Calm was the sea, and in the clear Midsummer night there flew twelve cormorants out over the sea.
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 A fishing-station, where fishermen assemble periodically.
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ISAAC AND THE PARSON OF BROENOE
[Illustration: THE PARSON OF BROENOE. (Story of the Sea-Boot.)]
In Helgeland there was once a fisherman called Isaac. One day when he was out halibut fishing he felt something heavy on the lines. He drew up, and, lo! there was a sea-boot.
“That was a rum ’un! " said he, and he sat there a long time looking at it.
It looked just as if it might be the boot of his brother who had gone down in the great storm last winter on his way home from fishing.
There was still something inside the boot too, but he durst not look to see what it was, nor did he exactly know what to do with the sea-boot either.
He didn’t want to take it home and frighten his mother, nor did he quite fancy chucking it back into the sea again; so he made up his mind to go to the parson of Broenoe, and beg him to bury it in a Christian way.
“But I can’t bury a sea-boot,” quoth the parson.
The fellow scratched his head. “Na, na!” said he.
Then he wanted to know how much there ought to be of a human body before it could have the benefit of Christian burial.
“That I cannot exactly tell you,” said the parson; “a tooth, or a finger, or hair clippings is not enough to read the burial service over. Anyhow, there ought to be so much remaining that one can see that a soul has been in it. But to read Holy Scripture over a toe or two in a sea-boot! Oh, no! that would never do!”
But Isaac watched his opportunity, and managed to get the sea-boot into the churchyard on the sly, all the same.
And home he went.
It seemed to him that he had done the best he could. It was better, after all, that something of his brother should lie so near God’s house than that he should have heaved the boot back into the black sea again.
But, towards autumn, it so happened that, as he lay out among the skerries on the look-out for seals, and the ebb-tide drove masses of tangled seaweed towards him, he fished up a knife-belt and an empty sheath with his oar-blade.
He recognised them at once as his brother’s.
The tarred wire covering of the sheath had been loosened and bleached by the sea; and he remembered quite well how, when his brother had sat and cobbled away at this sheath, he had chatted and argued with him about the leather for his belt which he had taken from an old horse which they had lately killed.
They had bought the buckle together over at the storekeeper’s on the Saturday, and mother had sold bilberries, and capercailzies, and three pounds of wool. They had got a little tipsy, and had had such fun with the old fishwife at the headland, who had used a bast-mat for a sail.