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THE RAGS

 

OUTSIDE the factory lay heaps of clouts piled up in stacksgathered together from far and wide every raghad its story every one was telling his own tale but onecannot listen to them altogether Some rage were nativeothers came from foreign countries

Here a Danish rag lay close to a Norwegian rag realDanish was the one and thoroughly Norwegian the otherand that was the amusing thing about the two of them every sensible Norwegian and Dane will say They knew each other by their speech although each of thesesaidthe Norwegian was as different as French and Hebrew

" We do our best to get ours raw and original while theDane makes his sickly-sweet flavourless language for him-self"

The rags talked and a rag is a rag in every countrythey only count for something in the cloth-heap

" I am Norwegian" said the Norwegian rag"and when I say I am Norwegian I think I have said enoughIam of firm stuff like the ancient hills in old Norway thecountry which has a constitution like free America It tickles me in my threads to think what I am and to letmy thoughts ring out in granite words."

" But we have a literature" said the Danish rag" Do you understand what that is"

" Understand" repeated the Norwegian"Inhabitantof a flat land shall I lift him to the mountains and let theNorthern lights shine on him rag that he isWhen the ice melts before the Norwegian sun then Danish fruit-boats come up to us with butter and cheese very appetiz-ing wares and there comes as ballast Danish literatrueWe do not need it one prefers to dispense with flat alewhere the fresh spring bubbles and here it is a well whichis not bored not gossipped into European fame by newspa- pers and authors' travels in foreign countries I speak freely from the lungsand the Dane must accustom himself to the free sound and that he will do in his Scandinavianclinging to our proud rocky country the primaeval clump of the world"

"A Danish rag could never talk like that"said the Danish rag" It is not our nature I know myselfand all our rags are like me we are so good-natured so modest

we have too little confidence in ourselves and one gains nothing by that but I like it all the same I think it socharming As a matter of fact I can assure you I know to the full my own good qualitiesbut I do not talk about them no one shall be able to blame me for such a mis- take I am soft and tractable bear with everything envy none speak good of all although there is not much good to be said of most of the others but let that be their affairI only laugh at it allbeing so gifted as I am"

" Don't speak that flat-land's soft pasty language tome it makes me sick" said the Norwegian ragand lifted itself in the wind from the heap and went over into another one

Both of them were made into paper and as chance would have itthe Norwegian rag became paperon which a Norwegian wrote a faithful love-letter to a Danish girland the Danish rag became the manuscript for a Danish ode in praise of Norway's strength and grandeur

Something good can come even out of rags when they have been on the clothes-heap and the transformation into truth and beauty has taken place then they shine in goodunderstanding and in that there is blessing

That is the story it is quite enjoyable and needoffend no one exceptthe rags

 


 

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