WHAT OLD JOHANNA TOLD 1073
He went by the new high road, and there he saw Johanna driving a load of manure. She had not noticed him, and he did not want her to see him, so he sat himself behind the hedge, and hid there—and Johanna drove past.
Out into the world he went, and no one knew where; his mother thought he would come home again before the year was finished : ' He has now somethihg new to see and to think about, but he will get back into the old folds again, which cannot be ironed out with any pressing-iron. He has a little too much of his father's disposition. I would rather he had mine, the poor child ! but he will come home, he cannot give the old house and me the slip.'
The mother would wait a year and a day ; Elsie waited only a month, then she went secretly to the wise woman Stine, who could ' doctor ', read fortunes in cards and coffee, and knew more than her Lord's Prayer. She knew also where Rasmus was. She could read that in the coffee-grounds. He was in a foreign town, but she could not read the name of it. There were in that town soldiers and pretty girls. He thought either of taking a musket or one of the girls.
Elsie could not bear to hear that. She would willingly give her savings to buy him off, but no one must know that she had done it.
And old Stine promised that he would come back; she knew an art, a dangerous art for the person concerned, but it was the last resource. She would set the pot on to boil for him, and then he must come away from the place where he happened to be ; he must come home, where the pot boiled and his dearest one waited : months might pass before he came, but come he must, if there was life in him.
Without resting, night and day he must travel, over lake and mountain, be the weather mild or hard, however tired he was. He should come home, he must come home.
The moon was in the first quarter ; it must be so for the exercise of that art, said old Stine. It was stormy weather, the old willow tree cracked : Stine cut off a twig, and tied it into a knot, it would help to draw Rasmus home to his mother's house. Moss and house-leek were taken from the roof of the house, put into the pot, which was set on the