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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 94 pages of information about A Happy Boy.

“You are growing old, now, Ole.”

“Yes, it was about that I wanted to talk with you.  I am tottering downward; I will soon rest in the grave.”

“You must see to it that you rest well there, Ole.”

He closes the book and sits looking at the binding.

“That is a good book you are holding in your hands.”

“It is not bad.  How often have you gone beyond the cover, Ole?”

“Why, of late, I”—­

The school-master lays aside the book and puts away his spectacles.

“Things are not going as you wish to have them, Ole?”

“They have not done so as far back as I can remember.”

“Ah, so it was with me for a long time.  I lived at variance with a good friend, and wanted him to come to me, and all the while I was unhappy.  At last I took it into my head to go to him, and since then all has been well with me.”

Ole looks up and says nothing.

The school-master:  “How do you think the gard is doing, Ole?”

“Failing, like myself.”

“Who shall have it when you are gone?”

“That is what I do not know, and it is that, too, which troubles me.”

“Your neighbors are doing well now, Ole.”

“Yes, they have that agriculturist to help them.”

The school-master turned unconcernedly toward the window:  “You should have help,—­you, too, Ole.  You cannot walk much, and you know very little of the new ways of management.”

Ole:  “I do not suppose there is any one who would help me.”

“Have you asked for it?”

Ole is silent.

The school-master:  “I myself dealt just so with the Lord for a long time.  ‘You are not kind to me,’ I said to Him.  ’Have you prayed me to be so?’ asked He.  No; I had not done so.  Then I prayed, and since then all has been truly well with me.”

Ole is silent; but now the school-master, too, is silent.

Finally Ole says:—­

“I have a grandchild; she knows what would please me before I am taken away, but she does not do it.”

The school-master smiles.

“Possibly it would not please her?”

Ole makes no reply.

The school-master:  “There are many things which trouble you; but as far as I can understand they all concern the gard.”

Ole says, quietly,—­

“It has been handed down for many generations, and the soil is good.  All that father after father has toiled for lies in it; but now it does not thrive.  Nor do I know who shall drive in when I am driven out.  It will not be one of the family.”

“Your granddaughter will preserve the family.”

“But how can he who takes her take the gard?  That is what I want to know before I die.  You have no time to lose, Baard, either for me or for the gard.”

They were both silent; at last the school-master says,—­

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