part 2 of Castle
After a while the old woman went over to the hearth to stir up the fire, and as the glow from the embers shone on Halvor's face she recognized him. "Well, God bless us! Are you really Halvor?" she cried, and the old parents were quite wild with joy. He had to tell them everything that had happened to him, and his mother was so proud of him that she wanted to take him up to the big farm house and show him off.
She led the way, and Halvor went after her. When she got there, she told them that Halvor had returned home, and now they would see for themselves how fine he was. “He looks like a prince,” she said. "Oh, a likely story!" said the girls, tossing their heads. "He can't be anything but the ragamuffin he always was." At that moment Halvor came in and the girls were so flustered when they saw him that they left their kirtles by the hearth where they had been sitting, and ran out in just their petticoats. When they came back again, they were all so ashamed that they hardly dared look at Halvor, with whom they had always been so grand and haughty before. “Well, all of you always thought you were so fine and beautiful that there was no one like you. You should see the eldest princess I have freed," said Halvor. “Beside her you all look like shepherd girls. The next eldest princess is still more beautiful; but the youngest, who is my sweetheart, is more beautiful than the sun and the moon. If only they were here so you could see them for yourself!"
Hardly had he said this, before they stood there. But now Halvor felt so badly, as he remembered what he had promised the princesses. At the farm they had a feast, and a great fuss was made over the princesses, but they would not stay there. "We want to go down to your parents, and look around for a while," they said to Halvor. So he went along and on their way they came to a large lake, and close by was a lovely green slope where the princesses wanted to sit and rest a bit. When they had been sitting there for a while, the youngest princess said, "Let me comb your hair for a while, Halvor." Well, Halvor laid his head in her lap, and she started combing. It wasn't long before Halvor was asleep.
Then she took her ring off of his finger and replaced it with another one, and then she said to her sisters," Take my hand, and let us wish together that we were in Castle." When Halvor woke up, he realized at once that he had lost the princesses. He began to wait and lament, and was so disheartened that he could not be consoled. For all his parents pleaded with him, he would not stay at home. He bade them farewell, saying that he might never see them again, for if he didn't find the princesses again, life would not be worth living. He had a hundred coins left, so he put them in his pocket and set out on his way. When he had walked some distance, he met a man with a good horse he wanted to buy it, so he started bargaining with the man. "To tell the truth, I hadn't thought of selling it," said the man, "but if we can agree on a price-". Halvor asked what he wanted for it. "I didn't pay much for it, not is it worth much either. It's a good horse to ride on, but it's not much of a draught horse. It will always carry you and your bag if you walk a while and ride a while." At last they agreed on the price, and Halvor put his knapsack on the horse and went on his way, sometimes riding and sometimes walking.
At dusk he came to a green meadow, and there stood a great tree under which he sat down. He let the horse loose to graze, and took his knapsack off the horse. At daybreak he continued on his way eager to find the princesses. So he walked and rode through a forest the whole day, not know where he was or where he was going. He took no more time to rest than was needed for the horse or for him to get a little to eat. He walked and he rode, and thought the forest would never come to an end.
Towards the second evening, Halvor saw a light shining through the trees. "If only someone were up. I could warm myself and get something to eat,”he thought. When he came to the light, he saw it was a miserable little hut, and through the window he saw an old man and an old woman inside. Their hair looked like gray moss, and the woman's nose was so long that she sat by the hearth and used it to rake the coals with.
"Good evening," said Halvor. "Good evening," answered the old woman. "But what is your errand here? Christian folk haven't been here for over a hundred years. Halvor said that he was on his way to Castle, and asked if she could show him the right way. "No," said the old woman, "but soon the Moon will come up and I will ask him. He should know, for he shines on everything." When the Moon rose bright and clear over the treetops, the old woman went outside. "Oh Moon! Oh Moon!" she shrieked. "Can you tell me the way to Castle?" "No, I cannot," said the Moon, "For the time I shone there, a cloud was in the way." "But just wait a while longer," said the old woman to Halvor. "Soon the West Wind will come by here, and he might know, for he puffs and blows in every direction." "Well, well, have you a horse, too?" asked the old woman when she came in again. "Don't let him stand there by the door and starve. Let the poor creature loose in the field to fill his belly instead! But wouldn't you like to swap it?" she said. "We have a pair of old boots here, in which you can cover a distance of fifteen miles with every step. You can have the boots in exchange for your horse. Then you will be at Castle so much the sooner." Halvor was quite willing to swap the horse for the boots, and the old woman was so glad to get the horse that she was ready to dance with joy. Halvor was still very restless, and wanted to leave the place at once, but the old woman said there was no hurry. "Lie down on the bench and sleep a little, for we have no bed for you," she said. "I shall keep an eye out for the West Wind when he comes." All of a sudden the West Wind came roaring so that the walls shook and groaned and the old woman ran outside. "West Wind! West Wind! Can you tell me the way to Castle? There is someone here who is going there." "Yes, I know the way very well,” said the West Wind. I'm just going to dry some clothes for the wedding, which is going to take place there. If he is quick on his feet, he may come along with me." Halvor rushed out. "You will have to hurry, if you want to keep up with me," said the West Wind, and he sat off over hill and dale, and mountain and valley; and it was all Halvor could do to keep up. "Well, I have no time to be with you any longer," said the West Wind, "For first I have to blow down a strip of fir trees, before I come to dry the clothes. But if you will keep to the path running along the edge of the hill, you will come to some girls who are washing clothes, and then you are not far from Sorie Moria Castle."
After a while Halvor came to the girls who were washing and they asked if he had seen anything of the West Wind. He was to come to dry clothes for the wedding. "Yes, said Halvor, "he is only over knocking down a strip of fir trees. He will be here soon." Then he asked them the way to Castle. They showed him the road, and when he reached the castle, the courtyard was full of people. Halvor's clothes were now so torn and tattered from following the West Wind though bushes and shrubs that he kept out of sight until dinner time on the day of the wedding.
On the day of the wedding it was the custom that the guests were to drink to the bride, and the master of ceremonies drank with them all. His turn came to drink with Halvor and Halvor drank the toast, and then dropped into the glass the ring the princess had placed on his finger when he lay by the water. Then he asked the master of ceremonies to take the glass to the bride and greet her from him. The princess got up from the table at once.
"Who deserve best to get one of us," she said. “Should it be the one who has freed us, or the groom beside me?" Everyone had the same answer, and when Halvor heard it, it didn’t take long before he stepped out of his rags and got all spruced up as a bridegroom. "Yes, there is the right man!" cried the princess when she caught sight of him. Then she threw out the other groom, and was wedded to Halvor. To this day they live happily in Castle.
And the moral of the story? If you missed part one go here.