Part 5 Maria Magdalena Mathsdotter, by MARGARET HOWITT
During the summer, Sara Albertina's family cross over to the Norway side of the mountains, the Swedish side being too hot, and the rein- deer cannot live without snow. In this way her family have learned Norwegian, which they speak with great fluency. Her own father is dead, and her step-father, for her mother has married again, is much younger than his wife, though both look like old people. The herd- life, which is one of great hardship, tells upon the constitution, and at sixty a Laplander is quite aged. The Laplanders are very kind to their old people, the nomades boarding their aged relatives in the families of the stationary Laps. The number of reindeer is annually diminishing, owing to the change which is gradually creeping over the country. Poor Sara Albertina has had a great sorrow since she has been in Stockholm. Her hus- band, who came with her last summer, returning home was drowned in crossing a river when near the end of his journey. She is now, therefore, a widow, and her one child, a little ^girl, is with its maternal grandmother. This next summer she hopes to return to her beloved Lapland. She is not happy here ; but more so than she was at first. The morning after her arrival her heart dreadfully failed her ; there seemed to be so many people and so much loise that she burst into tears, and leaving ;he town went into a wood, where she spent ;he day by herself, and eould feel more at lome. Poor little woman ! She told us many Lap words ; thus, when .he Laplanders meet they accost each other IS cousin, hoo-rest-lavecuiy good day, cousin; when they part it is goo-nat-i-ie, farewell to you, of course from the Swedish god natt, which they have picked up ; goot-sa, goot-sa, thank you ; moorsia^ betrothed girl ; fria, her lover ; hoot-sa, rein-deer ; cootee, a tent ; taloee, winter ; yar-may-am, death ; Lotnistia, the Saviour ; alle-me, heaven. I write these words as they sounded, having no idea of the spelling. She repeated to us the Lord's Prayer, gave us the call of the deer, and sang us a Lap song, but said that all sounded much better when heard in the forest. The singing reminded me of the joddling of the Swiss peasants. Every Laplander has his own peculiar song, by which he is distinguished in the distance. It was Pappus Vim, her father's peculiar song, which she gave us. The call of the deer was a kind of koo-hoo-Tco i The next morning Miss Bremer's Sara fetched me upstairs, Maria Magdalena having arrived, together with Sara Albertina, who had again been invited to meet her. Until now they were strangers to each other. I stood for some little time with Tante Fredrika, listening to the two talking together in the adjoining room. Their language was by no means unpleasing in sound. We then joined them, and refreshments were brought in. Maria Magdalena wore a little red cap and a black and white checked shawl, which she had probably obtained from the mission- aries, fastened with a shawl-pin, the head of which was a little photograph portrait of the I^ng. Her dress was of dark green woollen cloth, almost as thick as a blanket, but light enough to fall in rich folds, though it reached but little below the knee. Her stock- ings were of dark blue, and she wore little boots with reindeer fur outside. Her shidor had been left at Gefle. Maria Magdalena has the same free and confiding manners as Sara Albertina. They walked about the room, inspecting everything, and making their remarks in open, honest Swedish. A case of humming-birds especially drew their attention. Maria Magdalena, sup- posing them to be alive, was corrected by her companion, who was naturally supposed to pos- sess superior knowledge. Greatly, therefore, was she taken aback when, being here again on Easter Day, a friend of Miss Bremer's, who has the faculty of imitating birds' songs, began to twitter as for the humming-bircls. She stood con- founded at the thought of her former mistake.