Hogrenning Farm, On The East Shore Of Loen Lake
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Direction—We are, of course, facing nearly east. Surroundings—Nesdal boat-landing is now off at our right. Behind us, across the narrow strip of deep water, rise mountains as high as any we have seen around the lake.
"Deep and low the hamlets lie
Here there is not even a "hamlet," but just the buildings of one prosperous farm, for the stars to shine on through a long winter night. And it will be a cosy winter, too, according to local standards of comfort. Those laden grain-poles that look like a regiment of soldiers on parade, mean plenty to eat during the long interval when the sun turns a very cold shoulder on this region. Fuel can be had to any desired amount without thinning the tree-growth in such a way as to invite avalanches. The roofs are snug and tight. There will be plenty of hay for all the cows and goats. The building of a new boat, the making of new farm-tools or household furniture, and tasks of that sort, will give the men-folk sufficient employment to keep time from hanging heavy on their hands. The women find plenty of occupation in their housework, spinning, knitting and sewing. When the weather does not encourage going down to Loen to church, they can read their Bibles and other religious books, and feel themselves in harmony with the general spirit of the Sabbath. Yes, if it is the Simple Life one wants, he can lead it here as well as anywhere in the world.
It was on some such estate, only in a house of logs, that Farmer Ironbeard must have lived—the rich yeoman whose independence of king and court is chronicled in the ancient Heimskringla and retold by Long-fellow in the familiar story :
"Hodden gray was the garb he wore
But he loved the freedom of his farm,
He loved his horses and his herds,
One of the most interesting land-journeys in all Norway is between this lake region and the head of the Geiranger Fjord, farther north. The best way to start is from a posting station at the head of Lake Stryn, a few miles northeast of Loen Lake. A glance at Map S will show just where the basin of Stryn is located, and our next position will be found, marked 80, at its eastern end.