of boats may be observed 
to creep mysteriously around the fire, at a 
safe distance from it, and the lively notes 
of the fiddle and of singing float sweetly 
over the water. 

Another old custom still survives in this 
district of Sogn. When it becomes known 
that two young people are to be engaged 
to be married, the boys in the district shoot 
into the air with rifles, and fire small cannon 
around the house on the evening when the 
young man goes to ask of the parents their 
consent to the engagement They also 
ring hand-bells and blow a horn ; these 
noises must surely prove rather disconcert- 
ing to the newly betrothed. 

In some cases the prospective bride- 
groomhasmanymUes of rowing along the 
Qord before he reaches the home of his 
lady-love. His visit is usually paid at the 
end of the week, and he generally spends 



64 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

the night there. As a practical joke, the 
peasant boys have been known to take his 
boat, drag it up on shore, and hide it in 
some secluded place, much to his great 
discomfort and annoyance when he wishes 
to return in the morning. 

At all large weddings, to which may be 
invited from 150 to 200 guests, festivities 
are usually kept up for a week or more. 

Dancing and fiddling go on day and 
night continuously, the *'HaUing" and 
'' Spring " dances being general favourites 
on these festive occasions. 

The music to these dances is exceedingly 
lively, even barbaric in character, and the 
dances are consequentiy wild and exciting. 

The services of the Hardanger fiddler 
are in great request, and he finds himself 
engaged throughout the springtime, going 
with his fiddle from one wedding to 
another. 

Each wedding party engage their own 
fiddler, and he it is who leads the procession 
from the farm to the church door, and it 
often occurs that several weddings take 



QUAINT CUSTOMS 66 

place at the same church at the same 
time. There is great competition among 
the fiddlers on such an occasion, each 
one playing to the very extent of his 
ability. With a jaunty air the fiddlers 
step forward, and each neighbourhood up- 
holds with pride the honour and reputation 
of their own fiddler. 

It happened that on one such occasion 
the church folk were divided in their 
admiration between two fiddlers of about 
equal cleverness. One side claimed that 
a feat had been achieved on the way to the 
kirk by their fiddler, who, while all along 
playing his best, did at the same time chaff 
his comrades who stood on the roadside 
as he calmly went on with his difficult 
bridal march, as though it were quite 
the most easy and natural thing in the 
world. 

This same spirit of rivalry also possesses 
the younger men ; each vies with the others 
in skill and cleverness in the dances, in 
which their ability to kick the highest 
is put to the test for the admiration and 





66 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

applause of the onlooking girls. This 
rivalry would result at times in quite a 
battle royal of words, and even more 
seriously, it would end in real danger to 
life and limb. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE S06NE FJORD (cOlUitlUed) 

Sailing down the Sogne Fjord from the 
sea coast, the scenery gradually assumes 
wilder and grander proportions as we 
advance. At Vadeim it is just beginning 
to be interesting and attractive, and when 
we come to Balholm we enter into the 
finest part of the Qord. 

Here are prosperous farms, smiling 
orchards, and waving cornfields, and as 
an effective contrast, glacier and snow- 
field crown the high and steep mountains 
around. 

Tradition points to this place as the 
scene of the Swedish poet Tqjner's •* Frith- 
jofSaga.** 

Among other burial mounds ("grav- 

67 9—2 



68 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

haug ") of chie& fix)m the Viking age at 
Balholm is pointed out that of King Bel6, 
whose daughter was Ingeboig, whilst at 
Framnses, across the Qord, dwelt Frithjof 
the Viking. These names all occur in the 
« Frithjof Saga." 

At Balholm stands an English church, 
the only one to be found among the 
Qords. Built for the use of English visitors 
m summer-time, its design is similar to that 
of the ancient wooden " stav-kirk," at Vik 
in Sogn. It was erected recently, mainly 
through the efforts of the brothers Kvikne, 
who during their, lifetime have been the 
means of transforming Balholm from a 
mere wilderness to a place of great beauty, 
and one of the most important places 
of resort among the fjords. 

In an earlier part of this book reference 
was made to the life at a ''saeter," or 
mountain out-farm, a description of which 
may here be found of interest. 

Many of the peasants who live along- 
side the Qords are also owners of large 
portions of the mountain plateaux in their 



LIFE AT A "SJETER" 69 

neighbourhood, and on these excellent 
grazing is found in the summer months. 

When the heavy work of the spring has 
been finished on the home &rm, and the 
snow has left these highlands, and when 
the v^;etation has had time to establish 
itself anew, the whole farm household gets 
ready to remove the domestic animals 
to the *' saeter/' It is a picturesque sight, 
this cavalcade, the animals all confusion, 
cattle lowing and sheep bleating, their beUs 
tinkling merrily as they skip about, the 
sturdy little ponies, heavily laden with 
necessary goods and chattels, bringing up 
the rear. All seem full of glee that they 
can now have a few months of ideal grazing 
on those high lands after their imprison- 
ment indoors all the long winter. 

Climbing and struggling onwards up 
the steep valley, then through almost 
trackless regions of rocks and stunted trees, 
they at length arrive at their destination, 
often aft;er some fifteen or twenty miles of 
travelling. 

At the **saBter" they rest for the 



70 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

summer months amid rich vegetation by 
the margin of a lake or mountain tarn, 
surrounded by high moimtain-tops. Here 
they graze on the bosky slopes to the 
music of babbling brooks. 

The " sceter " houses are mostly small and 
low, of one story only ; they are usually of 
a very primitive type, being, in fact, the 
earliest style of house building now in 
existence in the country, this ancient form 
surviving here long after it had been 
abandoned in the home farms. Attached 
to the dwelling-house, or forming part 
of it, is a dairy where butter and cheeses 
are made. 

A white cheese, " melkost," is made from 
fresh cow's milk ; a very strongly-flavoured 
old cheese comes from buttermilk — it is 
called " gammelost *' ; and from goat's milk 
they make "gjedost" or "brimost." 

The women and girls only live up at the 
** saeter," and in addition to the cheese and 
butter making, they must attend to their 
domestic animals during the four longest 
summer months. 



LIFE AT A «SiETER'' 71 

The men come up from the home farm 
at the week-ends with necessary provisions, 
and take back with them the produce of 
the " saeter.'' 

Bracing is the rarified air of these 
high lands ; and although the sun's heat is 
great, it is tempered by the breezes which 
come from snow-field or glacier on the 
higher mountains around. 

When the wild berries are ripe, the 
younger girls climb the heathery slopes 
and fill their wooden pails with the 
cranberries, bilberries, and cloudberries 
(" multebser "), which abound in great 
profrision. 

Fagesi, Levros, Pentekol, Buskin: to 
these and other quaintly sounding names 
the cattle answer, the goats also being 
known individually by such names as 
Skjomos, Blegeros, Kvideben, etc. 

The cattle have their chosen leader, who 
wears a bell attached to a leathern collar 
around the neck ; they are led by its sound, 
and keep within hearing distance as they 
graze. The sheep and goats also wear bells. 



72 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

nearly all of them, but the sound of these 
is quite distinct from the cattle-bells. 

At a certain time every evening the 
cows may be seen slowly making their 
way of their own accord to the " saster " 
house, where they quietly wait to be 
milked. 

When it is necessary to call them from 
a distance, they answer to the sound of the 
"lur,** a kind of alpine horn. This is 
made of birch, and is about four feet long. 
When blown lustily it gives out notes 
clear and sweet, in sound not unlike those 
of a comet. 

On the "lur*' the "saeter*' girls are 
expert performers, and during the long 
summer evenings they love to make the 
mountain crags echo with delicious airs, 
which they produce frx>m this primitive 
instrument 

The cattle know instinctively when there 
are bears in the neighbourhood. 

At such times they hurry to the " saster *' 
huts, around which they crowd, and frx>m 
their melancholy lowing the girls are led 



■ 



BEAR.HUNTIN6 78 

to know that there is danger near. A 
bonfire is quickly made and kept alight 
throughout the night ; the ** lur " is also 
brought into requisition. Thus, by the aid 
of fire and music, the danger is averted, for 
Bruin, being fond of neither, gets himself 
away as quickly as he can. 

Not very many years ago bears were 
fairly numerous in the high and wild 
mountain region which lies between the 
Sogne and Nord Fjords, but, owing in a 
great measure to the more general use of 
better guns, they have steadily decreased. 
The average annual number of bears shot 
in Norway between the years 1840 and 
1860 was 280. This number has gradu- 
ally dwindled down to a yearly average of 
40 for the past decade. 

Fjaerland in Sogn is a noted stronghold 
of these animals, and in this neighbourhood 
many bears have been shot in recent years. 

One old peasant, who lived in Suphelledal 
here, informed me that he had during his 
lifetime shot over 80 bears. As witness 
to his tale, his face and scalp showed even 

10 



74 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

then old, but quite distinct, traces of the 
rough handling he had received in the 
pursuit of his favourite sport On one 
occasion, after having lain in wait for 
several days up the mountains, he was 
suddenly confronted by a she-bear with a 
young cub. So quickly did she appear 
from behind a rock, and so close to him 
was she, that he had not time to fire before 
she struck him on the head with her 
powerftil forefoot, which action tore his 
scalp over his face and laid him prostrate 
on the groimd. For a moment he felt the 
hot breath of the bear around his ears as 
he lay with face buried in the turf. No 
doubt thinking that he was killed out- 
right, she proceeded, at a few yards' 
distance, to scrape with her powerful claws 
among the loose earth and debris in order 
to make a hole in which to hide her prey. 
She stopped from time to time to look 
up from her work to see if her victim 
showed any signs of life, and being at length 
convinced that all was well, she went on 
with her task with greater energy, and 



BEAR.HUNTING 76 

from her strong claws the loose earth and 
stones flew in all directions. 

The peasant's opportunity, for which he 
had breathlessly waited, presented itself. 
Jumping up, he seized his rifle, and with 
cool and steady aim he was fortunate in 
bringing down by that one fatal shot a 
fine animal in the pink of condition. He 
succeeded at the same time in securing 
her young cub, and thought himself to be 
in great good luck that day. 

Two fine glaciers, Bojumsbrae and 
Suphellebree, are in this district of Fjasr- 
land, and both may be visited in a few 
hours from Mundal. These glaciers are 
arms of the great Jostedalsbree, the most 
extensive ice-field in Europe. 

The Bojumsbrae is the most important 
of the two in regard to size, and the sur- 
roundings are majestically grand. King 
Oscar II. visited this glacier in 1879. 

At the Suphellebrse may be seen and 
heard at any time huge masses of ice 
falling over the precipice which cuts off 
the lower from the upper glacier. 

10—2 



76 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

At the foot of the lower glacier are 
several very beautlAil ice-caverns, deep 
blue in colour, from which flows the pale- 
green ice-water on its way to the head of 
the fjord which is not far distant. 

The valleys in this district are wild and 
grand. There is, however, rich grazing 
land, and the peasants are all well-to-do ; 
they retain in primitive fashion the habits 
and customs of their ancestors, and are 
very hospitable and kmd-hearted. 

The people of Sogn — " Sogninger,*' as 
they are called — are, on the whole, a 
powerful and gifted race. Those of Outer 
( Ytre) Sogn are, as a rule, placid and even- 
tempered, and the natives of Inner (Indre) 
Sogn are quick, lively, and excitable. 
Their dialect ("Sognemaal") is clear, rich, 
and full-sounding. It is one of the dia- 
lects most resembling the old Norwegian 
language. 

Sogn was at one time the seat of mighty 
families, and many a warlike company of 
Vikings has sailed from this fjord. The 
ancient kings of Norway occasionally 



I 



GLACIERS OF FJiERLAND 77 

visited Sogn, but not always in a friendly 
way. 

An old historical saga tells of a visit 
which King Sverre paid the " Sogninger " 
to take vengeance upon them for the kill- 
ing of his ' bailiff at a place named Kau- 
panger, near Sogndal. Kaupanger, by 
Sverre's orders, was burned, and so were 
the houses of Sogndal. The inhabitants 
of these places fled to the moimtains and 
woods, where they hid themselves and 
thus escaped. 

Immediately after this event King 
Sverre met his antagonist, Magnus £r- 
lingson, at the mouth of the Sogndal's 
Fjord, at a place called Fimreite. Here 
it was that the rival fleets came into con- 
tact. The king gained the decisive vic- 
tory, and thus secured to himself the 
crown of Norway. This engagement was 
fought in the year 1184. 

On the left bank of the Sogne Fjord is 
Slinde. At this place, near the close of 
the thirteenth century, lived Audun 
Slinde, one of the powerful chie& whom 



78 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

King Erick dispatched to Scotland to 
fetch his bride, the Princess Margaret. 

Outside the churchyard at Sogndal 
stands a " bauta sten," an upright column 
of stone, on which is the runic inscrip- 
tion: ''King Olav shot among these 
stones." 

As we proceed along the main Sogne 
Fjord we obtain gUmpses down branch 
fjords, and beautiful vistas open out. 
Mountain torrents and waterfalls are 
seen on every side threading their steep 
descent among the crags, now gliding 
over smooth glaciated rocks, now wriggling 
in tortuous, snake-like fashion, then a 
sudden leap over a steep precipice, ending 
with a final splash into the waters of the 
fjord. 

