206 OLE LUK-OIE
And thus they drove to the mouse's wedding. First they came into a long passage beneath the boards, which was only just so high that they could drive through it in the thimble ; and the whole passage was lit up with rotten wood.
1 Is there not a delicious smell here ? ' observed the Mouse. ' The entire road has been greased with bacon rinds, and there can be nothing more exquisite.'
Now they came into the festive hall. On the right hand stood all the little lady mice ; and they whispered and giggled as if they were making fun of each other ; on the left stood all the gentlemen mice, stroking their whiskers with their fore paws ; and in the centre of the hall the bridegroom and bride might be seen standing in a hollow cheese rind, and kissing each other terribly before all the guests ; for of course they were engaged, and were just about to be married.
More and more strangers kept flocking in. One mouse was nearly treading another to death ; and the happy couple had stationed themselves just in the doorway, so that one could neither come in nor go out. Like the passage, the room had been greased with bacon rinds, and that was the entire banquet; but for the dessert a pea was produced, in which a mouse belonging to the family had bitten the name of the betrothed pair—that is to say, the first letter of the name : that was something quite out of the common way.
All the mice said it was a beautiful wedding, and that
• the entertainment had been very agreeable. And then
Hjalmar drove home again : he had really been in grand
company; but he had been obliged to shrink in, to make
himself little, and to put on a tin soldier's uniform.
1 It is wonderful how many grown-up people there are who would be glad to have me !' said Ole Luk-Oie; ' especially those who have done something wrong. " Good little Ole," they say to me, " we cannot close our eyes, and so we lie all night and see our evil deeds, which sit on the bedstead like ugly little goblins, and throw hot water over us ; will you not come and drive them away, so that we may have a good sleep ? "—and then they sigh deeply