SORIA MORIA CASTLE
' No,' said the old woman, ' that I do not, but the Moon will be here presently, and I will ask her, and she will know. She can easily see it, for she shines on all things.'
So when the Moon stood clear and bright above the tree-tops the old woman went out. ' Moon ! Moon !' she screamed. ' Canst thou tell me the way to Soria Moria Castle ? '
' No,' said the Moon, ' that I can't, for when I shone there, there was a cloud before me.'
' Wait a little longer,' said the old woman to Halvor, ' for the West Wind will presently be here, and he will know it, for he breathes gently or blows into every corner.'
' What! have you a horse too ?' she said when she came in again. ' Oh ! let the poor creature loose in our bit of fenced-in pasture, and don't let it stand there starving at our very door. But won't you exchange him with me ? We have a pair of old boots here with which you can go fifteen quarters of a mile at each step. You shall have them for the horse, and then you will be able to get sooner to Soria Moria Castle.'
Halvor consented to this at once, and the old woman was so delighted with the horse that she was ready to dance. ' For now I, too, shall be able to ride to church,' she said. Halvor could take no rest, and wanted to set off immediately ; but the old woman said that there was no need to hasten. ' Lie down on the bench and sleep a little, for we have no bed to offer you,' said she, ' and I will watch for the coming of the West Wind.'
Ere long came the West Wind, roaring so loud that the walls creaked.
The old woman went out and cried:
' West Wind! West Wind ! Canst thou tell me the way to Soria Moria Castle ? Here is one who would go thither.'
' Yes, I know it well,' said the West Wind. ' I am just on my way there to dry the clothes for the wedding which is to take place. If he is fleet of foot he can go with me.'
Out ran Halvor.
' You will have to make haste if you mean to go with me,' said the West Wind ; and away it went over hill and dale, and moor and morass, and Halvor had enough to do to keep up with it.
' Well, now I have no time to slay with you any longer,' said the West Wind, ' for I must first go and tear down a bit of spruce fir before I go to the bleaching-ground to dry the clothes; but just go along the side of the hill, and you will come to some girls who