Then Karin, daughter of Ingmar, said in a tone of wonderment: “I hear God’s voice calling me!”
Gunhild, the daughter of Councillor Clementsson, lifted up her hands in ecstasy, and tears streamed down her face. “I, too, am going,” she cried. “God’s voice calls me.”
Whereupon Krister Larsson and his wife said, almost in the same breath: “It cries into my ear that I must go. I can hear God’s voice calling me!”
The call came to one after another, and with it all anguish of mind and all feeling of regret vanished. A great sense of joy had come to them. They thought no more of their farms or their relatives; they were thinking only of how their little colony would branch out and blossom anew, and of the wonder of having been called to the Holy City.
The call had now come to most of them. But it had not yet reached Halvor Halvorsson; he was wrestling in anguished prayer, thinking God would not call him as He had called the others. “He sees that I love my fields and meadows more than His word,” he said to himself. “I am unworthy.”
Karin then went up to Halvor and laid her hand upon his brow. “You must be still, Halvor, and listen in silence.”
Halvor wrung his hands so hard that the joints of his fingers cracked. “Perhaps God does not deem me worthy to go,” he said.
“Yes, Halvor, you will be let go, but you must be still,” said Karin. She knelt down beside him and put her arm around him. “Now listen quietly, Halvor, and without fear.”
In a few moments the tense look was gone from his face. “I hear I hear something far, far away,” he whispered.
“It is the harps of angels announcing the presence of the Lord,” said the wife. “Be quite still now, Halvor.” Then she nestled very close to him—something she had never done before in the presence of others.
“Ah!” he exclaimed, clapping his hands. “Now I have heard it. It spoke so loudly that it was as thunder in my ears. ’You shall go to my Holy City, Jerusalem,’ it said. Have you all heard it in the same way?”
“Yes, yes,” they cried, “we have all heard it.”
But now old Eva Gunnersdotter began to wail. “I have heard nothing. I can’t go along with you. I’m like Lot’s wife, and may not flee the wrath to come, but must be left behind. Here I must stay and be turned into a pillar of salt.”
She wept from despair, and the Hellgumists all gathered round to pray with her. Still she heard nothing. And her despair became a thing of terror. “I can’t hear anything!” she groaned. “But you’ve got to take me along. You shan’t leave me to perish in the lake of fire!”
“You must wait, Eva,” said the Hellgumists. “The call may come. It will surely come, either to-night or in the morning.”
“You don’t answer me,” cried the old woman, “you don’t tell what I want to know. Maybe you don’t intend to take me along if no call comes to me!”