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So finished Kauko the Red-Haired Wizard of Finland, his Wonder Stories.

And the Four Ancient Wizards of the South Baltic Lands, ground their teeth, whistled, howled, and were still.

And while the Great Nischergurgje beat! beat! beat! on his Magic Drum, and tapped! tapped! tapped! on his Magic Drum, the icy North Wind rushed against the tent and blew the door-flap in. The Lapp folk gathered closer around the fire. The flames flared up, and through the smoke the people's faces showed strange and weird and their dark eyes glowed.

Weeks had passed, while the Magic Stories were being told, and the Lapp people did not know it!

Then Nischergurgje beat again with his golden drum-hammer, and sang:

"I hear the rushing of the Storm Wings! Outside this tent, white Winter reigns through the Long Dark Arctic Night. Deep snow lies on mountain, vale, and marsh-land. Ice closes all streams. The Nail of the North shines steadily over-head.

"Over the frozen, snowy deserts, the Lapp guides his raido of pack reindeer--See! the string of reindeer, one deer behind the other, one deer tied to the other. Across the hills and through the valleys, the laughing Lapp children on their skis, skim fast over the snow till the snow-lumps fly. The Lapp boys are hunting foxes. The hungry wolves snarl and chase the Lapp sledges. Boat-shaped, the sledges rock and sway as the swift reindeer gallop and their drivers snap the reins, while the Northern Lights flicker faintly and the full moon glides silently through the night sky. Always it is night, night, night!

"The Arctic cold strengthens. Gloominess descends upon us. Our hearts sink with heaviness. Clouds mass in the sky, and hide the stars and the flickering Lights. And while we wait for the golden sun to come back to us and lift our gloom, let us feast and tell tales."

And the feast was served again.

Then Nischergurgje, the tree-tall, tree-straight one, struck his golden hammer on his Drum, and cried out:

"Do you, Sarvik with back like an oak, woolly white hair, and lolling, red tongue, tell us Wonder Tales from your wonder land, the cliff-bound Estonia."

And the Four Ancient Wizards whistled, howled, ground their teeth, and were still.

And all the Lapp people were still and listened.

Sarvik hunched his back like an oak, wagled his woolly white head, and lolled his red tongue out.

Then he began.


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