At sunset the new-fledged moon peeped 
over snow-topped moimtains, which are 
ruddy with the sun's last rays. The fjord 
water around is dashed with purple and 
« pale gold, rose, and emerald. A large, cum- 
bersome boat, laden to its utmost capacity 
with sheep and lambs, puts out from shore 



A STEAMER'S CARGO 79 

to meet the awaiting steamer. The boat 
is roped to the steamer's side ; the sheep, 
handled tenderly, are transferred from it 
to improvised pens on the steamer's fore- 
deck, the sheep in one compartment 
and the lambs in another. There is also a 
large open packing-case, which contains 
the yomigest lambs. 

A chorus of deep bass and thinnest 
treble continues spasmodically. The 
shepherd is among his flock, his whole 
time taken up in keeping watch and ward 
over them, especially over the lambs, 
whose feats of jmnping tax to the utmost 
his patient watchftilness. 

As the steamer ploughs along, a pleasant 
breeze plays on the surface of the now 
steely grey water. 

The snow on the high mountains 
changes colour to a pale lilac, and the 
moon brightens as twilight advances, while 
over in the west the first faint star of 
evening glinmiers in a sky of palest 
amber. 

As we proceed the Qord contracts, the 



80 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

mountains are higher and steeper, in 
places almost perpendicular, and the waters 
falls rush down with greater impetuosity 
into the dark fjord. 

We now turn into the Naero Fjord in 
brilliant twilight, and some of the grandest 
and wildest scenery of Sogn is presented 
to oiu* view. We observe that the kind 
shepherd is covering up with a sackcloth 
the smallest lambs, which are in the 
packing-case on the fore-deck, as a pro- 
tection from the cool night air, which is 
rather inclined to be frosty, even on this 
lovely night of May. The farther we 
advance up this f}ord, the more sombre 
and overpowering is the impression we 
receive of this magnificent fjord scenery. 

We now approach the little hamlet of 
Dyrdal, romantically situated at the en- 
trance to the narrow valley of the same 
name. Here huge mountains rear their 
massive walls into the twilight sky. The 
Nsero Fjord is narrowest at this point, 
being only a few hundred yards wide. 

The sound of the steamer's syren now 



J 



A STEAMERS CARGO 81 

echoes with a metallic ring fix>m one 
mountain to another in diminishing 
cadence of sweet notes, and in reply two 
large boats put out from shore to meet 
the steamer. With much struggling the 
woolly flock is transferred to the boats 
from the steamer, the sheep and lambs 
appearing quite happy — ^to judge by the 
soimd of their voices — at the prospect of 
being on terra firma again. 

At a lonely farm situated in the wildest 
part of Ncero Fjord it was my happy 
fortune to stay for some days in the merry 
month of May. On my arrival there, and 
in compliance with a signal from shore, 
the steamer slows up, and a boat is brought 
alongside. A friendly good-bye to the 
obliging captain, and I am rowed ashore, 
where I meet the kind owner of the farm, 
my host. He and his good wife ('' kone ") 
show me through the house, an excellent 
example of a *' bonder's'' home of the 
olden time. 

The principal living-room is about 
twenty feet square. The walls display un- 

11 



82 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

usually thick baulks of timber, while the 
huge beams show distinctiy the marks of 
the axe which fashioned them. The heavy 
doors are nearly square in shape, with lock 
and handle of antique design in wrought- 
iron. On one side of this room stands an 
elevated open hearth (" peis "), over which 
hangs a crane, and to this is attached a 
huge copper cauldron. The smoke from 
the peat fire escapes through the roof by 
a very wide open chimney. A clean- 
scrubbed massive table almost fills one 
end of the room by the side of the wall- 
benches. High - backed chairs, several 
spinning-wheels, and a carpet - weaving 
frame help to fill up this spacious apart- 
ment. 

To reach the room set apart^for me I 
must climb up wooden ladder-like steps. 
My room, simply but comfortably fur- 
nished, was fresh and clean. On the left 
side in a dark comer was the customary 
low, wooden, box-like bed, which I saw 
at a glance was, for one of my stature, 
much too short It was pUed high with 



IN THE NiERO FJORD 8S 

some soft material on the top. This 
covering proved on examination to be a 
4-feet square air-tight bag containing 
eiderdown about a foot deep. Under this 
was only the thinnest cotton sheet, and I 
began to wonder how these two as a 
covering could possibly remain together 
in harmony throughout the night, and as 
to whether they were calculated to cover 
all one's limbs at one and the same 
time. 

On being very considerately asked on 
the following morning how I had slept, 
and if I would like an extra eiderdown 
on, I courteously but firmly declined. 

At 8 a.m. came breakfast-time. On 
the table were placed several kinds of 
native cheese, brown bread, butter and 
potato-cakes, dried mutton {** spege kjod"), 
and boiled potatoes, four boiled eggs, and 
a large bowl of creamy milk. In addition 
to these delicacies, a cup of excellent 
coffee was brought in. The meal nearly 
ended, and not having made much im- 
pression on this mass before me, the good 

11—2 



84 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

wife again invited me — almost coerced me 
— ''to make a good meal/' and seemed 
quite disappointed to find that my capacity 
was so limited. 

Similar fare was my portion for the 
other meals, varied only with boiled goat's 
flesh, ptarmigan C'rype"), and hare or 
wild reindeer. 

These kind-hearted peasants did all in 
their power to make my stay comfortable. 
They enjoyed a little gossip fix)m the 
world outside their fjord, and it was in- 
teresting to hear them talk in their very 
pronounced and ancient dialect (" Sogne- 
maal"), which is as unlike modem Nor- 
wegian '' as she is spoke " as the English 
of Chaucer's time is to our own modem 
tongue. 

At Styve, the wildest and most impres- 
sive part of this narrow fjord, the massive 
peaks of Steganaase tower overhead, on 
their tops a crisp powder of new snow — 
this was at the end of October — and across 
the Qord rise up perpendicular buttresses 
of mountains of equal grandeur and awe- 



IN THE NiERO FJORD 86 

inspiring character. The §ord is here 
about 4,000 feet deep. 

At twilight the full moon was just 
struggling from among wreathing mists 
which clung around the high peaks, in- 
dicating at the same time the presence of 
showers of fine snow above, and as we 
proceeded light snow-flakes descended, 
falling lightly on the steamer's deck. 

We were now ploughing through 
crackling ice, which floated in detached 
patches on the surface of the water. 

In winter-time the fjord from here to 
the hamlet of Gudvangen is completely 
frozen over, the steamer being quite un- 
able to proceed farther. The Qord is at 
that time a highway for sledge traffic to 
and from the steamer. In this manner 
the mails are conveyed over the ice to 
Gudvangen, where other sledges are in 
waiting to carry them overland to Vosse- 
vangen. 

Gudvangen is so completely enclosed 
by huge mountains that the sun's rays do 
not reach it during four months of winter. 



86 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

The sun lights up some of the nearer tops» 
however, about mid-day, but then only 
for about a couple of hours, when all 
becomes grey again. 

In winter and early spring destructive 
avalanches of snow and rock shoot down 
with terrible velocity into the fjord and 
valley from the precipitous mountain 
masses above, especially when thaw sets 
in and the heavy mantle of snow is melt- 
ing. 

At one place in particular in Naerodal 
it will be observed, in driving, that the 
road threads in and out among huge 
boulders of rock. These massive stones 
formed part of a huge avalanche which 
descended from the crags here only a few 
years ago. The postman, driving at the 
time down the valley, only just escaped 
the danger by taking shelter under a large 
boulder near, the remains of a former 
avalanche. 

Many of the farm-houses in this narrow 
valley are built under the shelter of rocks, 
so as to be protected from the wind. 



NiERODAL 87 

which sweeps down the valley at times 
with terrific velocity, chiefly in winter. 

Some years a^ I spent two October 
weeks in Gudvangen and NaerodaL Ar- 
riving there overland from Vossevangen, 
and not dreaming but that I was certain 
of obtaining accommodation at the inn at 
Gudvangen — ^it being considerably past 
the time of tourists — ^to my intense sur- 
prise, I found the place full to overflowing 
with country folks in holiday attire — ^a 
wedding party — and, to the music of the 
fiddle, the younger peasants and girls 
were dancing the favourite Halling-fling. 

Every room at the inn was crowded, 
cakes and home-brewed ale being every- 
where in evidence. 

The kind and genial innkeeper, with 
proftise apologies at being unable to 
accommodate me in the house, found me, 
at last, a little room over the bakehouse 
close by, which I found fairly comfortable 
under the circumstances — ^it was at least 
warm and dry. 

The following morning all was bustle 



88 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

and excitement. In the roadway outside 
the inn rosy -cheeked peasant - girls, in 
their prim» bright costumes, were ex- 
changing pleasant banter with the boys, 
while the older men lounged around in 
groups, with hands in pockets, engaged 
in talking gossip at intervals between 
puffs of tobacco-smoke. 

The wedding " bryllups " was to be 
celebrated that morning, and everybody 
was now ready except the bride, whose 
friends were engaged in adding the final 
touches to her maidenly toilet. A start 
is soon made, first a kind of informal 
procession along the short stretch of road 
to the pier, and a scramble into the boats, 
then out on the fjord, their oars keeping 
time to the strains of the fiddle. They 
row along pleasantly for a couple of miles, 
and then arrive at the small white wooden 
church, which is situated picturesquely on 
a rocky mound at Bakke. 

There is, from here to Gudvangen, a 
footpath, but in parts it is somewhat 
rough. In several places it crosses screes 



NiERODAL 89 

of loose stones, which repeated avalanches 
have ground down in their career from 
the overhanging clifTs above to the deep 
fjord below. Every winter this mountain 
path across the screes is wiped out of 
existence, and a new one has to be made 
when the spring comes. 

The wedding service over, the whole 
party, the clergyman ("presten*^ now 
included, return to the inn to partake of 
the wedding feast, and to drink the 
healths ('^skaal") of bride and groom. 
The festivities are prolonged with hearty 
excitement, eating, drinking, and dancing 
the Halling-fling and Spring-dance day 
and night for over a week. 

During my stay at Gudvangen at that 
time, an old woman, short in stature and 
poorly clad, approached me one day by 
the roadside, and, carefully unwrapping a 
many-folded parcel, at length produced a 
few English coins of silver and bronze. 
These she had earned during the past 
sununer from passing travellers by the 
sale of flowers from her little garden 

12 



90 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

patch. She bulged me to exchange mto 
Norwegian money these corns, which she 
could not use. It was a pleasure to see 
her wrinkled face light up with genuine 
gratitude for this slight service rendered 
her. 

A few days afterwards this same little 
woman met me again, and gave me a tiny 
paper packet, which, she said, contained a 
few four-leaved clover sprigs. These she 
had taken all day to discover among the 
scant herbage on the mountain-side, and 
if I would only take and keep them, I 
should be lucky ever after. And who 
shall say that I was not ? 

Naerodal is one of the grandest valleys 
in Norway. The narrow ribbon of road 
threads the deep vaUey, crossmg and re- 
crossing the clear mountain torrent, whose 
close acquaintance is kept the whole of 
the distance to the foot of the steep [Stal- 
heimskleven. 

All the way the stupendous mountain 
masses seem almost ready to topple over 
from both sides into the narrow, gorge- 



NiERODAL 91 

like valley. The high, dome -shaped 
mountain, which is a conspicuous feature 
on our right as we proceed, is Jordals- 
nuten. Eagles, falcons, and other birds 
of prey inhabit these rugged fastnesses. 

At an ancient farm at the foot of 
Jordalsnuten the farmer showed me the 
feet and powerM claws of a golden eagle. 
These he had converted into base and 
pillar for a pair of candlesticks. It had 
happened on one day durmg the previous 
summer, when the farmer's household 
were engaged in the hay-field, that their 
work was interrupted by the sight of a 
large eagle, poised at a height of several 
hundred feet in the air. From its talons 
a young sheep was hanging. As they 
watched they saw that the eagle was 
gradually descending, although making 
powerftil and frantic efforts to rise. As 
it neared the ground all hands rushed ttt 
once to the spot, and with hay-fork and 
scythe they attacked and dispatched the 
powerful bird and saved the sheep. Evi- 
dently the weight was rather more than 

12—2 



92 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

the eagle could cany away, and, being 
unable to extricate its crooked talons 
from the woolly fleece, it found itself 
entrapped by its own prey. 

The road now gradually ascends the 
valley, and at the foot of Stalheimskleven 
it takes sixteen zigzag sweeps up the face 
of the cliff, which is here about 1,000 feet 
above the valley. Immediately on the 
right as we ascend we see a pretty water- 
fall, Sivlefos, and on the left we get a 
glimpse of Stalheimsfos. These two fine 
waterfalls are romantically situated in 
deep and craggy guUies. 

From the summit of the pass we have 
one of the grandest and most impressive 
views of the kind in Norway. Looking 
backward down the sublime Naerodal, the 
grey, rounded dome of Jordalsnuten rises 
majestically on the left, its steep sides 
deeply furrowed by the action of ava- 
lanches. The mountain mass on the 
right is Kaldafjeld, and in the extreme 
distance we can just distinguish Kilefos, 
the fine waterfall near to Gudvangen. At 



NiERODAL 93 

our feet are the two waterfalls we saw on 
our climb up Stalheimskleven, Sivlefos 
and Stalheimsfos» foaming in their rocky 
ravines, their combined waters flowing on 
in a silver thread along the bottom of the 
deep valley. So narrow in places is the 
valley that there appears to be only room 
for the river and the road. 

In the summer months this highway 
from Vossevangen to 6udvangen» con- 
necting the Hardanger district with that 
of Sogn, is much used by travellers, and 
traffic is often greatly congested, especially 
at the terminus at Gudvangen, where the 
Sogne Fjord steamers are joined. 

