August Strindberg.

Easter (a play in three acts) and stories from the Swedish of August Strindberg .. online

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may — "

' ' You may have everything ! ' ' replied Jubal.

The girl took him at his word, and they were
married. First, he taught her to sing and play ;
afterwards, she got everything she wished —



everything that he didn't wish — so, little by lit-
tle, she had his will in her pocket.

One fine day Mrs. Jubal was a great singer;
so great, that when the public shouted ' ' Jubal, ' '
they meant the lady, and not the gentleman.

Jubal wished to come to the front again, but
to do this at the lady's expense he had no de-
sire, and therefore he couldn't.

He began to be blotted out and forgotten.

The brilliant coterie of friends, whom Mr.
Jubal had attracted to his bachelor-quarters,
flocked now in his home around Mrs. Jubal,
who was called just — Jubal.

No one glanced at the Mister; no one drank
to him. And if he tried to talk, no one listened.
It was as if he were not there, and his wife was
treated as if she were not married.

And now Mr. Jubal was all alone ; and, alone,
he went to the Cafe. He sauntered in one
evening to seek companionship. He was ready
to take up with any one at all, so long as it was
a human being!

Presently he caught sight of his old friend,
the traveling salesman, sitting alone having a
dull time of it. And he thought: "Here I



have somebody in old Lundborg!" So he
stepped up to the table and greeted him. But
the friend's face changed so horribly, that
Jubal had to ask: "Isn't this Lundborg?"


"Don't you know me — Jubal?"


"Don't you know Klang — your old friend?"

"No! He's been dead this long while."

Then Jubal understood that he was, in a cer-
tain sense, dead, and he went out.

The following day he bade farewell to the
Opera and became a singing teacher, with the
title of Professor.

Then he traveled to a strange country, and
remained away many years.

Grrief and mortification made him age early.

But this pleased him, for it meant that all
would soon be over. But he didn't age so
rapidly as he desired, so he procured a white
wig with long locks. And he was pleased with
it, because it made him unrecognizable, even to

With slow steps and with his hands behind
him, he walked the streets and pondered.



Folks thought he was seeking someone or ex-
pecting someone. Any one meeting his eyes
marked no light in them; if yon tried to make
his acquaintance, he talked only generalities;
and he never said "I" or "I think," but "it
seems." He had lost himself, and he discov-
ered this one day when he was about to shave.
He had lathered himself before the mirror, and
was just ready to proceed with the razor, when
he saw the room back of him, but his face he
did not see. Then he understood the situation,
and he was seized with a sudden longing to find
himself again. The best part of him he had
given to his wife, who had his will. And he
decided to hunt her up.

When he got back to his country and tramped
the streets of his native city wearing his white
wig, no one recognized him. But a musician
who had been in Italy said: "He is a maes-

Instantly Jubal felt as if he were a great
composer. He bought music paper and began
writing a score, that is to say, he jotted down a
lot of long and short notes, on lines — some for
violins, others for reed instruments, the rest



for brass. Then he sent the stuff in to the con-
servatory. But no one could play it, for it was
nothing — only notes.

One day he was out walking and met a
painter, who had been in Paris. ''There goes
a model," said the painter. Jubal heard it, and
he believed at once that he was a model, for he
believed everything one said of him, as he did
not know who or what he was.

Then, when he recalled to memory his wife,
who had got his ego, he made up his mind to
search for her. And he did, too ! But she had
gone off and married a Baron, and had traveled
far away.

At last he grew weary of the search and, like
all weary men, he began to long for the cause
of his existence — his mother. He knew that she
was a widow, and lived in a ramshackle cabin
up in the mountains : and thither he went.

"Don't you know me I" asked he.

''What is your name?" demanded the

"Your son's name — don't you know it!"

"My son was named Klang, but your name is
Jubal, and him I do not know. '


? >


"She denies me!"

"As you denied yourself, and your mother!"

"AVhy did you take my will from me when I
was a child?"

"You gave your will to a woman."

