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EN E AND GLAEN E

 

ONCE upon a time there lay off the coast of Zealand out from Holsteinborg two wooded islands Vaen e and Glaen e with hamlets and farms on them theylay near the coastthey lay near each otherand now thereis only one island

One night it was dreadful weather the sea rose as it had not risen within the memory of man the storm grewworseit was Doomsday weatherit sounded as if the earth were splitting the church bells began to swing and rang without the aid of man

That night Vaen e vanished in the depths of the seait was as if the island had never been But many a summer night since thenwith stillclear low-waterwhen the fisher was out spearing eels with a torch burning in the bows of his boat he saw with his sharp sight deep downunder himVaen e with its white church-tower and the highchurch wall"Vaen e is waiting for Glaen e " says the leg-end he saw the island he heard the church bells ringingdown there but he made a mistake in that it was assured-ly the sound made by the many wild swans which often lie on the water here they make sobbing and wailing soundslike a distant pea of bells

There was a time when many old people on Glaen e still remembered so well that stormy night and that theythemselves when children had at low tide driven betweenthe two islands as one at the present day driver over to Glaen e from the coast of Zealandnot far from Holstein- borg the water only comes half-way up the wheels

"Vaen e is waiting for Glaen e" was the sayingand it be-came a settled tradition

Many a little boy and girl lay on stormp nights and thought"To-night will come the hour when Vaen e fetchesGlaen e" They said their Lord's Prayer in fear and trem-bling fell asleep and dreamt sweet dreams,—and next morning Glaen e was still there with its woods and corn- fields its friendly farm-houses and hop-gardens the birdssang the deer sprang the mole smelt no sea-water asfar as he could burrow

And yet Claen e's days are numberedwe cannot say how many they arebut they are numberedone fine morning the island will have vanished

You were perhaps only yesterdaydown there on the beach and saw the wild swans floating on the waterbetween Zealand and Glaen e a sailing boat with out-spread sails glided past the woodland you yourself droveover the shallow ford there was no other way the horsestrampled in the water and it splashed about the wheels ofthe wagon

You have gone awayand perhaps travelled a little out into the wide world and comeback again after someyears You see the wood here encircling a big green stretch of meadow where the hay smells sweet in front oftidy farm-houses Where are you Holsteinborg still stands proudly here with its gilt spires but not close tothe fjord it lies higher up on the land. You go throughthe wood along over the field and down to the shore,—where is Glaen e You see no wooded island in front ofyou you see the open water Has Vaen e fetched Glaen e that it waited for so longWhen was the stormynight on which it happenedwhen the earth quaked so that old Holsteinborg was moved many thousand cock- strides up into the country

It was no stormy night it was on a bright sunshinydayThe skill of man raised a dam against the sea theskill of man blew the pent-up waters away and bound Glaen e to the mainland The firth has become a meadowwith luxuriant grass Glaen e has grown fast to ZealandThe old farm lies where it always lay It was not Vaen ewhich fetched Glaen e it was Zealand which with longdike-arms seized it and blew with the breath of pumpsand read the magic wordsthe word of wedlock andZealand got many acres of land as a wedding gift

This is a true statement it has been duly pro- claimed you have the fact before your eyes The islandGlaen e has vanished

 


 

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