We are now among some of the most 
magnificent scenery in the country, and 
this grandeur is continued into the im- 
pressive Aurlands Fjord, which rivals its 
neighbour Ncero in sublimity. The huge 
mass of Bejteln, furrowed with enormous 
ravines, stands like a sentinel at the junc- 
tion of the two Qords, with snow-crested 
Steganaase behind, rearing its mighty 
peaks to the skies. Huge perpendicular 



94 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

buttresses wall in the Qord on both sides, 
and from their tops waterfalls are pre- 
cipitated in long streaks down the glisten- 
ing dark rocks, while deep gorges are torn 
into the mountain forms, separating one 
immense gable from another. 

At the foot of one of these deep gorges, 
and romantically situated, is the small 
hamlet and church of Underdal. To the 
left, farther up thci Qord, stands Aurland, 
or Vangen, the principal village in the 
Qord parish ('^vasbygd") of Aurland. 
The small stone church here, it will be 
observed, has an unusually high-pitched 
gable and steeply sloping roof. 

From the head of this Aurlands Fjord, 
by ascending the Flaamsdal (the valley of 
the swollen river), magnificent views are 
obtained out over the Qord. 

The road up this grand valley terminates 
at Myrdal Station, on the new Bergen- 
Christiania Railway, and near the Hal- 
lingdal entrance to the long Gravehalsen 
tunnel, amid mountain scenery of over- 
whehning grandeur and sublimity. 



CHAPTER V 

THE 80GNE FJORD (continued) 

At Froimingen a profitable business is 
done in tree-felling. Laige forests of 
pine and fir clothe the steep sides of the 
mountains here, and modem saw-mills 
are erected at the foot of a torrent by the 
margin of the Qord. 

Seen from here, the glaciers of Fresvik 
and Rambfleren, both over 5,000 feet high, 
stand out boldly against the sky. 

A very charming effect of simshine and 
shower won my attention near here one 
afternoon in the month of May. Imme- 
diately in front of the steamer, and from 
the mountains on one side of the f}ord to 
those on the other, stretched a most vivid 

; the snow-capped mountains of 

96 



96 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

Lyster were £untly visible beneath the 
arc, through a misty veil of rain-gauze. 
As the steamer proceeded the rainbow 
appeared to retire, so that we were not to 
sail under the beautiful arc- en- del on 
that occasion. Instead, we were presently 
enveloped in driving rain, and to pace the 
wet and slippery decks was no longer an 
enjoyable occupation. The mountain- 
forms were aU wiped out by the nun- 
curtain, and, from a state of comparative 
calmness, the waters of the Qord became 
almost as choppy as the open sea. 

This condition of the elements did not 
last long, however. In the space of an 
hour all was again in brilliant, almost 
dazzling, sunshine, the rocks and trees on 
the mountain slopes sparkling with rain- 
drops, and the air became firesh and cool. 

It vdll be observed, as we sail along, 
that this district is more thickly wooded 
than almost any other part of Sogn, many 
of the mountains being quite covered with 
the dark foliage of pines, even to their 
summits. 



FORESTRY 97 

The real forest trees of Norway are the 
Scotch fir (" ftiru "), the spruce (" gran "), 
and hardy birch. These trees grow all 
over the country, sometimes in unmixed, 
continuous forests covering large areas, 
but, generally speaking, they are associated 
with oak, elm, and ash, in smaller numbers. 

In the eastern and southern parts of 
the country these trees cover the moimtain 
slopes from the bottom of the valleys up 
to a height of some 2,500 feet above 
sea-level; at this elevation they are sue* 
ceeded by hardy forests of birch up to 
another 1,000 feet; higher than this the 
shrubs of the mountain plateau — ^the dwarf 
birch — only siu^ve. 

Small forests are found near the coast in 
places where they are protected by islands 
or promontories from the sea winds, but we 
must go fiurther inland, and to the heads of 
the larger Qords, before we can come across 
any large extent of forest-covered country. 
The western part of Norway, however, 
is not remarkable for its forests in com- 
parison with the eastern districts. 

18 



98 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

Hedemarken Amt (county) has the 
largest forest area, while Stavanger Amt 
has the smallest. Of the timber intended 
for sale, considerable quantities are sent 
abroad, chiefly spruce and Scotch fir. 
Birch is found throuc;hout the country, as 
. rule in c«m^y lith other ^^ 
may be seen brightening up the dark 
coniferous forests with its silver bark and 
delicate foliage. There are two species of 
birch — ^the lowland or white birch, with 
graceful drooping branches, and the hardy 
mountain birch, which is rather darker in 
colour and more stunted in form. It is 
only in the most northern countries that 
the " lady of the woods " attains its fiiU 
beauty. The birch is one of the most 
useful of trees, the wood being used for a 
great variety of purposes. The inner bark 
is used for tanning, and the outer, thicker, 
bark for the roofs of houses, being placed 
under the thick covering of turf. The 
leaves are used as fodder for cattle. 

Among other species of trees which 
grow around the lowland farms and 



FORESTRY 99 

meadows are found the aspen» whose wood 
is used in the manufacture of matches, the 
alder, the rowan and hazel, along with the 
useful ash. The wood of the last-named 
is largely used in the making of the ** lang 
ski " (snow-shoes). 

Timber-felling usually begins in the late 
autunm. It is an arduous and ofttimes 
dangerous occupation, and requires hardy 
and strong men. As the larger forests lie 
often at a considerable distance fix>m the 
inhabited districts, many weeks are spent 
by these woodmen in log huts specially 
constructed for the purpose in the vicinity 
of their work. 

The timber, having been felled and 
stripped of its bark, is collected in con- 
venient places, and when the snow is 
sufficiently deep, it is then hauled to the 
nearest river, where it is stacked to await 
the melting of the snow and ice, when it is 
floated down the swollen torrent or river, 
and by this means it is carried down to the 
lake or fjord and taken to the saw-miUs. 

Norway in ancient times had a larger 

18—2 



100 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

area of forest than it has at the present 
In the fourteenth century the Hanseatic 
League appropriated the commerce of the 
country. They cut down the forests 
nearest the coast, also farther inland around 
the fjord districts, and exported the 
timber, having at that time considerable 
commerce with the Dutch, and later — 
in the seventeenth century — ^with the 
English and Scotch. 

Forest fires, and the growing con- 
sumption of timber, as the population 
increased, along with reckless felling on 
the farm lands, have been the means of 
denuding the west country of the larger 
forests, thus leaving the mountains com- 
paratively bare and desolate and the 
plateaux a wilderness. 

The State owns very extensive forests, 
chiefly in the extreme north and east of 
the country, altogether covering an area 
of some 2,500 square miles. These forests 
are imder the control of forestry managers, 
overseers, and rangers. A commercial 
system has been devised by which these 



FORESTRY 101 

forests are kept up to their original size 
and value. State nurseries for the rearing 
of young trees having been established at 
several places in the country, the two 
largest being at Voss and Hamar, Three 
forestry schools for elementary instruction 
in the cultivation and treatment of forests, 
and an agricultural college for advanced 
instruction in the same, have been founded 
in recent years. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE MINING INDUSTEY 

The mining industry, which commenced 
activity in the seventeenth century, was 
responsible for the consumption of very 
large quantities of timber, and this has 
been going on for the last 270 years. The 
Kongsberg sUver-mines, which are owned 
by the State, have alone some fifty square 
miles of State forest set apart for their 
requirements. The ore at these mines is 
virgin silver, occurring in lodes, and it is 
sometimes found in large niiggets weigh- 
ing up to 200 pounds. These silver-mines 
were commenced in the year 1624. 

Copper-minmg was started at Roros in 
1646. The most important copper-mines 
in the country are the Kongensgrube, 
Arvedalsgrube, and Storvatsgrube ; the 

lOS 



104 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

ore found in them is copper pyrites, and 
a large quantity is exported. There are 
also extensive copper-mines at Sulitjelma 
in Nordlandy at Aamdal in Telemarken, 
and at Valahei in Hardanger. 

Owing to the condition of the forests 
and the consequent rise in the value of 
charcoal, iron mining has not been very 
profitable, and many old works have been 
closed. The Arendal iron-ore mines are 
the only important mines now worked, and 
the ore is noted for its excellent quality. 

It vdll thus be seen that the mining 
industry in Norway is not of very con- 
siderable importance, the reason being that, 
although the country is fairly rich in 
minerals, the cost of conveyance to the 
coast is yet too great for much profit to be 
made. 

Those districts which are found to be 
rich in iron-ore happen to lie in almost 
inaccessible country, and as coal does not 
occiu: except on the out-of-the-way island 
of Andden, the native conditions are not 
favourable for smelting. 



THE MINING INDUSTRY 106 

» 

In Gudbrandsdal and at several places 
near Throndhjem soapstone is quarried 
in considerable quantities, and is now 
extensively used for building purposes. 
The cathedral of Throndhjem is built of 
this stone. 

Slate of a beautiful green colour is 
quarried at Voss and in Valders. Granite, 
syenite, and porphyry are found in great 
abundance all over the country. 

Minerals which contain rare and beau- 
tifid metals and earths occur in several 
places — at Arendal, for example — and 
these minerals are highly treasured in all 
scientific collections. 

The village and neighbourhood of 
Laerdal, or, properly, Lsrdalsoren, is a 
notable example of tree-denuded country. 
Hidden away on a branch of the great 
Sogne Fjord, and surrounded by bare and 
massive mountains, Lasrdalsoren owes its 
chief, perhaps only, claim to importance 
from being the chief avenue of traffic to 
the Sogne Fjord from the land side. 
Owing to its enclosed situation, the direct 

14 



106 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

rays of the sun do not reach the village 
during some five months of the winter 
season, being in this respect in a worse 
position than Gudvangen. 

The village of Laerdalsoren lies on a 
broad, flat, well-cultivated plain at the 
estuary of the river Lcera, or the Laerdals- 
elv, an excellent salmon river. The valley 
through which this river flows is superbly 
wUd and picturesque ; the mountains which 
enclose it are bare, rocky, and desolate. 
The farther up this valley we go, the 
wilder becomes the scenery, and the torrent 
thunders in many a cataract along the 
base of the ravine-like valley. 

We may observe in several places huge 
cauldrons worn out of the solid rock by 
the action of water, a number of these 
cauldrons being now far above the present 
level of the river. We may also see, as 
we proceed, that the road crosses several 
ancient lake basins, now dry, the river 
having, in the course of ages, gradually 
worn down their rocky barriers, thus 
draining the water from them. 



LiERDAL 107 

Some twelve miles drive up this mag- 
nificent valley we arrive at a place called 
Borgund, where stands the quaint and 
curious ** stav kirke " of that name. This 
extremely interesting and fantastic church 
was built in the twelfth century, and is in 
quite the best state of preservation of any 
church of its kind in the country. It is 
not now used for Divine service, a new 
and more conmfiodious church having been 
built near by, for the better convenience 
of the inhabitants of the district. This 
ancient "stavkirke" of Borgund is now 
the property of the Antiquarian Society 
of Christiania. Every part of this curious 
church is of extreme interest — six tiers 
of pagoda -like, shingle - covered roof, 
numerous gables from which spring 

■ 

grotesque dragons' heads, and lofty and 
elaborately carved portals. On the massive 
door is carved, in runic characters, the 
following inscription : 

** Thorir ndrt runar thissar than Olaf misso.^ 

(Thorir wrote these lines on the fair of Saint 
Olaf.) 

14—2 



108 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

The church is picturesquely situated in 
the grandest portion of the ravine-like 
valley of Lasrdal. 

To return to the village. In the even- 
ing we might enjoy an hour among the 
clusters of old houses, and down by the 
boats hear the mellow tone of the dialect 
of Sogn; or, strolling by the margin of 
the still Qord, see the first discernible star 
of evening prick his image like a diamond 
in the calm water, while all aroimd the 
great mountains repeat their mighty forms 
in accurate replica, save where a slight 
puff of evening air disturbs the reflection 
in a long streak of silver ripple, d3dng 
away as softly as it had begun. 

A boat puts out from a tiny creek near 
by, and silently steals into the line of 
vision. Only the faintest plash of the 
oars is heard, and voices perhaps imagined. 
A line of sparkling light marks out the 
boat's track across the deep reflections 
slowly fading away as the boat passes out 
of sight. 

Sailing out of the Bay of Laerdal on a 



L.£RDAL 109 

bright summer's morning, and all nature 
being in its blithest mood, we should be 
dull mortals indeed if we were not 
touched by some chord in the melody, 
and rejoice, even with the birds, in the 
glorious simshine and the rarified atmo- 
sphere. 

The morning sun sparkles on the blue 
Qord, and the delicate haze on the moun- 
tains indicates the prelude to a hot day, 
so we take some little care to place in a 
shady position our deck-chairs, and any 
sixay whiff of breeze is encouraged and 
acceptable. 

The fjord is still, and, like a mirror, 
reflects acciurately the image of each 
mountain and crag. tree, and grazing 
cow. The steamer ploughs along, and 
the long wash it creates breaks noisily in 
its rear on cliff" base and rocky strand. 

We now arrive at the small village, or 
hamlet, of Aardal, at the head of the 
branch iQord of the same name. The 
hamlet is picturesquely situated on an 
elevation above the shore, and for a back- 



110 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

ground has an imposing amphitheatre of 
high mountains. 

The grandest waterfall in the Sogn 
district is in this neighbourhood — the 
Vettisfos. This waterfall plunges into a 
deep and awftil chasm from a height of 
some 900 feet. The way to it is ro- 
mantic and rough, and, to add a spice of 
flavour to the excursion, the district is a 
well-known haunt of bears at certain 
seasons of the year, but not in sunmfier- 
time. 

