WHAT OLD JOHANNA TOLD 1067
a help to the larder. Ivar Olse looked quite contented then, but soon came his old adage, ' What is the use ! ' Everything was clean and neat in the house, curtains at the windows, and flowers, both carnations and balsams. A sampler hung in a picture frame, and close beside it a composition in rhyme : Maren Olse herself had composed it ; she knew how rhymes ought to go. She was almost a little proud of the family name ' Olse \ It was the only word in the Danish language that rhymed with ' Poise ' (sausage). ' That is always something in which one is superior to other people,' she said, and laughed. She always kept her good humour, and never said like her husband, 'What is the use!' Her adage was, 'Hold to yourself and our Father ! ' She did that, and it kept everything together. The children throve, grew too big for the nest, went far, and behaved themselves well. Rasmus was the youngest ; he was such a lovely child, and one of the great artists in the town borrowed him for a model, and that as naked as when he came into this world. The picture hung now in the king's palace, where the squire's lady had seen it and recognized little Rasmus, although he had no clothes on.
But now bad times came. The tailor had pains, got rheumatism in both hands, great knots came into them, and no doctor could help him, not even the wise Stine who ' doctored '.
1 One must not be disheartened ! ' said Maren. ' It is no use to hang the head ! now that we no longer have father's two hands to help, I must see about using mine the quicker. Little Rasmus also can use the needle ! '
He already sat on the board, whistling and singing ; he was a happy boy.
The mother said that he must not sit there all day ; it was a sin against the child ; he must also run about and play.
The shoemaker's little Johanna was his best playmate ; she belonged to still poorer people than Rasmus. She was not beautiful ; she was barelegged ; her clothes hung in tatters, she had no one to look after them, and it never occurred to her to do it herself ; she was a child, and as glad as a bird in our Lord's sunshine.