"I had to, otherwise I would never have
gotten her. But why did you say that I didn't
have any will ? ' '

"AYliy, that was father's notion, my child;
he knew no better. Forgive him now, for he is
dead. For that matter, children shouldn't have
any will, but grown-up men should."

"Fancy! how could you smooth that out so
well, mother? Children mustn't have it, but
grown-ups must have it."

"Listen, Gustaf !" said the mother; "Gustaf
Klang— "

These were his two names, and when he heard
them, he was himself again. All roles — kings
and demons, maestros and models — vanished,
and he was just his mother's son.

Then he buried his head in her lap and
sobbed :

"Now I want to die ! I want to die !"




The rich man once paid a visit to the poor
island, and fell in love with it. Why, the rich
man could not tell; but he was enchanted with
it. Possibly the place recalled some half-for-
gotten memory of childhood, or a beautiful

He bought the island, built him a villa and
planted all kinds of fine trees, bushes and flow-
ers. The sea lay beyond it, and he had his own
private landing, with a flag-staff and white
boats. Oaks as tall as cathedrals shaded his
house, and fresh winds swept over green
meadows. He had a wife and children; serv-
ants and horses. He had everything. Yet one
thing was wanting: it was a little thing, but the
most important of all, and this he had forgotten
to think of — it was spring water. They dug
wells there and blasted rock, but only brownish
salt water came. It was filtered, became as



clear as crystal, but remained salty. Herein
lay the tragedy I

In those times there came a man blessed of
God, who had succeeded in all his undertakings,
and was one of the most famous men in the
world. We are told how he struck his diamond
staff into the rock and, like Moses, made the
rock send forth water. Now they were to bore
with a diamond drill, as they had bored in rocks
elsewhere, and got water from all. They bored
here for a hundred riksdaler, for a thousand,
for several thousand — but only salt water came.
Here there was obviously no blessing! And
the rich man carefully noted that one does not
get all things for money — not even a drink of
fresh water, when luck's against one.

Then he became discouraged, and life no
longer smiled. The schoolmaster on the island,
in the meanwhile, began to pore over old books,
and sent for a wise old man who went about with
a divining-rod; but this didn't help matters.

Then the priest, who was even wiser, one day
called the school children together and prom-
ised a reward to the one who could find an herb,



called Gold Powder, which showed you where
there were water-veins.

"It has flowers like Lady's-Mantle and leaves
like Almond blossoms, and is also called Golden
Saxifrage. And it looks as if it had gold dust
on the outer leaves. Now, remember!"

''Flowers like Lady's-Mantle and leaves like
Almond blossoms," repeated the children.
Then they ran into the woods and over the
plains to search for the Gold Powder.

None of the children found it. A little boy
actually came home with Fox Bane, which has
a little gold on the top. But it is poisonous,
and it was not the right one. Finally they grew
weary of the search.

But there was a little girl, who did not as yet
go to school. Her father was a dragoon, owned
a little croft, and was more poor than rich. His
only treasure was the little daughter, and in the
village she was called by the pretty name of
Blue Wing, because she always wore a sky-blue
jacket, with wide sleeves, that flapped when she
moved. Blue-wing, as a matter of fact, is a
little blue butterfly, which is seen on the grass



blades in the height of summer. And its wings
resemble the petals of the corn-flower — a flying
corn-flower with feelers, where the stamens sit.

Blue Wing — the dragoon's Blue Wing — was
an unusual child, who talked so sensibly, but so
strangely that no one knew where her words
came from.

All people and animals too liked her. Chick-
ens and calves followed her, and she dared to
pat even the bull. She frequently went out
alone, stayed away and came back again. But
when they asked where she had been, she could
not tell; yet she had so much to relate. She
had seen uncommon things, and had met both
old men and great ladies, who had said this and
that. The dragoon let her run on, for he sur-
mised that there was someone who guarded

• • •

One morning Blue Wing went otf on a tramp.
Through meadows and groves she directed her
nimble feet, singing to herself — mostly songs
no one had ever heard before, but which came to
her. The morning sun shone as voung as if it
were newly born; the air felt strong and wide



awake; the dew rose, and its liealtliy moisture
cooled the little face.

