726 A STORY FROM THE SAND-DUNES
to go to sea again, because it pleased him to do so. And Elsie kissed him on the mouth when she heard that, for she loved Martin best.
In the early morning Jurgen purposed to start. On the evening before his departure when it was already growing late, he felt a wish to visit Martin once more ; he started, and among the dunes the old fisher met him, who was angry at his going. The old man made jokes about Martin, and declared there must be some magic about that fellow, ' of whom all the girls were so fond.' Jurgen paid no heed to this speech, but said farewell to the old man, and went on towards the house where Martin dwelt. He heard loud talking within. Martin was not alone, and this made Jurgen waver in his determination, for he did not wish to encounter Elsie; and on second consideration, he thought it better not to hear Martin thank him again, and therefore he turned back.
On the following morning, before break of day, he fastened his knapsack, took his wooden provision-box in his hand, and went away among the sand-hills towards the coast path. That way was easier to traverse than the heavy sand road, and moreover shorter ; for he intended to go in the first instance to Fjaltring, by Bowberg, where the eel breeder lived, to whom he had promised a visit.
The sea lay pure and blue before him, and mussel shells and sea pebbles, the playthings of his youth crunched under his feet. While he was thus marching on, his nose suddenly began to bleed : it was a trifling incident, but little things can have great significance. A few large drops of blood fell upon one of his sleeves. He wiped them off and stopped the bleeding, and it seemed to him as if this had cleared and lightened his brain. In the sand the sea eringo was blooming here and there. He broke off a stalk and stuck it in his hat; he determined to be merry and of good cheer, for he was going into the wide world—' a little way out of the door and up the river,' as the young eels had said. ! Beware of bad people, who will catch you and flay you, cut you in two, and put you in the frying-pan !' he repeated in his mind, and smiled, for he thought he should find his way through the world—good courage is .a strong weapon !