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A Norwegian Honeymoon Henry van Dyke

Section III.

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Table Of Contents: Fisherman's Luck

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The shelter-hut on the bank is built of rough gray stones, and the roof is leaky to the light as well as to the weather. But there are two beds in it, one for my guide and one for me; and a practicable fireplace, which is soon filled with a blaze of comfort. There is also a random library of novels, which former fishermen have thoughtfully left behind them. I like strong reading in the wilderness. Give me a story with plenty of danger and wholesome fighting in it,--"The Three Musketeers," or "Treasure Island," or "The Afghan's Knife." Intricate studies of social dilemmas and tales of mild philandering seem bloodless and insipid.

The trout in the Tarn of the Elk are large, undoubtedly, but they are also few in number and shy in disposition. Either some of the peasants have been fishing over them with the deadly "otter," or else they belong to that variety of the trout family known as TRUTTA DAMNOSA,--the species which you can see but cannot take. We watched these aggravating fish playing on the surface at sunset; we saw them dart beneath our boat in the early morning; but not until a driving snowstorm set in, about noon of the second day, did we succeed in persuading any of them to take the fly. Then they rose, for a couple of hours, with amiable perversity. I caught five, weighing between two and four pounds each, and stopped because my hands were so numb that I could cast no longer.

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Now for a long tramp over the hills and home. Yes, home; for yonder in the white house at Drivstuen, with fuchsias and geraniums blooming in the windows, and a pretty, friendly Norse girl to keep her company, my lady is waiting for me. See, she comes running out to the door, in the gathering dusk, with a red flower in her hair, and hails me with the fisherman's greeting. WHAT LUCK?

Well, THIS luck, at all events! I can show you a few good fish, and sit down with you to a supper of reindeer-venison and a quiet evening of music and talk.

Shall I forget thee, hospitable Stuefloten, dearest to our memory of all the rustic stations in Norway? There are no stars beside thy name in the pages of Baedeker. But in the book of our hearts a whole constellation is thine.

The long, low, white farmhouse stands on a green hill at the head of the Romsdal. A flourishing crop of grass and flowers grows on the stable-roof, and there is a little belfry with a big bell to call the labourers home from the fields. In the corner of the living-room of the old house there is a broad fireplace built across the angle. Curious cupboards are tucked away everywhere. The long table in the dining-room groans thrice a day with generous fare. There are as many kinds of hot bread as in a Virginia country-house; the cream is thick enough to make a spoon stand up in amazement; once, at dinner, we sat embarrassed before six different varieties of pudding.

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Fisherman's Luck
Henry van Dyke

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