Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 9, 1898.djvu/231
Evald Tang Kristensen.
were strong enough, they took their turns of helping him in the smithy, and when it grew late he would begin to tell stories to keep their eyes open. In this way they learned the tales which they could still repeat when I visited some of them. The poor man's last days were very pitiful, and the daughter's account of them moved me to tears.
"Mette Skrædder, in Sundby, told me a great deal about her childhood, which showed how she had come to possess her large store of traditions. These came entirely from her mother, whom she spoke of with the greatest affection and deepest devotion. Her father was a poor broken-down invalid, who could earn nothing for the support of his family; the mother was thus forced to go and beg, and to make the weary journeys lighter for the child, she told her the stories she herself had learned."
These two examples are sufficient to indicate in what stratum of society the old traditions are preserved, and to what class the collector must turn for his materials. This fact alone makes his work anything but an easy one; he must have a happy combination of qualities and be prepared for a good deal of discomfort and privation. First of all, says Kristensen, he must be a good pedestrian, able to go on foot over the most outlying and thinly inhabited districts. "It would be a fatal mistake to come driving in a carriage to such people." Secondly, he must have a large stock of patience. Thirdly, he must be able to live without any of the ordinary comforts, take his food with those he goes among, and be pleased with night-quarters in the meanest hovel.
"Once," he says, "in a hut on Feldborg Heath I sat and slept all night on a bench beside the table, at another time I slept wrapt up in my waterproof-coat, on a third occasion I slept with the man of the house, while his wife made herself a shake-down on the floor. I had often to be content with getting them to boil some potatoes and fry a little bacon for me, as I could pare the potatoes myself, and so get my food clean. I carried my own tea with me, but had to take what bread I got, even though it was extremely sour and indigestible. The coffee I often had to gulp