In the Vettisgjel, a very deep and 
narrow ravine on the way to the water- 
fall, destructive avalanches of rock are 
frequent, especially after winter's thaws 
or heavy rain. 

In Lyster Fjord — ^the longest arm of 

the great Sogne Fjord — the scenery is 

diversified and beautiful, but milder in 

character than that which we have recently 
been viewing. 

At the head of the fjord, however, the 
scenery is picturesque and grand, in char- 
acter somewhat resembling that of the 



LYSTER FJORD 111 

Lake of Lucerne, and by many travellers 
thought to be quite as beautiftil. 

Skjolden, at the northern extremity of 
the fjord, is a starting-point for Jotun- 
heimen (the Giant Mountains), the Alps 
of Norway — ^the home of giants (" jotun ") 
according to Norse mythology. This 
wonderful group of mountains is in the 
very heart of the country, and it is here 
that the grandest peaks in the whole of 
Norway are found, Galdhopiggen (8,896 
feet) and Glittertind (8,880 feet) being 
the highest. 

This uninhabited region of weird 
grandeur has been considerably opened 
out to travellers in recent years by the 
efforts of the Norwegian Tourist Club. 
Hostels, huts, and ''saeters'* have been 
built, roads and tracks improved, safe 
bridges thrown over inconvenient and 
dangerous torrents, and the services of 
trustworthy guides secured at all con- 
venient places in this extensive district; 
so that for pedestrian expeditions made 
through this region now, although in- 



118 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

volving much rough walking and conse- 
quent fatigue, food and accommodation 
will be found, especially if travellers enrol 
themselves members of the Norwegian 
Tourist Club. This ensures them certain 
privileges, and preference of accommoda- 
tion over all other travellers who are not 
members. 

In Lyster Fjord we find one of the 
most beautiful valleys in Sogn — Joste- 
dalen by name. Thickly populated, 
carefully cultivated, and well watered by 
the Jostedalselv and its tributaries, this 
valley is, like most Norwegian valleys, a 
deep ravine, especially at its head. It 
divides an extensive plateau of everlast- 
ing snow, and here are numerous glaciers, 
ramifications of the great Jostedalsbrse, 
the most extensive ice-field in Europe. 

The farms and mountain " sceters " in 
this fertile district are numerous and pic- 
turesquely situated. The branch valleys 
are richly cultivated, and the peasants 
are, on the whole, in prosperous circum- 
stances. 



LYSTER FJORD 113 

This beautiful district of Lyster is also 
noted for its extensive orchards, ** Gaard *" 
(farm) Kroken, which is situated at the 
foot of Krokedalen» being the most famous. 
Near the farm an extremely fine water- 
fall 1,400 feet in height leaps from the 
crags of Rivenaase. 

There are several interesting old 
churches in the district of Lyster — at 
Dosen, Joranger, and Umaes. 

The latter church stands high on a 
promontory opposite the village of Sol- 
vom, which is situated in a valley across 
the^ord. 

Umaes ''stavkirke" is considered by 
antiquarians to be the earliest of the 
wooden churches now in existence. The 
eminence on which it stands is some 
800 feet above the fjord. The church 
was built about the year 1100, at the 
time that Christianity was introduced to 
this part of the country. This was in 
King Olaf Kyrre^s time, the King who 
caused many churches to be built in the 
west country. 

15 



114 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

Both inside and outside of the church 
are quaint carvings, which show immis- 
takable signs of early Irish influence in 
the design and craftsmanship. On several 
of the pillars inside the church are writings 
in runes (" runeskrift "). The church 
plate and ornaments on the altar are very 
quaint and ancient. 

Umass ^'stavkirke" stands on the site 
of a yet earUer erection — a pagan temple, 
some of the material of which may be 
traced in the existing building. These 
pagans had evidently good taste in the 
choice of a site for their temple. 

The view from this place, overlooking 
the §ord to Solvom, is very beautiful. 

On the promontory below, and near the 
fjord, stands a giant's ''gravhaug," or 
'' kjasmpehaug " (a huge burial mound), 
where, according to local tradition, the 
Viking Ragnvald was buried along with 
his magic sword. There have been ** finds" 
in it dating back to the Bronze Age. 

Near this place are several tall standing 
stones (" bautastein "), which evidently 



LYSTER FJORD 115 

mark the sites of prehistoric interments. 
The Qord steamers seldom call here, but 
across the fjord at Solvom boats may be 
hired to row ovn the short distance, and 
a few hours might be agreeably spent at 
this beautiAil and interesting place. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE NOBD FJORD 

The first impression we receive on ap- 
proaching the fjords from the sea is 
perhaps not often a pleasant one, espe- 
cially in dull weather. Monotonous grey 
rocky islands appear to look with wicked 
eyes on every ship that passes by them, 
as though expectant of another victun to 
embrace in the deep waters, there to be 
torn and mangled in their cruel fangs. 
Over these rocks moaneverlasting breakers, 
whose weird dirge-like sound is blended 
with the wild shrieking of sea-birds till it 
almost appears that there exists some 
close uncanny relationship and wicked 
conspiracy between rocks, birds, and 
breakers. 

117 



118 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

The steamer, which gradually threads 
its way through this maze of coast- 
islands, now emerges into more open 
water, and presently we arrive at Floro, 
an island in the blue sea, bright ¥dth 
houses, warehouses, and shipping. Quite 
a small town has grown up here, and Floro 
is now an important calling-place for the 
larger steamers and a great fishing-station. 

In a few hours we come to the large 
island of Bremanger, on whose eastern 
end stands the huge towering mass of 
Homelen, peaked and fiirrowed, rising 
perpendicularly out of the sea, the crags 
appearing even to overhang the steamer 
as we sail close to the mountain- wall. 
Here the heavy surges moan in a most 
uncanny way, and echo in deep notes up 
the huge cavernous rents in the mountain- 
side before us. 

According to an ancient tradition. King 
Olav Trygvesson in the tenth century 
scaled this many-peaked mountain and 
rescued one of his followers who had got 
into danger among the crags. 



THE NORD FJORD 119 

We are now at the entrance to Nord 
Fjord, and the steamer seems to make its 
way towards a towering but distant mass 
of high mountains, on which we discern 
large uneven patches of perpetual snow. 
Gradually, as we advance, the nearer 
masses of rock appear to part asunder, 
in order to allow the steamer to pass 
through. 

We come now into the fjord proper, 
and by d^prees a new attraction grows 
into our interest as we say good-bye to 
the monotonous ; for now we may see 
fresh and unexpected si^ts — ^large bright 
patches of green, small white wooden 
churches and clusters of brightly painted 
cottages dotted here and there — and they 
one and all appear to extend a smile of 
welcome to us as we approach. We hear 
the snow-white mountain becks breaking 
into waterfalls on every side as they hurry 
on and plunge themselves gleefully into 
the sparkling fjord. Graceful birches 
clothe the valleys and shelter in the rocky 
clefts in the mountain-sides, while in the 



ISO THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

background are those same snow-topped 
mountains that we have seen for the last 
few hours. They are nearer to us now, 
and as we sail from one side of the fjord 
to the other, calling to take in or to dis- 
charge passengers and goods, these same 
snow-crowned heights seem to follow us 
on our way, as if they kept watch and 
ward over an enchanted land. 

We now come to a broader stretch of 
fjord : larger valleys open out to the view, 
and the sky seems brighter. This open 
space crossed, more frequent signs of 
civilization meet the eye. The farms are 
larger and the stretches of cultivated land 
are more extensive. 

We now discern hayfields, cornfields, 
and potato patches. The houses and 
farmsteads are larger and more substantial, 
showing that there is a more prosperous 
people in these inner parts of the Qord. 

Frequent waterfalls are passed, some 
of which send their spray even over the 
steamer's deck as they leap down the pre- 
cipitous cliffs. Torrents come with a 



THE NORD FJORD 121 

noisy swing down the steep valleys, turn- 
ing in their course many a tiny wooden 
com-milL 

Everything around seems full of life, 
and pleasant sounds meet the ear — 
the murmur of rocky becks, the tinkling 
of sheep and cattle bells, the plash of busy 
oars on the clear silvery water — ^and the 
merry voices of children are heard as they 
play on the pebbly strand near by. The 
eye is refreshed by the sight of the bright 
cottages which are embosomed in their 
own little orchards surrounded by green 
fields, and a background of richly wooded 
slopes leads up to the blue mountains above 
and beyond. An ancient church reposing 
in its quiet domain gives the keynote to 
the whole— one of harmony, simplicity, 
and Arcadian peace. 

As we gaze on such a scene, it seems to 
have the power to fiiscinate and to hold 
us, as though in the grip of some unseen 
force of fairy magic, and fix>m which 
we tear ourselves almost unwillingly 
away. 

16 



ISS THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

The scenery increases in grandeur the 
farther we poietrate, and the mountains 
and valleys are more densely wooded. 
We dip into narrow branches or ramifica- 
tions of the main fjord, where beautiful 
vistas op&i out, and as we sail down 
Gloppen Fjord to the hamlet of Sandene 
the views «re especially durmiiig. 

From Visnses, at the northern extremity 
of the innermost branch of the main 
Nord Fjord, we can drive along the 
banks of a noted salmon river and visit 
the beautiful Strynsvand. This lake is 
quite surrounded by magnificent moun- 
tains, on which lie extensive glaciers, 
Skaalan, on our right, being the most con- 
spicuous. Around this lake are many 
large farms ; some are situated high up 
the mountains in apparently inaccessible 
places. Here also wild valleys open out 
in all directions, and continue their ravines 
up to the bases of the glaciers. At the 
foot of one of these ravine-like valleys, 
and just underneath the massive Skaalan, 
and in a picturesque situation by the 



THE NORD FJOBD 188 

lake's margin, stands the little church of 
Opstryn. 

At Hjelle, at the eastern head of the 
lake, a fine mountain-road has been engi- 
neered, and this traverses the wild and 
romantic Vide Valley. 

The view looking backward firom Vide 
^^sseter" is magnificent The narrow 
valley is hemmed in by mighty and steep 
mountain forms, and Stryns Lake, green 
with glacier water, is seen far below, while 
across the lake rises the huge mass of 
Skaalan and its glacier as a background 
to the picture. 

Sincerity, honesty, and freedom from 
conventional cant are the chief national 
virtues of the Norwegians, although in- 
quisitiveness is rampant in this district 
The outer forms of politeness are often 
very little observed. 

On arriving at an inn, the traveller is 
seldom welcomed by the host or hostess, 
and on his departure he may not even 
then see them. This omission may leave 
on the traveller the impression of n^lect, 

16—2 



124 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

but it arises partly from the people's 
national unobtrusiveness and simplicity 
of character. Also, as the innkeepers are 
nearly all peasants, and their chief busi- 
ness is farming, this apparent neglect may 
thus be accounted for, and some allowance 
be made. 

On meeting with a stranger, it is the 
custom with the natives of this district, 
and considered by them to be the height 
of politeness, to ask such questions as the 
following : " Stranger out on a journey, I 
suppose ?" '* And where do you come from, 
I wonder ?" " And what kind of business 
do you follow?" "And what do they 
call you where you come from ?" These 
rather inquisitive questions are always 
put very politely, and they are usually 
answered in the same vein. 

This apparent inquisitiveness is really 
but a conventional manner with them, and 
means only an introduction to a friendly 
chat, in much the same way that some 
people in our own country begin a con- 
versation by commenting on the weather. 



THE NORD FJORD 126 

Among themselves these primitive 
peasants salute each other on meeting 
with "Godt mod** ("Keep in good 
courage,'' or "good heart *"); and if a neigh- 
bour should be at work ; " Gud velsigne 
arbddet " (" God bless your work '*), or, 
on coming into a room where the family 
are at their meal, the salutation is, " Gud 
velsigne maden," or " signe maden ** 
(" God bless your food "). 

Many of the peasants in this district, 
especially the older ones, wear to this day 
quite a picturesque costume. It differs 
in some respects from the dress of those 
in other districts. The men wear knee- 
breeches of a coarse grey doth (" vadmel") 
and white, thick stockings, a red coat with 
a very high collar, and a tall, stiff felt hat. 

The women wear a close-fitting red or 
green vest or bodice, elaborately trimmed 
with silver braid back and fix>nt, and white 
sleeves. Those who are married wear a 
tall doth cap, generally black, and some- 
what resembling in shape an elongated 
fireman's helmet 



126 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

The girls usually wear on the head a 
coloured handkerchief. In former times 
they wore long skirts from earliest child- 
hood, but latterly, much to the disgust of 
elder dames, short skirts have come into 
fashion. 

In this inner district of Nord Fjord are 
three very beautiful lakes — Stryns Vand, 
which I have just referred to, Loen Vand, 
and Olden Vand. All three are situated 
in the heart of scenery of the grandest 
character. The mountains around are 
higher than any we have yet seen, and 
glaciers and waterfalls are here more 
numerous. The valleys are deep and 
narrow, and farmsteads are few and far 
between; often some five or six miles 
of rocky land divides them fix>m each 
other. 

Some of these ancient homesteads 
nestle among mighty boulders which have 
detached themselves ages ago from pre- 
cipitous crags above. 

In spring and autunm, after heavy 
rains, these farms are still fEuiher isolated. 



THE NORD FJORD 187 

The rocky streams are then swollen into 
foaming torrents, and the footpaths are 
destroyed, or of very little use, and to 
pay a visit to a neighbour one must either 
creep under a water&U or climb up the 
steep mountain flank some thousand feet 
before being able to cross over the im- 
petuous stream. 

