Wandering boys soon caught sight of Sir Enguerrand’s bird in Rengud’s hand; the knight’s menials seized him and led him to the castle, and he shivered when the falcon was taken from him, motionless and proud as always, without turning his bent neck, without a glance from his cold, calm eyes. The bird was taken to his master, but he had not even a caress for the favorite he had missed, for he had allowed himself to be touched by ignoble hands. Sir Enguerrand gazed down in silence at Renaud, and in his mind there settled more and more distinctly the memory of an old game-law of the days when the noble’s foot lay steel-shod on the neck of the people, and pleasures fluttered inviolable about his shoulders—and his eyebrows closed about the certainty that the old law had never been repealed. The law provided that he who stole a falcon with the mark of a knight on its foot should pay twelve sols of silver or six ounces of flesh from his ribs under the beak of a famished bird of p
Afterwards he did not fly again that day; when Renaud threw him aloft and ran with an enticing call, he beat his wings a few times and settled on his shoulder again in proud coldness against the laughing face of the boy. He seemed to despise all trifling, and Renaud soon ceased, while his look acquired the far-gazing seriousness of the falcon’s. He became more devoted to him than to anything he had possessed. It seemed to him that the falcon was his own soul, his longing with broad wings and victorious glance.
But there was pain in his love, gloomy foreboding of misfortune, and at times he feared lest the bird should fly from him in indifference, disappear with a mocking sound of bells, and it would be like death, so void. Or it seemed to him that the falcon was honor, resplendent with sunshine in the azure air, which now rested on his shoulder for fresh journeys. In the midst of his joy he was oppressed by his insignificance; he scarcely dared to look at the bird, and
And the falcon became his. He bent his head forward to listen, his eyes calm and watchful, when the frosty twigs cracked under Renaud’s step in the silence of the morning. He sprang lightly down from his cage and stretched himself toward his hand and flapped his wings as if to fly—this was merely a reminder—and so they hastened out to the expanses of the moors, which were gradually becoming light.
Their eyes gazed sharply at the dark red sky. Black lay the hills and the sparse thickets, and the trees slept on, their boughs heavy with silent birds. But the sky became brighter, flaming with gold and red, and the lines of the fields became blue, and the owl flew low over the ground seeking her hiding-place, and the day-birds stretched their wings and chirped gently on account of the cold, and their flight stood black against the glimmering air. But Reriaud and his falcon hastened past, for these were sparrows and thrushes—no prey for them.
Grew smaller aga
Per Hallstrom (1866—1960)
Per Hallstrom travelled widely. He was for some time an ana-lytical chemist in Chicago, and his work shows traces of foreign influence. He brought the art of writing stories to a high point of perfection and is one of the few Scandinavian masters of that form.
The Falcon is translated by Herbert G. Wright. It first appeared in the American-Scandinavian Review, October, 1920, and is reprinted by permission of the editor.
Sir Enguerrand rode out hunting every day, and generally with his red, gold-embroidered glove on, for only the( flight of the Iceland falcon with his tinkling bells could awaken music within him and make him breathe the keen, light morning air with joy, as he were drinking an animating wine. One day the falcon had driven a heron bleeding into a marsh behind a copse, where the huntsman found it and broke its neck, but the falcon himself was gone.
Whether he had been attracted
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
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