OLAF. (Alfhild still sleeping. Thorgjerd comes from behind the hut on the left.)
OLAF. Well met, stranger!
THORGJERD. Thanks, the same to you. You are early about!
OLAF. Or late; early in the morning, but late in the night.
THORGJERD. You belong in the village below, I take it.
OLAF. My family lives there. And you?
THORGJERD. Wherever the mind is at rest, there is one at home; that is why I like best to wander in here;—my neighbors shall not do me any injustice.
OLAF. That I have noticed.
THORGJERD. Then you have been here before?
OLAF. I chased a hind this summer in here; but when I look closely I see ’tis a royal child that has been bewitched.
THORGJERD. [Looks at him sharply.] That hunt is dangerous!
OLAF. For the hunter?
OLAF. I was sitting and thinking the same thing myself; it seems to me that I was bewitched on that hunt.
THORGJERD. Farewell and good luck to you!
OLAF. Out upon you! If you wish a huntsman good luck he will never come within shot of the prey.
THORGJERD. If the shot should strike the hunter himself, the best luck that could happen to him would be to have no luck at all.
OLAF. You speak wisely.
THORGJERD. Yes, yes; there is many a thing to be learned in here.
OLAF. Too true! I have learned here the best that I know.
THORGJERD. Farewell! I’ll take greetings from you to your kinsmen.
OLAF. You mean to go down?
THORGJERD. Such was my purpose. These are merry days down there, I am told. A mighty knight is celebrating his wedding—
OLAF. Then you should have been there last night; now I fear the best part of the fun is past.
THORGJERD. I dare say I’ll come in time even yet.
OLAF. Perhaps! But still you should have been there last night; so bright and so warm a festive hall you never have seen before.
THORGJERD. It was well for him who was within.
OLAF. I know one who had to stand outside.
THORGJERD. Yes, yes, outside,—that is the poor man’s place.
OLAF. I know one who had to stand outside and who nevertheless was both worse off and better off than those within.
THORGJERD. I must go down,—I see that clearly; I shall play for the guests. Now I shall fetch my harp, and then—
OLAF. You are a minstrel?
THORGJERD. And not among the worst. Now shall I fetch my harp from where it lies hidden near the waterfall; those strings you should hear. With them I sat once on the edge of the bed and played the bride out of the festive hall over ridge and field.—Have you never heard little Ingrid’s lay? He who could play the bride out of the bridegroom’s arms can surely play his child home to her father again. Farewell! If you linger here we may meet again when I get down there.
[He goes out to the right by the tarn.]