As we reach the head of a valley we 
come to those death-still places which 
have no houses, no road, and no name — 
desolate wildernesses where huge moun- 
tains embrace each other in glacier and 
snow-field. 

These majestic mountains raise their 
peaks some 6,500 feet into the heavens, 
and they completely enclose the three 
enchanting lakes which form the crown- 
ing beauty of this district 

The bases of the mountains are clothed 
with splendid bireh-woods, and in the 
valleys near the water grow roses and 
other flowers — a rich and abundant flora, 
which contrasts beautifully with the 
sombre grandeur of the surrounding 



128 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

scenery. Surpassing the famous Alpine 
lakes in majesty, these of Norway can 
also vie with them in charm. 

Loen Vand may be considered quite 
the most characteristic and imposing of 
these lakes. Glaciers descend from all 
the mountains around, the magnificent 
Kjendalsbrse being perhaps most con- 
spicuous. So near to the edge of the 
precipice do these glaciers creep that they 
almost appear to overhang the lake. 

In several places it is nothing unusual 
to see enormous masses of ice pushed over 
the edge of the cliJS, and to hear them 
fall with a metallic rattle down the pre- 
cipitous rocks, leaving in their wake 
clouds of finely-powdered snow. 

Profound and impressive is this sublime 
nature. Everything is on such a grand 
scale that we feel as pigmies in the midst 
of it as we row on the deep lake, whose 
still surface refiects as in a mirror every 
detail of the majestic scenery. Crags, 
trees, and farmsteads, even sheep and 
cattle browsing on patches of green- 



i 

i 
1 



THE NORD FJORD 129 

sward — all repeat their images in reversed 
replica on the quiet bosom of the water. 

In the hot days of early summer and in 
this clear and rarefied atmosphere this is a 
most enchanting sight, and one whose 
treasured memories shall live for aye. 

We now retrace our steps and return 
to join the native fjord steamer, and here 
we see in process of embarking quite a 
lively and interesting cargo. Already the 
little steamer appears to be ftilL We 
observe that sheep and cattle are put into 
improvised pens on deck. On the crowded 
pier we see that yet more sheep, lambs, 
and cattle are to be taken on board. 
Other pens of wooden hurdles and any- 
thing available are hurriedly made, and as 
the hold of the vessel is full already, 
places are also foimd for the animals in 
the passage near the engine-room. Now 
arrive a number of goats and kids, some 
of the latter being carried in the arms of 
bright-fiiced peasant girls, who now stand 
on the pier to await the time when their 
struggling burden can be placed some- 

17 



180 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

where on the crowded steamer. Several 
bony cows and calves are now uncere- 
moniously lowered down on to the deck 
by the noisy crane, each one separately in 
a sling. These last comers are now 
fastened to the rails along the ship's side. 
The lamb-pen is now tenderly covered 
with sackcloth as a protection from the 
cool night air by the red-faced, good- 
natured steersman before the steamer 
starts. 

These domestic animals are being trans- 
ferred from «b« Dome fimm to^eir ,«- 
spective " saeters," which lie in other parts 
of the district. There the cattle wax fat 
on the rich grazing of the high land during 
the summer months. 

As we sail near the shore we may 
observe in certain places that a peculiar 
elevated staging on tall, slender legs over- 
hangs the water. It is usually fastened to 
some jutting rock. 

This contrivance is used by the peasants 
as a look-out for the purpose of fishing 
for salmon. It is called a '' laxeverp." In 



THE NORD FJORD 181 



the box-like framework at the top is placed 
a seat, and from this point of vantage the 
fisherman is able to see down into the 
deep clear water and ascertain if there are 
any salmon in the nets below. These 
nets he regulates by lines held in his 
hand, the ends of which are attached to 
the mouths of the salmon nets. 

There are usually two men out a-fishing. 
One is seated on the ** laxeverp/' the other 
goes out in a boat to any place indicated 
by his companion, draws in that part of 
the net, and secures and kills his fish. At 
one of these fjord ** laxeverps ** may be 
killed in the course of a day from twenty 
to thirty salmon in the height of the 
season* 

Falejde, beautifiiUy situated on the 
north side of the Qord — we are still in 
Nord Fjord — ^is a well-known centre for a 
variety of excursions. Visnaes, however, 
has taken from Falejde in recent years a 
great deal of the tourist trafiic, being a 
more convenient starting - place for the 
lakes we have just spoken of, also for the 

17—2 



13« THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

new overland route to the G^iranger 
district via Vide Valley. Personally, I 
prefer the older route from Falejde and 
via Grodaas, down the magnificent Xor- 
dangsdal to Oie, on the Hjorund Fjord, 
in the district of Sondmore. 

About the end of the month of May, 
and beneath cloudless skies — there had 
been no rain to speak of for the past three 
weeks — I left Falejde to take this charm- 
ing drive by '^kariol'^ and sure-footed 
pony. 

After a lingering farewell glance at the 
beautifid fjord view, as seen from the little 
inn here, we commenced our journey. In 
the still and warm morning air one could 
hear the drowsy hum of bees and the 
clear notes of a song-bird. Sheep and 
cattle browsed on the hilly slopes, their 
bells tinkling as they grazed on grass still 
wet with dew. 

Uphill we went, through odoriferous 
pine-woods, the roadside being fringed by 
an abundance of wild-strawberry in full 
flower, and among moss-grown boulders 



FALEJDE TO OIE 18S 

cranberry and whinberry bushes showed 
themselves in great profusion. Here and 
there are large patches of bell-heather and 
ling, which still retain, though now faded, 
their last year's bloom. 

A snow-plough by the roadside has not 
yet been removed, showing how near we 
are to the past season, and how closely 
connected with it is this warm sunny day 
of May. The pine forest we are still 
passing through becomes denser now, and 
the morning light is as twilight in this 
thick glade. 

Our attention is suddenly drawn to a 
lively squirrel, who swings rapidly from 
branch to branch ; a pine marten is in fiill 
pursuit. In the excitement of the chase 
they are both quite unobservant of passers- 
by, and across the trees which overhang 
the road they spring, and it is not long 
before the sound from the forest depths of 
the thin piping squeak of the hunted 
squirrel teUs of tragedy. 

Between the tall trunks of the pine-trees 
we obtain occasional peeps of blue Qord 



184 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

and snow-topped mountain fonns as we 
drive along. 

Having now crossed the watershed, we 
gradually descend, and patches of cultivated 
land begin to appear on the wide valley 
sides. Passing several farms ("gaard") we 
now see below us an extensive lake, 
Homindalsvand, along whose rocky shore 
we drive; and presently we arrive at 
Grodaas, the little inn and hamlet being 
prettily situated in a tree-fringed bay on 
the lake's eastern margin. Surrounding 
this broad and beautifiil lake are high 
mountains of picturesque form. 

Large farmsteads are here, and well- 
cultivated land, and an air of prosperity 
pervades the place. Continuing our drive 
along the wide valley, Homindal, we 
gradually ascend through more open 
country. The snow-clad mountain-tops 
are nearer to us now, and on both sides 
their craggy forms appear in many a quaint- 
shaped peak. Farther on, near '' Gaard '* 
Kjelstadli, we are at a height of about 
1,400 feet above sea-leveL That apparently 



FALEJDE TO OIE 186 

inaccessible pinnacle in front of us is 
Homdalsrokken ('^rokken") — the distaff. 
Here we approach a magnificent mountain 
region, and, descending the steep hilly road 
to where it divides at '* Gaard *" Tryggestad 
— one branch going to Hellesylt — ^we enter 
that deep and gloomy valley, the Nor- 
dangsdaL This narrow goige-like valley is 
closely hemmed in by high, majestic, and 
sharp-peaked mountains. Below ** Gaard ** 
Fibelstad and Hougen, as we descend, 
this huge chasm-like valley contracts and 
becomes so narrow that there is barely room 
in some places for the rocky torrent and 
the road between the perpendicular moun- 
tain buttresses. 

We now drive alongside five very narrow 
lakes in succession; these completely fill up 
the bottom of the goige. At several places 
on the road we are compelled to dismoimt, 
and walk over huge, deep snow-patches. 
These are the remains of winter avalanches 
which have not yet melted ; they stretch 
across the road, and form natural bridges of 
hard snow over the torrent which guigles 



136 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

below. Emerging from this deep and 
terrible gorge, we gradually descend, pass- 
ing on the way the sequestered hamlet of 
Skylstad 

So enclosed is this little group of turf- 
roofed houses by high mountains that the 
inhabitants do not feel the warm sun's 
rays during the greater part of the year. 

From this place, by easy road, we drive 
along the widening valley, and, passing 
several poor farms, we at length arrive at 
Oie, a small hamlet picturesquely situated 
by the shores of the narrow Norangs Fjord, 
an arm of the grand Hjorund Fjord. By 
the Norwegians themselves this is thought 
to be the grandest of all their Qords. It 
is not easy to decide, however, as each 
one of them has its own particular char- 
acteristics. 

The mountains around here attain a 
height of some 5,000 to 6,000 feet Their 
tops are peaked and pinnacled ; some even 
appear to lean forward, as though ready 
to spring out across the Qord or valley. 
Decorative patches of snow and glacier 






THE HJORUND FJORD 137 

rest between their huge flanks, and woods 
of hardy birch and alder clothe their 
bases. 

Majestic scenery is this, of the sharp 
peak and pmnacle type, and of its kind 
no grander is there in the whole of 
Norway. 

^ The mountains near 
Stand up in fixed and monumental gaze, 
As pyramids precipitous and bold.^^ 

* G. Gilfillan. 



18 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE NORWEOIAN ESTABLISHED CHURCH 

The Norwegian Established Church (*'den 
Norske Statskirke '} owes its present con- 
stitution to the Reformation, and about 
the middle of the sixteenth century it 
became by legislation the public religion 
of the State. It is known as the Evan- 
gelical Lutheran Church. 

The three creeds which together form 
its symbolum are the Apostolic, Athan- 
asian, and Nicene - Constantinople. In 
addition to these, there are accepted the 
Augsburg Confession and Luther's Shorter 
Catechism. 

The kingdom of Norway is divided for 
ecclesiastical purposes into six bishoprics, 
and each of these dioceses is subdivided 

189 18—2 



140 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

into deaneries, of which there are eighty- 
three. Out of the deaneries are formed 
the separate livings (" prcestegjeld **). 
These number at the present time 480. 
The livings, especially in country places, 
include one or more sub-parishes, each 
with its own church or chapel-of-ease. 

According to the Norwegian law, the 
King must always belong to the Estab- 
lished Church, and he possesses the 
supreme jurisdiction in ecclesiastical affairs. 
TiTe k4 appoints the Bishops. .™i his 
sanction must be obtained to the prefer- 
ment of the rest of the clergy. 

The Ecclesiastical Department of the 
State has the administration of consider- 
able sums of money that have been realized 
by the sale of property which belonged 
to the priests and monasteries in Roman 
Catholic times. This money is placed to 
a j^d which is used for the benefit of the 
Lutheran clergy and as pensions for their 
widows, also for the advancement of 
education. 

The Bishops are remunerated by the 



ECCLESIASTICAL MATTERS 141 

State, chiefly from the funds which were 
appropriated by the Government at the 
time of the Reformation. 

The country clei^ have the fr-ee use of 
the glebes which belong to the State, and 
among other sources of income to the 
livings are the parsons* tithes and sundry 
rent charges on landed proprietors in the 
parish. 

In the towns the tithes have laigely 
been conunuted by the municipality, and 
are now paid to the cleigy by the com- 
munity in the form of rates, their stipends 
being further augmented by volimtary 
contributions and by certain grants from 
the Government. 

According to a law passed in 1897, all 
the churches and churchyards in Norway, 
with a few exceptions, will in a short time 
become the property of their respective 
congregations. For this piupose a church 
fund is now in process of formation, being 
raised by the commutation of all church 
tithes, and by the addition of certain royal 
tithes of pre-Reformation origin The 



148 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

proceeds of this fund will be devoted to 
the maintenance of, and the repairs to, 
the churches, the deficit to be made up 
by the parish or municipality. 

Among the many religious efforts which 
are liberally supported may be mentioned 
the Norwegian Missionary Society, which 
was founded in 1842 : Zululand, Natal, 
and Madagascar are its fields of labour ; 
the Santhal Mission in India ; and the 
Norwegian Lutheran China Mission, 
There are also home missions and local 
religious associations for the relief of the 
poor and the care of the sick. In addi- 
tion to these, there is a mission to the 
Jews. 

Great was the reluctance of the Nor- 
wegian people to receive the reformed 
faith, which they were compelled by law 
to do in the middle of the sixteenth 
century; but they have since become 
loyally and deeply attached to it, and 
there are probably few countries in 
Europe where the ministers of religion 
have a greater influence in the adminis- 



PUBLIC INSTRUCTION 148 

tration of the affairs of the country and 
the education of the people than in Nor- 
way. It has been the nation's endeavour 
for the last century to develop and im- 
prove the education of her children. 

An effort was made by royal ordinance 
as early as 1789 to introduce into the 
country a system of general school at- 
tendance, and to arrange for the establish- 
ment of a permanent school in each parish. 
At that time the clergy were the sole 
leaders in school matters, each in his own 
parish, and it is owing in a great measure 
to them that, in the face of the numerous 
difficulties of all kinds which had to be 
overcome, the school has made continual 
progress. Its development has always 
been in a democratic direction. From a 
parish school for the poor, it has become 
a national school, where a general educa- 
tion is provided which is accessible to all 
members of society. 

