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The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman

SheimmediatelyloosenedlittleGerda’sclothes,pulledoffherthickglovesandboots; forotherwisetheheatwouldhavebeentoogreatandafterlayingapieceoficeontheReindeer’shead,readwhatwaswrittenonthefish-skin. Shereaditthreetimes:shethenknewitbyheart;sosheputthefishintothecupboard foritmightverywellbeeaten,andsheneverthrewanythingaway. 

ThentheReindeerrelatedhisownstoryfirst,andafterwardsthatoflittleGerda;andtheFinlandwomanwinkedhereyes,butsaidnothing. 

"Youaresoclever,"saidtheReindeer;"youcan,Iknow,twistallthewindsoftheworldtogetherinaknot.Iftheseamanloosensoneknot, thenhehasagoodwind;ifasecond,thenitblowsprettystiffly;ifheundoesthethirdandfourth,thenitragessothattheforestsareupturned. Willyougivethelittlemaidenapotion,thatshemaypossessthestrengthoftwelvemen,andvanquishtheSnowQueen?" 

"Thestrengthoftwelvemen!"saidtheFinlandwoman."Muchgoodthatwouldbe!" Thenshewenttoacupboard,anddrewoutalargeskinrolledup.Whenshehadunrolledit,strangecharactersweretobeseenwrittenthereon; andtheFinlandwomanreadatsucharatethattheperspirationtrickleddownherforehead. 

ButtheReindeerbeggedsohardforlittleGerda,andGerdalookedsoimploringlywithtearfuleyesattheFinlandwoman,thatshewinked, anddrewtheReindeerasideintoacorner,wheretheywhisperedtogether,whiletheanimalgotsomefreshiceputonhishead. 

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