956 GODFATHER'S PICTURE-BOOK
up in the north. The ice-fleet is already down in the Sound, off the coast of Zealand, where Copenhagen now lies ; but there was no Copenhagen at that time. There were great sand-banks under the water, against one of these the ice-floes with the big boulders struck ; the whole of the ice-fleet stuck fast, the north-east wind could not float them again, and so he grew as mad as he could be, and pronounced a curse upon the sand-bank, " the thieves' ground," as he called it ; and he swore that if it ever lifted itself above the surface of the sea, thieves and robbers should come there, gallows and wheel should be raised on it.
' But whilst he cursed and swore in this manner, the sun broke forth, and in its beams there swayed and swung bright and gentle spirits, children of light; they danced along over the chilling ice-floes, and melted them, and the great boulders sank down to the sandy bottom.
' " Sun-vermin! " said the north wind, " is that comradeship and kinship ? I shall remember and revenge that. Now I pronounce a curse ! "
' " We pronounce a blessing! " sang the children of light. ''The sand-bank shall rise and we will protect it! Truth and goodness and beauty shall dwell there ! "
' " Stuff and nonsense ! " said the north-east wind.
' Of all this the lantern had nothing to tell,' said Godfather, ' but I knew it, and it is of great importance for the life and doings of Copenhagen.
' Now we shall turn the page !' said Godfather. ' Years have passed, the sand-bank has lifted itself ; a sea-bird has settled on the biggest stone, which jutted out of the water. You can see it in the picture. Years and years have passed. The sea threw up dead fish on the sand. The tough lyme-grass sprang up, withered, rotted, and enriched the ground; then came several different kinds of grasses and plants; the bank became a green island. The Vikings landed there. There was level ground for fighting, and good anchorage beside the island off the coast of Zealand.
■ The first oil-lamp was kindled, I believe, to cook fish over, and there were fish in plenty. The herrings swam in great shoals through the Sound ; it was hard to push a boat