Free and compulsory education obtains 
in Norway. It consists of a seven years' 
course. In the country districts it is 



144 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

adapted for children between the ages of 
eight and fifteen, and in the towns for 
those between seven and fourteen. The 
reason why Norwegian children b^^in 
their education so late in the country 
parishes may no doubt be attributed to 
the fact that they have in most cases to 
travel great distances in order to attend 
school 

The Department for Ecclesiastical 
Matters and Public Instruction is the 
highest school authority in the country. 
Next follow the School Directors, one 
for each of the six dioceses ; these super- 
intend the primary schools. The Bishop 
and Dean also take an active part in the 
superintendence, and the priest in super- 
vising the instruction in religious know- 
ledge. 

There are six public colleges, one to 
each diocese, for the training of school- 
masters and governesses — as school- 
mistresses are called — for the primary 
schools, and in these colleges they receive 
free tuition. The coU^^e course extends 



PUBLIC INSTRUCTION 145 

to three years; it was formerly a two 
years' course. 

There are also four private colleges, in 
which a considerable number of free 
students are admitted and are paid for by 
Grovemment grant. 

The Government votes an annual sum 
amounting to 10»000 kroner (£555) to- 
wards travelling scholarships for teachers 
in primary schools. Several municipalities 
also devote sums of money annually for 
the same purpose. 

County schools (" amtsskoler "), one to 
each county, are instituted as continua- 
tion schools, and the syllabus is practically 
the same as that which obtains in the 
primary schools, but the aim is a higher 
one. The girls are instructed in needle- 
work and house management, and the 
boys in wood sloyd and technical draw- 
ing. In some of these schools instruc- 
tion is also given in gardening, agricul- 
tural subjects, and the English language. 
In aid of these schools the State 
grants three-fourths of the total amount 

10 



146 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

voted by the county authorities for 
up-keep. 

Direct Government grants are also 
made to a few People's High Schools 
for advanced education. There are in 
Norway at the present time thirty-six 
working-men's colleges, ten of these being 
situated in country districts. The first 
was erected in Christiania in 1885. 

The instruction at these colleges is 
given in the evenings in the form of 
lectures on a variety of subjects. The 
lecturers are chosen from among scientific 
men, schoohnasters, doctors, military men, 
etc. The Government grant to the 
working-men's colleges is equal to one- 
half of that which is contributed by the 
municipalities. 

In addition to the foregoing there are 
also established a number of Grovemment 
grammar - schools (" latinskoler ") and 
higher grade schools, known as ^^gjnn- 
nasia," for those who wish to lay the 
foundation for a continued higher educa- 
tion and as a preparation for the Uni- 



PUBUC INSTRUCTION 147 

versity. The principals (** rektorer ") of 
these schools, as well as the other per- 
manent assistant-masters, are Government 
officers, and receive their appointments 
firom the King. 

Norway has only one University, the 
Royal Frederik University in Chris- 
tiania, founded in 1811. The number of 
professors at the present time is sixty-five; 
they are appointed by the King. 

The leaving examination at a *' gym- 
nasium " (*' examen artium ") entitles the 
successful candidate to enter his name as 
a student at the University. The total 
number of students there is now about 
1,400, and they receive free instruction. 
Small fees are, however, required for per- 
mission to enter for the various examina- 
tions. The expenses of the University 
are chiefly defrayed by the Government 

Connected with the University are 
various laboratories, scientific institutions, 
and collections, among them being the 
National Library, the Botanical Gardens, 
the Historical Museum, the Astronomical 

19—2 



148 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

Observatory, and the Meteorolo^cal In- 
stitute. Theological students receive 
practical training at a college affiliated to 
the University. 



I 

1 



IX 

THE GEIRANGER FJORD TO MOLDE 

Leaving now the magnificent Hjorund 
Fjord, we take the road from Oie to 
Hellesylt. Ascending the goige of Nor- 
dangsdal, we again arrive at ''Gaard" 
Tryggestad, at which place the road 
branches off for Hellesylt, and we drive 
down a steep, well-wooded valley along 
the banks of a mowitain torrent. The 
river thmiders down a nigged chasm, at 
times lost to sight in the mysterious 
depths of the gloomy, cavernous gorge ; 
then, emerging into the open and madly 
plunging over huge boulders, it sends its 
spray over us in clouds as we pass. 

The steep road descends thit>ugh hang- 
ing woods of tall pine and graceful birch, 

149 



150 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

and at a clearing in the forest a small 
farm, surrounded by its own green fields, 
is passed, and we now obtain a glimpse of 
the village of Hellesylt, reposing down by 
the margin of the bright fjord of Sunelv. 
Picturesquely perched on elevated ground 
above the red-tiled house-tops stands the 
church. 

Deep in a valley to our right repose 
the remains of a huge avalanche of snow, 
surrounded by trees, with whose firesh, 
green foliage the white snow presents the 
striking contrast of winter and summer 
side by side. The time of cherry-blossom 
is almost over, but there is a wealth of 
apple and pear blossom in the many 
orchards around sunny Hellesylt. 

Having had so many hours in the 
« kariol," it is refreshing to sit by the 
margin of a Qord again; to breathe in 
quietude the incense-laden air, and to 
listen to the faint murmur of some distant 
waterfall ; to watch the rays of the 
westering sun stream from behind the 
nearer mountain in an intense amber 



OIE TO HELLESYLT 161 

glow, deeping gradually into rose, and illu- 
minating the snow-topped peaks across the 
fjord yonder in a most enchanting way. 

The nearer mountains are in purple 
shadow. In one short hour the light on 
each ruddy top dies away, and their 
colour is slowly transformed to that of 
cold, silvery blue as they are one by one 
deserted by the sun's rays. All the 
peaks are now of blue, purple, and silver 
— cool and refreshing to look upon. 
Hardly has the last mountain taken on 
his silvery hue when a light zephyr breathes 
softly across the sleeping waters of the 
fjord in a steely glitter. But what is this 
weird light that is stealing over all Nature 
in softest and most delicate blush when 
we expected the cool twilight ? It is the 
afterglow. An ethereal rosy golden light 
slowly intensifies on the mountains. It 
is more diffused than the actual direct 
glow from the setting sun, and not nearly 
so brilliant ; but a dreamy glow, mysteri- 
ous and bewitchingly weird in the intense 
stillness. 



162 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

A slight breeze disturbs the surface of 
the water, and the fjord now ripples with 
a thousand hues from sunset sky and rosy- 
tinted mountains. It is now fast approach- 
ing the hour of midnight. Almost already 
the first faint signs of dawn appear in the 
north, where a solitary star is but barely 
discernible in the pale amber sky ; and as 
we gaze on such a scene with reverent 
and grateful hearts, we offer up a psean 
ot praise, and thankfully store away 
in the treasure-house of our memory 
the recollection of a perfect night of 
June spent amid such romantic surround- 
ings. 

In the character of the scenery of 
Geiranger in Sondmore we have a blend- 
ing of the Alpine splendour of Nordland, 
with the wildness of Jotimheim, the beauty 
of Hardanger, and the grandeur of Sogn. 
Whether we approach this fjord from the 
land side and drive down the splendidly 
engineered road in zigzag windings to the 
village of Meraak, or sail in frt)m the main 
Stor Fjord, we obtain an equally vivid 



THE 6EIRAN6ER FJORD 163 

impression of Geiranger's beauty and 
grandeur. 

Here the scenery of the Sondmore dis- 
trict may be said to attain its most perfect 
expression. Sogn has higher mountains, 
but Sondmore, with its bold, sharp peaks, 
makes quite as overpowering an impression 
on the mind of the traveller, attracting 
and captivating him with its enchanting 
power. 

G^iranger Fjord and district are noted 
for beautiful waterfiedls, and from the 
hamlet of Meraak, if we row for a couple 
of hours, we can visit the Seven Sisters 
Waterfall — ^its proper name, however, is 
Knivsflaafos — a bevy of falls who 
plunge gaily side by side down a high, 
precipitous clijOT into the fjord. Their 
number varies at different times according 
to the state of the weather, and we are 
not always able to count the mystic seven. 
Other sisters appear after heavy rain, and 
thus increase the fisimily to eight or nine ; 
and in hot weather four only are to be 

seen. 

20 



164 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

These £Edls, which descend from a great 
height almost without touching the clifi» 
seem to shoot downwards like rockets in 
m3nriads of large and small douches of 
water — these, as they descend, pierce 
through the fine spray which they create, 
and thus cause a very pretty effect, espe- 
cially when the sun's rays cause rainbow 
hues to float on the delicate gauze of 
spray. 

Another beautifrd waterfall near here is 
known as "Brude Slur" (Bridal Veil). 
This '^ fos " descends almost as a veil from 
the sky-line of the high cliff, and spreads 
its streamers over the face of the dark 
rock. In stormy weather I have seen this 
waterfall lifted bodily by the wind and 
carried upwards into space, to descend like 
rain at some distance. 

On the opposite side of the fjord, high 
up on the precipitous cliffs and in a 
romantic position, is situated an old 
farmstead, ** Gaard " Skaggeflaa by name, 
and from the rugged crags in close prox- 
imity to it is a picturesque waterfall, Gjeit- 



THE 6EIRAN6ER FJORD 165 

fos (Goat's Fall). The only means of 
access to this lonely fJEuin is by a dizzy 
goats' track, which threads its devious 
way upwards from the shore of the fjord 
across the breast of the steep cliff. In 
one place the track is completely blocked 
by an overhanging rock. This is scaled 
by means of a ladder. 

Some years ago there lived a fanner 
here who refused to pay his share of the 
local taxes. The wily farmer would never 
visit the village shops for provisions or other 
necessaries until he had first made quite 
sure that the *'lensmand" (sherifi^s officer) 
was not in the neighbourhood; neither 
would he fish on the fjord, only at a place 
just beneath the cliffs on the top of which 
his farm lay. 

On one occasion the " lensmand " came 
close upon the delinquent unawares. He 
followed him up the difficult goats' track, 
climbing and slipping until he came to 
the ladder. Quickly scaling the rock, the 
tricky farmer pulled up the ladder after 
him, and so left the breathless and angry 

20—2 



166 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

** lensmand " to find his way down again, 
for he was quite unable to proceed farther. 

Near to the entrance of Geiranger Fjord, 
and among a number of laige boulders 
which lie at the foot of the steq> difis of 
Nokkeneb (Nyxies' Peak) stands an ancient 
<'gaard/' called Sultevik. 

At this farm an ancient outbuilding of 
logs, called a <*rdgestue/' is still used as in 
primitive times. The exterior is unpre- 
tentious in appearance, but the interior is 
quite interesting. The hut is built of 
thick balks of timber, and the turf- 
covered roof is supported by heavy beams, 
which are dark with the smoke of cen- 
turies. On the hard earthen floor, rudely 
built of stones, stands an elevated hearth- 
fire, the smoke fix)m which escapes through 
a square hole in the roof. Over the fire 
hangs an ancient iron ** gryte '' (cauldron), 
suspended firom a movable wooden pole. 
On one side of the room stands a massive 
bench-like table, on the top of which was 
placed a large trough of wood, which was 
in use for kneading dough. It must have 



THE 6EIRAN6ER FJORD 167 

been used for centuries, to judge from its 
appearance. On the outside it was much 
worn and stained by age, while on the 
inside appeared many different stratifica- 
tions of meal and flour dough, which also 
pointed to the fact of its being used for 
untold years. 

Two robust peasant girls were busy 
together making potato - cakes, placing 
them for baking on a slab of slate which 
rested on stones over the peat fire. 
Through the smoke I could just see on a 
shelf a few old carved and painted wooden 
articles of domestic use — butter-holders, 
bowls, tankards, and dishes — and these 
were in daily use. 

A quaint iron lamp (''kole"") is sus- 
pended from a beam in the ceiling, and 
this is the oldest form of lamp now to be 
found in the country. In it fish -oil 
(<< tran ") is burned, and a piece of tow 
hangs as a wick from the lip of the open 
heart-shaped saucer which contains the 
oil. This lamp will not give a brilliant 
light by any means, but these simple 



158 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

peasants put up with it for the good and 
sufficient reason that they have nothing^ 
better. 

This majestic fjord of Geiranger is noted 
for great avalanches of snow, sometimes 
of rocks, which in the winter and early- 
spring descend firom the steep mountains 
around. 

Near Madvik Farm, at the entrance to 
the Qord, an unusually severe avalanche 
of stones and snow occurred a few years 
ago, the concussion £rom which was felt 
for several miles around, and on the water 
huge waves were formed, which swept 
with great velocity into the neighbouring 
branch fjords, and even across to Helle- 
sylt, causing no little damage to property 
on the shore. 

I see from my diary that the fjord 
steamer left Meraak in Geiranger at the 
unearthly hour of 2 a.m., and that in six 
hours I arrived at Soholt on a fragrant 
morning in June. 

At this place I hired a ** kariol " and boy 
for the drive to Vestnes. In crossing the 



SOHOLT TO ROMSDAL 169 

extensive moorland which forms the 
watershed, we met a picturesque group of 
farmers with their wives and children, and 
the cattle, sheep, and goats. They were 
on their way to the ** saeter " farms, there 
to stay for the summer months. A couple 
of rustic carts were drawn along by sturdy 
cream-coloured ponies, and in the carts 
the youngest children sat quite comfort- 
ably among the various domestic goods 
and chattels which were for use up at the 
" saeter." 

