322 THE ELF-HILL
the fields, and blowing out the Will-o'-the-wisps, which had come so good-naturedly for the torchlight procession.
1 What romping about is that ? ' said the old gnome. ' I have taken a mother for you, and now you may take one of the aunts.'
But the lads said that they would rather make a speech and drink brotherhood—they did not care to marry ; and they made speeches, and drank brotherhood, and tipped up their glasses on their nails, to show they had emptied them. Afterwards they took their coats off and lay down on the table to sleep, for they made no ceremony. But the old gnome danced about the room with his young bride, and he changed boots with her, for that's more fashionable than exchanging rings.
1 Now the cock crows,' said the old elf girl who attended to the housekeeping. ' Now we must shut the shutters, so that the sun may not burn us.'
And the hill shut itself up. But outside, the Lizards ran up and down in the cleft tree, and one said to the other,
I Oh, how I like that old Norwegian gnome !'
II like the lads better,' said the Earthworm. But he could not see, the miserable creature.
THE RED SHOES
There was once a little girl; a very nice pretty little girl. But in summer she had to go barefoot, because she was poor, and in winter she wore thick wooden shoes, so that her little instep became quite red, altogether red.
In the middle of the village lived an old shoemaker's wife : she sat and sewed, as well as she could, a pair of little shoes, of old strips of red cloth ; they were clumsy enough, but well meant, and the little girl was to have them. The little girl's name was Karen.
On the day when her mother was buried she received the red shoes and wore them for the first time. They were certainly not suited for mourning ; but she had no others, and therefore thrust her little bare feet into them and walked behind the plain deal coffin.