ONCE upon a time there lived a man in the forest of Dovre whose name was Ola Storbaekkjen. He was of giant build, powerful and fearless. During the winter he did not work, but traveled from one fair to another, hunting up quarrels and brawls. From Christiansmarkt he went to Branaes and Konigsberg, and thence to Grundsaet, and wherever he came squabbles and brawls broke out, and in every brawl he was the victor. In the summer he dealt in cattle at Valders and the fjords, and fought with the fjord-folk and the hill people of Halling and Valders, and always had the best of it. But sometimes they scratched him a bit with the knife, did those folk.
Now once, at the time of the hay harvest, he was home at Baekkjen, and had lain down to take a little after-dinner nap under the penthouse. And he was taken into the hill, which happened in the following way: A man with a pair of gilded goat's horns came along and butted Ola, but Ola fell upon him so that the man had to duck back, again and again. But the stranger stood up once more, and began to butt again, and finally he took Ola under his arm like a glove, and then both of them flew straight off into the hill.
In the place to which they came all was adorned with silver plates and dishes, and with ornaments of silver, and Ola thought that the king himself had nothing finer. They offered him mead, which he drank; but eat he would not, for the food did not seem to him to be appetizing. Suddenly the man with the gilded goat's horns came in, and gave Ola a shove before he knew it; but Ola came back at him as before, and so they beat and pulled each other through all the rooms, and along all the walls. Ola was of the opinion that they had been at it all night long; but by that time the scuffle had lasted over fourteen days, and they had already tolled the church bells for him on three successive Thursday evenings. On the third Thursday evening he was in ill ease, for the people in the hill had in mind to thrust him forth. When the bells stopped ringing, he sat at a crack in the hill, with his head looking out. Had not a man come by and happened to spy him, and told the people to keep on ringing the church-bells, the hill would have closed over him again, and he would probably still be inside. But when he came out he had been so badly beaten, and was so miserable, that it passed all measure. The lumps on his head were each bigger than the other, his whole body was black and blue, and he was quite out of his mind. And from time to time he would leap up, run off and try to get back into the hill to take up his quarrel again, and fight for the gilded goat's horns. For those he wanted to break from the giant's forehead.
A primitive enjoyment of brawling and pummeling is betrayed in the story of "Ola Storbaekkjen" (Asbjörnsen, Huldreeventyr, II, p. 73. From the vicinity of Osterdalen, told by a reindeer-hunter).
Norwegian Fairy Book, The
Frederick A. Stokes Company
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