Along the side of the road, which here 
crossed the bleak moorland plateau, tall 
standing stakes were placed at intervals in 
order to guide the traveller in winter-time 
when the road lies buried underneath the 
deep snow. 

Vestnes is not an attractive place. 
From here the town of Molde can just be 
seen across the wide Qord, but it is too 
far distant for the view to be at all inter- 
esting. 

Showers and sunshine alternating made 
the short steamer voyage fix>m Vestnes to 



160 THE NOR^VEGIAN FJORDS 

Aandalsnaes attractive, for the mountains 
of many peaks which surromid the far- 
famed Romsdal were in view most of the 
time. Cloud shadows chased each other 
among their rugged forms and over the 
great patches of unmelted snow which lay 
on their summits. 

The village of Aandalsnass, or Nses, 
owes the cause of its existence entirely to 
the magnificent scenery amid which it is 
situated. Veblungsnees is the older port 
of call for the fjord steamers, but Nses, 
being more conveniently placed for travel- 
lers visiting the Romsdal, it has rapidly 
grown into favour in late years. The 
river Rauma, noted for its splendid salmon- 
fishing, separates the two villages. 

Seen fix)m Nass, also, the panorama of 
majestic mountains is much grander than 
firom Veblungsnaes. On a fine summer's 
evening the rocks on the sharp peaks of 
Romsdalshom and Troldtindeme (witch 
pinnacles) are all crimson and piu^ple with 
the sunset, and bright tongues of fiery 
cloud are often seen burning and quiver- 



THE ROMSDAL 161 

ing about them; and the river, brighter 
than all, flows silently down the broad 
valley in a glittering sheet of gold. Long 
level lines of dewy mist lie stretched along 
the valley, almost hiding the mountain 
bases by their filmy vapour. 

Sometimes one may hear the peasant 
girls calling the cattle down from the hills 
by singing the "fjeldviser" — musical 
ditties whose notes are similar to those 
with which Jenny Lmd once charmed 
great audiences in many lands. 

The Romsdal, down which flows the 
river Rauma, is one of the grandest 
valleys in the whole of Norway. At 
Naes the valley is wide, and luxuriant 
green pastures and beautiful trees enliven 
the landscape. 

Romsdalshom, whose peaked top rises 
to over 5,000 feet, stands conspicuously 
at the entrance to the valley, and near to 
it on the left tower the still more lofty 
pinnacles of Vengetindeme, while on the 
right are the strikingly picturesque TroU- 
tindeme (witch pinnacles), from whose 

21 



162 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

rugged sides great avalanches of snow and 
rocks are precipitated in winter. Fart of . 

the serrated ridge is known as ''Brude- I 

folge/' or Bridal Train. 

Farther up, and beyond Horgheim, the 
valley becomes narrower and more ravine- 
like ; and here the river flows with greater 
impetuosity, and threads its way through 
a chaos of enormous blocks of rock, the 
result of some tremendous landslip. 

At Flatmark (Flat Field) the valley 
becomes broader again, and the mountain 
scenery around is extremely grand and 
impressive. 

Between here and Ormheim several 
fine waterfalls are precipitated from rocks 
some 2,000 feet in height, the chief among 
these falls being the Vermafos, which 
assumes imposing dimensions after rain 
or during the melting of the snow in early 
summer. 

The road now ascends the once-dreaded 
Bjomeklev (Bears* Cliff) in numerous 
windings, and at Stuefloten attains the 
height of over 2,000 feet above fjord-level. 



SALMON-FISHING 163 

At this place ends the Romsdal, one of 
the most widely celebrated routes in 
Norway, 

The river Rauma is about thirty-seven 
miles long firom its source at the Lake 
Lesjeskogen to the Romsdals Fjord, and 
it is counted among the best salmon rivers 
in the country. 

Salmon-fishing in the rivers is carried 
on with the rod as a sport, and large sums 
of money are paid annually by sportsmen 
for the renting of rivers. Seine nets are 
also largely used by fishermen. These 
nets are placed at the mouths of the 
rivers, and in this way large hauls of fish 
are often made. 

Salmon is fished all along the coast firom 
the beginning of May to the end of 
August, and, since the practice of bag- 
netting was introduced some fifty years 
ago, the proceeds have increased enor- 
mously. Most of the fish is exported, a 
large quantity going to England. 

The fishing industry may be considered 
the most ancient and important means of 

21—^2 



164 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

livelihood of the Norwegian people. More 
than a thousand years ago, according to 
the old sagas, "splendid painted ships, 
with sails of several colours," sailed with 
fish from Norway to England ; and this 
great industry is still one of the most 
important in the land, especially the sea 
fisheries, which obtain their peculiar value 
from the natural conditions and geo- 
graphical features of an exceedingly long^ 
coast-line, with its deep inlets and numer- 
ous islands. 

Of the great sea-fisheries, that of cod- 
fishing is by far the most profitable, and 
in its pursuit the greatest number of men 
are employed. It is carried on aU along 
the coast, but most extensively in the 
northern part of the country. At the 
fishing stations in the Lofoten Islands 
alone some 40,000 men are employed 
during the first three months of the 
year. 

Farther south, and especially in the 
wide i^ords of the Romsdal County, sea- 
cod fishing has always been carried on 



»» 



>» 



THE GREAT SEA-FISHERIES 166 

more extensively than at most other 
points along the coast. 

Cod vary in weight from 9 to 20 
pounds, but they have been taken weigh- 
ing as much as 90 pounds. Codfish is 
prepared, as a rule, either as "klipfisk 
(salted and rock-dried fish), or as '^torfisk 
(dried stock-fish). The most important 
product, however, is "klipfisk." It is 
cleaned and salted at the fishing stations, 
and then sent away to convenient drying- 
places, where the fish is laid out on the 
flat rocks ("klipper") to dry, or on the 
shingly shore, where such is found. 

It is an attractive and interesting sight 
to see the native women at work on the 
broad pebbly strand, their many-coloured 
garments fluttering in the breeze as they 
turn over the thousands of fish to dry in 
the sun. When sufficiently dry the fish is 
piled into circular stacks about 4 feet 
high; a flat wooden cover is then placed on 
the top, and this is held down by boulders 
of stone to protect it from the force of the 
wind. These wooden caps are usually 



166 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

painted a bright Indian red, and in appear- 
ance form a lively contrast to the deep blue 
water of the breezy §ord and the pale 
pebbles on the sunny strand. Many 
thousands of tons of ^^klipfisk"' are 
exported annually, chiefly to Spain. 

The preparation of "torfisk" is more 
simple than that of salted cod. The fish 
in this case, when cleaned, are usually hung 
up by the tail to dry in pairs, on large 
wooden frames or scaffolds called " hjeller.'* 

Next to the cod the herring fisheries are 
the most important in the country. These 
fisheries vary, however, very considerably, 
and the time during which the fish visit 
the coast is often of very short duration. 
The herring shoals come in twice a year, 
once in winter and once in summer or 
autumn; and it sometimes happens that 
quite suddenly, and as if by some stroke 
of magic, the sea becomes brimful of 
herring, and then after a short time it 
is just as suddenly empty again. At such 
harvest-times the fishermen are very hard 
at work both day and night, and have 



THE GREAT SEA-FISHERIES 167 

barely opportunity to take their food or 
rest ; and as the sea is often rough, and the 
weather wet and stormy, their calling is at 
these times fraught with many dangers. 
As compensation, however, they have their 
long intervals of rest — ^perhaps too many 
of them. The &rmer-fisherman of the 
fjords is in many respects better off, as 
he can find other employment if his daily 
fishing fails for a time, especially in the 
spring and summer months, when farm 
work claims his attention and crops have 
to be harvested and housed. 

The summer day is of long duration in 
Norway. During the light nights Nature 
dreams, day meets day, and away up in 
the north the sun illumines the heavens by 
night as well as by day. Even in the 
southernmost parts of the country the 
setting sun barely sinks below the horizon 
from the end of April to the beginning 
of August, consequently bright twi- 
light prevails during the whole of that 
period ; but we must travel fiEtrther north 
and reach the polar circle before we see 



168 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

the sun shining all through the summer 
night 

At Bodo the sun does not set from the 
b^rinning of June to the first week in 
July ; and at North Cape the midnight sun 
is visible from May 12 to July 29, and 
its orb presents from that place a most 
weird and impressive sight 

In winter, on the other hand, twilight 
takes the place of daylight in these high 
latitudes, and at North Cape the sun is 
not seen from the middle of November to 
the end of January. 

Farther south, however, at Throndhjem, 
the sun rises at 10 a.m., and sets at 
2.80 p.m., on the shortest days of winter ; 
and at Bergen there are nearly six hours 
of daylight at that time of the year. 

Norway in winter is not quite so 
dreadfril a place as most people would 
imagine. After the first heavy fall of 
snow the days become bright and clear, 
and blue skies prevail, often for several 
weeks in succession, especially in districts 
which lie at some distance inland from 



WINTER SPORTS 169 

the coast) or near the heads of the larger 
fjords. The air is here fresh and bracing, 
and the five hours of sunshine during 
even the shortest days make walking, 
sleighing, and ski-running attractive exer- 
cises. On the darkest nights of mid- 
winter the sky is palpitant with the 
luminous northern lights — the aurora 
borealis — ^which stream up from behind 
the dark mountains in prismatic hues of 
great brilliance ; and when the fiiU moon 
shines on the sparkling fjord and on the 
deep, crisp snow, it is exhilarating to take 
a long sleigh drive over the frosty roads 
by the margin of the fjord, to sup at a 
friend's house on an evening at Yuletide. 

The winter sports of Norway are cele- 
brated far and wide, and they bid fair to 
become as attractive to pleasure votaries 
of snow and ice as are those of the 
Engadine. These sports are held in the 
month of February each year, at Holmen- 
kollen, near Christiania, and at Thrond- 
hjem. 

Among the essentially national sports 

22 



170 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

held at fixed times at these centres 
may be mentioned that of ski-ing» or, 
properly, " skilobning " (leaping on snow- 
shoes). This is the most popular of all 
their sports, and it is the means of 
attracting many thousands of people, 
including numerous foreigners, chiefly 
English and German. 

The use of the ski (pronounced 
** shee ") as an easy means of locomotion 
is, in the opinion of historians, of very 
ancient origin, and came to Norway with 
the Lapps long before the dawn of the 
Christian era ; and from that remote time 
to the present the ski has been worn, 
chiefly by the peasants in mountainous 
districts, and is also very popular with 
the army« As a national sport it has had 
a great revival in recent years, and almost 
every boy and girl in the country now 
possess " skier." 

Another form of sport for which Nor- 
way is celebrated is that of the hunting 
and shooting of wild animals and game, 
and in this respect it is an ideal country 



WILD ANIMALS AND GAME 171 

for sportsmen. In the great forests that 
cover rather more than one-fifth of its 
entire area game of all kinds is to be 
found. 

Among beasts of prey the bear and 
wolf are still common in the remoter 
parts of the country ; also the lynx and 
glutton, although the latter is fast be- 
coming extinct The Government offers 
a reward for killing any of these animals, 
including the fox, of which there are 
large numbers. 

The elk is now becoming rare, but 
there are large herds of reindeer in a wild 
state on the mountain plateaux, and the 
red deer is also found, though less fre- 
quently than in former times. 

Of the wild fowl the capercailzie is the 
finest, and there are found everywhere 
*' rype "* (ptarmigan), and hazel and willow 
grouse. The latter are without compari- 
son the most important game in the 
country. 

The most valuable of the wild-fowl, 
however, is the eider-duck, on account of 



172 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 

its down. This bird is most abundant 
among the northern islands, although it 
is also found in large numbers at many 
places along the coast. 

We have followed the principal fjords 
of the west country, from Hardanger 
northwards, and now we come to Molde. 
This bright little town is more beautifully 
situated than any other in the coimtry. 
It lies sheltered and calm by the blue 
waters of the Molde Fjord, over whose 
broad expanse are seen, to the south and 
east, the magnificent Sondmore range of 
mountains, with their many peaks and 
glaciers. On a calm summer's evening, 
when the setting sun lights up each peak 
and pinnacle with its golden glow, the 
scene from this place is one of enchanting 
loveliness : 

** Ye mountains hoar of earthfast stone, 
Where ancient Thor presides alone ; 
Ye fjords that smile in silver blue. 
Each rock and isle, farewell to you.*"* 

* Frithjof Saga. 