As she entered the forest she met a green-
clad man.

''Good day, Blue Wing," said the old man.
''I'm the gardener at Sungleam. Come with
me and you shall see my flowers."

"Too great an honor for me!" replied Blue

"No indeed! for you have never tortured

Then they walked along together and came to
the strand. Here there was a pretty little
bridge which led to an island, and thither they

That was a garden! In it there was every-
thing — big and little, and it was planned like a

He himself lived in a house built of growing
ever-green trees — pine, spruce, juniper —
dressed in their foliage. The floors were made
of growing ever-green bushes and herbs. Moss
and lichen grew in the cracks in the floor, to
keep the water out. Crow-berry, bear-berry
and twin-flower made up the boards. The ceil-



ing consisted of maiden-hair fern, honeysuckle,
clematis and ivy. It was so thick that not a
drop of rain came through. Outside the door
stood bee-hives, but, in place of bees, butterflies
lived there, and when they swarmed out, it was
a vision!

"I do not like to torture bees," said the old
man, ''and, besides, they are so ugly! Why,
they look like hairy cotfee beans, and they sting
too, like adders."

Then they went out into the garden.

"Now you shall read in Nature's A-B-C
book. You shall learn the secrets of flowers
and make the acquaintance of herbs; but you
must not question — only listen and answer.
See, child ! on this gray stone grows something
which looks like gray paper. It is the first
thing that appears when the mountain gets wet.
The rock moulds; the mould is called lichen.
Here we have two kinds: one resembles the
reindeer's antlers, and is also called reindeer
moss. It is the reindeer's principal food. The
other is called Iceland lichen, and resembles —
what does it resemble ?"



"It resembles a lung, for it says so in the
natural science book."

"Yes, under a magnifying glass it is like tlie
air-passages in the lung, and from that peo-
ple learned to use it in lung diseases, you see.
Now, when the mountain lichen has gathered
soil, the moss comes. This has a species of
flower that is simpler, and sows seeds. This
resembles ice-fern, but you will see that it is
also like heather and fir-trees and everything,
for all growths are related. This feather-moss
resembles the pine, but it has seed-vessels like
the poppy, though simpler. With the moss the
heather will soon be growing. If you look now
at the heather through a powerful magnifying
glass, it becomes a milk-weed — epilobium, in
Latin, or a rhododendron — exactly like the
elder. The soil-carpet is now ready, and in the
food-earth everything grows. Mankind, for
their uses, have appropriated a good many
growths, and Nature herself has taught them
which ones thev must take, and how thev should
be used. This is not more remarkable than the
adornments and colors that have been bestowed



upon the flowers, to let the insects know where
the honey is. Look at the flax, the most useful
of all growths — for the flax itself taught people
how to spin. Only peep into the flower and
you '11 find the flax-head where the threads wind
themselves around the bobbin, which whirls
round the spindle.

"In order to express herself more clearly, Na-
ture let a little parasite wind itself around the
whole plant, up and down and back and forth,
like the loom. Strange that it was not a human
being, but a butterfly that first discovered that
flax could be spun. Her name is Flax-Tucker,
and from the leaves she spins, with her own
silk, little cradle-quilts and sheets for her chil-
dren. After the flax once starts growing, she
is wise and makes the most of her time, so that
her little ones will be ready to fly before the
flax is picked.

''And in the medicinal herbs you may believe.
Look at this big poppy — flame-red as fever and
madness ! But in the heart of the flower is a
black cross. That is the apothecary's poison
label. And in the centre of the cross there is a
fluted Roman vase. If you rip these flutes, the



healing fluid, which can cause death if wrongly
used, runs out ; but it can give you Death's good
brother, Sleep, when used rightly. — Yes, so wise
and open-hearted is Nature ! But now we will
take a look at the Gold Powder."

Here he made a pause to see if Blue Wing
was curious ; but she was not.

"Now we shall look at the Gold Powder."

Another pause! No, Blue Wing could hold
her tongue, although she was so little.

