The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

The Green Fly part 6

The Doctor closed his lips suddenly as if he had said something he had not intended to say.

“Nonsense. It’s none of my business. One has eyes and brains and one sees things, and comprehends things. I was suspicious the moment she refused to let me cut your arm off. Didn’t you suspect anything? But now I understand. Of course, of course.”

John Gal began to shake both his fists, forgetting for the moment that one of them was swollen. He groaned with pain.

“Oh, my arm, my arm! Don’t say another word, Doctor.”

“Not another word,” said the other.

A deep groan broke forth from the sick man’s chest as he clutched the Doctor’s arm with his right.

“Which Paul, Doctor? Which Paul do you mean? Who is he?” “You really mean to say you don’t know? Paul Nagy, your hired man.” The old peasant turned white. His lips were trembling and the blood rushed to his heart. His hand didn’t hurt him a bit now. He sud

Read More

The Green Fly part 5

“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”

The Doctor handed her two silver florins.

“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.

“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”

“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”

“And who be the woman?”

“Mrs. John Gal.”

“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.

“And who may the other man be?” he asked.

“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”

“And does John Gal suspect anything?”

“Smart a

Read More

The Green Fly part 4

“You’ll have to pay the three hundred, you know, whether I amputate your arm or not. It would be wasting money not to have the operation. It only takes five minutes.”

“Well, you can prescribe some ointment, just to be earning your fee,” said the old man, as calmly as if he were bargaining over a pair of boots.

It was no use. Disgusted and disappointed, the Doctor left the man and went out for a walk to think matters over and discuss the problem with some of the village wiseacres. He found little good advice, however, and it was equally in vain to bring the notary and the Justice of the Peace to the patient’s bedside. The young woman was always there to offset any wicked plan on the part of the Doctor, and she never missed an opportunity for putting in a word or two to strengthen the obduracy of her husband. The Doctor gave her a wicked glance now and again, and even shouted at her:

“You hold your tongue when men are in conference!” he sa

Read More

The Green Fly part 3

“Oh, leave me alone,” he said as though he were tired of so much talk; turned to the wall, and closed his eyes.

The Doctor was quite unprepared for such stubbornness. He left the room and went to have a word with the woman.

“How is my husband?” she asked with such indifference as she could muster, continuing her work at the same time in order to show her contempt for the Doctor.

“Bad enough. I just came to ask you to try and persuade him to let me amputate his arm.”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed, turning as white as the apron before her. “Must it be done?”

“He will die otherwise within twenty-four hours.”

Her face turned red, as she took the Doctor by the arm. She dragged him into the sick-room and there, placing her hands on her hips, addressed him:

“Do I look like a woman who would be satisfied to be the wife of a cripple? I’d die of shame. There! Just look at him!” She turned to h

Read More

The Green Fly part 2

This was absolutely untrue. John Gal had never said a word; never even mentioned the bite unless he was asked, and even then he was extremely curt. He lay on his bed indifferent and stoical. His head rested on a sheepskin, his pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the trouble, old man?” asked the Doctor. “I understand a fly bit you.”

“That’s it,” answered the peasant between his teeth.

“What sort of fly was it?”

“A green fly,” he said curtly.

“You just question him, Doctor,” interrupted the woman. “I shall have to look after my work. I have nine loaves in the oven.”

“All right, mother,” said the Doctor absent-mindedly.

She turned upon him immediately as if stung, her hands on her hips: “Why, you’re old enough to be my father!” she said, half offended and half flirting. “You don’t seem to see well through those windows on your eyes.”

She turned quickly about and the ma

Read More

The Green Fly part 1

Kalman Mikszath (1849-1922)

Mikszath is all of the few Hungarian writers who is widely known outside his native land. An ardent patriot, he was all his life long a staunch defender of the principles of Hungarian independence.

He poured all his love for the Hungarian people. His short stories, among the best ever written by a Hungarian, are vivid pictures of the life of his native country. The Green Fly is an especially amusing and well executed study in peasant psychology.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the translator for permission to use the MS.

The Green Fly

The Green Fly point of death. God was holding judgment over him, pointing to him as an example for all mankind:

“Look at John Gal. What do you mortals imagine yourselves to be? You are nothing. Now, John Gal is really somebody. Even t

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr’s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Read More

Baldr’s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More

Love and Bread part 5

After a couple of months more Louise Falk became strangely indisposed. Had she caught cold? Or had she perchance been poisoned by the metal kitchen utensils ? The doctor who was called in merely laughed, and said it was all right—a queer diagnosis, to be sure, when the young lady was seriously ailing. Perhaps there was arsenic in the wall-paper. Falk took some to a chemist, bidding him make a careful analysis. The chemist’s report stated the wall-paper to be quite free from any harmful substance.

Papa and mamma

His wife’s sickness not abating, Gustaf began to investigate on his own account, his studies in a medical book resulting in a certainty as to her ailment, She took warm foot-baths, and in a month’s time her state was declared entirely promising. This was sudden—sooner than they had expected; yet how lovely to be papa and mamma! Of course the child would be a boy—no doubt of that; and one must think of a name to give him. Meanwhile, though, L

Read More

Love and Bread part 7

“I will help you this once, but not again. I have little enough myself, and you are not my only child.”

Delicacies must be provided for the mother, chicken and expensive wine. And the nurse has to be paid.

Fortunately, Falk’s wife is soon on her feet again. She is like a girl once more, with a slender figure. Her pallor is quite becoming. Louise’s father talks seriously to his son-in-law, however:

“Now, no more children, if you please, unless you want to be ruined.”

For a brief space the junior Falk family continued to live on love and increasing debts. But one day bankruptcy knocked at the door. The seizure of the household effects was threatened. Then the old man came and took away Louise and her child, and as they rode off in a cab he made the bitter reflection that he had lent his girl to a young man, who had given her back after a year, dishonored. Louise would willingly have stayed with Gustaf, but there was nothing more to s

Read More

Love and Bread part 6

Then the young husband went marketing again. He bought strawberries—at a bargain, of course.

“Just fancy,” he triumphantly exclaimed to his housewife, “a pint of these large strawberries for a krone and a half, at this time of year!”

“Oh, but Gustaf dear, we can’t afford that sort of thing!”

“Never mind, darling; I have arranged for some extra work.”

“But what about our debts?”

“Debts? Why, I’m going to make a big loan, and pay them all off at once that way.”

“Ah,” objected Louise, “but won’t this simply mean a new debt?”

“No matter if it does. It will be a respite, you know. But why discuss such unpleasant things? What capital strawberries, eh, dear? And don’t you think a glass of sherry would go well now after the strawberries?”

Upon which the servant was sent out for a bottle of sherry—the best, naturally.

When Falk’s wife awoke from her afte

Read More