Tojo’s own mother, a very fat woman indeed, holds out her arms, as big as bed-posts and terribly greasy, gives her a dose of sour milk out of a gourd, makes her lie down with her head in her lap, and begins to sing to her, till Lucy goes to sleep; and wakes, very glad to see the crocodile as brown and hard and immovable as ever; and that odd round gourd with a little hole in it, hanging up near the ceiling.
CHAPTER VII. LAPLANDERS.
“It shall not be a hot country next time,” said Lucy, “though, after all, the whale oil was not much worse than the castor oil.—Mother Bunch, did your whaler always go to Greenland, and never to any nicer place?”
“Well, Missie, once we were driven between foul winds and icebergs up into a fiord near North Cape, right at midsummer, and I’ll never forget what we saw there.”
Lucy was not likely to forget, either, for she found herself standing by a narrow inlet of sea, as blue and smooth as a lake, and closely shut in, except where the bare rock was too steep, or where on a somewhat smoother shelf stood a timbered house, with a farm-yard and barns all round it. But the odd thing was that the sun was where she had never seen him before,—quite in the north, making all the shadows come the wrong way. But how came the sun to be visible at all so very late? Ah! she knew it now; this was Norway, and at this time of the year there was no night at all!
And here beside her was a little fellow with a bow and arrows, such as she had never seen before, except in the hands of the little Cupids in the pictures in the drawing-room. Mother Bunch had said that the little brown boys in India looked like the bronze Cupid who was on the mantleshelf, but this little boy was white, or rather sallow-faced, and well dressed too, in a tight, round, leather cap, and a dark blue kind of shaggy gown with hairy leggings; and what he was shooting at was some kind of wild-duck or goose, that came tumbling down heavily with the arrow right through its neck.
“There,” said the boy, “I’ll take that, and sell it to the Norse farmer’s wife up in the house above there.”
“Who are you, then?” said Lucy.
“I’m a Lapp. We live on the hills, where the Norseman has not driven us away, and where the reindeer find their grass in summer and moss in winter.”
“Oh! have you got reindeer? I should so like to see them and to drive in a sledge!”
The boy, whose name was Peder, laughed, and said, “You can’t go in a sledge except when it is winter, with snow and ice to go upon, but I’ll soon show you a reindeer.”
Then he led the way, past the deliciously smelling, whispering pine woods that sheltered the Norwegian homestead, past a seater or mountain meadow where the girls were pasturing their cows, much like Lucy’s friends in the Tyrol, then out upon the gray moorland, where there was an odd little cluster of tents covered with skins, and droll little, short, stumpy people running about them.