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The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman

SheimmediatelyloosenedlittleGerda’sclothes,pulledoffherthickglovesandboots;forotherwisetheheatwouldhavebeentoogreatandafterlayingapieceoficeontheReindeer’shead,readwhatwaswrittenonthefish-skin.Shereaditthreetimes:shethenknewitbyheart;sosheputthefishintothecupboardforitmightverywellbeeaten,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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