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A Happy Boy by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

Oyvind felt completely overwhelmed with gratitude


school-master let him lie and weep,--weep as long as he would. It lasted a long time, but the school-master waited until the weeping grew more childlike. Then taking Oyvind's head in both hands, he raised it and gazed into the tear-stained face.

"Do you believe that it is God who has been with you now," said he, drawing the boy affectionately toward him.

Oyvind was still sobbing, but not so violently as before; his tears flowed more calmly, but he neither dared look at him who questioned nor answer.

"This, Oyvind, has been a well-merited recompense. You have not studied from love of your religion, or of your parents; you have studied from vanity."

There was silence in the room after every sentence the school-master uttered. Oyvind felt his gaze resting on him, and he melted and grew humble under it.

"With such wrath in your heart, you could not have come forward to make a covenant with your God. Do you think you could, Oyvind?"

"No," the boy stammered, as well as he was able.

"And if you stood there with vain joy, over being number one, would you not be coming forward with a sin?"

"Yes, I should," whispered Oyvind, and his lips quivered.

"You still love me, Oyvind?"

style="text-align: justify;">"Yes;" here he looked up for the first time.

"Then I will tell you that it was I who had you put down; for I am very fond of you, Oyvind."

The other looked at him, blinked several times, and the tears rolled down in rapid succession.

"You are not displeased with me for that?"

"No;" he looked up full in the school-master's face, although his voice was choked.

"My dear child, I will stand by you as long as I live."

The school-master waited for Oyvind until the latter had gathered together his books, then said that he would accompany him home. They walked slowly along. At first Oyvind was silent and his struggle went on, but gradually he gained his self-control. He was convinced that what had occurred was the best thing that in any way could have happened to him; and before he reached home, his belief in this had become so strong that he gave thanks to his God, and told the school-master so.

"Yes, now we can think of accomplishing something in life," said the school-master, "instead of playing blind-man's buff, and chasing after numbers. What do you say to the seminary?"

"Why, I should like very much to go there."

"Are you thinking of the agricultural school?"


"That is, without doubt, the best; it provides other openings than a school-master's position."

"But how can I go there? I earnestly desire it, but I have not the means."

"Be industrious and good, and I dare say the means will be found."

Oyvind felt completely overwhelmed with gratitude. His eyes sparkled, his breath came lightly, he glowed with that infinite love that bears us along when we experience some unexpected kindness from a fellow-creature. At such a moment, we fancy that our whole future will be like wandering in the fresh mountain air; we are wafted along more than we walk.

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