With that he turned to one of his sons, and said:
“Give Jan a glass of punch. We must drink to him because his girl spoke up for herself better than old Mother Eve. It would have been well for us all if Glory Goldie had been in the Garden of Eden instead of Eve.”
One cold winter day Eric of Falla and Jan were up in the forest cutting down trees. They had just sawed through the trunk of a big spruce, and stepped aside so as not to be caught under its branches when it came crashing to the ground.
“Look out, Boss!” warned Jan. “It’s coming your way.”
There was plenty of time for Eric to have escaped while the spruce still swayed; but he had felled so many trees in his lifetime that he thought he ought to know more about this than Jan did, and stood still. The next moment he lay upon the ground with the tree on top of him. He had not uttered a sound when the tree caught him and now he was completely hidden by the thick spruce branches.
Jan stood looking round not knowing what had become of his employer. Presently he heard the old familiar voice he had always obeyed; but it sounded so feeble he could hardly make out what it was saying.
“Go get a team and some men to take me home,” said the voice.
“Shan’t I help you from under first?” asked Jan.
“Do as I tell you!” said Eric of Falla.
Jan, knowing his employer to be a man who always demanded prompt obedience, said nothing further but hurried back to Falla as fast as he could. The farm was some distance away, so that it took time to get there.
On arriving, the first person Jan came upon was Lars Gunnarson, the husband of Eric’s eldest daughter and prospective master of Falla, which he was destined to take over upon the decease of the present owner.
When Lars Gunnarson had received his instructions he ordered Jan to go straight to the house and tell the mistress of what had occurred; then he was to call the hired boy. Meantime Lars himself would run down to the barn and harness a horse.
“Perhaps I needn’t be so very particular about telling the womenfolk just yet?” said Jan. “For if they once start crying and fretting it will only mean delay. Eric’s voice sounded so weak from where he lay that I think we’d best hurry along.”
But Lars Gunnarson, since coming to the farm, had made it a point to assert his authority. He would no more take back an order once given than would his father-in-law.
“Go into mother at once!” he commanded. “Can’t you understand that she must get the bed ready so we’ll have some place to put him when we come back with him?”
Then of course Jan was obliged to go inside and notify the mistress. Try as he would to make short work of it, it took time to relate what had happened and how it had happened.