INDEX 



Aamdal, 104 
AftndaLnuDa. See Nae 
Aurdal. 109 

JEsir (heethen goda), 49 
Afterglow, the, 150 
Affricultnre, 10 
AUer, heathen, 60 
Andoen, ooal on. 104 
Animala, wild, 170 
Antiqnarian Socie^ of Chria- 

tiania, the, 107 
Arendal iron-ore minea, 104 
An Frodi, the Skald, 48 
Art of the Viking Age. 29, 81 
Arte, indnatrial, 28, 81 
Arredalagmbe, 108 
Aagaard, 49 

Aatronomical Ohaerratoiy, 148 
Atlben, 14 

Anrlanda Fjord, 57. 98 
Aurora Boiealia, the, 169 
Aralanchea, 86. 110, 168 

Bakke, 88 

Balder, the Beantifiil, 49, 61 

•* Balder'a Baal/' 60 

Baleetrand. 67 

Balholm, 67 

Bear-hnntingt 78, 171 

Bale, King. 68 

Bo^Bn, S, 28, 168 

-Ohriatiania Railway, 94 
Mnaeiun, 80 
-Yoaa Railway, 24 



Boat-building, 18, 16 

Boata, ancient forma of, 16 

Bodo. 168 

Bohnalan,14 

Bojumabne, 76 

Bondhnabra, 41 

Borgnnd, **StaT-Kirke" at, 

107 
Botanical Qardena, 147 
Bremanger land, 118 
Bronze Age, the. 114 
Bmdealurfoa (Bridal YeU 

FaUa), 154 
Buarbr«,41 

Oaperoailzie. the, 171 
Oeremoniea, pagan. 49 
Oharacter. national, 123 
Oheeae-makini^ 70 
China, miiaion to, 142 
Chri8tiania.Bergen Railway, 94 

UniTeraitT, 147 
Ohriatianity, introdootion of, 

47, 118 
Chriatmaa Etc cnatoma, 53. 66 
Church, the Latheran, 189 

tithea. 141 
Ohurohea, andent (" StaT- 

Kirker"), 29, 61, 107, 118 
Climate, 4 

Ooal on Andoen, 104 
Ood-fiahing indoatry, the, 164 
Ooilegea, pablio and priTate, 
144 

working men'a, 146 



178 



174 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 



Oopper-mininff, 108 
Oostnmaa, mttonml, 6, 87, 125 
Oraeda, Luthami, 189 
Customs, primitiTe, 60, 124 

Danoea, natioDal, 62, 64, 80 

Dudeota, natiya, 76, 84 

Diooeaea, eocleaiaatioal, 189 

Doaen, 118 

Drink traffic, the, 19 

DriTea by ''kariol," 24, 182, 

149. 168 
Drying fiah, method of, 166 
Dyrdal,80 

Ea^dea, golden, 91 
EoSeaiaatioal diooeaea, 189 
" Eddaa," the, 47 
Education, Gk)yemment granta 

to, 148. 146 
Eide, 24 

Eiderdnck, the, 171 
EidJQord, 45 
Elk, the, 171 
Embroidery, natiye, 82 
English Ohuroh. an. 68 

language tsught, 145 
Erlingson. Magnus, 77 
Eapelandafoa, 40 
Eapelandsyand, 26 

Fairy Ulea, 62 

Falejde, 181 

Farming, 7 

Fibelstad Haugen, 185 

Fiddle, the Hardanger, 88 

Fimreite, sea fight off, 77 

Finland, 21 

Finn aoroery. 67 

Firea, St John's, 60 

Fireside '* sagas," 52 

Fishing industry, the, 16, 168 

Fjfsrland, 51. 78 

Fiord formation, 110 

Flaamsdal, 94 

Flatmark, 162 

Floro, 118 

Folgefond snowfield, the, 28, 40 



Folklore. 52 
Food of peaaanti, 17 
Foreatry, 95 
Fox, the, 171 
Framnaa, 68 
Freayikbne, 96 
Freya, 49 

" FWtlgof a Saga,- 67, 172 
Fri>nningen, 96 
Fruit-growing, 11 

Galdhdpiggen, 111 
Game, 170 

Geiranger Ij'ord, 182, 149 
GlaciaTaotion, 40, 43 
Glittertind, 111 
Gloppen liord. 122 
Glutton, the, 171 
Goat-farming, 26, 86 
Goda, pagan, 48 
Gothenburg System, the, 19 
Goyemment Grants to Educa- 
tion, 148, 146 
Grayehalsen Tunnel, 94 
Grayen Lake, 45 
Grazing, eattie. 69 
Greek Skipper's Tale, a, 55 
Greenland, 40 
Grodaas, 182 
Grouse-shooting, 171 
Gudbrandsdal, 82, 105 
Gudyangen, 85, 92 

Haakonshal, 8 

Haarfagre, King HanJd, 47 

Hallingdal. 94 

<• Hallmg " danoe, the, 64, 89 

Hamar, 101 

Hanseatio League, the, 2, 100 

'* HarbarSs^'dV." the ** Edda," 

17 
Hardanger costume, 5, 87 

fidcQer, the, 64 

yiolin, the, 88 
Heathen superstition, 48 

temples, 49 
Hedemarken Amt, 98 
Helleristoinger (Buses), 18 



INDEX 



176 



Helleqrlt, 185, 149, 168 
Herring-fUhing industry, the, 

16.166 
High-aeat pUknCO'stolper"). 

^jella, 128 

Hjomnd T\md. 182, 186, 149 

HolnMDkoUen. 169 

Home fann. life on the, 7, 81 

industry. 80. 82 
Horgheim. 162 
Homdslsrokkeii. 186 
HomeleD, 118 
HomiDdslsrand. 184 
Hortieoltore. 10 
Hoose-building. 7, 81 
"Hore** (s hesthea temple). 

49 
*«Hiildr"on.68 
Humen laorifioes, 60 
Hoiitjjig. 170 
Hnsbendiy, 10 

loe Age^ the, 40 

loelend, 47 

loeUmdlo Uteratore, 48. 61 

" Ildhns." AB. 9 

Imsgee. pegui, 60 

India. SentSsl Hissloa to. 142 

Industrial Arts. 80. 82 

Ingebors, 68 

InqninnTeneas. native, 124 

Instniotion. Department of 

Pablio. 144 
Irish ornament, early. 29, 114 
Iron-ore mines, 108 

Jews, mission to the, 142 
Jondal. 18 
Joraafler, 118 
JordalanQten, 90, 92 
Jostedalen, 112 
Joetedalsbne. 76, 112 
Jotonheim. 46, 111 

Kaldafield. 92 
Kariol," driTes by, 24, 182. 
149. 168 



•« 



Kanpanger, 77 

Kilefoe. 92 

Kinservik,28 

Kitchen, an aadent (" Boge- 

stoe"). 166 
Sjelste^m. 184 
ffiendalsbrs, 128 
••Uipfisk," 166 
KniTsflaafos. 168 
Kongensgmoe. 108 
Kongsbeig silver mines, 108 
KroEedalen, 118 
Kyne, King Olai; 2, 118 

Laatefos,40 
Lnrdalsbren. 29, 105 
Lampe, anoient, 167 
lAna-tennre, 12 
Laplander. See Finn 
" LaxeverpL" a, 180 
Le{{endary lore, 62 
Leirraag, 14 
*• Lensmand,'* a (sherilTs 

offioer), 166 
Laqeskogen Lake, 168 
Lind, Jenny, 161 
Liqnor laws, the. 19 
liteFstore, Icelandic, 48, 61 
Loen Vend, 126 
Lofoten Islands, the, 164 
•• Lar." a, 72 

Latheran Ohnroh, the, 6, 189 
Lynx, the, 171 
Lyster Fjord. 110 

Magnos Krlinpon, 77 
MMsret, Prmcees, Maid of 

Norway, 78 
Harriage cnstoms, 64, 87 
Manrangar ^ord, 41 
Meraak, 162. 168 
Merman, a, 60 
Meteorologioal Institate, 148 
Midnight, snn at, 167 
Midsummer's Etc firee, 60 
Mining industry , the, 108 
MissionaiT societies, 142 
Mock wedding, a, 62 



176 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 



Molda, 169, 172 
Mandal, 75 
MuBio, nationalt 83 
Miumelheim, 40 
Myraal station, 04 
Mythology, paguii 48 

NflBTodAl, 86 
Kserbgord, 80 
Kes, 160 

Katal and Madagaaoar, mis- 
sion to, 142 
National oharaoter, 128 

ooUections, 147 

ooetame, 6, 87 

sports, 169 
Niffalhaim, 49 
**NiflnngSaga.*'the, 80 
Niord,49 
NorangsQord, 186 
Nordangadal, 185, 149 
Nord Fjord, 117 
Kordland, 16, 162 
North Gape, the, 168 
Northern Iiights, the, 169 
Norway in winter, 168 
Norwegian Established 
Onnroh, the, 189 

missionary societies, 142 

Tourist Olnb, the. 111 

Odde. 27. 86, 41 

8 din, 48 
ie. 182, 149 
Olaf Kyrre, King. 2, 78, 118 
OlaT Trygvesson, King, 48, 

118 
Olden vand, 126 
Ormheim, 162 
Oscar XL, King, 76 
Ostenso, 29 

Pagan mythology, 48 
temple, a, 49, 114 
Peasant proprietorship, 12 
Pilot, tiie Norwegian, 1 
Posting. 23. 182, 149, 168 
Ptannigan, the, 171 



Quaint onstoms, 61, 68, 124 
form of greeting, a, 124 
Queer stoiy of a Finn, 67 

Bagnvald. Earl, 114 
BambsBren Glacier. 95 
Banma, the Biyer, 160 
Reformation, the, 140 
Reindeer, 171 
Ringdals-fos, 86 

-Tand, 87 
Rites, heathen sacrificial, 40 
Riyer fisheries, 168 
Rock caryings, ancient, 18 
Roldal, 86, 41 
Romsdal, 160 
Roros copper mines, 108 
Rosendal, 18 

Rosenkranz, barony of, 13 
Runic inscriptions, 18, 107 
Rype " (ptarmigan), 171 



i( 



Sacrificial rites, pagan, 49 

<* Scemundar EkUa," the, 
17 

'< Sttter " girl's tale, a, 64 
life at a, 68 

" Sagas," the, 47, 61 

Saint John's fires, 60 

Salmon-fishing. 180, 168 

<' Samlag," the, 21 

Sandene, 122 

Sandyen Lake, 46 

Santhal Biission to India, 
the, 142 

Scholarship, trayelling, 145 

Schools, Church, 148 
Continuation, 146 
Forestry, 101 
Grammar, 146 
" Gymnasia," 146 
National Primary, 144 
People's High, 146 

Scientific institutions, 147 

Sea-fisheries, the, 163 
serpent, a, 60 

Seine nets, 168 

Seyestad,41 



INDEX 



177 



"SaTen Sistm'" Watorlkll, 

the, 158 
Ship-boilding, 18 
Ships, Viking, 14 
Silver mines, 108 
SiTlefos, 92 
SkssUn. 122 

« Ski " (s snow-shoe), 99, 170 
Slqttggedalsfos, 86 
Slneirefos, 26 
Slgolden, 111 
SUnde, 77 
Snom Storlsson, the Sksld, 

48 
Snow-shoes (" ski "), 99. 170 
Society for the Presemtion 

of Norwegian Monnments 

of Antiquity, 61 
Sogndsl, 77 
Sogne Ijord, 67 
Sdbolt, 168 
SolTom, 118 
Sdndmdie. 182. 162 
Sdr Fjord. 27, 40 
Soroei^, Finn, 67 
Spinning wool, 8 
Spitxbeigen« 40 
Sports, nstionml, 169 
Stftlheim, 90 
Standing stonss, prs-historio, 

114 
Staple food of pessants. 17 
State and religion, the, 188 
forests, 100 
mines, 108 
Stavanger, 2, 28 
Steamer, on board, 1, 78, 96, 

118,129 
Steganaase, 84, 98 
Stor IJord, 162 
Storratignibe, 108 
StiynsTuid, 122 
Stnefloten, 162^ 
StYTe, 84 

Sulitjelma mines, 104 
SoltsTik &rm, 166 
SonelTQord, 160 
Snn-woiahip, 60 



Snperstitions beliefs, 68 
Saphellebne, 76 
Snphelledal, 78 
Sverre, King, 77 
Sweden, 21 

Tapestry-weayinA 81 
Tegner's •" Fritl^f Saga/' 67, 

172 
Telemarken, 82, 104 
Templee, pagan, 49 
'^Toen, 41 

Textile fabrios. andent. 81 
Theoloffioal ooUege, 148 
Thor, the Thunderer, 48 
Throndlnem, 106, 168 
Timber-fellinff, 99 
Tithee, churoE, 141 
••Tdrflsk,"166 
Tourist Club, the Norwegian, 

111 
TraTelling soholarships, 146 
"Trolds,'^ 49, 63,69 
Troldtindeme, 160 
Tryggestad (km, 186, 149 
TrygYesson, King OUt, 48, 

118 
Tyasedal, 86 
T^sMstnengenefos, 89 

UUensTang, 27 
UlTik, 24, 26 
Underdal, 67, 94 
Underworld, the, 64 
Unirersity, Boyal Frederik, 

147 
UnuBs, <* StaT-Kirke " at, 113 

Vadheim. 67 

Valahei mines, the, 104 

Valdres. 106 

ValhalU, 49 

'<Valkyriea,'*49 

Valleys, formation of, 48. 106 

Vssettden,26 

Veblnngsn«s, 160 

Vengetmdems, 161 

Vermafos, 162 

28 



178 THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS 



V«taet.l68 
Vetle Ijord, 51 
Vettisfot, 110 
Vide Sster. 128. 182 
Vik In Sogn, 29, 51 

" StftTlikirke " at, 51 
yiUng Age. the, 47, 48, 68 

^Mpe, 14, 29 
Violin, the HanUnger, 88 
VisDM, 122, 181 
*< Volenng Saga." the, 80 
Vdringfoa,40 

VoMeyangen, 24, 29, 85, 98, 
101 
•Beigen Railway, 24 

Wanhipi of the Vikings, 14, 
29 



WaterfallB, the hig)iert» 85, 

40, 110 
Weddings, customs at, 64 

87 
Wild animals, 170 
Winter in Norway. 85, 167 

sports, 169 
Witohoraft, 58 
Wolves, 171 
Wood-oarnng, 28, SO 

•catting. 95 
Wool-spinning, 8 
Working-men^ ooll^gea, 146 

" Yomiger Edda,*' the, 48 
Yoletide onstoms, 61 

Zolnland, mission to, 142 



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