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    Little Solveig flew along towards the shadow of the reindeer fairy like a little bird. She ran through the crystal polar night, calling, "Reindeer fairy, reindeer fairy, wait for little Solveig!" But the white wraith suddenly dissolved like a cloud, and the aurora that surrounded it was extinguished.

    Solveig wandered, lost, about the endless snowy plains. How long she trekked across those icy wastes she did not know herself. But she suddenly found herself at the foot of a range of tall mountains. Up and up and up she climbed, until at long last she arrived on a broad plain.
    But, strange to relate, the ground began to shudder beneath her feet, like when the crust of ice on the sea begins to crack. Boom, boom, boom! she heard from beneath.

    Startled, Solveig began to run across the plain, but another tall mountain rose up in her path. It was covered all over in thick forests; in the midst of the forest yawned a fearsome gorge, out of which a fierce wind howled, like when a storm is blowing up at sea. Terrified, Solveig climbed to the very peak of the mountain, whose sharp point thrust up out of the forest.
    Then a terrible voice roared out: "What will you here, hapless child? Am I to swallow you up?" Solveig looked round fearfully, but she could see no one. Who was calling?

    When Solveig heard that terrible voice, her knees shook with fear. "Who is calling me?" she piped up in a thin little voice. "Are you a good spirit, or a bad one?" -- "Aah, foolish child!" said the voice. "I am Vinehr, the snow giant, and you are sitting on the end of my nose. It tickles so terribly that soon I shall sneeze!"
    And the giant gave such a sneeze that Solveig just managed to hold onto a mole on the giant's nose, so as not to fall off. "You have been climbing over me for several days now," grunted Vinehr, "You tickled me under the heart, and you crawled in my beard--just like a flea. Who might you be, anyway?"

    Solveig told the snow giant who she was, and why she was wandering alone through the polar night. "I thought the reindeer fairy sent you to me," said Vinehr. "She is my sister, and she knows well enough how lonely I am. I am so big that I cannot even stand up, so as not to trample on anyone. I lay here on my back the whole time, waiting for someone to visit me.
    If you like, you may stay here; you can put up a tent right beside my nose. Only take care not to roll into my mouth!"

    It was then that Solveig realized that the terrible gorge from which the fierce wind was blowing was, in fact, the giant's huge mouth. But Vinehr had such a kindly voice that she decided to stay . . .


    Illustration by Karel Franta

    Tale concludes





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