The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman

Suddenlytheystoppedbeforealittlehouse,whichlookedverymiserable.Theroofreachedtotheground;andthedoorwassolow,thatthefamilywereobligedtocreepupontheirstomachswhentheywentinorout.NobodywasathomeexceptanoldLaplandwoman,whowasdressingfishbythelightofanoillamp.AndtheReindeertoldherthewholeofGerda’shistory,butfirstofallhisown;forthatseemedtohimofmuchgreaterimportance.Gerdawassochilledthatshecouldnotspeak.

"Poorthing,"saidtheLaplandwoman,"youhavefartorunstill.YouhavemorethanahundredmilestogobeforeyougettoFinland;theretheSnowQueenhashercountry-house,andburnsbluelightseveryevening.Iwillgiveyouafewwordsfromme,whichIwillwriteonadriedhaberdine,forpaperIhavenone;thisyoucantakewithyoutotheFinlandwoman,andshewillbeabletogiveyoumoreinformationthanIcan."

WhenGerdahadwarmedherself,andhadeatenanddrunk,theLaplandwomanwroteafewwordsonadriedhaberdine,beggedGerdatotakecareofthem,putherontheReindeer,boundherfast,andawaysprangtheanimal."Ddsa!Ddsa!"wasagainheardintheair;themostcharmingbluelightsburnedthewholenightinthesky,andatlasttheycametoFinland.TheyknockedatthechimneyoftheFinlandwoman;forastoadoor,shehadnone.

TherewassuchaheatinsidethattheFinlandwomanherselfwentaboutalmostnaked.Shewasdiminutiveanddirty.

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