Through the warm and choking gloom there came, from time to time, a cooling chilling blast from the cold curves and winds of the slimy and slippery greenish lichworm, which bores its way through the earth and eats away the coffins that are rotting in the churchyards.
Horrible shapeless monsters, with streaming manes, such as are said to sometimes appear in mountain tarns, writhed and wallowed and seized their prey in the fens and marshes.
And he caught glimpses of all sorts of humanlike creatures, such as fishermen and sailors meet and marvel at on the sea, and landsmen see outside the elfin mounds.
And, besides, that there was a soft whizzing and an endless hovering and swarming of beings, whose shapes were nevertheless invisible to the eye of man.
Then the boat glided into miry pulpy water, where her course tended downwards, and where the earth-vault above darkened as it sank lower and lower.
All at once a blinding strip of light shot down from a bright blue slit high, high, above him.
A stuffy vapour stood round about him. The water was as yellow and turbid as that which comes out of steam boilers.
And he called to mind the peculiar tepid undrinkable water which bubbles up by the side of artesian wells. It was quite hot. Up there they were boring down to a world of warm watercourses and liquid strata beneath the earth’s crust.
Heat as from an oven rose up from the huge abysses and dizzying clefts, whilst mighty steaming waterfalls roared and shook the ground.
All at once he felt as if his body were breaking loose, freeing itself, and rising in the air. He had a feeling of infinite lightness, of a wondrous capability for floating in higher atmospheres and recovering equilibrium.
And, before he knew how it was, he found himself up on the earth again.
* * * * *
 Hulder, huldre, a name for anything elfin or gnomish. Compare Icel. Hulda, a hiding, covering. It implies the invisibility of the elfin race.
 Ligorm, serpent that eats the dead. If we have Lichfield and lichgate, we may have lichworm too.
* * * * *
[Illustration: FINN BLOOD.]
In Svartfjord, north of Senje, dwelt a lad called Eilert. His neighbours were seafaring Finns, and among their children was a pale little girl, remarkable for her long black hair and her large eyes. They dwelt behind the crag on the other side of the promontory, and fished for a livelihood, as also did Eilert’s parents; wherefore there was no particular goodwill between the families, for the nearest fishing ground was but a small one, and each would have liked to have rowed there alone.