"Noiv we'll look at the Gold Powder with the
lady's-mantle-flowers and the saxifrage-leaves.
These are her distinguishing features, which
tell you where the spring is. The Lady's-Man-
tle gathers both dew and water in its leaves,
and in itself is a little clear spring; but the
Saxifrage blasts rock.^ Without mountains
you get no springs — the mountains can be any
distance away. This the Gold Powder says to
those who understand. She grows here on the
island, and you shall know the place, because
you are good. From your little hand shall the
rich man receive the fresh water for his dry

1 Saxifrage — Latin Saxum, stone; frango, break; the place to
break into rock for water.



soul, and through you shall this island be
blessed. Peace be with you, my child ! AVlien
you come into the nut-forest, you'll find a silver
linden to the right; under it lies a copperhead
snake that isn't dangerous. He will show you
the way to the Gold Powder. Before you go,
you must give the old man a kiss — but not un-
less you wish to do so yourself."

Blue Wing pursed up her little mouth and
kissed him. Then the old man's countenance
was transformed, and he stood there — fifty
years younger !

"I have kissed a child and youth has come
back to me!" said the gardener, "and you owe
me no thanks. Farewell!"

Blue Wing went into the nut-forest. There
the silver-lindens played and the humming-
birds sang to their accompaniment, in the lin-
den-blossoms. The copperhead snake lay there,
sure enough ! but it looked a bit rusty.

"Why, there's Blue Wing, who is to have the
Gold Powder!" said the copperhead snake.
"You shall have it, but only on three conditions :
— Don't gossip; don't deceive; and don't be



curious! Now go straight ahead, and you'll
find the Gold Powder."

Blue Wing went straight ahead. Soon she
met a lady.

' ' Good day ! ' ' said the lady. ' ' Have you been
at the gardener's in Sungieam!"

"Good day," answered Blue Wing, and
walked on.

"You do not gossip, at all events," said the

Then she met a gipsy.

"Where are you going to?" asked the gipsy.

"I'm going straight ahead," replied Blue

"And you don't deceive," said the gipsy.

And then she met a milk carrier. But she
couldn't understand why the horse sat in the
wagon and the milkman was harnessed to the

"Now I'll shy," said the driver, and started
running so that the horse fell into the ditch.
"Now I'll water the rye," said the driver, tak-
ing the cover off a milk bottle to sprinkle the



Blue Wing must have thought it queer, yet
she did not glance in that direction, but walked

''Nor are you curious," said the milk car-

And now Blue Wing stood at the foot of
a mountain. The sun shone in between the
hazel bushes on a green row of juicy herbs,
that glittered like the purest gold.

Here was the Gold Powder ! And Blue Wing
saw how it followed the water-veins from the
mountain down to the rich man's meadow.

Then she got down on her hands and knees
and plucked three Gold Powders, which she hid
in her pinafore. With these she went home to
her father.

The dragoon donned his cloak, his helmet and
his sabre. Then they went to the priest.
Later, all three went together to the rich man.

"Blue Wing has found the Gold Powder!"
said the priest when he reached the dining-hall
door. "And now we are all rich! The whole
village is rich, for we shall have a bathing

And it became a bathing resort. Steamers



and merchants came; there were a hotel and a
post office, doctors and apothecaries. Gold
poured into the village in summer. And this is
the story of the Gold Powder, that could make


Most Important Biography of Years


His Life and Works.

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Translated by Velma Swanston Howard, and
Lucky Pehr.

From the Swedish of August Strindherg. Translated
by Velma Swanston How^otD. A drama in five acts.
It is to Sweden what Rip Van Winkle is to America.
LUCKY PEHR might well be classed with Maeter-
linck's "Blue Bird," Barrie's "Peter Pan" or
Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream."

Photogravure frontispiece of Strindherg etched hy
Zorn. Arlso, a reproduction of Velma Swanston
Howard's authorization. Net, $1.50

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Online LibraryAugust StrindbergEaster (a play in three acts) and stories from the Swedish of August Strindberg .. → online text (page 8 of 9)