A STORY FROM THE SAND-DUNES 717
eel-mother, ' There are so many bad people—eel spearers ! ' But he wished to go a little way past the j^and-hills, a little way into the dunes ; and he succeeded in doing so. Four merry days, the happiest of his childhood, unrolled themselves, and the whole beauty and splendour of Jutland, all the joy and sunshine of his home, were concentrated in these. He was to go to a festival—though it was certainly a burial feast.
A wealthy relative of the fisherman's family had died. The farm lay deep in the country, eastward, and a point towards the north, as the saying is. Jiirgen's foster-parents were to go, and he was to accompany them. From the dunes across heath and moor, they came to the green meadows where the river Skaerum rolls its course, the river of many eels, where mother-eels dwell with their daughters, who are caught and eaten up by wicked people. But men were said sometimes to have acted no better towards their own fellow men ; for had not the knight, Sir Bugge, been murdered by wicked people ? and though he was well spoken of, had he not wanted to kill the architect, who had built for him the castle with the thick walls and tower, where Jiirgen and his parents now stood, and where the river falls into the bay ? The wall on the ramparts still remained, and red crumbling fragments lay strewn around. Here it was that Sir Bugge, after the architect had left him, said to one of his men, ' Go thou after him, and say, " Master, the tower leans." If he turns round, you are to kill him, and take from him the money I paid him ; but if he does not turn round let him depart in peace.' The man obeyed, and the architect answered, ' The tower does not lean, but one day there will come a man from the west, in a blue cloak, who will cause it to lean ! ' And so it chanced, a hundred years later ; for the North Sea broke in, and the tower was cast down, but the man who then possessed the castle, Prebjorn Gyldenstjerne, built a new castle higher up, at the end of the meadow, and that stands to this day, and is called Norre Vosborg.
Past this castle went Jurgen and his foster-parents. They had told him its story during the long winter evenings, and now he saw the lordly castle, with its double moat, and trees, and bushes ; the wall, covered with ferns, rose