[A sunny valley, rich in flowers, trees, and vegetation of all kinds, and surrounded by lofty snow-capped mountains. In the center of the background a quiet mountain tarn; on the left side a rocky cliff which drops straight down to the water. On the same side nearer the front of the stage a very old log hut, almost entirely hidden in the dense shrubbery. The glow of dawn shines over the mountains; in the valley itself the day is only half begun; during the following scene’s the sun rises.]
[ALFHILD lies sleeping and half concealed among the bushes beside the hut; soft music indicates her shifting dreams. OLAF comes down the hillside to the right. Over his wedding clothes he wears a coarse cloak.]
OLAF. Here it was; I know the green there this side of the tarn. It was yonder beneath the linden tree that I dreamed my strange dream. On the slope of the mountain there I stood when Alfhild for the first time came to meet me; I placed my betrothal ring on the string of my bow and shot;—that shot has proved a magic shot; it struck the huntsman himself.
OLAF. It is strange that when I wander up here, far from the village below, it seems as if another atmosphere played around me, as if a more vigorous blood flowed in my veins, as if I had another mind, another soul.
OLAF. Where is she now?
OLAF. I shall,—I will find her again! Up here she must come; she has no home out there in the cold wide world. And I—am I not also a homeless fugitive? Did I not become a stranger in my mother’s house, a stranger among my kinsmen, the very first hour I met her?
OLAF. Is she then a witch,—has she power over secret arts as—?
OLAF. My mother! Hm! It seems to me it would scarcely be well for me to allow her to manage my life; she insinuates thoughts into my heart which do not belong there. No, no, I will find Alfhild again and ask forgiveness for the wrong I have done, and then—
[He stops and looks out to the left.]